Unplugging The Unsafe? No Way…

I caught The Unsafe a few weeks back as part of Mao Livehouse’s punk night and I was impressed, very much so!

The Unsafe @ Mao's Punk Night

These cats were IT in terms of up and coming bands back in 2005 and 2006 with many people predicting superstar status for them sooner than later.. The band’s unique blend of punk and new wave British heavy metal was said to be fresh and well blended! Then they couldn’t handle the success and kinda flamed out… until now.

Their name keeps popping out in conversations about the Beijing music scene as “being back” and “tighter than ever” or “angrier and better”.

So one can understand my curiosity when i heard that they would be playing an unplugged show at What Bar which is one of the meccas of Beijing’s live scene ( one that I had yet to visit)… so 2 birds with one stone: I get to check out What Bar and see something different.

What Bar : Quietly hidden behind the forbidden city

I got to the venue about 10:00 p.m. and that was timely! There were about a dozen people chilling around, strumming some old guitar and chatting away right before The Unsafe got their gear and got the party started! Something about an unplugged show just didn’t seem to work for those guys and any notions of mellow whatever were quickly out of the window. out came the electric instruments

They rocked in to an all instrumental new song called “Iraq”.. heavy, brutal and fast, quite different from the Diamondhead/maiden style and closer to Metallica/Anthrax genre of rock. The followed it with “Yellow & Red”, which i’m assuming is another song of their upcoming record as it was also closer to metal than punk. We were also treated to their reedition of “seek & destroy” amongst others.

The show lasted about 45 mn which was quite respectable and by the end of it, the tiny What Bar was jam packed. Now if you’ve never been to What Bar, you will miss out on how weird/strange/special a show there can be as the venue is smaller than my living room! There was basically a stage for the band and standing room for about 20 or 30 folks if you try really hard

A couple of notes on the show:

Zhang Nan, founder and singer, is fairly shy offstage!
– The Italian Kid that played with The Unsafe at Mao was not with them
– The drummer Da Zi is freaking insane! He’s like an octopus banging on the skins and his head never stops banging.
– These are some skinny f*ckers: I’ve seen babies with thicker arms and legs

Loved the gig and I’m looking forward to catching them again soon!

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