MIDI 2011 day 1: Tales of Storms, Dust, Suffocated, SUBS and Rock

AH, Midi day 1.
The first day of a festival is always the trickiest one! That’s the one that sets the tone for the rest of the festivities from atmosphere to logistics and it’s fair to say MIDI was off to a rocky start with mother nature doing all she could to get in the way. Still, somehow, the dust, rain and mud just combined to make it gritty and grungy.

Getting to the grounds was relatively easy with mix of subway/shuttle. The organizers had it all set up and labelled with a bunch of folks holding signs pointing to the shuttle and prompt service. easy breezy!
No queues or whatsoever getting in the grounds. One tent with 4 lines selling tickets and further down an entrance point with security check that was anything but prohibitive. Really relaxed.
The location was beautiful but a bit worn down with plenty of grass but also plenty of dry sandy patches that worked hand in hand with the storm to make day1 one hell of a grungy affair.
The flea Market side was as hopping as ever with tons of people setup selling various things from nurse outfits to hats and stickers.
The audience was amazing!!! Full blown rock fans that braved the elements and were there for every song by almost every band!!!

How about the music?

Da Hong Bao 大红袍 opened the festivities with decent metal. Nothing to write home about but not bad either. Perdel gathered quite a crowd for their performance but I’m just not into their brand of moptop rock. They played around the same time as Exit A and we couldn’t quite decide which one was worst! That was a great time to walk around the grounds, get food and use the bathroom.

Mr. Graceless, Fall of Mirra, Fall Insects and Long Shen Dao all played decent sets but nothing out of this world. The day however was made special thanks to standout performances by Gammalux, Suffocated, The Dancers, SUBS and even a shortened set by Voodoo Kungu.

Gammalux was a bit of a discovery for me. They’re heavy, loud, got attitude and can back it up with decent songs, lyrics and vocals. I look forward to catching them again sometime soon as they apparently come to Beijing often enough. Their lead singer was on top of things and the bands sounded tight even with a new drummer. It was refreshing good old fashioned Metal.

The Dancers, over on the smaller stage, drew from their respective experiences in bigger bands and pulled off a great performance. They’re coming together as a band that has fun and infects the audience with their brand of simple punk.

Suffocated delivered the most inspiring and intense performance of the night in my book. Believe it or not, it was my first time seeing them in a festival and boy were they good. They had the crowd moshing amidst clouds of dust and wind like you wouldn’t believe and delivered a good 40mn of intense performance that didn’t weaken at all. Liu Zheng, lead man and bass player, delivered some really intense speeches that had the crowd roaring in approval: “People that come to MIDI dance, people that go to strawberry pose” (which i agree with). He also described the spirit of the day in a nutshell by explaining that their “songs were not on the radio, TV or mainstream but their music came from the heart and brought people of similar root together“. If you can’t tell, I loved their set.

Yaksa played one of their better sets to date also, vastly superior to the one at YGYS a few months ago. It was loud, in your face and all but i just can’t seem to be able to get into their brand of Metal. crowd did like them

SUBS came on and put together the performance of a lifetime! The crowd, yours truly included, was tired, cold and worn out but the first scream from Kang Mao acted as an adrenaline shot in the heart…. how could one not get up and rock with the Queen of Fu–ing Everything? I’ve seen them 3 times this year and I’m still dumbfounded at the band’s awesomeness and their simplicity. It’s raw energy at its best with no gimmicks or whatsoever. I’m not the first one nor will i be the last one to jump on their bandwagon. It’s also the best I’ve seen them play on a big stage so far. They’ve come a long way.

Voodoo Kungfu, whom I had seen the week before, was scheduled to close the night. unfortunately, they only got to play 3 songs before they were told they had to stop due to time constraints. I really feel bad for them as the 3 songs they played sounded so much more inspired and better than their performance at the starlive. It was loud, theatrical and in-your-face.

Comments and Notes:

– Great job by the organizers on trying to get back on schedule after the rain caused over an hour of delay. They almost pulled it off. I would have cut the SUBS set shorter and given Voodoo Kungfu a few more songs, just out of respect.
– I would have put Suffocated on the big stage instead of Perdel.. that’s a no-contest in my book.
– The sound quality was beyond any criticism… I’d venture to say that it was much better than anything i heard elsewhere
– There was none of the reported problems elsewhere with alcohol sales or over-zealous security. It was business as usual!
– Lush has the monopoly on non-beer alcoholic beverages but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Cocktails on day one were extremely watered down. Maybe a bit of competition next time as I’m sure there’s room for two cocktail vendors.
– The musicians were really cool with interruptions and shortened sets judging from their weibo streams. It’s cool that they were all mindful of each other.
– Again, a huge “big ups” to the crowd.. not as busy as the organizers would have liked with about 4000 or so that first day but definitely pulling their weight in!

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2 Responses

  1. Jean-Marie Schloemer says:

    Absolutely love that shot of the girl in blue. That facial expression sums up a lot of what I feel for Beijing’s music scene!

    • Beijing Daze says:

      That’s one of the best pictures i think i’ve ever taken… getting printed and framed soon!