Dos Kolegas’ Fifth Anniversary, 2010.05.28 + 29
The Dos Kolegas Fifth Anniversary celebrations were exactly as you’d imagine it. If you’ve never been to Dos Kolegas, it is one of Beijing’s finest dive bars. D-22 might have the name and the status, but Dos Kolegas has a completely different atmosphere. Dos Kolegas is tucked away in an otherwise unloved corner of a drive-in movie theatre complex, and has an expansive outdoor area that is well taken advantage of in the summer when the inside temperatures are exactly as hot as the music being performed on stage. People are friendlier and more open, including all of the staff, and bands seem far more willing to hang out there than any other venue I’ve been to yet. There’s something comfortable in the atmosphere, though I have to admit that you must be in the mood for it, or else extremely drunk.
Personally, I was the latter over this weekend. I didn’t have as much trouble finding alcohol as some people have suggested, but that might be because I spent a good portion of my night near the bar rather than on the dance floor. It was very much a social event for me, personally, though the bands that I did see were phenomenal. Instead of a linear review, I’ll a brief overview of what I got to see and what I loved.
First of all, Skarving. I haven’t seen ska in Beijing yet (I know, I know), but this was great. It was a lighter type of ska than I’m used to (my first experience with ska was the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and that’s the way I like it), but I still enjoyed it. I didn’t get to see all of their set, having turned up late as is usual for a Dos Kolegas gig, but I was impressed and will definitely have to check out these hard working guys again soon.
Then there was Black Cat Bone, which I absolutely loved. They did the blues sound right, and I’m not just saying that because the lead singer reminded me of my blues-loving uncle. (Though he did.) In fact, the whole troupe except for the ring-in drummer reminded me of my various uncles in black suits and sunglasses jamming up there on stage, and I daresay that’s true for some people out there. Whatever their uncle status, though, they absolutely rocked. I heard their sound from inside, outside, and round the back, and they were arguably the best act on that night.
Later on was the surprise act of Nucleus, who I think was slated for the following day. In any case, they were unexpected, and I truly enjoyed them. The first time I saw them (last year at Doufu and five other people’s birthday party), I wasn’t impressed. Their sound was too heavy and turgid, but they have come leaps and bounds since then. They absolutely rocked, and though I had to put my earplugs in because of the heavy bass line, I still enjoyed the sound as a whole.
I caught a little bit of Re-TROS, but not as much as I should have. I was outside for a large portion of their set, chatting with a friend who had (for some insane reason) stepped off a plane from Shanghai and come directly to the party. What I did hear, though, was very similar to what I heard at Strawberry; the difference was their ability to fill a stage, which they were definitely able to do at Dos Kolegas.
After which I faded, and did not see any of the latecomers on Friday. And as I was at Obiwan on Saturday evening, I only got to see Wu & The Side-Effects play before that night ended. However, I’m glad I made the trek from Xihai because Wu & The Side-Effects were brilliant. Not only did they inspire everyone to dance, but they put on a show. They’re a powerful three-piece, and with both lead singer Wu and bass player Checo giving brilliant performances, they were a great act to see perform live. Their next show will be a CD release at Dos Kolegas on June 18 with the rest of the Ningxia crew; I strongly suggest you check them out.