Last week Dos Kolegas would have turned 15 years old. The Beijing venue was a mecca of sorts – a refuge away from the hustle and bustle of Beijing. Located in a lush green lot of empty co-working spaces, esoteric restaurants, and I shit you not, a drive-in movie theater, it felt a million miles around from reality (despite being adjacent to Chaoyang Park). It had atmosphere in spades – a dive bar with a lawn next to it; derelict bathrooms, and brick-covered walls. But really when push comes to shove, it was inclusive of all walks of life, regardless of where you were from, who was playing, or how terrible of a day you’ve had. It’s also a place that I find hard to dissociate from the bands that made it their second home.
While I’ll always remember hearing Re-TROS’s ‘Viva Murder’ from the first time in 2011, running from the bar to the front stage to film, it was the Ningxia wave that I always associate with 2K. Li Dong (and it’s rowdier cousin Nucleus), Buyi (who have become an unstoppable musical juggernaut), and even lesser-known yet wildly talented folk artists like Wang Juan.
It was a place where Hanggai would pop over to jam out, and a place where Rolling Bowling would play for shits and giggles on a quiet Tuesday night. Dos Kolegas made it nine years before the good times came to a screeching halt, and while nothing in Beijing has come close to replicating its aura, people still hold on to those memories and channel the spirit of Dos Kolegas. Happy 15th birthday!
If you’re in Beijing and looking to relive those Dos Kolas vibes I recommend stopping by Fenggu Bar 风骨酒方 (run by longtime party thrower DizzyDi) who just threw the venue a 15th Anniversary Party and host a weekly Wednesday tribute night.