I think I made no secrets of my feelings for Strawberry Festival this year and I must admit that on Sunday morning, i was extremely hesitant to head up to Haidian for day 2 of MIDI… I strongly considered not going but the draw was too good and i had faith in MIDI’s experience. I also received a lot of good feedback from folks who had gone there for Day 1.
The crew got there about 1:30 pm and within 15mn, we were through the gates! Ruby, who was also there with me for the Strawberry fiasco, were instantly relieved! MIDI had 4 tickets booths, completely separated from the entrance gate itself. The queue was orderly and we had our passes in no time! Another 5mn of queueing at the entrance gate which also had 4 separate lines waiting to get in and we were through!
We took the first few minutes to walk around Haidian park scouting the premises. There was a multitude of vendors peddling everything from wigs to CD sitting around the main path. There were also plenty of vending points for drinks and food throughout the park. Paul, over at The BarProp, had some interesting comments about the availability of 5 RMB beers along with other musings on days 1 & 2.
What i did like this year was that with the exception of the Tang and Yen stages, all the others were scattered around far from each other so that they wouldn’t interfere. The Tang and Yen on the other hand were a bit too close and the music from Yen got louder as the day went. At some point, during Voodoo Kungfu’s set, it was a bit too much.
Music wise, there was a lot on offer: I went to check out Xiao He again at the folk stage but left in a hurry! I love his style when it’s just him and a guitar! but as soon as that laptop comes out, I’m outta there! I’d rather listen to donkeys fucking!
The Prophecy, a Metal band from England, was quite impressive! These cats looked the part and played the part much to the crowd’s delight over at the Pilot stage. They’re the only band out of those two days to receive and standing ovation and a request for an encore by the crowd! The cheering was so loud they had to come back for an extra song! I’ll be checking them out some more…
I finally managed to catch DUDE whom i’ve been hearing about for a while over at the Mao stage. These cats are freaking cool and know how to work a crowd. They’re an instant success because all the locals already know their songs: see what they do is take Chinese classics and punkify them.. you haven’t lived until you’ve heard punk versions of Theresa Teng’s songs
The day went on with a lot of goodies everywhere including one hell of a performance by Voodoo Kungfu that had the crowd raising up a dust storm in front of the stage! I’m liking them more and more and they’re truly one of the most original acts out of China. The blend of mongolian folk, throat singing and death metal meshes together in beautiful screeching harmony! They’re not for everyone though… I’ll quote Ruby who said “what’s up with all the squealing?”
I was a bit disappointed in Honey Gun but impressed by reflector.
Asaf Avidan and the Mojos were the find of the festival for me! The guy got onstage, opened his mouth and pure magic ensued. Think Janis Joplin meets Led Zeppelin and you’ll get a small idea of what i mean! I’m fixing to get their CD today and keep an eye on this band from now on!
AK47 was also on hand for a good heavy show that had the crowd screaming! I only caught a few songs before i had to head out unfortunately but the little bit i heard sounded good! I also missed XTX much to my sorrow but i had places to go and things to do
A special “big ups” goes out to the Mao Live stage that was an impromptu last addition to this year’s MIDI. They did an amazing job setting up a small stage tent with patio, tables, chairs, full bar along with all the regular Mao staff. in many ways, this setup was much better than Mao Livehouse itself
Overall, MIDI scores one gigantic A in my book! It made up for Strawberry’s shortcomings in great fashion and delivered the goods like the seasoned pros that they are! Thank you guys, thank you really!