Shredfest at Yugong Yishan: Chen Lei, Lao Si and Sou Yang take the crowd to music school.

there was a lot of yugong yishan early February. On sunday, the folks from Guitar China ( who deserve a lot of kudos for their work) put together one hell of a guitar extravaganza! The who’s who of Chinese guitar players was on call to celebrate spring festival with a stringed instrument bonanza.

It was a long evening that lasted well past midnight with tons of performances so I’m not gonna cover each and every one of them here… suffice to say that music was abundant and there was quite a nice turnout!

Yao Lin: Local guitar hero known more for his solo performances was onstage when i got there, accompanied by the Sky Band (?) 与天空乐队. I can’t say i was impressed by his playing at all. He did however send the crowd in a frenzy when he did a cover of He Yong’s Gu Niang.

Li Yue: Frontman and guitar player for Tianjin’s 梦魇乐队 ( Nightmare Band). He had the most understated performance of the evening on guitar but nevertheless one of the better ones. Good shredding, no exaggeration. He seemed to have a few issues with his gear but still did admirable. SQ quite liked his little performance!

Lao Si and Song Yang: no guitars for this one but a great duet on Bass and Drums that was one of my favorite parts of the evening. I’ve seen Song Yang play a few times already, especially with Kaiser Kuo’s ChunQiu and had no idea he was this talented!! He pulled off some complex patterns more than once to match Lao Si excellent drumming. Their 10 minutes onstage was just a joy to see and listen to.

Wen Lin 汶麟: I don’t really know much about him but he seemed more in control of his guitar than most of the evening’s players. He didn’t really go for the fast shredding but concentrated on bluesier melodies instead. I did enjoy his performance quite a bit.

Kerman 克尔曼: Xinjiang’s Kerman put on one hell of a show accompanied on drums by the one and only Ubul. up this point, I’d venture to say that the evening was a tad lackluster and definitely not as flashy as i imagined it would be… until these guys came on. Beautiful Gypsy flamenco rhythms that can be precise yet wild and dreamy at eh same time. I’m gonna keep my eye on these guys as i do want to hear/see them more.

Yang Li 杨力 (天堂乐队): Never heard of Yang Li or his band before that night but they seemed to be quite popular with the organizers and musicians. He did alright with some decent shredding but looked way too serious and constipated doing it. Gotta give them credit for having a CD for RMB1 at the door. I haven’t gotten around to it but soon

Chen Lei 陈磊 ( Tang Dynasty): it was funny seeing him arrive at the venue, undress, plug in and start playing in less time that in took any other band to sound check/warm up. Chen Lei is good, very good as a matter of fact and he displayed the extend of his ability in the 15mn he spent serenading the guitar fans at YGYS that night. He also managed to win a competition against 2 random concert goers in seeing who can change guitar strings the fastest… he was actually cool and friendly, quite humble.

My favorite part of the evening however was when all the musicians got together in the end for an extended Jam session. Chen Lei, Yang Li, Lao Si, Sou Yang and Wen Lin, looking like the veterans they were, worked off each other and with each other beautifully.

note: I’m finishing this almost 2 weeks after the fact and some details are blurry now but I do seem to remembe rthat there was a bunch of ugly laowai at yugong yishan that night that were drunk off their ass and completely disrespectful of the bands and concert goers…. I hope they choke on their own vomit!
Big kudos to the Guitar China staff for not creating a scene when they tried getting on stage and politely getting them out of there. I really like the underground feel of the evening. Despite the star power, as 小兵 mentioned, there was no CCTV, no MTV, no nothing.. just guitars, musicians and fans enjoying a beautiful evening.

On the negative side of thing, it was a shame that half the crowd left by the time the real headliners showed up. The rest of the proceedings was just too long and we could have done without quite a bit of the performances. Moreover, the show was billed as a competition but there was none of that…. granted, maybe i misunderstood the posters/adds for the show.

Still, fun times and plenty of good music.. so me be happy camper. Shen Lei proved his worth and i was extremely surprised at how proficient Sou Yang was on Bass..

Check out some videos of the performances over at Guitar China:
as well as some extra pictures:

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1 Response

  1. SQ says:

    Yeah, Li Yue totally rocked!! He’s got such a great style and really made the audience enjoy it. He really seemed to be having a blast too, which is always great to see.

    I still have my rainbow guitar strap if anyone wants it…