I went down to the recently moved Windows Underground bar last night to see the famous Beijing punk band, Joyside. This was part of a special event called Get in the Van and features a three band bill then a free minibus over to another bar for dancing and DJs. This was the second van event, both organised by Dan Shapiro who fronts the band, Rogue Transmission. As well as Joyside and Rogue Transmission the line up featured folk-punk act Boys Climbing Ropes.
Joyside are huge here and the venue filled up. However, my night was basically ruined by the curse of the 'bar gig'. It's a strange affliction that affects normal 'venue' gigs in the underground scene too. They seem to operate by different rules that may suit some people but just not me.
Why can't shows start on time? Coming late to a show and missing some of the support act is normal and not a big deal. This one was door at 9 then start at 10, but they waited until 10.45 presumably until it filled up more. So, i'm fine with multi act bills, especially in a smaller local scene - but - it drives me nuts when they become triple headliners or sometimes quadruple and more. Have a bunch of support acts but don't hold back the whole show for them to get more people in and, for god's sake, don't let them play full sets.
So Rogue Transmission plays a solid traditional rock set but it was basically 12.00 midnight, Euro 2008 about to start on TV and me starving to death. Yes, 12.00 at a show where the door opened at 9 and the second support act was just warming up. So I missed half of Boys Climbing Ropes getting something to eat then came back in time for Joyside.
And ... the sound was awful, I couldn't hear the lead vocals or the guitar, and Joyside were wasted and all over the place. Let down. Not to mention that half the people there were from the 'party crowd' who looked ready to hit the bund clubs after the show. Joyside are huge, like I said, and their real fans still loved every minute of the show.
Me, Dan Shapiro and Little Punk of Boys Climbing Ropes.