For over fifteen years, 13 Club has been carved out a rock and roll refuge deep in the heart of the university district of Wudaokou. A safe haven for punks, metalheads, and rockers of all ilk, as well as a breeding ground for budding students looking for a little corruption, it’s no-frills ramshackle nature may have kept it out of the limelight for years, but the fact of the matter is they’re the longest-surviving venue here in Beijing – a feat in itself. But this is Beijing, and we can’t go a year without shuttering the doors of another long-standing establishment, so it’s with deep sorrow to inform music goers that 13 Club will be closing up shop this month.
I had the pleasure of visiting this past weekend and still found the place beaming with restless vitality as concert-goers threw themselves into a frenzy, thrashing their limbs and bodies with reckless abandon. Thanks to Badr I showed up already worse for wear and threw myself in the throes of musical insanity, relishing the ‘sentiment, guts and glory’ of Gum Bleed 牙龈出血, one of punk scene’s finest whose knack for turning dance floors into a rallying cry of rock and roll has in full view. If their set had the crowd up and at em’, then Dirty Fingers 脏手指 had the crowd in a feverish state of delirium as bodies swayed and folks tear into deviant mosh pits. The band are truly one of a kind, pure rock and roll that seductive in its pull. I still geek out to this day seeing them tear into their set. And while my brain slowly collapsed in on itself afterwards I managed to sneak some peeks at the always game and charismatic Hang Nail 倒刺 as well as journeymen Shochu Legion 烧酒军团, who I haven’t seen in forever. But the true star of the night was 13 Club, whose derelict facade and old school allure strikes a mood that is slowly disappearing across China. It’s rough and the edges for sure, but it was one of the last authentic rock and roll clubs around. You’ll be missed!