As we inch toward May Madness – the weather about to stumble into full blown summer heat (sigh) – it\’s time in get in your last licks of cool spring air. Cassette releases, Happy Birthday to Beijing’s new leader in rock and roll, and the second installment of X-Nights Festival – yeah, we’ll be doing just fine. Jump over the calendar for more.
FRIDAY-SUNAY, April 25th-27th
Happy Fourth Birthday! Yes we are all drinking the kool aid – since it\’s reincarnation in late 2012, School has been firing on all cylinders cementing itself as Beijing’s number one rock and roll club. In typical school fashion where overindulgence of all varieties is encouraged, School is throwing a three night celebration featuring a young cast ready to take the scene by the horn as well creme de la creme – Bian Yuan doing his best Leonard Cohen Saturday evening. Friday’s highlights include The Diders and Penicillin whereas Sunday brings out The Big Wave and Heat Mark – expect festive spirits and many familiar faces paying their respects out of beer-filled tears.
FRIDAY April 25th
I spent last weekend covering electronic renegades Noise Arcade and thruoutin as they jumped around shanghai with their latest spilt cassette – peak of the moon. No worries if cant find your circa 94’ Walkman – it\’s up for grabs in the digital world. These two come have come far with unique (though not always accessible) brand of electronica – pump up the bass on noise arcade analog-happy dronetastic set and XP might just morph into the dingy subterranean club it wishes it could be. Meanwhile pipa-wielding field recording thruoutin has more than a few pop hooks up his sleeve to shake audiences loose. Joining them with one half of Hot & Cold – Parallel Pyres whose latest I pimped out yesterday and cool 87Fei87 label mate Vurado Bokoda. Noise geeks unite! One of the fondest memories of Dos Kolegas, Beijings summer spot, is catching DH & The Chinese Hellcats shake down the house with their lively swing dancing swagger that’s infectious – pretty much a sin if you can’t find yourself dancing. Well they return to the drive-inn tonight along with electro disco queen Helen Feng and Nova Heart, who are cutting their teeth on plenty of new material that’s hitting. Grass, beer, swing, dance – sounds like a winning formula to me. Mako Livehouse continues to attract sexier bands to make that trip down to Shuangjing bareable including indie rock darlings Residence A, math rocking post knocking Glow Curve, new wave outfit Bye Bye Noise, as well as Elenore and Dewenxi. Canadian indie rockers Your Favorite Enemies return once again to Mao Livehouse for their melodic brand of charming rock pop. Death metal metal act Truth Corroded from Australia leap over to Yugong Yishan to spread hate and finally feel those old blues with Zhenren at Jianghu Bar.
SATURADY April 26th
This is a tasty sandwich here – some of the town’s most fertile artists join forces at Yugong Yishan for X-Nights Festival’s second installment – experimental though and though, who push the envelope without an iota of misplaced skill – serious talent is what I’m basically sounding. Freak folk artist Xiao He one of the few must-see acts in Beijing, not only because he plays only once in a blue moon but because he brings the unexpected. He’ll be joined by French accordion maverick Matthieu Ha who’s been making the rounds on the underground scenes here and aborad. Closing out the night will be Kazakh musician Mamer (of IZ) whose folk sound is filtered through the grim and metal of city life that’s being totted as post-industrial shamanism- wicked. And if that wasn’t enough Belgium visual artist Mira will be on hand dishing on other kicks to your senses. Springtime seems to bring out the folk in Beijing – one of my favorite acts – Li Dong, fronted by Ningxia lady killer Li Xia whose dusty home brew blend of country and rock nails it every time. Just lushest warm tunes in cozy Jianghu Bar – smiles galore. Their time has come – so be expecting to hear a lot more from these folks and catch them and spread the good word. Chunqiu folk metal band Dream Spirit throw a release party at Temple with guest Sairen. Screamo, emo, tweens and more – tonight feels the anguish as these pop indie outfits take stage at Mao Livehouse including The Reason, Twinkle Star, 4U, Caffe-In, and L-Gentlemen. Hard post rockers Nakoma join Steve Blaque for some fun at the Old What? Bar and lastly, swing by the Hot Cat Club for The Syringe, Temple, Banana Fish and more.
SUNDAY April 27th
Weronika Partyka, Li Zenghui, Li Jianhong and Vavabond get their free improv on using a Chinese cartoon book of 1980s as inspiration at XP – love it. A classic Sunday evening rock fest at Mao Livehouse brings Rolling Rolling, Era Rebels, 0190, and Going To Ohio whereas over at Yugong Yishan Polish metal outfit Scream Maker unleash their debut on audiences with a little help from Long Haul.