Hanggai’s 2 Kolegas homecoming: where great music meets gigantic WTF..
Anyone that’s spent any amount of time at 2 Kolegas will know that the Ningxia-Inner Mongolia connection is quite strong and important over there… So when throat singing sensation Hanggai schedules a concert over there, there’s no chance in hell I’m gonna miss it. It’s the closest thing to a homecoming that they can get in Beijing.
I managed to get to 2 Kolegas on time to catch most of the opening act thanks to a lackluster wine tasting at carrefour. As Ruby and I made it inside the venue, things just did not seem, look or sound right: There were tables and chairs on the dance floor inside the venue. The act/band onstage consisted of this enigmatic strange looking tall blonde guy with a goatee down to his knees muttering some strange gibberish that i finally recognized as Norwegian.
The band I came to find out much later is called Turbot Safari and they specialize in.. shall we say.. interesting performances. Actually, I’m criticising them when i shouldn’t. The band did their thing and definitely had the crowd mesmerized in no small part thanks to their lead vocalist who just jumped around and switched languages faster than a Mexican switched political allegiances. I managed to recognize: Chinese, Norwegian, English and possibly German. The music was atmospheric and loungey.. would have been interesting to see him dim the lights and put candles on stage. oh.. and a big ups to his Zebra coat.
At that point, I was just feeling weirded out and walked out halfway through Turbot Safari’s set. The crowd was strange and the vibe even stranger… who were these 300+ people that didn’t look like they belonged? Finally, after a bit, the usual suspects started turning up and things got a semblance of normality..
Hanggai took the stage shortly after 11:30 and proceeded to do what they’re supposed to: rock out the audience and show them a good time. Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that I love Hanggai but I’ve questioned their performance ethics on a few occasions where they seem to just go through the motions and play quickie sets. Last Friday at 2 Kolegas was not one of those and I might go even further and state: “It was the best Hanggai show I’ve seen so far”
The band took the stage by storm with reeditions of their classics much to the crowd’s delight. The vocals were tight, the sounds clear and for the first time in a long time, it wasn’t LOUD.. I’ve seen in crowded at 2K before and still had my head blown off by the speaker but this time around, it was good.
Not only was this the best Hanggai performance i had seen by far, it was also the longest. It was also the most fun I had seen them have on stage ever with Hurcha toasting the crowd on more than one occasion. They played a lot of their old catalog but also threw in a few songs from their newly released CD. I haven’t heard the beast in its entirety but the few songs I did hear were up to par.
Gao Feng seemed quite happy with the show and the crew, so was Xie Tian Xiao who was roaming around the back room. I forgot my camera on the day so we’re making do with just random shots i took on the phone