Saturday was a pretty good day for music in Beijing with both The Redbucks and Miserable Faith having album releases on the same evening. I ended up at Yugong Yishan for my prescribed dose of Americana Made From China and loved most of it with The Redbucks on top of their game (and despite a sound system that didn’t/couldn’t keep up)
In true Beijing fashion, the show started late (do i even need to write this anymore?). The band kicked things off with the lead single and album namesake “All that glitters” and proceeded to rip through a mix of originals and bluegrass classics for a nice long and slightly low key first set! After a little break, they came back on for an up-tempo second part with “wild Turkey Gobble” amongst others! unfortunately, I had to run off before the end of the second set to save a dog from thirst and starvation and consequently missed the encore where the band went electric with country classics but I heard it was pretty darn good.
Uncle Luke rocked the house during “low Tide“, “snub nose” came out amazing live and Daisy Sweetgrass, with a voice sweeter than a honeydew, brought them (us) down to our knees with “Jolene” and “You’ll never get another love song“. Amy Spice was not about to be outdone as there was rousing applause for her fiddling and many a request to turn it up throughout the show. A Major surprise was Two-sheds Jackson coming and belting out a Hanggai worthy throat scream during “Muddy River“… I hadn’t given it any thoughts but I figured they had asked someone from Inner-Mongolia to handle that.. I was wrong to assume!
The audience was a good 70/30 split between Foreigners and locals all getting into the stomping spirit. It was quite interesting to keep an eye on a new acquaintance that we dragged along: A fairly mid-class Chinese girl working in finance who’d never seen or heard bluegrass before! When things got started, she kept trying to label or categorize the music without much success but as the night went on, she clearly got the bug: I caught her doing a little dance during “muddy river” before getting a heart attack when that above mentioned scream came about. At some point, she did understand that Bluegrass was neither folk nor country, it was its own genre- and she liked it!
Of course, a special mention goes out to one Jaime Welton from Bad Mamasan/Black Cat Bone whose skill behind the sound console was instrumental and vital to keep the sound pumping out of a set up that is way past its prime.
Let me get this out of the way: Yugong Yishan, you’re testing my patience and I find it harder to convince myself and my friends to come over for shows there! RMB25 for water/soft drinks, about RMB35 for cocktails badly made and the once proud sound system is getting worse. Last saturday, said sound system almost ruined the evening! I used to refer to you as the CBGB of Beijing, a reputation acquired from your previous incarnations but at some point, you gotta get off your ass and start working for that reputation! You’re increasingly looking like an old warrior who built a name by taking on any and all enemies then just got old and fat, living off a reputation it no longer deserved! To quote Godsmack:
Strut on by like a king
Telling everybody they know nothing,
And long live what you thought you were,
And time ain’t on your side anymore
If you didn’t get a chance to catch The Redbucks that night, make sure you’ll catch them soon at Jianghu Jiu Ba (june 12), jiangjin Jiuba (june 18th) or 2 Kolegas (june 29) before they set off on a China tour, preaching the Bluegrass gospel southside.