2014 saw Feral Burn’s first tour abroad as we unleashed our hard rock circus unto the unsuspecting people of North Eastern China. This is an account of what happened – as far as we can remember!
June 20 – Cheers! Here we go, one for the road at the Helsinki-Vantaa international airport. Can’t really wait to get to China – especially with these beer prices! We tried to pack as little as possible, but still turned out to have one extra luggage, which is a nice 75 euros extra to the bill. Gotta love the international flights though: free drinks!
June 21 – Ni Hao, China! At Beijing international airport we are met by our tour manager Yang Wang and his second in command, Martin. Managed to squeeze everything in the jeep and off we go to the first venue. A quick stop at a seedy roadside diner introduces us to the local food – I guess it’s better to start with a mild shock!
The PA is being set when we arrive at the first venue: The MI Livehouse in Cangzhou. The place really looks like a down to earth rock n’ roll club. Also, the first introduction to the hole in the ground that the locals call a toilet. Leaves you always hoping you didn’t catch anything on your boots. The show goes down like storm and the turnout is awesome! Everyone is really into it and trashing around like crazy! Drinking beer out of a plastic bag is also a first in this tour of many firsts.
June 22 – Next up is the TVU Livehouse in Shijiazhuang. This one looks impressive, the hall is big and everything is very professional. No cold beer, though – we did not know it yet, but that was something we needed to get accustomed to in the Chinese pubs and clubs. We are assigned a VIP backstage room, which I can safely say beats many backstages I’ve seen this far. It’s a Sunday so the turnout is not as good as in Cangzhou, but there are still a good many rockers in the audience.
After a stellar show we are taken to one of the club owner’s other clubs, the Mini-Pub. A small pub named after the iconic Morris Mini. We enjoy couple of beers and are gifted a bottle of local whiskey – nice!
June 23 – The next venue, Viva Club in Changzi, have sent a mini-van to pick us and our gear up from Shijiazhuang.I tell you the ride is much better than squeezed in the jeep. However, I just have to say that the Chinese do love to honk that horn!
Arriving at the venue we get an overwhelming welcome: there is a full three course menu set up for us! And since we had not yet really got accustomed to the delicacies of the Chinese cuisine, this is a wonderful sight: Pasta Bolognese, Pizza, and honestly one of the best steaks I have ever eaten!
The gear is set up and the backline is goods as it has been for every venue. The only thing that is missing is a sound engineer. Fortunately Mark quickly learns the digital mixer and we push through the sound check ourselves (thing we at this point thought to be a one off…)
Quick stop at the hotel, which is a really nice one, and we are back to the Viva club where we rip up stellar show! Fortunately this time we are not in a hurry to the next, so we stick around for a couple of beers with the locals. The evening ends with the club owner taking us to late night snacks at KFC (once again a thing that we found really pleasant). Returning to the hotel Pasi founds out that he has made quite a poor shoe choice. He simply could not get his boots off even with two guys pulling with full force. The heat of June topped with trashing around the stage had welded the boots to his feet so tight that one of the boots had to be cut off from his foot! Day four…
The next day the owner treats us to a proper Chinese round table dinner. We stuff in that donkey meat with pleasure (once again a first). Then it’s time to head to the station to board the bullet train to Baoding.
June 24 – Anxiang Club, Baoding. A real gritty punk rock club with attitude. A bit smaller venue, so the sweat was practically coming off the walls. A really energetic show to an amazing audience! The show was followed by a late night feast at one of the local street barbeque places.
June 25 – We travel all the way to Chengde for the next show, passing a part of the Great Wall on the way. The city is magnificent, we hear that the emperor used to come here for his summers. We are well set up here since the hotel (which is by the way extremely nice) is basically next door from the venue: the Café Livehouse. They have rented a PA system to lift the roof off, so things are looking good so far. However, during the gig things start to come unhinged. Part of the PA goes dead towards the end of the show, but we manage to push through.
The after party consists of beer, Finlandia vodka (nice), and of course fried crickets and worms (why not?). Weren’t too bad, especially when washed down with the aforementioned refreshments.
June 26 – We are running on a tight schedule (the tour has included quite many dashes to trains already, all with lugging our gear with us especially the cymbal case christened as “Mini-mother-fucker” has a warm place in our hearts), but we have just enough time to check out the Great Wall on our way back to Beijing. It’s just too bad that it is mid-day, and Pasi still has only them boots to wear. Somehow we still manage our own personal Long March to the wall, and it was definitely worth it! Really an impressive feat of construction.
Really excited about the next show. It is in 13Club, Beijing. It’s a Thursday night, but we still see quite a good turnout. After almost clogging up the ladies toilet (hey, not even a hole in the floor in the men’s room!) we blast out with a steady performance. Really good vibe here and once again a very friendly welcome!
June 27 – We board an overnight train to Jining. Good thing at this point we win the stench race with the other patrons in our car. A ten hour ride leaves also plenty of time for looking at China passing by the train windows. Out of Beijing you can see the skies beginning to look blue again.
The night’s venue is the Molybdenumcesium bar – or Mocs. Quite a small venue and a difficult to get a good live sound with the way the stage and PA is set up. Not to mention the power went out of the whole club before the show. Fortunately the gig itself went without problems. The backstage area is cool, though, equipped with vinyl couches and a stripping pole. To our great dismay, no stripper though.
June 28 – Upon arrival to Zaozhuang we are once again treated to one of those round table feasts. On the menu are for example fried duck’s heads. Needless to say we mostly stuck to things without their beaks still attached to their split skulls.
The day includes a promotional show in front of a local furniture store. It is quite hard to keep a serious rock face on when grannies keep rolling past the stage with their mopeds and someone is hauling a coffee table across the parking lot. We play mostly improvisational material and couple of full songs.
The actual show for the night is at Route 66 club in Xuzhou. The venue is quite big, but the turnout is quite disappointing since it is a Saturday after all. We hear that the club has been in operation for only a short while, so it may be people have not really found it yet. Bonus points for having cold draught beer!
June 29 – We are back at Zaozhuang for the last show of the tour. The final blast will take place in the Bohemia Livehouse. Again a little trouble with the sound check to get the sounds right, but once again Mark comes through with handling the set up. Beer is served by the jar, so this is looking to be a great night! Sure enough the show is excellent, since we pour our last energies into it, and the front row is head banging like crazy – or as Mark liked to put it in his speaks: “We are crazy, you are crazy, together we are crazy!”
June 30 – The tour is over so we head back to Beijing. We have enough time to go and check out the Forbidden Palace, before we snail through the afternoon traffic to do an interview and a song live in the studio of a local music magazine.
In the evening it’s time for the after party. We head to the Amares Studios’ in the outskirts of Beijing. Time to hit the barbeque and especially the Bai Jiu. Mahamiehet are satisfied. After munching on grilled lamb and octopus, not to mention some weird black eggs, it is time to crash to the hotel room.
July 1 – After a shock wake up we rush to the airport with a considerable hangover. The free in-flight drinks will do very nicely, thank you! Eleven days and nine shows later we are still in one piece – save for Pasi’s boots. Xie Xie, China, and see you soon!
The official “China Tour 2014” -hoodies are currently out of stock, but you can drop us a line here and we will let you know when more are available! (Price: € 40)
Some photos from the tour — Click here to see the live photos!