Rush Hour at Mao: Hardcore Punk, Beijing Style.
It’s easy enough to get complacent in Beijing, watching the same bands over and over…. and who’s to argue when some of said bands are good. But every so often, it’s still good to just come out for something different. This past sunday at Mao Livehouse was one of those days where 6 bands I never heard before played and I just had to get my rear end over there for a taste…. a taste of Hardcore!
It’s definitely not my first choice in music but the names had been popping up in the listings often enough: “Rush Hour: A Mosh Night” featuring Great A Day (大尖儿), XitneverhappenedX (X从未发生X), Return of the Truth, Unregenerate Blood (不复之血), The Reason as well as Multi Ego (猫踢狗).
Great A Day, one of the newest bands on the circuit, opened things up. I’m not sure what the hell they were doing on a hardcore bill because they are definitely more Hard Rock than anything else. They should be playing along with Kick Ass, Los Crasher or Jacky Dany instead. Considering how young they are, the band did pretty darn well. Good vocals on the lead singer, smooth guitars, and heavy heavy licks. I’m gonna keep an eye of them. If they get a better bass player, they might get somewhere!
XitneverhappenedX was up next. They had a lot of energy onstage but failed to capture my attention! Some audience members were into to them but i felt it was very much uninspired and lacking. Just a lot of barking and pounding with no substance!
The Reason, on the other hand, was pretty darn good! Charismatic singer, hyperactive bass player and good guitars/drums. There was the usual howling and barking but there was also a melodic side to them. They’ve been around for a while and it shows, especially when the bass went out and the band improvised for a good 5mn keeping the energy alive while the Mao crew helped fix the problem. This is definitely a band I’ll go watch again, mixing elements of Black Flag, Rancid and even a little Rage Against the Machine. Pretty Good showing!
Multi Ego, supposedly the heros of the hardcore scene, were beyond disappointing! The band sounded out of sync, the music was crap as if none of the instruments were tuned. The singer looked like he was on his way to a boys band reunion and took a wrong turn. The only bright point for them was what sounded like a decent drummer. If these guys are some of the best the scene has to offer, then I’m a bit scared for the Hardcore scene in Beijing.
Unregenerate Blood, who played next, sounded like the most accomplished band of the night. Unassuming, discrete but definitely powerful! They sounded like late era Biohazard or Hatebreed. The Singer roamed the stage spitting out sharp hard vocals, the bass player just was an animal on there and the guitars were on the spot. Musically, these kids were definitely a notch or two above all the others. Another one to keep eyes on!
Return of the Truth closed things up with a decent little showing! The lead singer, who had been moshing pretty much all night, came up and started rousing up the crowd. He was pretty pumped, jumping around the stage and getting in the audience’s face. Musically, these guys were decent. but still, something was missing! They looked like a bunch of studio musicians who were given a part to play with no feelings or whatsoever.
It was an interesting night overall, seeing a different musical side of Beijing that I never get around to. Some good bands, some crap ones and yet another underground scene with very dedicated fans/musicians. I’m not sure I’m ready to call it pure Hardcore punk because it was far from it. Songs easily went over the 2mn mark with most of them clocking in at 4mn. Drummers didn’t seem to understand the intricacies of the style, save for the guy that was on skin duties for The Reason.
The Moshing was a bit offputting on this one with a lot of kicks and punches thrown full strength in the air… didn’t wanna be on the accidental receiving end for one of those. That said, I was impressed by the 50 or so people that did show up to the show and how many of the songs they seemed to know.