my oh my what a night saturday was! I had been looking forward to the Punk festival for a few weeks now but nothing prepared me for the amount of fun and atmosphere that this was…. easily the best one of the series so far and definitely the most organized, especially compared to last year’s clusterfuck!
Ruby got there before me and sent word that the place was already packed around 6:00 pm. It was indeed and would remain so for pretty much the whole freaking night! Bodies were inside the pit, in the hallways, on the sidewalk and generally all over the place. Mohawks were widely visible, in all shapes and sizes, with Ramones shirts, fishnet stalkings, doc marten boots and other usual goodness. I’m not gonna cover every single thing but here are the highlights:
– The audience was amazing! The place basically was full from beginning to end with a surprising amount of people there for Skarving who had the benefit of a good time slot. Probably the biggest audience of the night where there was no possibility to move.
– Return the Truth did some decent hardcore punk. I liked their performance where they were joined by the lead singer of Unregenerated Blood
– The Unsafe, whom I was excited to see playing live again, had a so so performance! Their choice of songs was a bit strange as they went more on pop punk metal run punctuated by a few good trashy performances. It felt like they hadn’t played in a while. Still, I’m a big fan of the style! I just like their faster/harsher songs more like Iraq or Red and Yellow
– Last Choice was the freaking surprise of the evening! You just looked at them on stage and realized that there is a huge difference between the boys and the men! These guys were MEN! old school punk done right with attitude and all! Crowd ate it up full course
– Misandao did what Misandao does best: get up on stage and deliver good old Oi Rock with no apologies to anyone or anything. They got their mosh pit, they got their screams, and they had their audience completely in awe.
– SUBS, fresh from 3 shows all around the country, rocked the shit out of the place! No matter how tired, Kang Mao just puts on a bombastic show and that’s what she did. They didn’t feel as powerful as usual but you know what, they were still ACE. New drummer fitting in pretty well, I’m not sure about the new bass player though. Kang Mao closed things off by floating on the audience in a way only she can pull off
– Brain Failure surprised the shit out of me. I saw them a year ago and wrote them off for being the same old Brain Failure that will play the same things. reliable, predictable… I stand corrected! They changed style and have added a touch of rockabilly blues to their brand of punk! It’s more melodic without it being pop! I really like what i heard from them this time around.
– Some bands are just crap and will remain so! Hell City, here’s looking at you kid! Trashcat was a bit off and the rest of the bands on the bill just failed to stand out.
– Mao Livehouse was filled to the brim. It was so hot inside that they had buckets of ice cube passed around. They also periodically took to throwing buckets of cold water on the audience to keep it fresh. props!
– Vedett beer was on hand keeping the refreshments flowing and their little stand did one heck of a better job than Mao’s own bar. 10 rmb/bottle before 8:00 pm. 20 after that! Not Bad.
– Big props to Mao for keeping the event running on time and dealing with such chaotic environment. The changeovers were smooth, the bands were in and out in no time. It was a great logistical effort.
Amazing.. I came out of there drenched in sweat from hours in the pit. It was a joyous inferno of punk and i loved every minute of it. every single minute of it! Mao gets an A+ for the music and the event!
However, they get a big gigantic F for failing as a bar yet again: Now, Mao is the place where last year, the “bartender” put a lime in my white Russian. Now, I know better and moved on to Gin Tonics which are more or less fine except that now, these 30RMB concoctions come with less than one ounce of gin! I kept watching as the bar manager free-poured for 1 second then looked outraged and angry at being called out on it. Thankfully, the Pool Bar across the street is a friendly and practical venue that is perfect for a drink between sets. Heck, even better, from now on, I’ll bring my flask… I mean seriously Mao.. why even bother with that Bar?