I asked music man about town Pete Demola a few months ago if we would do a “top five” Beijing bands list. Award me a ”duh“, because when I followed up this week, I discovered he had sent me two top fives… more than a month ago. Below are his picks for Beijing’s five most promising young bands. Tomorrow, I’ll post his list of the city’s five best live bands.
“Bands appear and vanish each month, most of them leading a nasty, brutish and short life. Although the five young bands below are still rough around the edges, they’ve got the potential to make it to the big leagues.
“5. The Reason
“Although they’ve only made a few select appearances in 2009, this devastating post-hardcore sextet’s anger-infused cocktail of clean melodic guitars, gut-wrenching vocals and devastating breakdowns is stunning, and makes for an utterly-consuming and cathartic live experience. Not for the faint-hearted, but they wear tight pants, which may be a plus for the ladies.
“Classic street punk with abrasive vocals and gritty riffs. One of Beijing’s most prolific, dedicated and hardest-working bands—lead guitarist Cao Shuai plays double duty with fellow punks Cold Case, while singer Luo Pan held his wedding party at D-22 this past April—the quartet is known to incorporate the occasional Anti Flag cover, as well as the crowd, into their jet-propelled sets.
“With a sound characterized by reverb-soaked interludes and abrupt tempo changes that quickly lock into muscular hook-filled grooves, these 19-year-olds have already been pegged as one of Beijing’s most exciting new bands by scene guru Mike Pettis, who said that the trio gives him the same gut instinct as Carsick Cars did when they shifted into first gear in early-2005.
“2. Nan Wu
“This young sextet not only possesses impeccable mastery over their instruments, but flawlessly bridges the space between ultra-traditional Chinese folk and mainstream rock and blues via their emotionally rattling, powerful live performances. (Think Jethro Tull jamming with a local crosstalk troupe.) Although they continually draw loyal crowds from within the local student community to their shows, they are, without a doubt, Beijing’s most underrated live act and deserve your attention.
“1. 24 Hours
“This Xi’an trio have moved from highly polished post-punk a la Gang of Four to a full-fledged rock and roll machine within a few short months. Channeling the glory days of a Joyside show in 2005, they’ve stunned scene watchers and newcomers alike with their bold, adrenaline-fueled performances, which often include smoldering renditions of Nancy Sinatra and Dead Kennedys songs. Their highly anticipated debut record, produced by famed knob-twirler Martin Atkins (Pigface, Nine Inch Nails), is scheduled for a fall release on Maybe Mars Records.
Pete DeMola is the editorial director for weliveinbeijing.com. He says he doesn’t take anything too seriously in this city, and neither should you.
See also: Pete DeMola’s top five watering holes