- Yang Yang (杨漾)
- Zhang Zhongshu (张众舒)
- Ma Xiao (马晓)
Formed in 2005, like many of Beijing’s best bands, Mafeisan is an anarchist collective who have made themselves the undisputed kings of the Beijing noise scene. Their name refers to a mythical anesthetic discovered by ancient pharmacist Hua Tuo nearly 2,000 years ago, probably to dispel the pain of some war wound or other, and there are times when audiences at a Mafeisan show would no doubt consume vast quantities of the anesthetic if they could find it.
Fronted by a maniacal clown from Shandong province who favors brightly colored trousers, shirts and vests and often plays with a bag over his head, the core of the band consists of leader Gang Yang on drums, vocals, guitar, saxophone and various noisemakers, backed up by a rotating cast of stoic and impenetrable colleagues on bass and guitar.
Mafeisan is usually, and given its style and esthetic approach perhaps necessarily, a hit or miss affair. The band is brilliant when they settle into a furious riff behind a frenzied Gang Yang performance, but when their front man’s interest in a particular sound or riff flags, he is too indifferent to the niceties of performance to hide his lack of interest, and the band can flounder as he pushes around searching for some new idea to seize his attention. He is nonetheless a riveting performer who offstage sports a dazed, eager smile that is transformed onstage into mockery. “Look, anyone can do this” he seems to insist to the audience as he laughs gleefully at the sounds he creates, but of course no one can do it as imaginatively and with nearly this level of intensity.
» READ MORE