I stand by my earlier statement that there have been too many battle of the bands in Beijing lately, but I will say that this particular night at the Tiger Translate show was well worth the existence of another battle in the fray. It was my first time going to Mako Livehouse; actually, let me admit that the whole night was an excuse to see Perdel again, and it was just handy that they were playing for the last time during their Tiger Translate stint at Mako Livehouse. Mako — for those of you who haven’t been there — isn’t nearly as dauntingly hard to find as you might imagine it to be. You simply get out at Shuangjing station Exit C, walk in the direction you pop out (east) until you get to the Carrefour. There, you don’t take the large road going south, but the smaller one just east of it, and eventually on your left you’ll see something that looks like a parking lot. Behold, Mako Livehouse!
Inside, Mako looks a bit like Tango Third Floor — or, for people who haven’t been there either — a concrete warehouse. However, Mako is smaller than Tango (but bigger than Mao, for another concrete venue comparison), and though it definitely feels like somewhere they fourth wall is well in place, it’s more intimate than Tango. I liked it, though I probably just liked the fact that they waived the 70RMB cover charge because we’d missed three of the bands. Little did the door staff know that the only bands we would want to see were yet to come.
We arrived in the middle of some announcements made by some very sparkly and coiffed hosts, got some beers (15RMB for Tiger, obviously; not bad), and waited for the next band. We thought we had missed everything except for Perdel, but the band that came on stage next was a band called Locomotive Gentlemen. The lead singer (pictured above) was the spitting image of a Japanese actor, which amused me all the way to the end of their set, but that’s not why I enjoyed them. Their music was just the brand of indie Britpop-style rock that I enjoy, and they had a great presence on stage. It didn’t surprise me that they were still standing by the semi-finals, along with other names that I’ve been hearing around the circuit for ages.
Then came the voting, which was done by industry folk, none of whose names or companies I managed to catch. The four bands were Locomotive Gentlemen, Hell City, Emitter, and Precipitation. Emitter got the most votes by far, and along with whoever else won the semi-final rounds will be headed to the finale this Friday at Tango Third Floor. I was a little upset for my newfound favorite band, but I’m sure I’ll see them again before long.
Finally, Perdel took the stage. They were as good as they ever are, energetic and entertaining and engaging of a crowd who had very clearly been drinking 15RMB Tiger beers since 8:30. I was slightly disappointed by the change of lyrics to one of their new songs (the name of which may or may be “I had a tree and I made it beautiful”), but that’s mostly because I wasn’t able to sing along like the fangirl I am. They played a solid set, though, and then my gig partner and I had a lovely time standing around outside watching the bands pack up their cars and leave with their girlfriends.