5 December 2007

At the Rock Show

Posted by JonHaley under: Mongolia .

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After having missed the biggest Mongolian Hip Hop show of the year in late September and just recently having missed a chance to see the legendary “Chinggis Khaan” (the biggest band in Mongolian for going on 20 years) play live, I got my fix Saturday night at the largest rock concert of the year, Playtime 2007. An evening featuring everything Rawk that Mongolia has to offer, bringing together over 30 bands playing an array of divergent and often conflicting styles all fitting loosely under the superordinate heading “Rock”.

Avid/Livid fans from every dark corner of Mongolia’s music scene came in hoards to rally around their favorite groups and get some well-deserved mashing and head banging in. Pop-punk princess lovers, mixed with indie rock hipsters, mixed with Misfits Fiends; while math-rock nerds found common ground with gangster-metal intellectuals (at least for a short while). Every last shred of black leather, ounce of eye makeup, metal stud, and Nirvana/Maiden/Slipknot band tour t-shirt in Mongolia was put to use for this event. While foot-high Mohawks on 5 foot nothing 18 years olds cut through the crowd like sharks fins.

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The music was largely derivative of North American/European Metal (not exactly my flavor, but still enjoyable), but it was almost exclusively in Mongolian and played with obvious adroitness and amazing enthusiasm. (For the few English covers that were played, a white lyrics sheet was invariably and unabashedly employed. Probably not worth the effort as the guttural screeches and screams were indiscernible to most people anyway).

Each band only had a quick 3 or 4 song set, which kept things moving right along, but the show still lasted over 7 hours (I only made it to the last 3). By the end of the night the metronomic headbanging had taken it’s toll on the crowd and things started to unravel a bit: Mash pit fights reached an imperceptible tipping point and turned into real fights (virtually the same thing), and groups of disenfranchised indie/pop fans staged “sit on the floor and smoke” protests against the hardcore bands currently on stage. Likely the same sort of thing that would happen in Canada or anywhere else in the world.

Despite any small negatives the evening was thoroughly enjoyable and a look into yet another rarely seen sub-culture of UB. It also another example of something I would never do in Canada (I’d be too scared and judgmental of the music), but was able to take a chance and try out while in another country.

Check out the video below or HERE:

Playtime

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