Bootie Beijing photos & tour report!
Everything is bigger in China ... and it starts the minute you get to the airport. Here's Matty C. walking underneath the largest roof in the world!
We did Bootie at Centro, the first Western-style bar/nightclub in Beijing, which is in the Shangri-La's Kerry Centre Hotel. Here's one of the posters they used to advertise the event. They were definitely pushing us as something different than what they usually do.
Here's what Centro looks like during the day. It's pretty swanky. In the evenings, they usually feature a three-piece jazz band with a female chanteuse ... but not THIS weekend! Here's what they wrote in the hotel event brochure: "Ever heard two completely different songs mixed together to emerge a perfectly smooth new song? Bootie@Beijing show you how its done... where else but at Centro, the city's trendsetter in bar and entertainment concepts."
In more ways than one...
Day One: After sound-checking at the very un-rock star time of 9 AM, our "cruise director" Caroline dragged us ... shopping! We went to the Silk Market, six-stories of consumer goods madness. Pictures do NOT do this place justice. Salesgirls in the aisles are constantly yelling at you, trying to get you to buy shit. "Pretty lady! You want handbag?" It's INSANE. Still, if you know how to haggle, there are bargains to be had. Adrian bought a tailor-made pinstripe suit for only $130. He picked out the fabric, got his measurements taken, and 36 hours later, he had a custom suit!
After that, we hopped a taxi (which are ridiculously cheap) and went to the Forbidden City. Immediately, we were all like, "band photos!" This is my favorite Smash-Up Derby shot.
A+D+BT ... us and Beau Toxx (and Chairman Mao in the middle)
Okay, everyone look to the right ... toward the future!
Yay, we're in China!
We did mention that everything is bigger in China, right? Here's Jamie popping out of an enormous urn.
Don't believe it.
Some things don't translate all that well...
Day Two: Despite playing three nights in a row, we were still hell-bent on cramming as much sightseeing in as we could. Next stop: The Great Wall of China!
Despite Rule #2, they let us on the cable car anyway. This is the gondolla that takes you up the mountain to the Great Wall.
Look, if nothing else, all Smash-Up Derby wanted was to get some new band photos on The Great Wall of China. First mashup band to play in Communist China!
Up on the mountain where the Wall is, there was ... SNOW! Which is usually, like, whatever ... except Jason (a born-and-bred San Franciscan) had never seen or touched actual snow before!
Here's the whole Bootie Beijing crew: Beau Toxx, Angela, Matty, Mysterious D, Adrian, Jamie, Trixxie, Jason (and Caroline, who took the photo!)
We took sooooo many band promo shots, hoping to get at least a few good ones. I particularly like this one.
Jamie and Caroline, coming down from the wall.
The whole reason we went to this section of the Great Wall -- Mutianyu -- was because of the tobaggan slide run down the mountain. Ever since we did this back in November, we've been dying to do it again. And when we told Smash-Up Derby about it, everyone was super-excited ... almost even more than seeing the Great Wall!
Here's Trixxie, ready to race down the tobaggon run. Beau Toxx shot video the whole way down, which hopefully we'll be posting soon!
These are the same guys we saw in November, hustling for photo ops at the bottom of the toboggan slide. Totally worth 10 yuan for each of 'em!
Here's "John," the best taxi driver in Beijing! He picked us up the day before from the Forbidden City, and we liked him so much, we hired him to take us to the Great Wall. I think he liked practicing his English with us.
Such a cute little van! Doesn't Jamie look BIG next to it?
Here's the Kerry Centre, the hotel we stayed and played in. They took great care of us, and the buffet was pretty damn good. We felt a little spoiled ... it was nice!
Smash-Up Derby rockin' out at Centro! We were a little worried about how a live rock band was going to go over in a place that usually has a quiet jazz band, but they publicized the night really well, so we seemed to have an audience that was ready for it.
Beau Toxx and D hanging out with George, the hotel manager. You'd never know it by looking at him, but George loves the Sex Pistols! (Which we found out when Smash-Up Derby played a version of Go Home Productions' "God Save Madonna" mashup)
Everyone loved Jamie's beard -- especially these women, who dubbed themselves "United Nations Gone Wrong." They're all from different countries!
