Monday, March 06, 2006

TOUR DAY ONE: Club 13, Beijing

This was Mar. 3. At dinner the previous night with banker boys, my contact the tour manager, I'll call him MaD, finally bothered to call me to let me know it was on. About fucking time, but fortunately I was sedated by all the 10-inch prawns I'd eaten and barely excitable. Somehow I didn't expect it to happen, but it has....

I showed up at Club 13 that Friday afternoon. It's in Wudaokou, the rock 'n roll neighborhood abutting Beijing University that's been minorly glorified by wanks at Newsweek, Time, because they probably saw some kids with mohawks standing outside a club and drinking beer or clear rice liquor. Big shit. I saw that too, and it's hard for me to give much big cred to fashion punks who if you talk to them are as skittish in their eyes as jack rabbits; they got spiky hair because otherwise they wouldn't have any personalities at all. And besides, the scene is anchored by foreigners, who made up a good chunk of the crowd of 150, as they probably have been doing all along, because like the bar manager said, "We like them because they get more excited." In other words, they're not fucking voyeurs like they locals.

But I'm getting ahead. When I showed up at something like 4 in the afternoon the Swedes were doing soundcheck, and fortunately the music was good even though the band name is terrible: Insurgent Kid. At least what was coming through the amps was high energy, skater punk rock, some updated tradition of Agent Orange and Minor Threat, though I still don't know if they listened to those bands. They grew up with Metallica, and today in the van they were playing Bruce Springsteen:

"I got God on my side
I'm just trying to survive
What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love
...."

Good music for the mudshit byways of Guangxi, but again I drift ahead....

I didn't really talk to them until dinner, and I knew I should be there for the initiation of bottle draining and smoking something without asking what it is. After all, they were young and heavily tatooed.

But when I sat down next to the guitarist, Stefan, my gut turned when I saw the tatoos across the knuckles of his 8 fingers (thumbs of course excluded). It read:

STR8 EDGE

At which I could only go Holy Fuck, this is obviously not going to be Dark Funeral. Those fuckin dudes rolled with Meth Daniels, crystal meth dissolved in duty free Tennessee whiskey. But this is going to be - and then the drummer, Jonas, getting ready to order, is like, "We're all vegetarian. I hope you're okay with that. Actually two of us are Vegan."

Talk about shattered illusions. Clearly rock and roll has changed, died a thousand deaths.

"Oh sure. Actually I'm fine with that."

It's kind of true, actually totally true. I am fine with it. And no question about it, these are all very cool guys. But damn if this wasn't going to be a different kind of tour....

2 Comments:

Blogger Poohat said...

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5:56 PM  
Blogger relish said...

I know this is old, but I'm heading over to catch a performance at 13Club tonight, wanted some information on it and ended up here.
Your line about foreigners compared with locals made me laugh! I hear it's that way a lot though, which made it even funnier :)

Thank you for the post!

1:13 AM  

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