If you hunger for thunder bolts of lightning that are very, very frightening you ought to stop into the recently renovated Pavillion and catch New Zealand band Solidaz. After numerous years on the five-star hotel circuit, Solidaz has teamed up with Russell Probert at this Worker Stadium West venue to shift the focus toward live music. Last Saturday night the band actually pulled off Bohemian Rhapsody—a tough song in terms of skill and in terms of not looking silly—in a set that would put the average Xiu band to shame.
Pavillion opened just over five years ago and has become famous for its spacious and sedate patio and infamous for stories about customer-management brush ups. The renovations have included replacing the faux fireplace area with a stage (though a pair of narrow pillars slightly block some sight lines) and moving toward a “cooler” décor (think a lounge at a Harbin ice castle, especially given those LED “icicles” hanging above the bar). Probert said some fine-tuning remains, including the addition of flat-panel TVs.
If I am not mistaken, Solidaz has seven members (six from New Zealand, one from Canada). The band plays pretty much everything, from blues to jazz to country to pop to rock, from Monday through Saturday, with the first set at 9:30 PM, says member Kristen Hopi. The move to Beijing has not been without challenges–some musical equipment has been tied up in Hong Kong, forcing the band to rent it here–though the tight set I caught last weekend testified to the new quality sound system.
Expect similar drink options and prices as before (a pint of Stella is RMB45) and, if last Saturday night is any indication, an older expatriate crowd