Note: Better late than never: I started writing this in January 2013… finally getting it out. I’ve finally got a bit of time to sit down and try to look back at 2012.. gigs, festivals, craps and mishaps. It’s been a long year really and probably the one with the lowest output on ‘daze as I changed jobs, opened a bar and saw my free time reduced to zero. Still, rock n roll was there and there in numbers. I made the gigs, listened to the songs and spent my evenings/nights with my underground brothers. How did it all pan out? It was a strange year really with a lot of bands reuniting and or coming out with long overdue records. Here’s looking at you Zhang Wei Wei and Brain Failure just to name a few. Still, more so than many years before, this one belonged to the young guns. But we’ll get to the records at some other points. Let’s first look at the most memorable performances of the Dragon year: NOTE: This is in NO particular order!!! – Miserable Faith @ MIDI I never got around to writing a review about this particular one but i’ll probably never ever ever forget it. Picture yourself in an outdoor festival, 10000 people standing in front of the main stage for the final performance of a 3 day musical onslaught and they’re singing in unison all of the band’s songs before the band even came onstage. for 30 good minutes, the [...]
You’ve noticed probably that the frequency of posts is a bit on the downside and that mostly due to juggling a full time job with a my opening of a little Sports Bar. The amount of time i have to check out shows is still decent but I’m not finding enough time to write. That said, last Friday, Beijing had one of those “must see” shows where one drops everything they’re doing and goes to attend: In this case, it was Hanggai’s unplugged gig at 2 Kolegas right before they set off to tour Europe and the US. Extra bonus point, the show was outdoors. The story behind this one is that a few months ago, the band was in Europe and they suffered a power outage right before the show. They decided to give it a go unplugged and had tons of fun.. they had so much fun that they decided to do it again. Leading to the gig friday afternoon, the band kept teasing us with pictures of the setup including the stage and the roasting pit where two lambs would end up spending the most part of the evening being cooked to perfection. There were plenty of expectations from the show and the promise of new songs as well… how did it go? Fucking awesome man!! I got to 2K before 9:00 pm ( unusual) to find it already quite busy with pretty much every outside seat taken and it wasn’t a young crowd, not by far. [...]
It’s looking deceivingly like a quiet musical weekend in Beijing but don’t be fooled folks. There are some pretty sweet gigs taking place over the next few days while the city prepares for the upcoming festivals… let’s see what’s cooking and not necessarily good looking. Thursday July 19th Whai @ Temple They got ups, downs and tons of potential but they’re still looking for a direction. It’s really interesting to see this band grow up and mature! Now with the addition of a DJ, the sound has an interesting depth but as we were saying with a buddy not too long ago, I wonder what they would sound like if they dropped the DJ, added a Keyboard and had more guitar. Catch them at Temple to see another step in their evolution. Folk Night @ Lao What I don’t know why but just looking outside my window and seeing the ugliness of the gray skies, I get in a strange state of mind and want a little folk. Old What has it tonight with an assortment of local folk singer including Sichuan’s liangzi wom i never heard off before but can be interesting. I’m overdue for a visit down there actually. Friday July 20th Hanggai @ 2 Kolegas If you choose one gig this week, make it this one! I expect the place to be packed, lamb to be roasted and people having a jolly good time grasslands-style. Be warned that the band will play early by 2 Kolegas standard [...]
It’s been a long time coming and one way to look at it is that anything worth doing is worth taking a long time to do well. Lixia et Co. must have had that in mind over the past few years…. a lot of work, shows, recording sessions and rehearsals, all leading up to the release of their first CD which will be reviewed here later this week. In the meantime, the interwebs is bracing itself for a Lidong Week with twitter, weibo, facebook, douban streams all pushing this show May 19th at 2 Kolegas. Now, a promo video has been released featuring an all star cast all covering the song with the likes of Xie Tian Xiao, Lao Da, Hu zi, Wu Ning Ye, Zhang Wei Wei, Hanggai and more.. check out the video for Xiao Mudan ( little Peony) 立東乐队新专辑主打歌《小牡丹》（新专辑宣传片） http://video.sina.com.cn/v/b/76909195-1639810542.html I’ve heard Li Dong do this song so many times by now, I don’t appreciate it as much as i should. Hearing others singing it just puts it all in perspective. I love the XTX take and Lao Da versions…. just tons of fun. If you had any doubt that the Ningxia gang would stand behind this one 2000%, think again! The supporting cast will include everyone and their mother from Hanggai, Dongzi, Lao Da, Buyi and more… Let’s not forget the mandatory side of Ningxia noodles and roast lamb. I can promise you one thing folks, Saturday night at 2 Kolegas will be epic!
