Let’s clarify this – going to an awards show is not fun. They run too long, nominees and winners turn into a game of politics, and frankly it’s always overhyped. However, this was the MIDI awards, and after all is said and done, it’s refreshing to see a music organization like MIDI simply acknowledge the music scene in the capital. Better yet, this was a great excuse to catch a wide range of some of the hottest bands (according to MIDI, but hey, it’s their show) in town – it’s not often this time of year to get this many diverse bands in the same place for one night. On the other hand, I also know my limitations and being held up in a room for 7 hours to see a band play five songs every 45 minutes wasn’t physically (or emotionally) possible this night. With that in mind, I showed up midway to check out Hao Yun, Long Shen Dao, and Voodoo Kungfu.
I came just in time for Hao Yun, a contemporary folk band, who sing lively, pleasant, simple, bluegrass style rock tunes. No outlandish outfits, no theatrics, no secret weapons up their sleeves – none of that. The band won the audience over on charm alone.
All five members nicely complemented each other, even with a harmonica and sanxian in the mix. A lot of the songs reflected on citylife in Beijing, nostalgic for a slower pace city yet looking forward with chin up. It was this optimist mentality that drove their energy of their music. And I must say, it was nice to hear something simple and light-hearted for once.
Next up was LongShenDao, who brought with them some pretty rad Chinese reggae. I love how the music is so distinctly reggae and Chinese at the same time. A match made in heaven. The language surprisingly rolls off quite smoothly over those customary offbeats. And though they were using a backing track to makeup for missing members, the band still managed to put on a great show which had the crowd grinning wide and ecstatically dancing. Get these guys in a smaller venue, with the sound turned down just a bit, and I could listen to them all night long.
After LSD loosened up my stagger and mood, I suddenly became a deer in headlights as a drummer walked onto stage watching blood drained raincoat. I had no idea was I was about to get into.
Voodoo Kungfu, ladies and gentlemen. This was primal, otherworldly music from a dark time. Imagine the Nazgûl from Lord of the Rings made a rock band – it might sound something like that. Just listen to those pipes. I understand now all the talk of their shows being like religious experiences. My eyes have been opened that wide in since my first concert ever – of all things, a TOOL concert, when I was in junior high, still dealing with puberty. I remember being overwhelmed with this feeling of awe, fear, curiosity, and shock – this was that feeling all over again.
Voodoo Kungfu beat put me to a pulp so I didn’t stick around till the end. I had my full. I got to see three bands, completely different, for the first time. Better yet, I’ll able to now look forward to seeing these three bands in the future, hopefully sooner than later. I couldn’t have asked for anything better MIDI!
Continue on to see another video from LongShenDao!