One week in Beijing: Punk Rock National Day
A lot can happen in a week. With Chengdu's NUART festival sadly cancelled for the October holiday, Maybe Mars suddenly announced a birthday party for their 10th year. A week of solid gigs, capped by a P.K.14 show that, sadly, we just could not stick around for. Here's how out week went down:
XY Pattern. Day one. We've been consuming food like we're about to die since rolling in. Dim Sum, pizza at Great Leap. Little Yunnan. After nearly five years, Brad S. continues to bring the best food recommendations. Hit DDC for the Nasty Wizard Recordings tape release. Caught Noise Arcade do what I thought was one of his finest sets to date. Started to get a bit drunk, and wanting to show my cohort Dr. Liu and the Human Centipede, decided it'd be best to pull double duty, hauling ass to School Bar. Rowdy. Hitting multiple gigs in one day reminded me of Chicago. Bought some tapes for future record packs. Ate a metric ton. Only just getting started.
Dr. Liu and the Human Centipede. School Bar. There are natural breaks from gigs built into this trip. Two, which we'll need. It'll up sleep and food consumption and keep us from dying. The next night, Brad walked us around Houhai and brought us to a secret marinated pig trotter spot. Wonderful.
SHOCHU LEGION (烧酒军团). School Bar. I'll never forget the first time I saw this band, partially because it's lodged forever in the history of terrible mornings. It was a gig at the now closed Old What bar, with Diders, and we got one hour of sleep. We arrived at the train station, completely wrecked and barely able to move, only to find out it was the wrong station. We headed clear across Beijing, missed the train, nerves wrecked, I left my expensive monopod in the trunk, leaving it forever to the taxi Gods of China. This was a much better morning.
Dirty Fingers (脏手指) at School Bar. So happy I was able to finally catch this band. They don't have more than a handful of songs to go through online. Someone said this set was largely new material. Gushing to their drummer afterwards, he said he was in metal bands before finding "this group of crazy bastards who loved 70's rock." It was spastic and raw as hell. They weren't in love with their own performance. Talk of too much Baijiu. However, it still bled energy, and was crazy refreshing to me. Hopefully we can get them to Dongbei some day.
Also last night, Ricky Maymi joined the ranks of a heavy week at School Bar, performing some classic songs from Maybe Mars history alongside Yang Fan and Guo Zhen. Wen Yuzhen rang the bell to kick off "Sunday Girl" by Ourself Beside Me, and it broke apart, half falling to the ground before he put it back together for one more try. The bass cut out randomly. It really didn't matter. Packed. Hot. After some insanely good sets by Dirty Fingers and Lonely Leary, it was a great cherry on top of an already excellent night. So cool to hear The Gar's "圈". Muscle Snog. Chui Wan. Dear Eloise. Snapline. Perfect.
Dream Can (谷水车间) at Yue Space. Another venue I hadn't visited. Great to see A.V. Okubo again. Haven't caught them since seeing 'em in Wuhan nearly 5 years ago. Time flies.
"你覺得恨? 卻離不開!" Taken at School when Ale belted out the chorus from The Gar's "圈".
On the last day, I mostly just watched. I've been waiting to catch Hiperson (海朋森) again for three years. They began with a screaming introduction with Wen Yuzhen, the vocalists of Future Orients & Lonely Leary. I figured they'd play at least one or two songs from their first LP, which I've been in love with ever since seeing them well before it came out. They didn't. Driving forward with all new material. Louder, faster. Precision pounding. Certainly, they had fun. I'm so proud of them, scrapping seriously brilliant set material for a totally new path forward. Brave. Birdstriking & Carsick Cars were great. What a way to end the week.
It was great to see you, Beijing. We headed to the airport at 4AM, and had a hell of a trip back to the Northeast.
Until next time.