I’ve been looking for this one since i saw the first post about it over a month ago.. Why? just look at the names coming in and the numbers of countries/ethnics represented! Hanggai, in organizing the 2012 edition of their festival, has pulled off one hell of a coup. They have also managed to stay clear of Festival weekend so they stand alone in spotlight, a position they don’t usually shy away from. So, without any further due, let’s see what’s in store: May 5th 2012 May 6th 2012 15:00-15:30 Khorgan&坎儿井 15:45-16:00 佳佳与朋友们 16:30-17:00 Otor 17:30-17:50 九宝 18:20-18:50 戏班 19:20-20:00 山人 20:30-21:10 Tiloun (法属留尼汪) 21:40-22:20 南城二哥 22:40-23:10 Windbone (瑞士) 23:40-24:20 杭盖 14:00-14:30 立冬乐队 14:45-15:10 郭涌 15:35-16:00 Nomadic 16:20-16:50 三川 17:20-17:50 阿基耐 18:20-19:00 Rhythm of rajasthan (印度) 19:30-20:15 部落 21:45-22:30 刀郎之魂乐团 23:00-23:45 Yemen Blues (以色列) There quite a few bands worth watching and the lineup is equally strong on both days… but what got me even more excited is the following bands: Rhythm of Rajasthan – India http://www.rajfolkseries.com/ Rhythm of Rajasthan offers characteristically lively folk music from Rajasthan, India. The band performs richly varied music and dance, representing the distinctive styles of the two different groups that make up Rajasthan’s desert lands: the Langas and Manganiyars. Both the Langas and Manganiyars communities comprise of Muslim musicians, but many of their songs are in praise of Hindu deities and celebrate Hindu festivals, such as Diwali and Holi. With this lively and inclusive offering, the group has proven popular around the world. They [...]
I’m not sure I’ve entirely recovered from last weekend’s musical onslaught.. really folks! MIDI rocked the shit out of me, especially with an awesome Miserable Faith performance. Ningxia Night on Monday was special as usual and so were the other days.. Still, It’s thursday and time to see what else is happening over the next few days.. This one is not about quantity, it’s about quality so I’ll make it short and sweet: Thursday May 3rd Bad Apples @ Temple: Them bad apples are back again after a few months hiatus.. why do i feel like i wrote this before? They’re a good band that is fun to watch but extremely frustrating to me because they can’t seem to get to the next level despite all the talent they have. Here’s hoping this time around, the troops are ready for a good battle and they can get over the hurdle. Temple is not a bad place to get started. I expect Kris to be shredding his new baby for it’s first field test. Friday May 4th Iz @ Mao Live One more chance to watch the masters of modern progressive dark folk at work. I’ve heard some pretty good things about the shows these guys have done over the past week and I’m quite excited to see them in a place like Mao Live where the sound will resonate nicely. I might even be tempted to grab the new Mamer records but i’ll have to get over that freaking price [...]
Things are heating up folks… It’s looking as if April and May 2012 will be filled with musical goodness! And I mean filled. More information on each even will follow in due time but for now, we’re gonna be looking at the freshly announced Hanggai Music Festival 2012. When: May 5 and 6th 2012 at Mako Livehouse What: Hanggai World Music Festival site: http://site.douban.com/hanggaifestival Not all the bands have been listed yet but the little I’ve seen is already appetizing: Yemen Blues (Yemen / Israel) is freaking magical… They produce some awesome world music fusing middle eastern rhythms with Jazz and Funk. Rhythm of Rajasthan (India) is one hell of an ensemble that has been celebrated worldwide. Tiloun (France / Reunion Island) plays Maloya, a music indigenous to the island that is quite reminiscent of Capoeira. The sounds are soft and hash, all at once and if it were not for them being island-based, these guys would be a heck of a lot more famous. Hanggai of course in on the bill, Dolan, Nancheng Er Ge and more…. Check out this video of Yemen Blues to get a taste… mesmerizing This is looking like a must see folks!
