Miao oh Miao: The Next Wave of Amazing Yinchuan Bands Has Landed

As April got started, SX Media took over pretty much most of Beijing’s live music venues with their Sex in the Xity series and put on some interesting shows covering all genres. One of these shows took place at 2 Kolegas with Whai, Skarving and new comers Miao 妙乐队 ( also known as Bio in English) opening the festivities (unannounced).

I got to the drive-in just in time to catch Miao come up onstage and get started with what will most likely be one of the most interesting sets i’ve witnessed from a band in a long time. They launched into a ferociously melodic frenzied song driven by thundering beats, blistering guitars and fantastic harmonies from both vocals and a flute.. and boy did it sound good! I can’t quite label it nor do i care to but if you can take the bastard child of progressive rock and Ningxia folk, you might have an idea. As far as unique sounds, that was it. Miao went on to play a few other songs, mostly reggae flavored, but none of them could cut it when compared to the opening numbers.. until they got to the last song which saw them get back to that unique style.

The band has been practicing for the past half year in Yinchuan with Wu Rui, who you might remember from stints with Buyi and Xie Tian Xiao, fresh from his long stay in France. For the Beijing gig, they had to recruit two local musicians to fill in on guitar/keyboard and still sounded impressive. Let me give a special shout out to that guy they had drumming away: bizarre technique and one of the better swings i’d seen in a while. If these guys can drop the reggae and focus on that other sound, I might be able to claim 10 years from now that i saw the next big thing when it first got started. I’ll try to get some recordings up later. Keep an eye on these cats, folks!!

Whai took over the festivities, playing without Liu Miao who was still nursing a bum finger. I don’t know what it was about that night’s performance that made it different but I actually enjoyed. I’ve always maintained that i liked the sound but they were lacking consistency and maybe I’m finally seeing said consistency.. and maybe they’re finding their sound too. They’re also finding themselves a groove somewhere in that cacophony of beats, pounding drums, discrete bass and keyboards. Their music is still a funky sort of post-rock with a few vocals here and there…….. Still, at last, there is a direction.. alleluyah!

Skarving came up next and did what they do best: take a crowd in an advanced state of refreshment and take them over the edge dancing and drinking. Simple, innocent and melodic Ska like not many people get to do around here! Despite the late hour, they were on top of things and had quite a decent turnout over there.

– A couple of things about that night at Kolegas: every one was freaking there! Rockers, fans, friends, actors, dancers etc… I hadn’t seen all the old crew gathered like that since before spring festival so it’s looking like everyone is back in Beijing.
– There’s a strange reverb/loudness coming out of the right hand side of the stage that is starting to tickle me in a funny way
– back to Miao for a second… drop the “Bio” as an English name. you’re just gonna confuse people with two names

Good job by

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