Last monday at Jianhu was quite a rare appearance by good old Dongzi, who rightfully shot up the list of my favorite Folksters a few years back! Considering it was one of those weird bridge Chinese holidays where both Monday and Tuesday were off for most people, so a good opportunity for folks to come out and have a good time in the hutongs.
For a monday night, or any night, this was one hell of a show. Dongzi continues to amaze me with the simplicity and intensity of his performances. The voice effortlessly navigates low and high pitches while the bass strings on that guitar get abused to no end for our musical entertainment. He played a few songs from his 十方 album, a must buy in my book, then proceeded to give us some of his newer compositions, due to be released soon.
He delivered two solid – if not amazing- sets and had asked old friend Wun Tun ( Tongue/Mamer/Traveler) to play in between his two sets for a good 20mn. I’m not sure Wun Tun was in top form that day, he looked a bit frail compared to last time i saw him at Mako Livehouse.
It wasn’t as packed as Jianghu was for Abaji but still, a respectable turnout considering the tickets were RMB60 for 1 act as opposed to the usual 30-50 bracket. It’s a testament to Dongzi’s ability that he can command a slightly higher fee! The turnout included the who’s who of folk/roots music in China with Wu Tun, Zhang Zou, Ma Tiao, Guo Longamongst others, some of which even got on stage to play a few songs. Heck, after enough pestering, a slightly intoxicated Ma Tiao was convinced to get up on stage and play a few songs which he improvised
There was something special about that show that just can’t be described in words. At some point, past the songs, things became strangely intimate. The audience stopped mattering and the musicians entered their comfort zone, where all was one. It became the folk equivalent of a Ningxia night at 2 Kolegas… Having the musicians so relaxed brought out the best in them IMHO… Ma Tiao, who had disappointed me a few weeks back at jingjinjiu was back to his old self: he had an edge, he was sharp and unpredictable.. and he had fun
I just checked Dongzi’s douban and saw that most of his songs are available for download… go give them a listen and if you can, order the record from taobao/ get it from C Rock.
more information on him & his record: http://site.douban.com/dongzi/