I remember a time when only local expat bands got any coverage from the expat rags and I’m extremely happy to see that things are changing slowly! There is hope!
Last year, DH & The Hellcats deservedly managed to run away with the award and they have exploded since then as one of the fun darlings of the scene! Try asking them to play a private gig and see how that goes! This year, CW is at it again with an interesting set of nominees:
So, we have Hedgehog, Residence A, SUBS, Shan Ren, Hot Club of Beijing and The Randy Able Stable…. Nice selection there folks! Here are some thoughts.
Let me start by saying that I love the “local band” moniker! It does not discriminate against bands based on their nationality and that is something that usually pisses the living shit out of me in Beijing/China. So seeing an award for local Beijing-based musicians is fantastic. I asked Alex Searson ( Friend, CW Nightlife editor, Beijing Gig Guide owner) about the nomination process and this is what she had to say:
i tried to pick a range of music styles, and based it on
1) the quality of the music and
2) what they’ve done in the last year
I’m not surprised to see Hedgehog, Residence A or Shan Ren on there. They all had records come last year and are fairly popular among CW’s readership (and their nightlife editor ×wink× ). They also played some memorable shows in Beijing over the past year! Quite a few of them actually. Most readers of this blog have pretty much heard me and ruby just talk about them over and over. I also consider all 3 to be some of the most talented and interesting young musicians around.
SUBS is a bit of a surprise on this list! I love them and if I were in the award business, I’d have given them an award for being the best and most consistent band of 2011 in Beijing. Still, not your typical CW choice. I’m just really happy to see them mentioned on there! They have not played a single bad show and each gig was one hell of a rocking affair.
Hot Cat Club of Beijing is probably the biggest surprise of all on this list! I love what they do with their minouche jazz and they play pretty much all over Beijing but i’m not sure I’d have them on there! They’re a band you see at the bar trying to play over the crowd noise. That’s not a judgement on their ability, just a fact! Still, i guess most of the readers would have heard of them because they play within the general Gulou vicity.
Which brings us to The Randy Abel Stable. I love these guys but that’s not what it’s all about! As far as exploding unto the scene and filling in the void left by The Redbucks, no one has done it better than them. They’re playing everywhere, cooperating with Chinese musicians and expats alike, not to mention opening for Jorma Kaukonen. Not bad uh?
I could have put in a few other bands but this list in itself is not bad. I’m surprised though not to see the Beijing Beatles on there.. in terms of popularity, that’s another band that has just exploded last year.
I’m really split on this one folks… tough call!
Now go and get voting..