Saturday night, Mao live was home to yet another strangely titled performance: The Virgins… now, I’m not sure why or how and I can testify that no virgin was sacrificed in the name of rock while we were there! Well, maybe that guy who took his clothes off during Los Crasher set but we won’t go there! The bill was for 7 band: Los Crasher, Jacky Danny, Devils at the Crossroads, Flaming Heat, Kick Ass, Red Pirates and more…
I missed the opening acts but heard a lot of good about Jacky Danny‘s performance. I swear there is a conspiracy against me seeing them with the new lineup! I will get there sooner or later but I’m glad to hear that others are enjoying their set and calling it tight. Good go..
Kick Ass sounded better than the last time I saw them! This lineup has been together for quite some time now and even their ex-axeman was in town to cheer them. I still wish they could get more of their own personality instead of sounding like a copy of many bands all in one! They’re still very much in the Velvet Revolver side of things at this point.
Los Crasher came on after that with their in-your-face 80s style screaming rock. high kicks, top hats, tight pants, rock n roll and cowboy boots! The crowd digs them and they always put on a performance! Saturday, they were quite out of tune but even then, enjoyable!
Devils at the Crossroads was up next! I’ve never seen them outside the confines of Temple so I was curious how a predominantly Chinese audience would handle them and how they would handle a bigger stage…. No worries my babies! The Devils came out like bats out of hell and put on a high energy set that had the crowd screaming.. I’ve given Marco, the bass player, a bit of shit in the past for not moving much but I can tell you that saturday, he made his presence known with some heavy handed bass playing. The Audience did appreciate the rock with balls! As a 3 piece, it’d quite tough to find a balance between entertaining and singing, especially for a frontman who doubles up as a lead guitar… these devils do it fine! I’m glad to see them get a positive reaction from the Chinese audience!
Red Pirates took over right after that and just proceeded to give everyone an education in rock n roll! The band is tight as fuck, Dave (singer) has a perfect rock n roll voice, the drummer, Yaoyao, is a joy to watch and in Li Xuan they had probably the best guitar player of the evening on stage..yeah, they were that good! I would have mixed them differently and put more vocals/less guitar but boy were they good! Did I mention that drummer of theirs? Watching her bang on those skins with a huge smile on her face and what looked like pure unadulterated joy was fun! Sure, the band did mostly covers of classic rock tunes but they did them their way and gave the audience a performance big enough to warrant the only encore of the evening! Good go Pirates! It takes balls and talent to pull off a good cover of Led Zep’s Rock n Roll… the band had both! They’re a perfect case of less is more as they sound more powerful without the extra guitar player.
Flaming Heat finally took the stage at around 1:00 in the morning to a slightly deserted Mao Live which was clearly a disappointment to Rikki Sixx and Co. Everyone in the room was bit tired/trashed having been there since 8:00pm! I can’t say the band did much to keep them there! They were off on the 3 or 4 songs i heard them play and we proceeded to get the hell out of dodge!
A couple of things on the evening:
– I love the advent of the frontman! This generation of bands that came up about a year or two ago are all about entertainment, engaging the audience and having a good time! They’ve been together long enough where most of them have improved musically and I hope that they keep going. The ultimate pinnacle would be for me to hear them sing this style of songs in Chinese!
– I’m worried for the kids though… they are fascinated by everything 80s: the excess, the hair, the drinking, the drugs, the partying much like those they are emulating! Here’s really hoping that they don’t crash and burn too fast! I’ve seen some of these young musicians one time too many strung out, high as a kite, drunk like a skunk! It’s basically an updated and real life version of SKid Row’s Youth Gone Wild.
– The sound Saturday at Mao was some of the best I’ve heard in a very long time anywhere in Beijing! The levels were right, everything was crisp and in-your-face without being overbearing! Manager Nomo mentioned that the person on duty would be there very often from now on so I look forward to it.
– The event was really well put together and from what i hear, this was a new promoter! I liked the package and the turnout was amazing, even at 60/80 rub door price! Maybe next time, let’s stick to 5 bands though? or if you’re gonna do 7, keep it to 35mn sets.