To close off my \”Best of 2012\” list I looked back at where my ass was planted most of the time in the past year. Numbers don\’t lie people –
Looks like XP and Temple won out this year…funny considering they’re the new kids in town. But really, combine Temple and XP’s relentless pursuit to put on shows of all skins at very affordable prices (hell, Temple is free 99 percent of the time) as well as their close vicinity to me, and you have my ass there. In all honesty, it looks like I hit the top five venues on a regular basis.
I was a latecomer to D-22 but loved the homey appeal of it. So when XP came around, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would find myself lurking around there. I dig how XP isn’t bound to its Maybe Mars catalogue and is constantly taking chances with offbeat sounds and music. Of course that means that it\’s not always gonna be for you. Can\’t count how many times I\’ve begged people to check out Skip SKip Ben Ben with me there, and have have turn right around. Nevertheless, it’s always intriguing. This idea of XP as being a safe heaven for exploring sounds and genres rings true, and it’s one of the few places where I can check out on my own without feeling like the lone wolf. Cause hell, the place is full of eclectic loners who find solitude in the dungy place. From electro freaks, to experimentalists, to dirty rockers, to you name it – all are welcome.
And Temple, well it’s the liveliest, friendliest, jolliest place that would be an ace place to go even without live music. Therein lies the magic, walking the thin lie between live music venue and bar; Temple has the best of both worlds. Temple takes away so many of the unnecessary transactions with going to a show – price, time, and commitment – take those away and everything else like having a good time becomes that much easier. This lack of pretention is exactly what makes their shows so good – on a slow night, you can relax with a beer, friends, and tunes. And on a big night, you get the exact opposite – people busting their asses, singing along, and enjoying the hell out of the music. And a solid mix of bands that range from metal, to reggae, to rock, nothing is sacred. Good music, good times – Temple understands how to get the people coming back.
Dos Kolgeas still is my numero uno at heart simply for the fact that it’s always an all around fun time. The locale, the Harbin beer, the grass, the noodles, the familiar faces, the vibes – it might as well be in another city, cause once you’re at the entrance the hustle and grain of Beijing life is completely forgotten and everything comes to a beautiful crawl. And considering they didn’t open their door till March, I’m certain they would have most likely topped the charts.
Mao and Yugong Yishan are where they should be – consistent enough, with big stages, big shows, and the only place where crowd surfing is a necessary. I’d give Mao Livehouse the edge, just because of how nice their set-up is, sound and all that nonsense. But still, both lack that special touch to keep coming back on a regular basis. And they like charging heftier prices, which the wallet can’t front up all the time. It\’s where you go when you wanna go big, and that ain\’t all too bad.
I’m ashamed I didn’t go to Old What? though as I friggin adore the place. It’s grungy, scrappy, and when the temperature is nice, a chill place to pour down some beers and make some noise
And yup, while I keep telling myself I’ll check out the smaller venues in town like Jianghu Bar, Zajia Lab, and Blue Stream Bar, the young able body that is me still avoids them. I suppose that’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for. Here’s the breakdown….
Here\’s the tally count
XP/D-22 – 20
Temple – 17
Dos Kolegas – 15
Mao Livehouse – 13
Yugong Yishan – 13
Hot Cat Club – 6
Tango – 4
Old What? Bar – 3
Other – 11
Why? Because I like numbers…geez
That’s a lot of cash spent well (or a lot of sneaking around, drawing stamps, buying uv ink, walking around with a arsenal of beverages – you get the picture) – now time to get on those New Year\’s Resolutions! Be sure to check the entire \”Best of 2012\” List