Inter City Music Festival Day 2: a bell curve of fun with CMCB, Miserable Faith, Honey gun and the puppies of metal

yeah, I barely even made an effort this October to catch the music festivals but the organizers can only blame themselves for taking away any interest and excitement we used to have about those. Still, Catching day 2 of Pilot Records’ Inter City Music Festival at Chaoyang Park on sunday was one of the overall better festival experiences of the year for me.

Things were off to a shaky start at first when I spent 30 minutes walking around chaoyang park trying to find the damn site with the pimple-faced bao’an sending me in all directions…. I was just about ready to swear off any further festival visits but i finally found the place which was where the old chaoyang pop festival used to be held.

I caught the tail end of “Trail of Dead” as I was walking around the fence trying to find the entrance and they sounded pretty darn good! A few conversations I had with friends who saw them play confirmed that they actually put on one hell of a performance with the drummer and guitar player swapping spots often enough. gonna have to give them a better listen.

There were two stages setup for the bands, the big main one and the one we shall refer to as the puppy stage, about 500 meters away. I was a bit afraid that they might step on each other’s toes but they didn’t.. I must admit that at least on that day, Pilot Records was running a tight ship alternating the stages and keeping the music on.

Food was available courtesy of Tim’s Texas BBq who deserves big big kudos for delivering a great value with chicken fajitas for 10rmb, BBQ beef rolls for 20, hummus wraps for 10 etc…. great quality and extremely reasonable pricing.
Right next door to Tim’s stand was the booze corner courtesy of Lush and O2 of Wudaokou fame. They kept their prices low and reasonable with water for 5 rmb, Mixed drinks for 20 and huge mojitos for 50… Honestly, not a single complaint about the set up or the availability.

The crowd was interestingly diverse age-wise, mostly local and seemed to enjoy the weather and the music. I think it was about 1500 people or so.

how about the music you ask?

The revelation of the day for me was CMCB whom i had heard of before but never ever got to hear or see live. They put on a fantastic performance with a mix of funk, rap and metal quite reminiscent of Linkin Park and the crowd ate it up! Heck, I ate it up and found myself jumping around for most of their set! I really liked “这里是北京” (this is Beijing) and “why”.. great songs!

Miserable Faith put on a solid performance as usual toying with the crowd and being generally the veterans they are supposed to be. As much as I like their mellow sing-alongs, I really wish they could play some of their earlier heavier catalog. On sunday, they gave us the classics along with one of the songs from their new EP which was also of the mellow register. gee, I’m making it sound bad but they were not… great performance, vintage Miserable Faith.

Honey Gun who were on earlier played a decent set but around 4:00 pm, attendance was a bit sparse! They sounded better than last time I saw them at MIDI but there is something about them that just doesn’t work for me.. I’m not sure why! I flip flop between liking certain section of certain songs then hating the rest of it. They have these funny transitions within their songs that just are more of a hit than a miss.

MEN was cool… definitely electro and not my style but I can appreciate a good show when I see one. Ruby and I had the hardest time deciding if the lead singer was a male or female until the video zoomed in on her throat that was distincly lacking an adam’s apple. Nice lyrics, good uptempo songs and stage presence… heck, I might even consider watching them again.

Michael Zheng 郑钧 , hailing from Hong Kong, just didn’t do it for me… it was power rock KTV and his voice didn’t seem to be right for it. I’m not sure the audience like it even… they were just standing there hanging out from the sight of things and I ended up walking out about halfway through… Anyone from Miserable Faith to CMCB could have done a better job IMHO.

over on the puppy stage, there were some really cool new bands cutting their teeth and hoping to be on the big stage at some point in their life… some just might make it.

I really liked Out of Control 控制之外 ! good style, vocals, nice rock n roll! They were one of the more polished bands of the afternoon with a hard edged style fairly similar to Velvet REvolver… crowd loved them too!

The Reason put on one hell of a performance and as far as Metal goes, they got the formula right… give them a few years to put it all together and they might get really big in China. they had a charismatic bass player who just didn’t stop roaming the stage for the entire performance.

Tarot Saint 塔罗圣徒 started off with a bang and fizzled away unfortunately… it was a perfect time to try a chicken fajita and catch up with Ruby who had made it a bit later in the day.

Da Mai Mian 大买麦 were my least favorite band of the day but they’re probably the most likely to succeed and sell records in the mainland. Charismatic lead guitar player that actually rocked one hell of a cover of “Come Together”… the female lead vocal is a good pretty face with all the right moves down to the hair flowing but can’t sing her way out of a paperbag… perfect for CCTV.

It was a great sunday in the park with music, fun, good weather, decent grub and company.. honestly, I got there swearing off festivals and left enchanted and looking forward to Monday.. unfortunately, I got stuck at work and missed out on ill Nino and Chun Qiu amongst others but still, this one restored my faith in organizers…. well done Pilot Records, well done Tim, well done Lush and well done to all the bands.. I REALLY HOPE IT HAPPENS AGAIN!!!

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