I think we can safely say that the May 1-4 period is one of the most exciting, musically rich ones in Beijing: 3 festivals, tons of stages and bands as well as lots of good music. Yesterday was the last day of it with MIDI day 4 and it was a truly magical end.
I was extremely impressed by Nanwu‘s brand of what i would describe as “crosstalk meets rock” These guys are really amazing performers. Their interaction with the audience is commendable and i see great things for them! Yesterday was probably the biggest crowd they’ve ever played to over at the Pilot Stage.
Other standouts were veterans of the metal scene Nakaram whom i’ve never even heard of before. Their lead singer has got to be one the friendliest lads in Metal with a huge smile on his face throughout their set.
Another cool band that’s also been around for a while was Fallin Sex, which was a weird mix of Gothic pop rock.
I was a bit disappointed at Perdel and definitely not into Singaporean Soundgarden-wanna-be Caracal.
The party was just getting started when Free The Birds got on stage around 6:00 pm. Despite lead singer and ubercrush Helen Feng being on a wheelchair, they were solid with the 2 songs they played and that’s when the floodgates of heaven opened and lightening literally struck the show down. There was a loud band and just like that, the power was gone! Understandably, the performances were stopped and everyone scrambled for cover!
About 30mn later, the rain stopped and we saw members of Brain Failure and Yaksa, the biggest names on the Pilot Stage, headed for the exit! I asked a friend of mine who roadies for them about what was happening and he answered that the show was basically over because there was no power! I feared the worst! I then proceeded to head over to the main stage where a good 4000 people were gathered awaiting news from the organizers who at that point were conspicuous by their absence.
Were were then hit by another bout of torrential rain that convinced about half of the concert goers to head for the exit as well, much to their loss..
because what transpired afterwards probably led to what i would consider the most memorable musical event of my life.
MIDI founder and manager, Zhang Fan, came up armed with a megaphone and explained the situation to an increasingly restless crow: There was no power anywhere in Haidian Park due to the thunderstorm and they were trying to find some sort of solution to have music on the Tang stage at least. The crowd roared in approval and got even louder when Gao Hu (高虎) of Miserable Faith came out armed with a megaphone and a guitar! You should have seen the place explode in cheers as he started singing mostly Capella style in the megaphone one their biggest hits:公路之歌 especially as they got to the chorus 一直往南方开… If I’ve ever seen a crowd starved for music, it was those folks standing there in the mud singing along.
Then came the biggest roar of the night: They were going to at least try for a small unplugged set! Hell Yeah!!! With media members and staff members holding flashlights, they organized a makeshift mini stage upfront complete with microphones, a small drum and tons of megaphones to try and get a good enough sound to the crowd… and boy they did!
Miserable Faith came out armed with acoustic guitars, accordion, flutes and ripped through a amazing set of their biggest hits, fully unplugged to a crowd i would estimate at 3 or 4 thousands singing in unison and fully appreciative of the effort that was being made to deliver what they came for despite all the problems. We were all there together celebrating music despite the cold, the rain, the lack of power and everything else that got in the way! It was magical!
They played 6 songs in total and brought it to a close with an appropriately titled song: 不要停止我的音乐 (don’t stop my music).
This little event was a definite proof, if any was needed, of their musical ability and dedication! I’m not sure many other bands in Beijing or China would be comfortable going unplugged without any notice and pulling it off in amazing fashion! I’m not sure what to think about all the other bands like Yaksa, Muma, Brain Failure & others that hightailed it like that! I won’t pass judgment on them right now but I have gained great respect for Miserable Faith after this episode.
When the dust settled, MIDI’s favorite sons stood by the side of their dean & mentor, thus saving the day!