Made in Ningxia with French Twist: Nuclear, Insurance Salesmen & Buyi @ 2Kolegas
There is an amazing breadth of musicians from Ningxia roaming the streets of Beijing.. a lot of them! Every so often, a few get together a 2Kolegas for what’s becoming a monthly Made in Ningxia gathering which means more often that not 核乐队(Nuclear), Wu & The Side Effects as well as Buyi. I finally got around to catching one of these gatherings this past Saturday at 2Kolegas with the presence of The Amazing Insurance Salesmen as a bonus.
In good 2Kolegas form, the show had a decently late start with Nuclear kicking things off around 10:00 pm. Now, if you’ve read my review of the Bad Mamasan show, you remember that I was less than impressed by these boys when i saw them then. Maybe the fact that the lead singer looked quite refreshed had a lot to do with it. Saturday was different!
The band ripped through a blistering set of heavy songs with good showmanship and decent arrangements! The Nirvana influence was clearly discernible throughout their set and the band as a whole sounded extremely tight. I remember looking at Miss Ruby more than once and saying: “they did not sound this good last time“… I guess gonna need a 3rd time to determine if they’re worthy of praise or not. Nevertheless, it was a pretty darn good performance
Next up was The Amazing insurance salesmen which in its way is a high profile lineup led by French man Jean Sebastien, with drummer Maomao ( Free The birds) and X-Doctor Bass player Maikel from Holland. I had seen them before at this same venue a few months ago and was looking forward to seeing their progress.
Miss Ruby is becoming quite a fan so I figured I should pay attention. The band played a pretty decent set of blues driven rock with extensive jams! It was all in all quite melodic while being on the heavy side! Talent-wise, this might be one the better bands in Beijing!
The Jams were fairly guitar driven while the vocals were quite reminiscent of Roy Orbisson. JSB‘s shades made the comparison easy! To be noted that there was quite a crowd there watching them play and appreciating what they had to offer! I’m digging the songs so far and this performance was so much better than the previous time. The one down moment was at the end of the show when a little jam went on for a too long. could have shortened 5 minutes off of it but thumbs up to the band. Also, I’m really enjoying Mao Mao’s drumming with each performance!
Last but not least, Buyi took the stage! I’ve seen them a few times by now and they are loads of fun on stage!
The songs are catchy, uptempo and easy to sing along to when you don’t know the lyrics. Tonight was no different with the band being pretty darn inspired! To be noted that each time I’ve seen these kids play, they had a different bass player! They had the Chinese version of Robert Trujillo back at the folk festival, then some other dude after that and finally, this past saturday, they borrowed Nuclear’s ax-man! However, if you check out their website, prints, CD, etc… you will see the the bass player is supposed to be a woman, Lina!!! still trying to figure out where she is!
Buyi was themselves and played a fun show much to the enjoyment of the crowd at 2 Kolegas. Their music has all the traditional elements of pure Rock with a distinct folky flavor especially on the songs that guitarist Zhang Wei sings on. Still, my favorite track of theirs is a song called 不累 Bu Lei (not tired)
Wu & the Side Effects was noticeable by their absence yet again! This is at least the 3rd time they’re listed on a bill and do not show up as far as I am aware! Ruby has had a similar experience with them so we’re both starting to wonder if they actually really exist.
I got an SMS saying that Wu & The Side Effects did indeed play after BUYI… damn it! I’m double pissed off now 🙁 1 because I don’t like talking shit about other, 2 because i missed them yet again! I’m not gonna take it back because they have been a no show a few times but in this particular case, they were there and I missed out 🙁
Overall, it was a pretty solid evening of music. It was refreshing to hear good Chinese rock done in chinese for a change. As much as i love listening to some of the other bands out there, I don’t get over excited about the moptops singing in English… too many of them just don’t sounds genuine enough.