Formed in early 2001, the Beijing punk rock outfit became well-known for their memorable live performances, which regularly consisted of the band getting absolutely hammered before going on stage, just about managing to get through some songs and then getting into fights after the gig. For some, they were a shambles, for others they were punk gods. Even as recently as May this year, Beijing's Time Out magazine chose Joyside lead singer Bian Yuan as the capital's coolest rock star over Hedgehog's Atom and Queen Sea Big Shark's Fu Han. Here's what they said about him:
"On stage, he's been known to be a drunken mess, singing songs such as 'I Wanna Piss Around You!'; off the stage he's professed that he just wants to get girls. Yet, whether ranting about the meaningless of life (as in gonzo rock flick Wasted Orient) or finding God under a Xinjiang sun, he somehow comes across as a poet rather than a hooligan."
Despite such accolades, it seems that "China's answer to Jim Morrison" was never the easiest of people to get along with and the band had been through a number of line-up changes over the years. Nevertheless, while their early shows were legendary for their drunken antics, the band had mellowed more recently and Bian Yuan had even explored more acoustic sounds with side project 浪. The release of an EP on Maybe Mars and of the documentary film The Joyside of Europe (not the first time they'd been the subject of a film, see also Beijing Bubbles and Wasted Orient) back in April seemed to suggest the band weren't finished yet, but ultimately they have decided to call it quits. The band have stated that "the break up of Joyside was something that no one wanted to see and it's the same for us. But the fact is that it's happened now and so we all have to accept this reality."
For an excellent overview on the history of Joyside, visit the Rock in China page on them here. Film night at Yuyintang is every Tuesday, starting at 8pm and entry is the cost of one drink (they start at 10 kuai, though for Joyside it seems appropriate to buy a beer). If you're in Beijing, the farewell gig will be on the 12th at Mao. Entry is 60 kuai (they wanted to make it free apparently, but couldn't because of the venue cost so are giving everyone a free CD on entry instead) and it kicks off at 9:30pm.