Frankly, I didn’t venture out to shows as much as previous years. A sign of old age for sure and a sign of live music fatigue. And while there were plenty of bands that made huge headway this year, there weren’t too many bands that blew up on this scene here in Beijing like in years previous. Nevertheless, here’s a quick breakdown of bands that stuck out to me; bands that I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from in the next year; and bands primed to breakthrough.
Acid Accident 酸性事件
Without a doubt, Acid Accident is one of the bands that felt like they knocked 2018 out of the park. While the band has been grinding it out on the bar circuit for the past year and change, they finally got the chance to prove themselves again and again this year and they did not disappoint. For a city that offers so many post rock bands, they’ve stood out from the rest, instilling their sound with some bonafide grooves and lying into their chops. One of those bands that someone immediately will ask who they are at a show.
While they may be nothing drastically original about what Sleeping Dogs have done, the fact of the matter there is no in China who taps into Afro-beat groves and Middle-Eastern intrigue with such professional relish and skillful glory. With less than three gigs under their belts, the trio, made up of ex-Chui Wan members Liu Xinyu and Li Zichao as well as Boiled Hippo’s Abing, were already getting folks moving opening up for Mild High Club back in September. Heck their track ‘Spider’ is already engrained into my eardrums. Some fine tuning, and if we’re lucky enough some vocals here and there, and these cats are going to have a hell of a 2019.
Bye Bye Fish 拜拜⻥
Speaking of seasoned pros, Bye Bye Fish aren’t exactly new to the scene though they would like you to believe otherwise. But the new incarnation of the avant-grade freak folk duo formed by the power couple behind long-standing punk band SUBS is really something to get excited about. Kang Mao and Wu Hao have taken the offbeat electro sensibilities of SUBS (aspects that some thought hindered the band’s humble punk beginnings) and have utilized them to create something that feels fresh and dangerously alluring – hypnotic, enchanting, and sometimes malevolence songs that feel like they’ve emerged from a dark fairy tale . Would love to see these two interact with the various scenes about town cause they’re on to something.
Wonder Sea 出海部
I remember when I first booked Wonder Sea a couple years back on a quiet Thursday night at Temple (no such thing) – they were young, a bit sloppy, but with a pretty good handle on what they wanted. The band has stuck to their guns – touting the line between sincere post rock and emo-inflicted indie rock, invoking an adolescent sound that manages to be intimate and sprawling at the same time; tangible and far reaching. They’ve been inching their way toward recognition but I suspect 2019 will be kind to these hard-working lads so have been patiently waiting for the rest of Beijing to come around to what they’re cooking.
Beijing Punks Causing A Stir
Punk made some serious headway this past year – most evident in the trio of troublemakers in the form of Hang Nail 倒刺, Hind Brain 反骨, and Pure 纯(guess which two bands I constantly mix up). I caught Hind Brain and Hang Nail both together at the short-lived 80s Music Club at the beginning of the year, and since them they’ve been walking their way up the food chain, releasing music, and making a name for themselves. Hard work goes a long way folks. Throw in Pure, who added a much needed dosage of rambunctious fun in the scene as well as the hard working and networking Wasted Laika, who have been nurturing not only their sound but the scene as a whole by organizing shows and hitting the road. Hat tip to all of you.