Friday, March 12, 2010

Too much music!

The Jue Festival kicks off in Beijing today. It's an eclectic mix of music and art events organized by the Splitworks music promotion company in partnership with leading local indie record label Modern Sky and a number of galleries and music clubs across town. This is the second (or third... or... ?) year they've run it, and it's growing into quite a big thing.

Main event tonight seems to be the American female singer-songwriter St Vincent at Yugong Yishan. She seems to be most often described as 'folk', but the stuff I listened to on YouTube yesterday all sounded more like bleepy-bloopy early-80s synth-pop - not an era I have any desire to return to. She's hauntingly pretty, and has some interesting melodies and lyrics in amongst all the irritating noises (it's worth taking a look at the amusing video for her song Jesus Saves, I Spend). I'd be curious to check her out, but..... 'quiet' gigs just don't work at Yugong; apparently she's a solo act (real name Annie Clark), and the chances of a lone girl with a guitar and a few bloopy machines being able to make herself heard above the deafening background rumble from the bar area are, I'm afraid, slim-to-none.

However, out in the wilds of Wudaokou we have Dead Elvis, a bizarre 'psychobilly' tribute act which sounds, well, interesting. I'm out in the Wu this afternoon anyway, so I'm thinking that's my likeliest destination tonight.

Tough call, though. IZ, a central Asian folk band I really like but who seem to have been on a hiatus for two or three years now (I gather their leader, the Kazakh multi-instrumentalist Mamer, has been in poor health lately; he's been showing up intermittently at my home-from-home Amilal to strum a little on a guitar or jam with a couple of friends, but I don't think he's played a major public concert in a long time; this is a very welcome comeback). Unfortunately, this show is at a new (?) venue, Mako Live House, way out on the south-east corner of the city (somewhere near the big Shuangjing Carrefour?). The place sounds well worth checking out, but it is rather remote from me; and none of the expat magazines seem to have written it up yet; the listing on the City Weekend website doesn't give a lot of assistance in finding the place, and its own website is in Chinese only and doesn't have a map. I'm afraid that all adds up to too much of a gumption test for me on a Friday night! [Correction: I'm sure I originally saw this advertised as being on Friday, but in fact it's SATURDAY.]

Alas, given my current state of health, I think I am most likely to be enjoying Sofa Duvet and Deathbed Confession in the cosy ambience of Chez Froog tonight. (Ah, the band names game - whatever happened to that?!)

No comments: