15 going on Bored: Yugong Yishan sound curse strikes again for Yaksa and Saw Rocks

stop me if you’ve heard this before… a potentially great show was turned mediocre by the lack of quality sound engineers at Yugong Yishan… yup, you see exactly where this one is gonna go!
but let’s take it from the top, shall we! It was advertised a the metal party of the weekend: Legendary Chinese Metal band celebrates 15 years and 10 other bands come out to pay tribute. Great concept, we’ll have to recheck that implementation!

With that many bands on the bill, things were slated to start at 8:00 pm which sounds reasonable… they didn’t! Kickoff at 9:00 baby which is still acceptable! The fans were there in force, a substantial presence at yugong yishan that was not overbearing or over congested with plenty of room to go crazy!

Chinatown 唐人街 kicked things off with their brand of Nu Metal… they get extra points for the keyboard guy wearing a mask!

Saw 锯 came on for and was the best freaking band of the evening, bar none, not even Yaksa themselves! They were one of the few bands to put on a real Metal performance with some solid guitar work, good vocals, energy and stamina! They sounded metal and that’s what the evening was all about! Definitely gonna catch these guys again!

Molosser 魔罗刹 was another band that left a good impression on the strength of their lead singer… he fits in the register of Mean-ass-motherfunkers-you-don’t-mess-with. Solid music but the rest of the band needs to get some energy and take a page out of their lead singer’s playbook.
5-4 delivered a respectable performance, and so did Ego Fall (if that was them). The other bands I couldn’t honestly tell apart as they sounded non-consequential, not to say that they were bad!

Until that point, every second band was good and the sound was so muffled it felt like I was wearing earplugs… are you kidding me? We were able to hear each other talk during a metal show… that is sacrilege! The two back speakers near the bar were off and it was just not as loud and in your face as It should have been!

About halfway through the show, it was Yaksa’s turn to come on and give the faithful a lesson in metal, or so we thought! While there is no denying their talent and professionalism, they just didn’t look like a band enjoying themselves on stage for their big celebration. The few songs I really paid attention sounded stiff and too rehearsed, going through the motions… and that’s the best way to lose me after a few hours of crap sound! In their defense, the rest of the audience was eating it up, jumping up and down and generally looking like they were having a good time moshing, pumping fists in the air…. still, half the audience was outside of the pit safely tucked at the bar.

I was at the show with Ruby, e-Head along with Jamie “The Beast of Metal” Welton, all fairly certified metalheads that paid their dues in many a moshpit and can appreciate good music…. heck, demand good music! All 4 of us walked out a little after midnight when we had enough of the noise because that’s what it was, NOISE… not Metal. I expected better out of one the best metal bands in China…I expected a lot more out of a band that had been together for 15 years! I expected more out of a metal show…. it was boring!

A couple of bulletslants:

– Yugong, you’ve lost me and your edge… fix the sound system or move out of that god forsaken location.
– SAW is really really good! I look forward to catching them again very soon!
– Yaksa, I still love you guys…. we’ll blame the venue for the mess
– Good turnout on a weekend filled with gigs throughout Beijing
– To quote e-Head: What’s up with 20 second mosh pits??? come on now…

That said, I love the idea of bands coming up and paying tribute before the main act but it’s gotta be planned better than that. You can’t soundcheck every band for 20mn so that they play a 10mn set… that’s just insane!!! Even if you start at 8:00 pm, your headliner won’t make it up before midnight if they have to follow them all and the crowd is beyond out of it… can we get some common sense?

Thankfully, a few hours at FUBAR made up for the disappointment

6 Responses

  1. I have seen Yaksa first time back in 2003 and they rocked out the Wei Yang Lake Resort area in Xi’an with mosh pits and everything! Their main song that time was “Fa Fa Fa”, though later i saw them in the New Get Lucky Bar where they somehow lacked energy. Also, if you see the Midi DVDs somehow the original vibe never caught up…

    • Beijing Daze says:

      To be fair to them, they didn’t lack energy, quite the opposite! but it just fell flat with the sound and the tiredness.

  2. e-Head says:

    Interesting to see what happens when a venue with a good name moves location but doesn’t maintain the vibe/standard/etc. An earlier example was the old Get Lucky circa 2002 before it drowned in it’s own self-importance down in Super Bar Street as the New Get Lucky. What bar kept the vibe when they moved, I guess (of being tiny…). I won’t start on the Maggie’s comparisons……

    Wonder how 2 Kolegas will change when it becomes a five floor club in Sanlitun Soho?


  3. Jaime says:


    The sound system issue problem wasn’t really the system….someone didn’t step on the freakin gas!

    It’s Metal….TURN IT THE FUCK UP!!!!

  4. Carlo says:

    just a couple of comments:

    regarding the sound: yes at Yugong is not always easy to obtain a great sound, in particular when there is a 10 bands line-up and you have to set up a good sound solution acceptable to all of them. Therefore some tailor-made arrangements band by band are not possible, and the sounds can be affected.
    But the main issue is the fact that too many people also like to chat and drink, they move to the back and they create a disturbing background noise to the music lover…. some solution will be adopted, but is not the Yugong the main respnsible of this as bad educated people…. ( and this is very annoying for folk concerts… when the artist ask to have a low-fi atmosphere, to set the speakers low)

    Dear e-Head,
    regarding your comment. Sorry but are you still living in Beijing? You sound as the old nostalgic that always prefer the old good things….

    I agree at the old Yugong there was a familiar great atmosphere, was a party every night, but let’s say that was a great pub with good music…

    The new one is a proper music venue, clearly with all the good and the bad that this mean! But otherwise you would never have the opportunity to listen in Beijing the amount of bands that passed at Yugong… ( and we are not speaking of just few gigs:
    http://www.yugongyishan.com/about/?lang=en )

    Surely some great gigs and surely some of them not memorable, maybe not all fitting to purist taste, but this is the beauty of life and clearly offering a more heterogeneous menu is helping the entire music scene in the town to grow!

    Cheers and Happy New Year of music to everyone!!!!

  5. Jaime says:


    Yugong is great in the fact that it has the bar in the room and yes, that is where many like to go listen… There is one good solution that will help alot I think and some of the equipment is already there.

    There are two delay speakers on the ceiling behind FOH. Those should be used. However, currently, there isn’t a processor for them so you cannot add the necessary delay to the speakers so that they don’t smear in time. Add that element and you have a properly aligned in time delay speaker which is totally necessary in a long room like that. Then, If you want to stand back at the bar, you can still hear clearly. It is natural that once people are standing in the portion of the room where the direct sound isn’t as loud as the reverberant sound (not too far behind FOH in Yugong and including the bar) people will only try to listen so long and then start the chatty thing going.

    As for folk stuff, that aint Yugong’f fault, it’s the rotten audience….