From the June 18th to June 24th – Fête de la Musique was all I lived and breathed – an endless assault of shows, conferences, camera wielding, and mingling that left my senses in disarray. It was all a bit much, both mentally and physically, but I figured I’d share down a few thoughts on this year’s Beijing edition.
The warm-up session, held once again at 77 Theatre was an unexpected blast. While technically still a ‘family affair’, the addition of Shanghai ass blasters Round Eye and French math rock outfit Lysistrata made for an interesting case study on how a mild humid afternoon showcase can turn into a feverish swirl of punk rock absurdity and frenzied aggression.
Round Eye proved themselves more than up to the task of charming and captivating the all-ages crowd with their satirical, magnetic and ludicrously fun set, eventually getting the entire audience on stage – just look at this dude’s face above – he gets it.
Things take an ever stranger turn when Lysistrata, the featherweight emo rock champs took the stage last. The moment they kicked off their set, there was no letting up. Inched together in a triangle formation, the three young adults delivered one exhilarating math rock infused song after another and like that insanity broke loose on the floor, with everyone from sanitary workers to muesli pushers getting in their licks. It was surreal to say the least, and will remain one of the finest musical moments I’ve witnessed this year.
The fun spilled over into Thursday evening, the official day for Fête de la Musique. While my two compatriots were holding down the forts over at Mao Livehouse and Yue Space, I decided to indulge in some more Lysistrata at Omni Space, as the trio delivered a painfully short (due to them catching a flight) yet brutally effective set between Beijing’s own Acid Accident, who impressed the hell out of me, and Little Wizard, the Shaoxing instrumental rock trio I’ve had my eyes on since I heard Lysistrata was going to performing in Beijing.
Props to Space Circle for bringing them up – one of the best outfits out there, delivering hard-hitting instrumental rock ditties that sting, entice, and get those earworms doing cartwheels.
The evening closed out with a saucy and delightful after party set from disco punk queen Da Bang who had the floor at Temple threatening to collapse under the weight of rabid fans. I didn’t stick around too long after but did manage to sneak in a Drum Tower hang out session, a few shots of jagermeister, and a hour of sleep before heading down to Guizhou to continue the Fête de la Musique festivities. Cheers Beijing for making it one to remember!