I’m not sure where to start reviewing this baby because it’s so close to my heart and it’s very very very freaking biased but here comes folks! It’s gonna be a long one so buckle up and get a cup of coffee!
I’ll start off by thanking 2 Kolegas for being the perfect venue and the Beijing Meteorological Bureau for their outmost cooperation.
I need to thank the amazing Ruby for being at my side throughout the whole thing and helping keep the show rolling smooth. Trust me folks, dealing with 15 bands and their schedules was not an easy feat and she was a freaking Champ. Couldn’t have pulled it through without you babe!
Thank you to Iris, Grace, Fiona and Mo Mo for manning the merch table
I also need to thank Jaime Welton of Black Cat Bone/Bad Mamasan for cutting his vacation short to come and play ‘dazeFEAST no matter how hard that was.
Huge thanks go out to Yang from Painkiller Mag and Rock in China for sorting out the Orange Amps
Another big ups for Chery Bomb of the Flying Mantas for helping get flyers sorted out
Thanks to Lauren Johnson, nightlife editor at City Weekend for the huge support she provided over the past few weeks.
Thanks to Timeout, The Beijinger, Beijing Boyce, Beijing Gig Guide and Music Dish China and all others for also listing the event.
A huge round of applause to all the bands and musicians because without the bands, there is no fucking music and these guys combined to put on one hell of a goddamn show!
and finally, thanks to the 800+ people that made the trip into the drive in and stayed for hours soaking in the good weather, the music and the good vibes… much much much love folks!
so, how did it all go?
With a beautiful shiny perfect day, ‘dazeFEAST was already starting with a bang. The temperature was perfect for a whole day of celebration with all my budies who started turning up around 3:00 p.m. much to my surprise and that of the staff at 2 Kolegas who never expected this many people to come this early. By 5:00 pm, the place was already hopping.
The afternoon part of the program started off a bit shaky with equipment malfunction that delayed Mademoiselle’s set. Another big problem was that most of the band was missing but being the trooper she is, Marie Claude combined with Jean Claude (not Van Damme) for a lovely improvised 40 mn set under the blue skies of Beijing. They played a few rearranged songs from her usual catalogue as well as a few covers that both of them knew much to the afternoon crowd’s delight.
Then, a mit of confusion ensued as to where and how the next bands would play with a few last minutes changes… Thankfully, The Randy Abel Stable stepped in for a fill in slot while Ruby and I were left to clean up a bit of the early mess and confusion. It was a lovely thing to see the band up there in honky tonking their way and the crowd did seem to appreciate it.
In the meantime, 2 of the afternoon’s outdoor bands had been moved to indoor slots for various reasons thrwing the whole schedule out of whack. Thankfully, we had more than our share of musicians on the grounds with the ever reliable Michael Dalin ( Bad Apples, Vital Time) stepping up to the plate with help from whom else but Marie Claude. There was also a nice little fill in show by the collective known as “Russian News Today” who carried us through the last few minutes outdoors before the action went inside.
Lidong (migratory bird) kicked things off with a crowd very reluctant to move indoors considering the beautiful weather they were gifted. Remember folks, 2 days before ‘dazeFEAST, Beijing was fully flooded! so I can’t blame them. Still, as Lidong played, more and more people moved in drawn by their unique brand of Bluesy Ningxia Folk. Judging by the reactions I heard afterwards, their CD will be a huge hit when released later this year.
Next up was Zhang Si’An, playing solo. It’s hard to describe a Zhang Si’An performance or to categorize it.. it’s even harder to not enjoy and be mesmerized by it. He put together a beautiful 30mn set that just left people wanting more with songs in English, Chinese including a lovely cover of Second Hand Rose. There was a call for encores but alas, the show had to go on.
A rearranged schedule meant that Dude was up next. The band had been at 2 Kolegas all day shooting a video so they were eager to get it done and be able to party with the rest of us. For their first ever performance at 2 Kolegas, they had a packed house and a great reception. I really look forward to seeing them there a few more times because I really think it’s the right venue for them. They’re a band that needs to be in your face rocking and that’s what they did that night.
at this point, much to my dismay, the event was running 90mn behind schedule. Thankfully, no one but the bands was aware of that and people were just pouring in in waves. DJ Carlo was doing a great job keeping them entertained and dancing outdoors between sets and was a class act about doing something every DJ hates: turning off the music so that the crowds would be inclined to go indoors. There were a few complaints from various people about the weather being too good to go inside but alas, ‘dazeFEAST, ‘daze rules…
did I mention the amazing roast lamb yet?
