As darkness fell over 798 on Saturday evening, crowds began to gather in front of First Factory, drawn by the muffled beats already emanating from the brick-walled warehouse. Beginning in the afternoon, some of China's best young musicians had been working the stage, ranging from electronic pioneers like B6, Sulumi, and Dead J, to experimentalists White+, to power-rockers Queen Sea Big Shark (aka Houhai Sharks). The day also saw a slew of film screenings and workshop talks over at Beijing House, as well as the steady blinking, beeping and bopping of the installations all across the gallery district. But then it was time to party.
The evening got off to a one-of-a-kind start with Beijing dark-wave act Rebuilding the Rights of Statues (Re-TROS) who cast some rhythmic spells. Delorean played a DJ set, which drummer Igor Escudeo said was, "pretty sweet." Other spinning fools included Nick Catchdubs, whose infectious mix of indie and outie tunes honed on the dancefloors of NYC got people moving, as did DJ Wordy, the record-holding 3-time China DMC champion. Wordy continued to keep things bouncing between sets throughout the night.
Edging closer to midnight, New Pants took the stage. The electro-punk group has been pushing the envelope ever since it was founded way back in the day (1996) by guitarist Peng Lei and keyboardist/singer Pang Kuan, and this night was no exception, with the musicians romping through classic numbers like "She is Automatic" and "Bye Bye Disco."
From here on out, it was a technicolor tidal wave of high-energy onstage antics. As the current touring incarnation of Major Lazer, Diplo, yellow-mohawked Skerrit Bwoy, and bodacious DHQ (dancehall queen) Mimi blended tunes like "Keep it Going Louder" and "Pon de Floor," with a signature blend of dancehall, hip-hop, and samples from the collective pop subconscious. "Listen Beijing, you want to dance all night?" asked Diplo at one point, and the answer seemed to be a resounding yes. In fact, the audience not only wanted to dance all night, they wanted to dance up on the stage, where it seemed Skerrit Bwoy and Mimi were having way too much fun. At one point Skerrit Bwoy embraced this show of love and invited all the ladies on stage.
Nobody was ready for the party to end, but Lazer's set drew to a reluctant close and made way for the come-down of deep German pulsations from Tobias Thomas and ADA, as four huge projections bloomed on the long warehouse wall. Eventually the kids trickled out, the kaleidoscopes dimmed and the bass faded, but the echoes of the Creators Project will keep reverberating through this city…