Miserable Faith Rocks the Fire (hazard) out of JiangjinJiu with a Tight Performance

One of the musical highlights of my life will always be the 2010 closing night of MIDI in Haidian park when Miserable Faith came out and saved the day by playing an unplugged set to thousands of fans who had stayed there despite the cold, the rain and the lack of power. I had seen them before and was always impressed but the respect level shot through the roof on that day!

They don’t play much outside of festivals anymore so imagine my surprise when i saw a listing for them playing Jianjin Jiu midweek. I mean this is a band that sells out the starlive with 3000 strong, what the hell were they doing in a small dive bar between the drum and bell towers? The tickets were RMB80 but it was definitely worth checking out.

oh yeah, it was that freaking jam packed

It would be the biggest understatement of the year to say that the place was packed when we got there around 10:00 p.m. If you’ve been to Jianjin JiuBa, you know that it can fit 50 at the most… not that night! There was not even room to try and walk in.. the ticket guys outside even tried dissuading us from buying a ticket but when my friend insisted, they reluctantly agreed and guided us through the back door of the place where we managed to get stand behind the bar, literally 1 meter to the left of the drummer.

Once inside, we could see just how filled to the brim the place was! people were piled up on top of each other, on top of tables and filling every empty space available on the floor. I estimated 100 in attendance, my friend counted 158… 158 freaking persons inside that hole in the wall! talk about fire hazard…

It was exceptionally good to see the band up close an personal, within arm reach! They sounded great, on the spot with each and every tune. Gao Hu 高虎 is such a humble frontman that seems to enjoy every song. He’s always bowing to the audience and delivering soulful bluesy performances! The rest of the band is just as good even though they looked different on that particular wednesday.

They performed their hits with the crowd singing along to songs like 不要停止我的音乐 (don’t stop my music). The classic 为你唱首歌 (song for you) went over extremely well. They even performed some of their earlier/heavier song like 哪里有压迫哪里就有反抗 (where there is oppression there is resistance) which sounded extremely cool in an unplugged setting!
Despite the fact that the place was packed, the audience was extremely well behaved and considerate. When the staff asked to please refrain from smoking since so many people were in there, everyone followed suit. Can you imagine a rock concert where no one is smoking in China? that in itself is impressive!

Sure, the band is not their old heavy hard rock self. They’ve moved on to a simpler rock sound, rich in sing-along anthems! That said, they are still one of the best performers around China and deserving of all the accolades they get ( except maybe having an EP nominated for record of the year). Do yourself a favor and go catch them whenever they’re playing next and you’ll get a sense of the potential of rock in China.

Get more Miserable Faith:
Douban: http://site.douban.com/miserablefaith/
Myspace: http://www.myspace.cn/miserablefaith

See them at the MIDI awards December 31st where they’re nominated for a few prizes:

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2 Responses

  1. Angela says:

    I’m sorry, but I had to laugh at your last sentence, about Miserable Faith giving you “a sense of the potential of rock in China”.

    I thought exactly the same thing when I first saw the band. That was a full nine years ago. Unfortunately, Miserable Faith don’t represent the past, present or future of Chinese rock. They are just great, but they stand on their own.

    That is the reason they keep being nominated for these awards instead of being properly overtaken. The rest of the music scene has never come up to scratch.

    The saddest irony for me is that I only went along to see Miserable Faith first time around because I was hoping to run into the beautiful Yiliqi, a teenager who went on to become the vocalist in Hanggai. And who are top of the list of bands playing the awards show? After nine long years, the cream is still at the top.

  2. Beijing Daze says:

    I can’t say i disagree… The older generation is still doing it better than the young guns but there is hope. Miserable Faith, along with Xie Tian Xiao are definitely on a class of their own. I haven’t seen many bands get the same reaction from festival crowds so far.

    There are some bands with potential finally and maybe even the funding to go on and do bigger better things.. but then again, that’s not what this article is about.