Considering how little the lineup for Strawberry and MIDI changes over the years, I might as well just repost for “Festival Picks” from last year – for the most part, those bands will be playing, most likely at the same place, heck maybe even the same time. So instead I want to put a little more focus on bands I want to see, rather for the first time out of curiosity, or out of the idea of seeing a favorite band on the big stage, or simply just because I know this particular band will rock the stage, and the tweens will be in full force. Got it? Neither do I. I’m pretty much the worst person to be making these kinds of decisions. Here are some picks for the festival season.
Bands That Have Rocked The Stage Every Year Prior
They know how to work it at Strawberry, and they crank up the volume to eleven for the occasion – high octane indie noise rock – the band has been on fire since last year – slacking ain’t on the menu – more. Better brush up on their tunes, cause it’ll suck to be the only one not singing along.
Some of the finest musicians that will grace the fields of Tangzhou Canal Park – get there early if you want to get a view (or don’t budge after Hedgehog’s set) – last year kids were climbing the scaffolding to catch one of China’s best live performances – costumes, guitar solos, horns, makeup, and some of the most ridiculously catchy tongue-in-cheek melodies – it’s a party every time they are on stage.
Yes, I’m dialing it back. Cause festivals isn’t all moshing you know. Sometimes you need some music to lie in the grass to, curl up with a fine lady (or man or canine) and take a load off. And what better way to do that then lay back with some Beatles-esque pop courtesy of Life Journey. Some of you may want to cleanse yourself in metal after, but if you’re looking to bop your head without a care in the world, then Life Journey might do the trick for you
XTX might be all the rage Day Three at Strawberry – but I think it’ll be these Shijiazhuang residents who will have the crowds singing in unison. Rich, dense, beautiful composed folk rock that packs a punch, both lyrically and musically, except lots of wide eyes at this one
Some of my finer concert moments is watching Brain Failure literally take control of the masses, and just kill it up on stage. Fast, refined, punk that’s not too hardcore and doesn’t play too soft either. Melodic, catchy, in your face, and best of all fun. They take all the tropes common to punk in the 80s and make it their own. Believe me, you’re be pouring beer all over your buddy’s head whilst screaming ‘Fuck You Disco’.
Top Acts I Would Love To Catch On The Big Stage
I have a feeling that seeing these boys on the big stage is gonna be orgasmic – you know those shirts are coming off. Here’s to hoping they use the space given to them. Work these legs damn it! Definitely a band would’ve deserved it.
Because sunshine and reggae – that’s fucking why.
Last year, they were neglected to the smaller stage, but it looks like the team has finally earned a spot on the big stage at MIDI – and after a nationwide tour, these guys are gonna be ready to give it all back.
Last time I saw Helen Feng was on some random farmland festival two years back – if there’s anyone who knows how to entice a crowd it’s Helen, and I’m super curious to see how their sound translates to giant speakers – might just turn into a disco party
Everyone’s favorite Ningxia band is no freshmen to festivals, but for me this wil be a first. And hearing Lao Wu and company sing through some classics is gonna warm my heart. Expect the fans to eat this one up.
Hanggai ain’t on the bill this year no worries, these two Inner Mongolian-infused heavy rockers will gladly take over the grasslands for the day. I expect the setting will do just fine for these two bands – heck, consider this a warmup for Nine Treasures Wacken Show later this summer. Crushing Mongolian pagan metal – yes please.
Top Bands I’m Curious To Catch
Yibin neo folk artist Bloody Woods is one of those bands who I always have been curious to check. It’s otherworldly music, full of rich compositions, which reference a whole lot – traditional Sichuanese folk ballads to 70s prog rock, atmospheric post-rock and the list goes on. It’s dense work, one that I think will fit in just right on the big stage.
Another folk group, Low Wormwood have been generating quite the praise in the past year and I can see why – earthy melodies sliced together with a homegrown sound out of Shaanxi and lyrics both poetic and relatable, it’s no wonder why they won 2012 Chinese Band of the Year at the Chinese Media Music Awards – could they be the next Omnipotent Youth Society?
I failed last year – so basically he it is again. I’m not scared Kang Mao – I’m ready for your hard-crushing, soul clenching, rowdy as ever punk. I’m ready for the Queen of Fucking Everything. This is what mosh pits were made for.
Because post-rock was made for festivals – nothing like getting lost in an epic melody of crusading chords with your face in the sky. And Wang Wen, the Dalian post rock group, are held pretty highly in these parts – it’d be a shame to miss out.
Gotta feel the Xian love. A mix of acoustic rock and hip hop, Black Head are genuine in their approach to music. Truly an orginal voice, it’s no surprise their album ‘The Xian Incident’ was hailed as one of the best albums last year.
If any man knows how to sell an act it’s BeijingDaze, and after reading this account of Miserable Faith’s performance last year – I was sold.