Longshendao had a pretty good year in 2011, releasing their album TaiChi reggae, taking home two Midi Awards (best rock band & best album), appearing on BD’s top 5 albums of the year and releasing a great video for their song ‘Heart Guide the Way’
They’ve kept the momentum going with a tour of my homeland New Zealand in February, which saw them playing several shows for the Chinese Institute’s Dragon festival and getting a chance to meet & play with some of mine & their own favourite Kiwi bands, Katchafire, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Tiki from Salmonella Dub. I hadn’t managed to catch them since they’ve been back, so when I heard they’d be doing an acoustic set at Temple last Saturday I made plans to be there before heading over to the 2Kolegas birthday.
According to Weibo only 200 tickets were being sold for this show, I believe the band’s first at their guitarist GaoXu’s bar. I’m not good at guessing numbers but by halfway through the set the place was absolutely packed with happy dancing fans. While Temple’s sound system sometimes gets criticised (or should I say the roof, not the sound system) it was sounding pretty damn good for this one! Unfortunately Zhang Wei wasn’t able to join them on guzheng due to Whai playing over at 2Kolegas, but the stage was still full and the music still as good as ever. The smiles on their faces tell you more than I can, reflecting the smiles they were getting back from the crowd. A hardcore bunch of fans at one point tried to get a crowd surfer up – yep, a crowd surfer at an acoustic reggae show inside a bar - luckily they didn’t stay up long and went back to dancing instead!
Seriously if you haven’t caught these guys before, I can’t say enough how much you really should. I’m hoping there will be another Longshendao 2 Kolegas party this summer, since this is how I first heard them play and it’s the perfect venue to sit back on the grass and chill out to some awesome reggae.
And on a related note, I picked up their singer/bassist GuoJian’s guqin CD at the show. For anyone who loves this instrument as much as I do, definitely give it a listen! Some nice straight up guqin, plus a few free jazz tunes combining traditional with modern, really good stuff!