Day Three: Our friends Dean and Jackie from Shanghai came up to Beijing to see us! Dean never misses a Bootie in Asia! We love him -- he was there at the beginning of our DJ career, back when we used to spin at The Cinch, the little gay bar down the street from us! He even booked us for our first corporate gig!
Dean and Jackie insisted that we should go to the Temple of Heaven, so while the rest of the band went back to the Silk Market, we grabbed Trixxie and did more sight-seeing.
Trixxie Carr has the world's smallest bladder, so this sign was sort of a running gag for the whole trip.
We love "Chinglish" words and phrases, especially in fashion. We were looking everywhere for some really great t-shirts with random English words on it, but all we could really find was this awesome handbag. That girl is lucky we didn't tackle her and grab it!
After the Temple of Heaven, we really wanted to go to the 798 Art District, an abandoned electronics factory that has been turned into artists studios and galleries -- it's the center of contemporary modern art in Beijing, a scene that literally did not exist ten years ago. Plus, this is the only place you'll see graffiti in Beijing. D loves this panda art.
While walking around 798, there was a large group of photographers touring the area, who began swarming around Adrian and Trixxie, shooting them as if was Paris Hilton walking down the red carpet. It was crazy.
This sculpture pretty much sums up the current state of China ... a pair of traditional Communist propaganda workers, holding up a big wad of Chinese money!
We LOVED the 798 Art District! Really fun, very cool art.
D tries to drink from the world's biggest coffee cup!
While we were at 798, the rest of the band went to check out the new CCTV building (shown here with Angela) which was a couple blocks away from our hotel. The Chinese call this the "short pants." We totally loved all the new, cutting-edge, world-class architecture.
Our last night doing Bootie Beijing at Centro. Mysterious D looking ... mysterious.
We had a wonderful crowd on Saturday night, who stayed later than the other nights. We met a bunch of college kids from the Bay Area who were doing a semester abroad in Beijing. They were so happy a band like Smash-Up Derby had come to town! And some of them had downloaded all the "Best of Bootie" CDs!
Dean having fun at Bootie while Jamie tries to look cool while playing keyboards.
Trixxie eats the mic! Singing three sets a night, three nights in a row -- in a very smoky bar -- was more gruelling than we were expecting. The jazz singer from California who normally sings at Centro gave us a tip: fill a bottle with warm water and honey and keep it with you on stage at all times. It was a life-saver!
Mysterious D and Not-So-Mysterious Dean
Beau Toxx, Matty, Caroline, and Jamie ... we were all in a celebratory mood on that last night.
DJ Beau Toxx rockin' the decks at Bootie Beijing! He put on an extra-long song so he could run out to the lobby to take part in the following...
This was the ginormous Bootie Beijing sign in the lobby of the Kerry Centre hotel, with giant images of our faces. We just knew we had to do a photo shoot in front of it before the night was over.
Adrian and Jamie attempt to recreate the same poses on the poster.
Champagne toast after the last Smash-Up Derby set of the weekend.
The cocktail waitresses at Centro loved us!
And our sound guys rocked! Despite the size of the stage and the mirrored surfaces behind the drums, everything was dialed in great. These guys really knew what they were doing.
And more photo shoot shenanigans out in the lobby...
A+D+Dada ... aka Matty C. He's been with Bootie since the very beginning (Literally! He's always the opening DJ!) We were so glad we were able to take him to China with us!
After the night was over, we sat around drinking champagne while the staff tore things down -- including the gigantic poster, which they folded up and gave to us to take back home! We hung it up at the DNA Lounge during our "homecoming show" at Bootie SF the following weekend.
Smash-Up Derby, in the lobby the next morning, ready to head back to the airport. What a trip!
As you can tell, it was an absurdly fantastic time. Much love and thanks to Thierry (aka DJ Beau Toxx) for making it all happen and to Caroline for being the hostess with the mostest!
If you're really interesed in seeing a TON more photos, CLICK ON OVER TO THE BOOTIE BEIJING PHOTO GALLERIES!