it started with a bang at 2 Kolegas as Buyi, Nucleus, Rustic and Subs rocked the hell out of the drive-in. That was one hell of a good show to start the year and remains in the top ten of best shows in Beijing for 2011. Many bands came, some vanished, others just took a break and some just lost any guidance… how did they fare IMHO? Let’s check it out! Here are some random musings about the best, the worst and the mediocre from my BIASED perspective! AK47 @ MIDI: Never been a huge AK47 fan but this past MIDI, they put on the performance of a lifetime! The crowd was all in it at the side stage, moshing, screaming, jumping, singing…. IT was a trance-like state for almost everyone there! The music was heavy, loud, sharp like a razor blade and was the perfect accompaniment for dust storms. The Black Snakes @ ‘dazeFEAST: Holly mother of god were these cats impressive! I had no idea what to expect when i added them to the bill other than they were friends of Kang Mao. Boy am i glad! Their energy was out of this world, stage antics second to none, sweating it out and getting the audience in a frenzy! That was just beautiful! Thank you again guys! SUBS @ King of the Road: When all was going to hell with drunk people in the audience, douchebags and 2 Kolegas filled to the brim, Kang Mao and her gang [...]
Wah, I’m still recovering from last weekend, is it really time for Quickslants again? The year may be winding down, but there’s still no shortage of great gigs to check out this weekend. Here’s just a taste of what’s available. Thursday December 15th: Little Marbles @ Yugong Yishan Swedish indie-gypsy-pop meets American bluegrass, a strange, but hopefully good combination of Little Marbles and the Randy Abel Stable. That p-word makes me want to run and hide, but if you’re into that kinda thing, this is one to check out. WHAI @ Jianghu Post/prog-rock ningxia style in the hutongs with WHAI, made up of Long Shen Dao & Buyi’s Zhang Wei on guitar, keyboard & guzheng, Lidong & Nucleus’s drummer Liu Miao and Chen Zhong on bass. I’ve caught these guys out at the drive-in a couple of times now and I’m really enjoying their style. Friday December 16th: Shanren & Lidong @ Mao Livehouse Two of the best folk bands in the city team up for one big night at Mao, Lidong from the north-west and Shanren from the south. Shanren are currently recording an album with Daze Central friend Martin Rawlins, we’re looking forward to that coming out in the New Year. Hanggai @ 2 Kolegas There’ll be lambs cooking, voices roaring and dancing galore when Hanggai throw a party in their home base 2 Kolegas. No matter where you start tonight, this will be the place to end it, I can see this one going all night! Saturday [...]
I must admit it’s refreshing to see non-Chinese bands every so often because it puts things back in perspective. Now, maybe it’s the wrong way to put it but no matter how many good solid Chinese bands there are out there, the number of mediocre ones is just staggering high and i do find myself looking at the silver linings every so often trying to find positives!!! Friday night at Mako Livehouse was not one of those nights! There were plenty of good shows in town mind you but i had this one marked and was not about to miss it even though it pained me to skip a ChunQiu show next to my house. Still, it was gonna be all about Barcelona’s La Pegatina with their upbeat rumba/reggae/fun matched up with Hanggai’s grassland rock. I picked well! Mako was filled quite early actually with a decent crowd of at least 200 by 8:30. All of us early comers were treated to a little 30mn performance by Nine Theaters ( Jiu Bao), one of the newest up and coming Mongolian bands in Beijing. They played during day one of the Mongolian Festival, also at Mako, a few weeks ago where they stood out. The band has a charismatic frontman/guitar player and an interesting mix of throat singing with Metal… They might be a bit young and green but there’s something in there! I’ll be curious to see what they sound like in one year if they stay under Hanggai’s protective [...]