I briefly referred to this gig on yesterday’s news post in passing but this is actually the full review of the gig which saw some of Beijing’s most fun bands pay tribute to The Rolling Stones.
I got to Mao just as Maggie Who was launching into their first song. This was my first time catching them with new Bass player, Nick, whom I had seen before playing for Bad Apples and Vital Time amongst others. I hadn’t seen the boys in quite sometime so I was stoked to see how they had progressed and hear their take on some classic Stones songs.
Musically, they’re as good as ever but I had the impression they were just a bit off during the first part of their set.. Almost asleep with Brian looking bored as he sang the songs… and then they kicked it up a few notches and started really rocking the place like they should. They played their usual songs and added Jumping Jack flash + You Can’t Always Get What You Want which Brian sang solo and hit some good notes in. The highlight of the night for them was their outstanding version of Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” that they changed and reworked completely into a much heavier and darker song.. it was pretty darn good if you ask me and I’m looking forward to hearing it again.
Out of Control was up next… and they were the F*cking BOMB…. I cannot describe their performance that night in words that would do them justice but let me tell you folks, it left me wanting for more. I remembered much later on that i had already seen them once before, at the Pilot Music Festival last year when they left me impressed. Saturday, they literally rocked my socks off: Lead singer Scott Chen has monster stage presence, reminiscent of MUMA in many ways. Add that to a strong voice, very good pronunciation and rock star attitude then you get a band that walks and sings like they belong on stage. They did a whole set of stone covers including the one i was hoping to hear that night: “Anybody seen my baby”. These guys were ACE folks and you should check them out sooner than later.
Jacky Danny was up next. Now here’s a band i’ve built up a lot of expectations for just from listening at their douban songs and being generally impressed with the feedback i got from other musicians about them. Seeing them was one of the biggest reasons i didn’t wanna miss saturday’s show. The band started their set with my favorite of theirs: The Cowboys Ain’t Dying. They worked their way for the first few songs through some really rough acoustics where the singer’s mic just kept breaking no matter what. Poor kids! To their credit, they kept going and were almost too patient while the Mao staff sorted things out. Considering how much I’ve hyped these guys up, they did pretty ok. Matt, Bass player for DUDE, was also of the opinion that they sounded a bit off. They’ll get another chance… and if you’re wondering, the kid can sing..oh yeah he can sing… Musically, the band is good… Very fluid guitar player and a drummer that has a good potential. Bass player is just kinda lost in the background. Jacky might be the best songwriter of his generation when it comes to Chinese kids writing in English. do yourself a favor and go listen to their Douban…
Last but not least, the Flying Mantas, also with a new Bass player, were up. These guys are fun.. they just get off on being different and doing things their way. 3mn songs, no vocals and a whole lotta attitude. I was never a fan of their previous bass player CZ Ramone and can’t say I was sad to see him depart. The new kid on the block, Scott, is leaps better and can back it up with some mean licks on the bass… His energy just seems to match/balance that of Skip and Chery. I was hoping they’d play some You Mei You classics but alas, they stuck to the new instrumentals and then some stone covers. A really really pleasant surprise was to hear them do one of my all time favorite songs ever which happens to be a fairly obscure Stones tune: Dead Flowers. I almost forgot how cool the addition of a baritone saxophone was… yes, the Flying Mantas tabbed one of the Skarving members to come in with a gigantic saxophone which made their surf rock even cooler than cool… oh, and I’m starting to kinda like this surf rock stuff!!!!
Overall, this was a fun gig! I’m looking forward to Mao’s other set of tribute shows over the next few weeks.