[Gig Review] Hanggai @ 2 Kolegas- Unplugged but Nevertheless Electrifying
You’ve noticed probably that the frequency of posts is a bit on the downside and that mostly due to juggling a full time job with a my opening of a little Sports Bar. The amount of time i have to check out shows is still decent but I’m not finding enough time to write. That said, last Friday, Beijing had one of those “must see” shows where one drops everything they’re doing and goes to attend: In this case, it was Hanggai’s unplugged gig at 2 Kolegas right before they set off to tour Europe and the US. Extra bonus point, the show was outdoors. The story behind this one is that a few months ago, the band was in Europe and they suffered a power outage right before the show. They decided to give it a go unplugged and had tons of fun.. they had so much fun that they decided to do it again.
Leading to the gig friday afternoon, the band kept teasing us with pictures of the setup including the stage and the roasting pit where two lambs would end up spending the most part of the evening being cooked to perfection. There were plenty of expectations from the show and the promise of new songs as well… how did it go? Fucking awesome man!!
I got to 2K before 9:00 pm ( unusual) to find it already quite busy with pretty much every outside seat taken and it wasn’t a young crowd, not by far. As a matter of fact, there were a few dozens “older” folks of the grandpa/grandma type comfortably sitting down. gulping a few cold harbins and munching on their sunflower seeds while waiting for the band to get started, something they did just before 10.
When you’re Hanggai and you’re organizing an event of this magnitude, I guess you don’t need to worry about opening bands or any such thing, you come in and rock the shit out of the house with a long set, something the band has had plenty of experience with over the past year… and oh boy did they ever do it.
The whole band was sporting acoustic instruments for this show including the bass player. Ilchi got himself and old school Mongol gong that he played through a few songs and the rest of the gang did what they usually do. One particularity of this show was the presence of their new latest addition: Drummer Yerbol . I was watching the show from the right side of the stage paying attention to him most night and he did a pretty darn solid job. Sure, there were a few glances exchanged at various moments but his bandmates seemed all relaxed and confident in his ability to keep the beat going.
Keeping the beat was something they did the whole night for the 200+ faithful that crowded the outside patio at 2 kolegas despite the extremely high humidity levels and the relatively high ticket prices (RMB120). It was a crowd pretty much sold to the cause, sweating, screaming and drinking along throughout the night, enjoying the classics like Xiger Xiger and the Drinking Song just as much as they enjoyed the handful of new songs the band premiered that evening. Speaking of those new songs, it was hard to really judge them given the unplugged setting and the screaming audience but they pretty much sounded just like you’d expect a Hanggai song to sound like: catchy, happy and straight up grassland rock. I’m looking forward to giving it a spin once it’s been recorded.
Overall, the evening was what i expected and more! A Jam packed outdoors at 2 Kolegas with folks all over the place and a band that delivered on their promise. The only thing that would have made it better maybe would have been getting a taste of the lamb (had to leave early) and maybe having a slingshot to deal with all the video cameras in front of the stage.