The Randy Able Stable, last minute addition to the bill taking the place of the Flying Mantas, came on for their second set of the day and pulled the crowd in. Considering this band has only been together for less than two months, I’m really amazed at how good they sound and look on stage. The audience ate them up, stomping to originals, singing along to covers and generally appreciating their antics. I love their cover of “dead flowers”… This was another band that should have had CDs that day as people flocked to the merch table asking for them.
By then, we started running a tight ship of on/off with quick sets and changeovers hoping to catchup. between Dude and The Stable, we already shaved 30mn off the delay.
Next up was old friends Wu and the Side Effects who were amazing. At this point, the crowd inside was getting bigger and bigger, much like that outside and that how Wu and the boys like it. This band feeds off the audience like no other and their best shows are when the house is full. It’s not a knock on the boys, it’s just a reality! They need that energy to drive them… Saturday, it drove them far, high, loud, fun and amazing! They converted many an audience member and had them begging for more. and to think they almost didn’t make the bill….. I’m so glad they had the time to do this.
The headliners for the evening, Black Cat Bone, finally took the stage at 11:30 and they brought the house down! Sure, they might have been a few technical problems with one of the Orange amps at this point but the audience couldn’t give a fuck… they had their mojo running and the band was running along! A cool set of ‘Bone originals, a few covers, some cussing and shouting capped by a great reendition of Mustang Sally to top it all off. The crowd ate it up, danced almost til they dropped and rushed to the merch table for CDs that were all gone in a hard beat… they might not be “big in china” but boy are they huge in Beijing and titanic at 2 Kolegas.
By this time of the night, it didn’t seem like anything mattered anymore! The drinks were flowing outside, people chatting, listening to the bands, coming in for live music or patiently waiting outside for more of DJ carlo’s sonic goodness to keep them entertained. They were having fun and all was fair game.
It’s was time for what I hoped would be one of the best moments of the evening: a Guitar Jam off with some of my favorite Beijing-based axemen. Unfortunately, due to it starting so late, we had lost 2 of the participants whom I apologize to… Still, Wu Kejia, Skip Lunch, Richard Todd and Jean Sebastian jumped onstage for a shortened jam session with ever banging Chery Bomb providing some drumbeats to keep them in line. Michael Dalin even joined into the festivities at some point providing vocals.
This one didn’t quite come out the was i expected it but I surely enjoyed it. The look of bliss and satisfaction on Wu Kejia’s face says it all…. ecstatic!
Maggie Who was up next for their final performance ever (for now), 6 years later, in the place where it all started. The friends and families packed the dance floor to give the boys a proper send off. And boy this they get it!!! Huge rousing applause for every song by the audience members especially on the their covers of “rocking in the free world” and “Maggie’s Farm”… As much as I liked those though, their finest moment of the evening was on the song “dream” which really fits what the kids have done and to some extent what was happening with ‘dazeFEAST:
I just wanna close my eyes and driftaway
you can go as far as your dreams will take you
Good luck boys, you’ll be just fine as long as you keep on dreaming.
To say that the Black Snakes, hailing from Norway, took me by surprise would be an understatement. I never heard the band before and they only landed on the bill following a request from Kang Mao, of SUBS fame. Nothing prepared me for such an intensive performance that was beyond freaking tight. These guys were at the top of their game musically and from a performance/entertainment point. Singer Alex toyed with the crowd at will in ways I have not seen many people pull off. I really wished they could have gone on earlier but that’s the way the cards were dealt. Please come back soon guys and thank you for your patience! Class Act they were!
By the time the last band, Nucleus, got on, it was 2:30 in the morning! Still, the place was packed outside and a decent crowd remained inside for the grunge… at this point some of these guys had been here for close to 6 hours listening to music and rocking up the house. Nucleus capped things off in beautiful style! Much like Lidong, which is pretty much the same band, they just mature so much. Li Xia, on vocals and guitar, is probably one of the most underrated performers in Beijing right now.
There you have it folks! 15 musical acts, 1 DJ, a lot of love and a lot of fun! I spent most of my time listening to the bands inside so I can’t speak much about the atmosphere outside but it looked pretty darn good to me. The drinks were flowing between 2 stations, the roasted lambs, or what little there was of it was just fucking heavenly. I wish there was more of it. The bands, the friends, the random strangers, the streakers, the dancers, the partiers all made this an event that far beyond exceeded any expectations i ever had about this.
Sure, it wasn’t perfect but I neither is rock n roll…. It was amazing!
To the asshole that tried stealing a CD twice when the bands were playing a free festival, fuck you!
I hope you had fun, because I did.