Ah man.. where to start? So we had the 2 Kolegas 5th year anniversary bash this past weekend with the festivities starting on friday night and going on through the wee hours of sunday morning! The party was loud, messy, grimy, rowdy, chaotic and entertaining all in one! Just pure unadulterated fun… here is what happened:
I’ve been to plenty of shows at 2 Kolegas and by now, I’m fully aware that nothing ever starts in time over there! So, when i saw that Yugong Yishan was hosting the Zippo hot list night with Steely Heart, Exit A, SUBS and Brain Failure, I just had to stop by (but more on that later). My twitter feed started buzzing with news of the 2K shows informing me that Skarving, Beijing’s favorite SKA band was on just as the SUBS started their set. I stuck around for a few songs then Ruby (who was watching Sands at Jianghu) and I grabbed cab over heading for the party.
We made it just in time for Black Cat Bone and their sweet brand of blooze as they like to call it! The band was pretty darn good as usual with Toby subbing for Jon on drums! Definitely not a bad one to get in the mood!
After the BCB set, it was time to head outside for fresh air and enjoy the beats courtesy of DJ BB (of Chicks on Deck fame). She’s one of the few DJs I actually appreciate in Beijing and plays decent hard edged mixes. At that point, I estimate the crowd to have been around 400 strong.
The festivities kept on going with Nucleus (unscheduled appearance) who keep getting better every time i see them to the point where they have nothing in common with the band that opened for Bad Mamasan a few months ago.. It could also be that I’m getting used to them but I’ll give them credit.. the energy they put into their performance is outstanding! Ruby seemed to agree with the assessment that they’re improved !
Next up was The reTROS whom I vaguely remembered seeing years ago! I didn’t remember much about them but i saw enough on Friday night to give them a chance again very soon! Their performance was intense to say the least: Liu Ming (bass/vox) and Hua Dong (guitar/vox) have great onstage chemistry from what i saw.
Finally, BUYI came on, fresh from an across town trek since they had just finished playing a gig at Jiangjinjiu ba in gulou. I’ve spoken of them at length and by now, most people reading this blog know i love the band. That said, I felt slightly disappointed by them on Friday as they seemed to be going through the motions.
After yet another DJ set, we moved on to an extended jam session with random people getting on stage and just having a good time till the wee hours of the morning while munching on chuan’r and watching the sun rise! By 6:00 a.m, it was all she wrote for your truly and time to pack it up while a few others decided to head over to Gui jie for an early morning hotpot!
Saturday brought in its own set of events and goodies! I woke up to a strange email announcing that Girls Are Waiting to Meet You were playing a backwayd BBq at a Xinjiang restaurant near Lido (more on both later) and it was weird enough that i had to check it out.
An unfortunate consequence of the delay was that i ended up missing Larry’s Pizza again and I really wanna catch these guys now! I’ve heard mostly good stuff about them with the occasional diss here and there so I’ll wait until I see them to make up my mind.
I did manage to catch most of DH & The Chinese Hellcats albeit from the back of the room as the place was freaking insanely crowded! This was one hell of a surprise as they had a whole bunch of special guests with them that evening including members of Beijing Big Band and Beijing Swing Group. On top of their usual antics, they had the weirdest musical mashup ever: Chine musicians doing rockabilly swing mixed with rap of the guitar licks to great balls of fire… yeah, my opinion too!
Alas, gig of the weekend award went to Wu and The Side Effects who came out on fire, plugged in and never looked back drawing wows and ohh from audience members who didn’t expect the musical onslaught that was about to befell them. It’s only the second time around that i catch this motley gang but I’m telling you folks they are more than worth any amount of money you can pay for them… freaking amazing experimental blues rock that is so high octane and high intensity that it’s gonna leave you spinning for more!
Unfortunately, that was it for the bands on day 2 of the festivities! A bunch of DJs took over after that much to the delight of those that like that sort of thing ( me not included) but why not? Gotta give the people what they want and not everyone wants live rock n roll! What 2 Kolegas does best is make everyone welcome and it’s only fair that it is reflected in their programming.
The Good & The Ugly:
+ Amazing crowd turnout on both nights. Saturday was particularly crowded no doubt due to positive reviews of day 1 and great weather. 300+ on both nights with Saturday getting to the 500 mark easily.
+ Great mix of people with Chinese and Laowais alike hanging out, having a great time, dancing, singing, drinking and smoking
+ Mosh-pit and crowd-surfing on both days to a DJ… weird!
+ Amazing lineup on day 1 with the music going non-stop til way past 4:00 am
+ Musicians hanging out and partying with the locals is always a great scene… 2 Kolegas in that respect is the great equalizer.
– Impossible to get drinks. They had a few extra people behind the bar on both days but folks still waiting over half an hour for beers. May I suggest getting a beer-on-tap distribution on the other side of the booth next time?
– Bathrooms became so filthy at some point a lady in line in front of my went and used the urinal room as a squatter.
– very light/slim lineup on Saturday: Free The Birds was not there and the reasons differ depending on who you ask. Still, they were not replaced. This was weird because a lot of bands were on hands with a full lineup and didn’t even bother trying.
Party of the year so far, head to head with the Ditan Folk Festival in terms of atmosphere and fun. The lineup was solid and the crowd great! I expect to see a lot more people at 2 Kolegas this summer so here’s hoping they stick to their true nature and not sell out. The chaos and madness parts were to be expected but everyone i spoke to seemed to be having a good time and enjoying life!
see you next year!