Miji No.7 – The Tea Rockers Quintet & Makoto Kawabata at 2 Kolegas
If you’ve been to 2 Kolegas before, you’ll know things don’t really start happening out at the drive–in before around 10.30ish. And if you’d turned up around that time last Saturday you would have seen a great show from Sparrow, DH & the Hellcats and The K that stretched on until the early hours of the morning. But you also would have entirely missed another show, a very different show from the normal 2 Kolegas rock/punk/blues sets.
In-conjunction with Pangbianr and Subjam, Japan’s Makoto Kawabata, France’s DJ Urine and China’s The Tea Rockers Quintet brought us Miji concert No. 7. That’s a lot of names, and some you may not have heard of, but you can find a very detailed writeup of who everyone is and how this show all came together over here at Pangbianr.
I arrived around 8.30 to find the drive-in nicely full, without being crowded, quietly listening to the opening act, The Tea Rockers Quintet. On the main stage were Wu Na with her guzheng and guqin and YanJun with his table of dials and assorted sound making goodies. At the back of the room another small stage was set up beside the sound desk with Xiao He, his guitar and laptop, and Li Daiguo with a double bass and various other stringed instruments. I didn’t actually see Lao Gu and his tea ceremony though, possibly he was out the back?
They played for an hour and had the audience completely under their spell, each instrument blending in with the others and taking it’s turn to lead. Li Daiguo and Xia He provided some vocals, although it was more using their voices as another instrument adding to rather than singing over the music. I could have listened to this for much longer, and will be looking forward to the group’s first album being released later this year.
The back stage was quickly packed up and everyone’s attention moved to the front stage where Makoto Kawabata was setting up his pedals. Unfortunately DJ Urine wasn’t able to join him on stage as planned, but he first played solo and then was joined by friends, Mafeisan. He was playing what looked like an electric guitar with the tuning at the top cut off, something I’d never seen before, and was playing it first with a metal pipe and then a violin bow and a lot of pedals to create an amazing psychedelic, experimental soundscape. I was standing up front beside Mamer, someone who also uses these kind of objects when playing his bass, and he too was also watching intently.
When Makoto finished the stage was quickly packed up and in the blink of an eye the scene at 2 Kolegas changed. Musicians and audience disappeared and at the same time were replaced with a whole different crowd. I was planning to head out at that point too, but the sound of a post rock guitar tuning on stage enticed me to stay on for Sparrow.