First of all, a big happy birthday to Dos Kolegas. They have been kicking around longer than that venue everyone talks about owning the scene (you know the one I’m talking about) and have long since been a venue for the messy weekend frolicking only possible during the Beijing summertime. Oh yeah, and they always have some awesome bands playing. Once you’ve been to Dos Kolegas, it stays with you. It’s the dive bar next to the drive-in where the contents of your nights might be lost to your memory but you’ll never forget the place. I might be making it sound dirty and weird, but it is, and that’s what you’ll end up loving about it. Last Friday was the perfect celebration of all that is Dos Kolegas.
To start off with, the bands were amazing. I got there after the unannounced first act (some weird Danish lo-fi or something? I don’t remember how it was described) and as per usual, the party didn’t start until it was creeping up to midnight. The first scheduled band up was Skarving, and they didn’t fail to impress. The only other time I’ve seen them was at last year’s anniversary show, and then I remember thinking that I needed to see more ska in Beijing. I still really do. It’s a fun genre, and I should get out to see them more often. Skarving has been around a while (certainly as long as I have, and two years is pretty good longevity for a band in Beijing), and they’re a tight band. Plus, half the entertainment is in seeing other people dance to ska.
Next up was SUBS, which is a band I have never figured out my feelings for. I’ve seen them three or four times, and each time I either loved them or hated them. I think I need to be in the mood for them — which means, in the mood for loud, yelling, insane punk music — and I guess on Friday I was in the mood for just that, because I loved them. Kang Mao is a force to be reckoned with, and it’s not every day you can just take that in your face. I think the act works better on a small stage, though, because the effect is immediate, visceral, and unavoidable. Which isn’t for me all the time, but on Friday I loved it.
After SUBS was Wu & The Side-Effects, who I also haven’t seen since last year’s anniversary. As mentioned on this blog before, they’ve gotten a new bass player in that space of time. While the new guy is no Checo, he’s still good, and after a year together, the band seems like the solid rock and roll act we’ve always known. I hope it’s not another year before I see these guys again.
Finally to the stage, some time after 2AM, was Buyi Band. I’ve never seen them, incredibly, despite the frequency with which they play in my neck of the woods, but it was worth the long wait. I didn’t stay for their entire set (it was, after all, 2AM) but I stuck around for a few songs and really enjoyed them. But by then my ears were ringing and my feet were aching, so I took my sorry ass home to recover. I couldn’t take the second day, but knowing the lineup I think it would have been just as amazing.
Congratulations, Dos Kolegas, for being a very important part of the history of Chinese rock, and thank you for six years of letting us riff-raff get drunk on your front lawn every weekend. We salute you!