Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rock the Jing

Tonight we checked out some rock 'n' roll Beijing style and it seems like language is not a barrier when looking for a good time.

Three local bands played at 2 Kolegas, which is located inside a drive-in place. Once you go past the winding forested path it leads to several freestanding bars, pubs and cafes. The movie theatre is in there... somewhere.

After paying 40RMB cover charge, we walked into 2 Kolegas which looked like a high-ceilinged basement, with brick walls, posters hung on the walls and ceiling, and old sofas and chairs. The bar sold a myriad of drinks but most people had bottles of beer or the odd vodka tonics.

The crowd was mostly people in their 2os, more than half were Westerners. They were a weird bunch, nerds, geeks, misfits and the odd good-looking person. There was even a rugrat, a guy with long straight hair, the top covered under a knitted hat. And a Chinese woman desperate for attention stripped off her jacket and sweater to reveal a lacy top with spaghetti straps that no one seemed to appreciate.

Around 10pm the first band, The Fire Billoon started playing. The trio was led by a guy on the guitar with big curly hair. For a Chinese guy we speculated his coiffure might be a wig, but in the end we weren't sure. They played mostly angry music with the lead singer/guitarist screaming into the mic.

Then about an hour later Shake Hands with Danger got on stage to play their set. The Caucasian musicians have a loyal fan base and pretty soon the place started rocking. Some songs were new material I hadn't heard before and then they finished with my favourite Love of War.

We were going to leave after, but one of the Shake Hands band members said the next band up was really good so we decided to stay a bit longer.

The Chinese band is called PK14 and they had an even larger following, mostly Westerners. The quartet is made up of two guitarists, drummer and a lead singer who makes nerds look cool. He has thick horn-rimmed glasses and wears a short-sleeve shirt. And once he starts performing, the audience is entranced.

He grabs the microphone stand and swings with it, alternatively singing and rapping the Chinese lyrics. Meanwhile the audience are bopping up and down, a mini mosh pit who can't get enough of the metal sound. The songs veer on angst, lots of bass and drums.

It was intriguing watching the mostly Western men in their mid to late 20s jumping up and down nodding their heads even though a majority probably didn't even know what the lead was singing about.

But that's the beauty of music -- if it speaks to you in some way, you're in the groove.

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