Someone asked me recently if I tried to follow any trend when I put a gig together – if there’s any theme, any rhythm and reason to how the bills play out. My answer: I wanna be surprised. I wanna be blindsided. By new sounds; by new bands; by distinguished bands testing the waters on a new stage; by an out of town band getting their first real taste of Beijing; by seeing an offbeat assortment of fans come out to do the same. That’s what keeps me engaged and last weekend at DDC was no exception. A crazy lineup of world music, ska, alt rock, and noise pop, with bands from Shanghai and Baoding getting in their licks alongside university kids and seasoned punks. From the ska punk supergroup Underdog whose joyous commitment to the genre has made them a band that plasters a smile on my face. To New Generation, the young, ambitious post world music gazers whose singer is something to behold. To Baoding’s The Playcat, who are settling nicely into becoming an act that Beijing is going to be all over in the following year. To finally, guests of honor Dahlia Rosea, from Shanghai, whose moody, disillusioned brand of alt rock hits so many right notes for me. Each and every band gave it their all. So again – thanks to all the fans who continue to support us, thanks to DDC for keeping it righteous, and thanks to the bands that continue making the scene a surprise.