Friday Song: A Beijing New Year's Eve tradition with Macondø - SupChina

Friday Song: A Beijing New Year’s Eve tradition with Macondø

By definition, tradition is an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior, and this year, Beijing’s Temple Bar sets a tradition in stone with the fourth “Macondø NYE Bash.” According to bassist Shi Shengchao 施盛超 (Fred), back in 2014, the band was approached by Temple’s “fluorescent” bar manager, Pink, and the rest went as follows:

FADE IN:

INT. WECHAT INTERFACE

Fred and Pink are having an interchange about their plans for NYE. Messages pop up in sequence, accompanied with “GENERICNOTIFICATIONSOUND.wav.”

PINK: Hey man, you guys wanna play NYE?

FRED: You sure? You remember we are post-rock? That will work for NYE?

PINK: F*** yeah. Let’s do it.

FADE OUT.

Beijing’s music scene oscillates between the constant interchange of this guy from this band and that girl from that band making another band that sounds a bit like that other band, but the “constant” comes in knowing that the remainders of this, that, and the other will be there to show their support. Each member of Macondø is in at least two other artistic outlets of some sort, one or two with other fellow Macondønians. Temple Bar remains a favorite spot where the social Venn diagrams collide, fueled by high energy shows, shared interests (be it what’s on stage or the next round of coffee shots), and a pleasantly…intoxicating environment. Every now and again, each member of Macondø lends themselves to drunken debauchery, one or two Macondønians in particular.

Blurring the lines between post-rock, mathcore, and whatever other double-barreled genres you want to throw in the mix, the quartet brings an instrumental wall of sound to any and every venue they’re faced with, crediting Temple as a place in which they’ve developed their sound.

Over the last few years, the band has developed a somewhat cult following of locals and expats, challenging those accustomed to standing still as the same chord swells for 10 minutes, yet retaining the reverb-drenched, delay-laden post-rock aesthetic.

They’ve gone from playing to tens upon tens at local venues to hundreds upon hundreds at local festivals, and have filled support slots for international headliners such as Japanese demigods LITE and pioneers of the genre This Will Destroy You. With the release of their debut self-titled album, the band has started making waves internationally, with sights set on rattling sound systems overseas, sooner rather than later.

On choosing the opening track as the final Friday Song of 2018, guitarist Scott comments, “NYE is a celebration of an end of the old and the anticipation of the new. To die and begin means to start over. Macondø has a song called ‘Die Begin.’ Who needs lyrics when you have logic.”

There are certainly other, more literal — or at least “traditional” — songs that can be chosen to honor the end of another year, but this is a shout-out to those making noise in the ever-deepening pocket of the Beijing music scene. To those that overcrowd the back corner of Temple, forever being shooed away by bartender, Ian, as he changes another keg. To Pink and Marshall for keeping it fresh, and the entrance free. To those that make Beijing truly feel like a home away from home.


Friday Song is SupChina’s weekly sign-off. Let us know what you thought of the week that was in the comments below, or email [email protected]

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Daniel Rothwell

Daniel Rothwell is a Beijing-based educator by day, noise-maker by night, and LoReLi content coordinator in between. WeChat ID: loreli-china

One Comment

  1. Scott Campbell Reply

    My daughter’s boyfriend is in a couple of bands that play Temple – Jokers Belief and Tavey Lean & the Solid Gold Dream Machine, but he also always mentions it whenever Macondo is there as well and know I know why. Wow! What a great band. Thanks for the story. I haven’t as yet managed to make it to Beijing but with a couple of kid living there and being a part of the expat scene it’s nice at least being able to see it vicariously.

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