Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rock'n'Roll City - a busy week ahead

It's been a gig-tastic month, with 9 or 10 live shows under my belt. Not the record, but a very decent showing.

That is as nothing to what we have in store for us next week: Beijing's very own 'Woodstock', the Midi Music Festival. The event was started back at the beginning of the decade by the headmaster of the capital's Midi Music School, to showcase some of his star students. It soon grew to include other Beijing bands, and then bands from further afield in China, and then from elsewhere around East Asia. In the last few years it's started to become really big, and has even attracted a few participants from Europe and North America. Next Friday, we're supposed to be getting Dave Stewart (yes, the beardie guy from The Eurythmics) - who will, I think, be the biggest name to grace the festival yet.

Apart from that, though, I'm a little concerned that it might not be as good as last year's. I understand they've tried to impose a policy of not having the same bands back two years in a row, in the interests of fairness and variety. All very well in principle, but China doesn't have that many really good bands, and most of them were on last year. However, that rule may have been relaxed or abandoned. I would have been pissed off if my favourite Beijing band, SUBS, weren't on the roster again this year, but it looks as if they are. I have my doubts about the foreign contingent too. Last year, there were a number of bands from Korea, diverse in style but all very good (one really excellent Radiohead-y outfit called, I think, PoJangMaCha). This time round, it seems to be mostly obscure Scandinavian groups. Ah well, we might be pleasantly surprised.

Details of who's on when have been a little thin on the ground so far (but then, this is China - the schedule is probably still being finalized even now, less than 48 hours before it opens, and may well be subject to further last-minute changes once it's under way). Jon Campbell's YGTwo site (he's a ginger laowai drummer and promoter who's become one of the leading figures in our local music scene) only seems to be listing the foreign bands, and the English page on the official Festival website is down (or has never yet been up), so I'm having to make do with the inevitably dodgy Google translation of the Chinese version of the programme.

Never mind who's on when and whether they're any good. The weather's usually fabulous at this time of year, and it's taking place in a big park over in the University district, so it should be a grand day out anyway. In fact, a succession of days (and nights) out. The Festival will give us 4 full days of rock'n'roll - and then there'll be probably a week or more of all the local music bars putting on nightly shows with the visiting bands. What a great start to the summer! But it's going to be HECTIC.

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