Zippo Hot List 3 review: Not much fizzle but GuaiLi Sizzle
This past friday marked the latest installment of the Zippo Hot List which is fast becoming one of the better monthly events in Beijing with consistently strong and diverse lineups. The last one was no exception but they might have taken the diversity on the wrong path:
The festivities started almost on time which is usually a rarity in Beijing, except for Mao Live. First up was White, a side project of Shou Wang (CarSick Cars fame). I’m gonna quote a friend of mine, SQ, who described their set best: “Things can be interesting but not necessarily good“. I wasn’t a fan and that’s an understatement: It was experimental noise as far as i could tell with distortion and special effects leading the way. Everyone keep telling how good Shou Wang is but until now, I haven’t seen proof of it!
Guai Li was up next and let me say it straight up: These guys might be the future of Beijing’s underground! The band is tight, they can play their instruments and their songs are multi-faceted multi-layered compostions that are a refreshing breeze of fresh air in a monotonous sea of copycat 2 chorders! Vocalist Wen Jun might well be the skinniest tiniest thing to grace a Beijing stage but her stage presence is completely oversized! She performs with an intensity and passion that are unfortunately missing from many of the local bands. Now these guys are definitely worth looking up and going out of my way for.
Next up was Ourself Beside Me who came onstage as a duo!!! No idea where the Bassist Xiehan was but the band still went on and played most of their songs with drums and guitar.. kinda like a toddler kid of the white stripes. I like OBM a lot and love their record but they drive me nots with their inconsistency. Friday night, I couldn’t tell if they were on or off which i guess is a good thing. Still, not their best show! The bass was definitely missing but at least, singer/guitarist Yangfan ( former Hang On The Box) didn’t look like she was holding the audience responsible for the evils that befall the world.
Unfortunately, I didn’t stick around for Snapline which hindsight 20/20 might have been a mistake. I’ve heard a lot about the band but Ourself Besides Me show wore me out and I didn’t think anything could top GuaiLi that night.. I’ll catch them around sometime.
All in all, big ups to Zippo for this initiative and for bringing out the big guns and small guns of Beijing’s indie scene.. It’s cool to see some decent corporate sponsorship that doesn’t involve the bands selling out. Zippo is probably the most credible partner the industry could have hoped for. Another positive was the great turnout with what I’d guestimate to be 200+ people showing up. In true Beijing fashion, there were quite a few musicians ( Atom, Rustic….) in the crowd supporting their fellow artist.