Random Live Music Notes: Me Guan Me, Christmas, Dongzi, Bad Apples and Ningxia Uprising
I might write about them less but that doesn’t mean the ‘daze crew has stopped going to shows.. far from it! It’s just been busy enough not to have time to address them all. Here is just a quick summary from the last week or so!
Dude, Me Guan Me, Ghost Spardac and Christmas played one hell of a show at Mao Live a few weeks ago. Dude premiered new songs from their latest EP and got a very good reaction from the crowd in attendance. I’ll give it a review sometime soon. The surprise of the night was Christmas. They were miles and miles above the first and only time I heard them before. The band is fun, energetic and has personality. Their songs are all in Chinese, pretty much originals from what i gather and infectiously poppy! I might not go out of my way to see them but I will definitely not avoid them like i did before. I’ve spoken enough about Ghost Spardac and how amazing they are.. that night was no different!
Me Guan Me, on the other hand, are becoming one of my favorites. They’re a straight up rock n roll band that delivers. Xiao Wang’s vocals are solid and he’s one of those singers that has so much intensity when he sings…. great rock n roll show all over!
Dongzi might finally be ready to break out! I still remember his breathtaking performance at the Ditan Folk Festival in 2009 when Marie Claude ( Mademoiselle), referred to him as Mr. Folk. He was a surprise guest when Ma Tiao came out to play jiangjinjiu to a packed house with Hao yun, Wang Henfei and more. It’s amazing how packed that venue has been for the last few shows i was there. Ruby mentioned it was the same when LiDong played a month or so ago. Back to this particular show, Dongzi was just awesome!! his brand of folk is powerful enough to stop any conversation and grab the audience, whether they like it or not. He says he’s working a new album that might be out by summer ( hell yeah). I was slightly disappointed by Ma Tiao that evening though as his performance lacked the edge I’ve come to expect out of him. He was good, don’t get me wrong, but played it way toooooo safe for my liking.
I managed to catch Bad Apples during an impromptu gig at 2 Kolegas last week which turned out to be quite good. They were playing with another band I had heard about a few times, The Red Pirates, who were finishing up as i got to the drive-in. I caught bits of the last song, an AC/DC cover, which was enough to get me curious. Their lead singer had some pipes! Bad Apples came out next and pulled their best performance to date, bar none! The whole band was in sync, having fun, even their bass player! I remembered him from last year being the odd man out, out of place and out of sync. On Friday, he was a beast… really really cool. Chris’ guitar playing is as amazing as ever and I’d love to see him play some more!
sticking with 2 Kolegas, last saturday was like old times: Tofu is back and it was Ningxia night. They had a packed list of performers, including unannounced LiDong and Xia Yue Tuan sets. Apparently, the MIDI crew was on hand to check both bands out. I had never heard of Xia Yue Tuan before but I wouldn’t mind seeing them again. They hail from Lanzhou, have a charismatic frontman and a good guitar player. The rest of the night went as usual with Buyi, Wu & The Side Effects then Nucleus.
I’ve said enough good things about Buyi lately, I wish i could say the same about The Side Effects… I can’t shake Checo’s ghost away for some reason and expect the band to be the same as when he was around. and they’re not!!! Steno, his replacement, is a better bass player by far but it’s just not the same. Once you change an ingredient, it becomes a different dish and this is the case. That said, Wu Ke Jia is still one hell of a guitar player. As things stand, Buyi is now the big boys of the Ningxia clan. Lidong/Nucleus slowly creeping up to second.
off to Tianjin tonight with Bad Mamasan, Chunqiu and SAW which should be fun… I’m looking forward to checking out the venues in other cities.