When it rains, it pours, even in the dryness of Beijing.
The April concert showers have made way for plenty of May flowers ¨C festival
flowers, that is. 2007's festival season starts with a bang, with
representatives from nearly every genre, at various locations in the city, and
for every audience imaginable. But with the big-name annuals gobbling up all the
hype, what's a little yearling to do? tbj picks some of the lesser-known
celebrations for this month:
Pity the international performers of Midi - they're not coming to
China for the money, that-s for sure. That's where Apres Midi comes in: as a
companion series to the big kahuna itself, it allows bands the opportunity to
perform a few local gigs to make back their investment (since the staunchly
non-commercial festival can't afford artist fees), and not to mention, of
course, the chance to spotlight themselves in a non-festival setting; full sets
in all their unabbreviated glory.
So, if you're in a charitable mood, here's your chance to give something back
to the cause - and for the rest, it'll just have to be good ol' fashioned
kick-ass music that draws you in. The big one, of course, is Soundtrack of Our
Lives - those successful Swedish rock giants that have brought back the
days of Pink Floyd and The Who, capturing the hearts of hipsters and Oasis fans
everywhere. Local rockers PK14 open for them - making for a double bill
that's as good as it gets in Beijing.
If names like Hatesphere and Hard Rock Power Spray scare you away, don't
fret - Apres organizer Jon Campbell swears they're the some of the biggest
names on the Danish metal circuit - possibly of the greater Nordic circuit!
If that's not enough to get you interested, take comfort in some familiar names:
opening slots for Ruins and Subs, two of Beijing's finest bands, and a rare
showing in the capital for Shanghai tricksters Top Floor Circus should be
highlights of this lean, mean mini-Midi.
Nine Gates Jazz Festival
A newcomer to the May Festival season, you may remember
Nine Gates from last August, when nearly every local jazz band emerged to fill
the Forbidden City Concert Hall for three nights. It's organized by
long-standing Beijing jazz bassist Huang Yong - who plays in, among others,
The Golden Buddha Jazz Unit, the Liu Yue Trio, and Liu Yuan's quartet -
with an eye towards the glory days of the now-defunct Beijing International Jazz
festival. Nine Gates offers Beijing the chance to show off its jazz standing in
This year's lineup includes many local favorites, returning from last year:
local jazz giants Liu Yuan and The Golden Buddha, of course, as well as
laowai-led outfits Ah-Q Jazz Arkestra and Junglecat. Branching out into
international waters this year, the festival also welcomes acclaimed French
violinist Didier Lockwood and his band, the George Garanian big band, and the
Philipp Nykrin Trio.
Through May 5
D-22 First Year Anniversary
It's hard to believe this little two-level Wudaokou music haunt has
only been on the radar for a year - but what a year it's been. Anyone who
doubts the impact of a certain mild-mannered Beida economics professor on the
Beijing music scene need only look toward the growing strain of experimentalism
running through any of their numerous "house" bands -and with more and more of
the new music generation calling D-22 their home, it's been enough to move the
heart of Beijing's live music scene out to the west side.
Their non-stop, ten-day anniversary bash starts in late April with a slew of
out-of-towners. The club rolls on into a five-day binge for the May holiday,
including PK14¡¯s first local gig of 2007 (supported by D-22 regulars Houhai
Sharks, Carsick Cars, Scoff and Casino Demon), a special night of Chinese
street-punk bands, and a night of noise-rock featuring musicians from China,
Korea, and Japan.