Feature: Top Festival Acts To Catch

Top 7 Acts Which Will Most Certainly Rock Your Socks Off Guaranteed

Re-Tros know how to play festivals – heck they might even have more experience aboard playing than over here. Whatever the case, when they get going, and they will, you will want to be up close – I have fond memories of gravitating toward their stage whenever they started to get going, before I even knew who they were. These guys are some of the most talented artists in town, so enjoy them while they’re still here. And as reported they have some new tunes to bring us. I’ll be happy just to see “Viva Murder” on the big stage again.

Where/When: Strawberry Sunday 29th at 5:30pm


Hedgehog is always a great show. Period. They know their crowd, and their crowd of rabid fans know them – so the atmosphere is there. The secret weapon this year though is their new album, Sun Fun Gun (http://hedgehogrock.bandcamp.com/) , which was released past month, and the buzz is correct my friends, this is might be the best work they’ve put out in some time and man seeing this live for the first time (well I suppose we’ve all heard snippets of it in the past year) is gonna be freaking monumental I feel.

Where/When: Strawberry Tuesday 1st – 7:50pm
MMAX Sunday 29th – 3:30 pm


I’ve jealous of all the preteen kids, who get dragged to Ditan Park with their parents, bored out of their minds by all the folk music going around, and then BAM!, Shanren knocks them silly on their asses by the sheer awesomeness unfolding in front of them. The next time they have this much fun won’t be till they get to third base. Viva Shanren!!

Where/When: Ditan Folk Monday 30th – around 7:30pm

Second Hand Rose

As I said back in December, SHR is like a Chinese opera wrapped up in rock and roll. It’s a spectacle to behold, as lead singer Liang Long perhaps in makeup and costume (we can only hope) coaxes the audience with some humorously sly lyrics amongst styles ranging from Spanish, Middle Eastern, and of course traditional Chinese. It’s outlandishly theatrical and they do it with professional ease and confidence. And there’s a horn. Horns rule!

Where/When: Strawberry Monday 30th – 7:50pm


Last year the crowd lit up flares, causing the security to form a wall around the whole Strawberry Stage, I suppose in case they had to break out martial law (that would be a laugh) – so yeah, it’s gonna be pretty crazy if you find yourself in the center of that mosh pit. This is grunge rock done on epic proportions – I’ll let Liz Tung explain it a little better in her article here.


Where/When: Strawberry Tuesday 1st – 8:30pm

Residence A

Why? Because they’re my jam at the moment and after seeing them countless times on the small stage, it’s about time they get the big stage treatment. Thinking of how some of their hits will play out in front of a large crowd just gets me giddy. Here’s to hoping Zhao Zhao gets off stage and goes nuts with the festival-goers. And if they have a big screen on the drummer faces the whole time, extra brownie points.

Where/When: MIDI Monday 30th – 5:30pm


Yeah, you can see them almost every week, and they’ll most likely rock out even then. But come on, this is Ditan Park folks, and a bigger stage, imagine the possibilities. Send the kids home early, cause these guys are gonna tear the park apart next week – hell, I’d even avoid the walkways as well, those high notes might crumble that poorly constructed cement under your feet.

Where/When: Ditan Folk Tuesday 1st – around 7:30pm

Top 7 Acts I’m Hoping Will Rock My Socks Off


Back in fall I bought the album of Nanwu based on a record storeowner’s suggestion. It seems he had some good taste, as it was a delightful blend of rock riffs, traditional Chinese flute, and kunqu-style lyrics, creating something that felt truly Chinese (careful with your words there Will). It’s warm, catchy, and all around pleasant – definitely perfect for a sunny afternoon. I once tried this to play to my girlfriends uncle and he shushed it – that’s gotta be a good sign. Check out their album here.

Where/When: Strawberry Monday 30th – 1:30pm

Voodoo Kungfu

OK, I actually saw Voodoo Kungfu once – but it was for one song and a cover nevertheless –

If that was just the first song, and my lord, a whole show has got to be something. Imagine being on hallucinogens for this – yeah, see you in the mental ward the next day. This is primal, otherworldly music – and with this being his second to last show ever, I’d be stupid to miss out on it.
Where/When: Strawberry Sunday 29th – 7:00pm
MIDI Monday 30th – 7:20pm

Xiao He

I’ve only heard good things about this gentlemen. Beautiful melodies, sharp sense of humor, intricate guitar skills, and keen on spot-on improvisational…so great that’ll it’ll shut up every breathing soul within the vicinity. Will I finally get the chance to see what all the hype is about? Check out his douban page here.

Where/When: Ditan Folk Monday 30th – around 7:30pm

Perpetual Motion Machine

OK, I’ve seen them once, but man it’s not enough, and it was way too long ago. I dig their sound, its pulse-racing, sexy, full of pop flavor but with edge – in a nutshell it sounds like a damn good time. If the douban page doesn’t do it for you, then there’s no hope for you, you cold son of a bitch. Rookies of the year? Just maybe, just maybe….

Where/When: MIDI Sunday 29th – 2:20pm

Xi Ban

Hanggai aren’t the only boys in town who can twist the traditional form (of course not, but just stick with me here). Innovative contemporary world music band Xi Ban throw just about everything at you – Shanxi opera, Jiangzhou drumming, Aboriginal sounds, Indian organs, even a dash of electronica – and guess what it sounds downright insane. Just listen to “拿出来” on their douban page. Now this is something I can get funky with this?

Where/When: Strawberry Sunday 29th – 2:30pm

Li Dong

I’ve seen Li Dong play a few songs before, and I’ve seen Nucleus more than a few times, but something tells me this would make the perfect afternoon – laying back in the grass taking into the pristine remarkably warm and dusty tunes from soon to be heartthrob Liu Xiyao (calling it!). Add in some lovely accordion from the one and only Marie Claude and you got yourself a picnic.

Where/When: Ditan Folk Tuesday 1st – mid-day


I’ve seen Subs once, around two years ago, I must admit, I was scared. You see I was alone, it was a little chilly, and was in no way prepared for Kang Mao. I might’ve pissed my pants a little even – just a twinkle, but enough to scar my then-innocent mind. Well, Kang Mao, I’ve all grown up now, and I’m not scared anymore you hear me! Bring it on! Listen to the Queen of fucking everything here.


Where/When: MIDI Tuesday 1st – 6:30pm

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