The announcement of Douban's inaugural Wetware festival this May is the perfect remedy for those of us still gutted about the cancellation of Strawberry this summer.
At its core, Wetware Douban Music Festival
(18-21 May) is a celebration of things hard and gritty, a celebration of things heavy and all-out drone. Split between Tango
, two legendary Beijing livehouses, the festival's line-up spans an international range of indie and electronic artists handpicked by some of China's finest music moguls.
After the closure of his Shanghai club Shelter this year
, Gaz Williams switched his attention towards securing an eclectic bill for Wetware. The festival's main stage, which the organisers are setting up at Tango, is a testament to the size of Williams' address book and will host an ambitious line-up including legendary American gloom-rockers Low, troubador Cass McCombs and Stephen O'Malley, founder of the very, very loud death metal group Sunnn O)).
Cass McCombs' 'Opposite House'
It's not all guitars, dulcet tones and groggy sounds, though. The main stage also plays host to an extensive range of electronic music. Perhaps most notable is Kode9's return to Beijing; this time the British producer is collaborating with artist Lawrence Lek
for a live audiovisual performance called The Notel, which sets Kode 9's 2015 album Nothing
to post-human video game graphics. It's somewhat of an aberration for the sonic agitator, who typically prefers to perform in pitch-black to keep the focus on the rhythmic propulsion of the music. Should be an interesting one.
If that's not enough for you, Shanghai rockers Duck Fight Goose
will also be unleashing one of their trademark hectic live shows onto the main stage on Friday evening. Fans of Beijing's homegrown music scene should make sure to venture beyond the heady heights of the main stage towards School Live Bar to find an array of local talent, with Diel Guik and Liujiafan blazing a trail for emerging domestic bands.
It doesn't end there, either: Tango will be hosting afterparties all weekend and Beijing label Do Hits are guiding us through Friday, whilst Gaz Williams's label SBVKVLT will propel us from Saturday evening deep into Sunday morning.
Strawberry? Never heard of it, mate.