Saturday ended up being a busy day! After a trip to Nanluoguxiang where I spent most of the afternoon soaking up what will turn out to be one of the last great days to be outside before winter hits (that’s a mouthful), I jumped up on a 40mn cab ride to 798 for MIDI.
This year, the festival was indoor in an industrial east-German style warehouse smack down the center of the Art district. Upon arrival, there was no chaos there of lines or such, the likes of which had made previous MIDI treks hectic. Outside was well organized with 2 tents: 1 for tickets and 1 for VIPs (whatever that may be). There were also 3 food stall with Hot Dogs, a Shawarma-looking thingy and Ma La Tang. I got myself a ticket for RMB80 and a huge Hot Dog for RMB25
Once we were inside the warehouse, I found myself looking for Batman!! My friend insisted that this would be the perfect venue for Ramstein to play were they to come to Beijing. We were a bit late so we missed a substantial number of acts but arrived on time for Muma (木马):
The band sounded tight and was doing a number of heavy songs with the highlight being a reworked cover of The Doors’ Roadhouse Blues that got an A in my book.
Next up was Xie Tian Xiao (谢天笑), another one that I had never heard of before!
A buddy mentioned how good he was! That and the fact that the crowd rushed towards the stage with determination had me curious. He had just collected the awards for Best Live Performance and Best Male Vocals so my expectations were high! He delivered.. ‘nuf said!!! The level of intensity during his performance and the interaction/involvement of the audience were hands down the highlight of the evening, seeing him blend rock guitars and Guzheng was priceless!!
After a few more awards and buckets of Mojitos ( great value at RMB50/1Liter), SUBS were up! I had forgotten about them but one looks and memories of demented performance and a demented lead singer came back flooding.
Kang Mao, the singer, is the epitome of a Frontwoman! She has such intensity, stage presence and charisma that it makes the band hard to ignore! Unfortunately for them, it didn’t feel like they belonged on the same stage as XTX… where he commanded a whole stage, they put on club-level show! Don’t get me wrong, they were good but their performance fell short!
A few more awards later, Miserable Faith (痛苦的信仰, tòngkǔ de xìnyǎng) was up! They were the big winners of the evening with a handful of awards so again, I had high expectations! They launched into 2 fast-paced songs after which they took it down a few octaves for the sing along power ballads!
The crowd, while not as substantial as that for XTX, was 100% into it with devil horns, lighters, moshpits and crowdsurfing. They put on a masterful performance and were the only band to come back for an encore.
Overall, I can’t say enough good things about this outing! The organization was amazing, the stage shows and production kicked ass, toilets were clean, the venue amazing and the drinks affordable. There were NO freaking guards or security getting in the way of the fans, none or whatsoever! The audience was definitely into the music and the 4 bands i saw delivered top notch performances!
Given all the crap that music festival have had to deal with in Beijing lately, it was refreshing to see one of them proceed so smoothly. The indoor settings can’t compare to outdoors settings but, in many ways, this worked in MIDI’s favor. A smaller area to control meant less of a logistical nightmare!
The MIDI folks really really did good!!!
Note: I’m skipping talking about the awards side of things as that deserves its own post