We went to see Hang on the Box (HOTB) last night, a Beijing band I've been dying to see for the past year or so. They play quite often, but I haven't been able to find the time to see them. I was excited to finally get my chance. I also came across their MySpace spot, which appeared to be a little more up-to-date than their website and also had a handful of tracks to sample.
The last of three Chinese bands playing at D-22, a small smokey dive in Wudaoko, HOTB didn't take the stage until a few minutes after midnight. Angela and me met Seth, Marianna and Mike in the crowded bar which was showing an old Charlie Chaplin movie on a screen above the stage before the show began. Car-Sick Cars started the show, a relatively flat band with no strange presence but good songs. They were followed by Queen Sea Big Shark, which had nice catchy songs and an energetic lead singer. Eventually, HOTB took the stage. There were some remarks in both English and Chinese. Then the drummer came on stage with a silver ribbon wrapped around her shoulders and a brief ceremony was held to cut the ribbon before the band started their set. If I had to categorize their music, I would call it a kind of experimental rock featuring lots of effects pedals and unusual instruments. They also performed quite a few non-traditional musical arrangements, like songs with only vocals accompanied by bass guitar. I went home feeling more than well entertained. Check them out, although their recordings don't quite to them justice.