In the bathrooms of 2 Kolegas lies a handwritten scribble talking about not being labelled, typecast, judged etc.. I forget the exact wording but I can’t help thinking about how fitting and appropriate this is to describe Shan Ren and their absolutely amazing performance Friday night!
I missed their opening band which was not a bad thing from what i gather and made it right on time for them to get the party started for a jam packed venue… and it was pretty darn full folks, inside and outside!
The band went on for two sets playing their distinctive Yunnan derived songs with a variety that very few bands get away with: some songs sounded more poppish, others were very much heavy on folk while there were heavy moments that warranted the “farmer metal” label that been thrown around when describing Shan Ren
Still, to the 400 or so folks packed inside 2 Kolegas dancing, jumping, screaming and generally having a good time, no label mattered other than the FUN one… and that’s maybe how Shan Ren oughta be referred to as: a FUN Band
They lived up to it Friday night by playing 2 great upbeat sets mixing in more standard instruments like bass and guitar with those traditional traditional folk ones whose names I’ve probably never heard. The crowd danced through it all, especially the konga line in between sets….I can’t remember seeing them this good or this fun in a long time and I really came out of it pleasantly impressed. Xiao Bu Dian (小不点) has started juggling ever more instruments than ever with an assortment of pipes and other weird thingies. Qu (瞿子寒) has developed into a great band leader/frontman that find his own spot onstage and rolls to his own beats. His seriousness is sometimes a complete opposite to how the rest of the band comes through but it makes it even more special when he smiles and jumps around. Oh yeah, it helps that his vocals have improved to the point where he can handle 2 one-hour sets.
Highly recommended anytime you get a chance to see them.
Check out what Alex of Beijing Gig Guide has to say about the show!.