I have to say that my willingness to head out to the drive-in in the middle of nowhere and shove myself into the barn that is Dos Kolegas certainly starts to wane as the cold weather comes in, but it was well worth it this New Years Eve. The venue was packed to bursting when we arrived, and it only got busier as things started.
The first band up on stage was Steely Heart, one of my favorite bands in Beijing, and they did not disappoint. In fact, I liked them even more than I have the last few times I’ve seen them, because they’ve gotten rid of that horrific synth they’d been adding to every single song. Of course, they still use it on a couple of their new tracks, but it’s much better in moderation and doesn’t drown out everything I loved about the original tracks. They also played a few more new songs than I had heard before, and while one of them grated a little, most of the others sounded like their regular fare. I’ll have to give the songs a few more listens to sink in and form a better impression, but for now I can see continued horizons of solid rock and roll from them.
Next up, taking the countdown spot, were The Ghost Spardac. Unfortunately for me, they were exactly not what I was expecting and nothing I like. They’re a mixture between metal and pop punk, which is mixing two of my least favorite music genres possible. (Which isn’t to say I don’t like that mixture ever, I think Ashura does it really well.) And while I could see their technical ability and how they would be a great band for someone who is into that mixture of genres, it wasn’t for me.
After the calls of “Happy New Year” from the band and the crowd, we (and a bunch of unrelated foreigners) went outside to cool down and get some fresh air after being cooped up inside. This is, of course, what is great about Dos Kolegas in the summertime, but for a while it seemed like the most miserable idea ever. That is, until one of the bartenders came out and set up a steel drum and started a fire for us. It was a magical sort of moment, with everyone crowding around the flames to get some warmth in the first moments of the new year. It was an easy highlight of the evening, and I think if there was guaranteed to be a fire every time I went to Dos Kolegas in the winter, I might go there more often.
We heard the opening strains of Re-TROS from outside and peeked inside, but it continued to not be my scene. I think I can officially give up on Re-TROS now; I like one of their originals and their cover of New Pants’ “回家California”, but otherwise I don’t really like their sound. Of course, they’re not one of Beijing’s biggest bands for nothing, so check them out and make your own decisions.
Without much of a reason to stick around and with the city offering other things, we headed out, snatching up a taxi from the guys from The Amazing Insurance Salesmen. I’m a bit sore I missed them and Free The Birds, but there’s the whole of 2011 to make up for that.
Happy New Year, everyone!