2010 was closed out in Beijing with a number of concerts that were pretty darn good by all accounts. Your truly managed to miss them all but I was determined to make up for it and get 2011 started on the right musical track! While there were a few quality lineups around town, there was no way I would miss out on SUBS, 24 Hours, Rustic and Candy Monster at 2 Kolegas….halfway through saturday, word came around that 24 Hours pulled out and was replaced by Buyi and Nucleus…. not exactly the same but I love both bands.. wasn’t about to change my mind on it.
I got to 2 Kolegas at 10 p.m with Candy Monster getting started. It was my first time catching these guys for an extended set and they were not bad! It’s not music that’s gonna save your life but it’s non-offensive! Given their pedigree of performing with Twisted Machine, Brain Failure and Miserable Faith amongst others, I expected them to be heavier. Singer Bian Bian is highly entertaining and was good about interacting with the crowd, thankful for their first time playing 2 Kolegas. Apparently, they have an American Keybordist who was MIA that day. decent popish punk overall!
Next up were old friends,Nucleus, with Liu Miao (more on him later) back on drums. These cats are either getting better all the time or I’m getting too used to them. Li Xia’s voice is improving and the band looked like it was having fun. That was probably their biggest audience yet with a good two persons in attendance that night dancing and trying to sing along. Funny thing about Nucleus is that it’s pretty much the same lineup as Li Dong (minus Wu Kejia) and Li Xia even made a mistake introducing them as Li Dong before correcting himself. Great show by the kids!
Rustic came on next and proceeded to do what Rustic does best: Bring out the fun in Rock n Roll! Their previous gig at 2 Kolegas was less than thrilling i remember.. not this time! They were on freaking fire! Their songs are better and starting to stick in my head after a few shows. They also premiered their version of Paranoid much to the audience’s delight! It’s easy enough to peg them as a one trick pony but let me tell ya, this trick goes a long way and they work at it so hard! When they’re on like saturday, they’re a joy to watch.
The Queen of Fu–ing Everything and her crew, SUBS came on after Rustic for one of their first gigs at 2 Kolegas… I’ve seen them so many times by now and let me tell you folks, they’re their best in a place where they can be in your face and get the crowd pumping fists! Some bands are just better suited for that up close and personal style.. SUBS is one of those! Watching Kang Mao from afar is fun but you don’t get to experience the full experience unless you are right there in the pit. Their new material is growing on me.. it’s darker and more elaborate that early stuff! I especially like the song “12 Years”.
Finally, it was Buyi‘s time. I’ve given them a hard time recently because they kept playing the same songs over and over! I take it all back… the previous shows at 2 Kolegas were just a way to keep the band in shape while waiting for original bassist, Li Na, to return and record the new album. I’ve seen them a good 20+ times by now and it was the first time with Li Na… and it freaking kicked ass!!! Zhen Kai did an admirable job filling in while she was on maternity leave but it doesn’t compare to the real thing! She brought a new energy to the band! They played a lot of songs of their new record, Autumn, including the song “buyi” which is one of my favorites. Heck, the album itself is pretty solid and will be reviewed shortly. A testament to the audience being freaking amazing that night is that Buyi was called back for two encores.. and guess what, both encores consisted of variations of “la la la la la” that the crowd ate up. I can’t recall seeing that much energy at 2 Kolegas in a long time, or ever…
At about 3:00 a.m. I swear the audience would have danced to freaking wolves howling… the remaining musicians jumped up and kickstarted what’s becoming legendary jam sessions at the drive in…
It was an absolute blast of an evening and a great first show to get 2011 started. I’m aware that I sound overly enthusiastic about it and that’s maybe due to me having been away from shows for so long due to my flu… or maybe the bands just all brought on their A game. Either way, the audience was the clear winners of the night!