Stuck between a free show or heading down to Shuangjing – both hosting bands I’ve seen several times and adore; both hosting bands I haven’t seen before. All it took was a glowing recommendation from my Catalan friend to convince me that Mako Livehouse was the place to be.
Hailing from Barcelona, La Pegatina, a seven member band, who play everything from the accordion to the trumpet, were a absolute blast. Charistmatic, lively, joyful, these guys were the life of the party, and they wanted us to join in on the fun.
They immediately won over the crowd with their infectious ‘urban rumba’ – which I suppose is some sort of punk/ska/flamenco combo knockout. Whatever you want to call it (my music terminology has never been that vast), it was some of the most upbeat, high tempo, ecstatic music I’ve heard in sometime. You couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face if you tried.
Next up, was the always impressive Hanggai, who really have stepped up their game since I first saw them one year or so ago. The hype is true; these Inner Mongolians are the real deal. The music they create is so different and yet at the same time, very much accessible. Mixing modern and traditional instruments, punk and folk, Hanggai plays the best of both worlds. This is epic music – not clichéd epic, but grandiose, ‘I’m riding high on my horse toward imminent doom movie-soundtrack balls to the wall epic’.
In a sense, it was strange to have Hanggai follow the sunshiny La Pegatina, since whereas the former band kept one constantly on the move, it’s very easy while listening to the latter to lose track of one self. I caught myself many times dead in my tracks, jaw dropped, completely mesmerized.
Fear not though, Hanggai ended on quite the high note, playing an encore of their ever popular ‘Drinking Song’ (Jiu Ge), which was made ever more special by allowing La Pegatina to join them up there on stage. Yeah, it was as awesome as it sounds – take a look below!