No Rust & Deafening Crowd Roars: Miss Ruby on Tang Dynasty @ Starlive

Tang Dynasty is one of those names I have been hearing about since I first landed in China, they’re always mentioned in the same vein as Black Panther and even Cui Jian. They played The Starlive this past sunday along with Brain Failure to celebrate the launch of their new record. Yours truly didn’t make the show but the fantastic Miss Ruby did… and she had good things to say about what she saw and heard:

I’m a new hand to the Beijing music scene, having not lived here quite a year yet, so I have a long list of bands I want to see and venues I want to visit. Two that have been high on that list are Tang Dynasty and Star Live. So when I got the option to tick off both at once (and to pretend to be BeijingDaze for the night!) how could I not go?

The gig had an advertised start of 8pm, which is early, even for a Sunday night. So I turned up an hour after that, I’m used to start times being when the doors open and the band not appearing until much later. After convincing the girls at the door to stop counting money and sell me a ticket, I walked in to find I’d completely missed the opening band Brain Failure and Tang Dynasty were already in full force!

I have to admit I was expecting to be seeing an aging metal band, a little rusty around the edges from not playing shows for awhile. I’d heard they have been around for well over 15 years, it had been over 10 years since Kaiser Kuo left the group (see his 10 questions with BeijingDaze here). But I was surprised to find what appeared to be a rock band in their prime. These boys did not miss a beat, the set was so tight you would think they were in the midst of tour selling out big arenas every night!

In true metal style, guitarist Chen Lei was sporting a full head of hair and showing off his head banging prowess, his attitude matched by bassist Gu Zhong, who was smoking while playing for most of the set.

It was lead singer Ding Wu who impressed me the most – that man not only has a beautiful voice, but he knows how to work a crowd! Stepping back from the microphone hands in the air and letting the crowd sing his song back to him is a good start, follow that by leaning in and screaming “hǎo​, bù​hǎo​?” at the end and he caused the crowd to erupt in a deafening roar.

I have to admit I did feel like the only lǎo​wài​ in the village, I think I saw maybe 5 others after the crowd cleared out. But I had expected that, I was more surprised by the age of the crowd. Again I had thought they would have an older following, but a lot of the crowd were significantly younger than me – and they knew all the songs, singing along fists punching the air.

One lucky fan had his ticket number called out and ended up on stage with the boys, not only getting a photo, but also an autographed guitar! For the rest of us, the band tossed copies of their new CD out to the screaming crowd.

I have to say the show exceeded all my expectations and Tang Dynasty have yīgè​ xīn​ péngyou​ in me. When their new CD is released later this year, I will definitely be buying a copy. Two big ticks for Tang Dynasty and Star Live. Now what’s next on my list …ah, Chunqiu and Club 13. Hopefully I can check those two out with BeijingDaze’s company sometime soon!

Big props to Miss Ruby for a great write up and the photos that went with it. I’m definitely sad to have missed the show but alas, here’s hoping there’s a next time soon!

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