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[Music Monday]: Parade Formation
Probably wanna lay low 'til at least Friday... here are a few solid live music options for after the big parade goose-steps its way onto the other side of history
By Aug 31, 2015 Music

The Hormones

Music Monday is a weekly SmartBeijing column, serving up fresh audio/video streams from bands living and making music in China (or coming to China, or thinking about coming to China, or whatever).


Well, Thursday's the big day. "Game-changing missiles", they say. Sounds fantastic and totally safe for all involved. If you're lucky you're already or soon will be getting the fuck out of dodge. Otherwise, you'll probably want to keep a curfew until Friday...

Assuming you weather that storm, here are a few solid live music options for after the big parade goose-steps its way onto the other side of history:


First up, one for the heshers: on Friday, Yugong Yishan hosts the kickoff of a string of gigs organized by Painkiller Mag, as it celebrates 15 brutal years spreading the Heavy Metal gospel far and wide through the Middle Kingdom. (FYI the only time it's not corny to refer to China as "the Middle Kingdom" is when discussing metal.)

Painkiller is leading off with a super heavy one, too, hosting technical metal wizards DRAGONFORCE. Damn, these guys. Need like six abacuses to keep up with their precision and technical mastery. Plus maybe a few D&D PhD's to keep up with their penchant for medieval lore. Here's the official MV for "Through the Fire and Flames," perhaps their best-known tune on account of its feature in the boss-level of Guitar Hero III.

(I know Guitar Hero doesn't have bosses, out of my depth here…)

Not really my scene, but always appreciate some good shredding. A quick browse through ye olde wiki reveals that DragonForce recently backed Japanese WTF sensation Babymetal at some big festivals. Hey, alright.

This one will be packed, even at 260rmb pre-sale (snag one of those via Douban or call 6215 9844 / 6404 2711). 320rmb at the door otherwise , 8pm start.


On the more local front: this weekend, The Hormones from Chengdu return to Beijing on the heat of their new single, "Red Tear". The Hormones came through last October, touring their debut album, Elephant. Missed them myself but heard generally positive reviews. The Hormones are part of a trifecta of young bands redefining the Chengdu music scene, and signaling a shift of creative energy from the centers of Beijing and Shanghai to second-tier cities around China. Along with Hiperson and Stolen, they've made a national splash, solidified in large part by a semi-starmaking appearance of vocalist Zhu Mengdie on Zhongguo Hao Gequ earlier this year.

Stylistically, The Hormones are a bit pop from my taste, but judging from this interview with their bassist they seem very much based in the grassroots, DIY Chengdu scene and its ground zero, Little Bar. Judge their tunes for yourself with this 25-minute video of a festival set they gave last year:

Two chances to catch The Hormones this time around: they're at School Bar on Friday night, sharing the stage with up-and-coming local punk band Quickshot, then again at Temple on Saturday alongside highly touted folk act The Twenties. Both should be solid shows, with each bar's respective built-in live audience in tow. Quickshot's a fairly new band but I've heard good things about them, so here's a little snapshot of them covering The Business:


Last gig of note for this relatively quiet weekend: hutong chillout Là-bas is celebrating their anniversary with back-to-back folk jams on Friday and Saturday. The bill is a who's who of stalwart expat musicos, including Dan Taylor of The Harridans / Luvplastik, Randy Abel of his eponymous Stable, and Kyle Daley of Black Water on Friday, followed up with ubiquitous folk artist Nathan Borofka and Jordan Darling of The Plum Trees on Saturday. Friendly, folky vibes, for sure. Here's a video of The Plum Trees playing live at 69 Cafe, another venue that most of these artists call home from time to time:

In addition to the live music, Là-bas will also unveil Sound in Silence, an exhibit featuring 12 black & white photos "capturing the personality and passion of expat musicians," as documented by Là-bas booker Chalffy.

No cover, 8pm start on both nights. To hammer in the celebration aspect they're also offering 30rmb pints of Arrow Factory brew on tap. Sweet.


Painkiller 15th w/ Dragonforce = FRI Sept 4 @ Yugong Yishan

The Hormones = FRI Sept 4 @ School + SAT Sept 5 @ Temple

Là-bas 2nd Anniversary Jams = FRI Sept 4 + SAT Sept 5


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