Friday, January 29, 2010

Return of the Jedi

It seems that Obiwan is open again.

Well, as far as I could gather, they'd never actually told anyone they were going to close (and I hear that, having been 'dark' for a month or more, their old staff have all gone elsewhere, which could be a bit of a problem for them); and I haven't seen any official notice of their reopening. But....

I have learned that they've got some live music on this Saturday evening. In the past, they've seldom hosted live bands (although Charlie Musselwhite and the Alex Wilson Blues Band played the last of their Beijing gigs there; and superb local experimentalists Glorious Pharmacy also did a one-off show at a private party there a couple of years ago), but this is supposed to be a key feature of their 'new look' this year - and my buddy David Mitchell (wizard guitarist with Panjir) has joined the set-up to handle booking the bands. According to the e-mail he's just sent round, the modest door fees will go entirely to the musicians (something of an innovation for Beijing, where bands are usually on a fixed and not very generous fee)..... and get you a free beer.

Tomorrow's kick-off event will be an experimental jam session, with David being joined by Bruce Gremo on flute ("Yazz flute!"), Kevin Olusola on 'cello, Hu Hao on bass, Nico on drums, and one or two other "special guests". Sounds promising.

[I also gather that Brazilian-style drumming troupe Sambasia are playing a 'farewell gig' tonight at Jiangjinjiu (they'll probably be playing again in a while, but their founder/teacher is about to leave the country on an extended break). I'm afraid the band is too big - and too LOUD - for that venue, and will probably be best appreciated from the far side of Bell Tower Square; but if you like drumming.....

Update: Well, no sign of Sambasia at 3J on Friday. Sorry about that - hope no-one was misled or disappointed. Maybe they're playing there on Saturday. Or maybe it's cancelled. Jiangjinjiu is one of those places where it's next to impossible to find out what's on other than by turning up on spec. I don't think they have a website, and the notices they intermittently put out in the listings magazines tend either to be wrong in the first place or get changed at the last minute. They even seem to have stopped using the little chalkboard outside to announce the name of the evening's band!]

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