What's On in Beijing: May 2019

By That's Beijing, May 6, 2019

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May 8: Carl Barât

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Courtesy of promoters

Carl Barât, the Libertines rocker gone solo, is returning to China after his wildly successful 2018 tour in the mainland. Maybe a bit mellower since the Pete Doherty days and becoming a father, he’s still a powerful rock force with a distinctly energetic sound. 

Wed May 8, 8.30pm; RMB320 (presale), RMB380 (door); Tango, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

May 10: Explosions in the Sky

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Courtesy of promoters

You’d think after 20 years of composing seemingly endless sagas of sounds, Explosions in the Sky would have explored every corner and crevice of the sonic palette. Yet after taking a hiatus since their last release The Wilderness in 2016, the Austin-based instrumental rock band are back in the swing of things and ready to hit the road again doing what they do best: performing their complex and beautifully layered compositions. Read up on the band in our interview here.

Fri May 10, 8.30pm; RMB360 (advance), RMB420 (door); Tango, see event listing.

May 10: RL Grime 

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Courtesy of promoters

RL Grime first came to prominence with epic remixes of Kanye West and Chief Keef. Now, following his well-received sophomore album, he’s an established electronic artist straddling the line between the uncompromising musicality of the underground and the appreciation of millions of fans. 

Fri May 10, 9pm; RMB120 early bird (includes one free cocktail); One Third, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

May 15: The Royal Concept 

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Courtesy of promoters

The Scandinavian pop band brings their addictive combination of new wave synths and dance music, which has a knack for producing the soundtracks of summer. Catch them at Tango in the middle of the month. In the meantime, read up on the group in our interview from last year.

Wed May 15, 8.30pm; Tango, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

May 16: Yahyel

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Courtesy of promoters

Yahyel are known for their gritty and futuristic sounds that evoke a crumbling urban landscape. Taking inspiration from 1988 cyberpunk film Akira, they bring their unique dystopian vision to Beijing this May. 

Thu May 16, 8.30pm; RMB180 (presale), RMB220 (door); Omni Space, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

May 16: The Last of the Mohicans

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Courtesy of promoters

The heartrending hymn to the The Last of the Mohicans, from the film of the same name, is the signature tune of Peru-born musician Alexandro Querevalú. Having emigrated to Poland at the age of 18, he has since made a global name for himself playing a variety of indigenous instruments. 

Thu May 16, 7.30pm; RMB180-RMB330; Art Center of the National Library, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

May 16-19: The Vakhtangov Theater Presents Eugene Onegin 

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Courtesy of promoters

Rimas Tomenen’s adaption of Pushkin’s mammoth novel to the stage only focuses on a segment of the work – that is Tatyana’s love for Onegin. It is enough to fill an entire performance, even if it is only part of what has been termed “an encyclopedia of Russian life.” Staged between the past and present, it aims to capture the nostalgic melancholy of the Russian mindset. 

Thu May 16-Sun May 19, 7.30pm; RMB480; Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, see event listing

May 17: iri

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Courtesy of promoters

Japanese pop vocalist iri lands in Beijing with a show at Omni Space this month. After winning Nylon Japan and Sony Music's JAM audition in 2014, the singer-songwriter went on to release her first full-length album Groove It in 2016. Don't miss her R&B-influenced pop jams at Omni Space.

Fri May 17, 8.30pm; RMB150 (presale), RMB200 (door); Omni Space, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

May 18: Timber Timbre

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Courtesy of promoters

Canadian outfit Timber Timbre are bringing their psychedelic folk to the capital. With six successful albums under their belt, the quartet has had their songs featured in various TV shows such as Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black. Catch their gig at MAO Livehouse in the middle of the month.

Sat May 18, 8.30pm; RMB120 (presale), RMB150 (door); MAO Livehouse, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

May 18: Game of Thrones Music Concert

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Courtesy of promoters

Acclaimed conductor Zhengyu Zhu’s interpretation of the Game of Thrones TV series music is sure to bring all the happy and brutal memories back as the final season begins to draw to a close. A touching swan song to all the dead protagonists, mourned or otherwise. Check out all the places you can watch the final season in Beijing right here.

Sat May 18, 7.30pm; RMB342-522; Rulun Lecture Hall of Renmin University, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

May 18 & 19: WISE x Reeperbahn Festival

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Courtesy of promoters

WISE teams up with Reeperbahn Festival, held annually in Hamburg, Germany to bring the big event to the mainland. In addition to a music conference, there will be two showcases as part of the festival’s Beijing installation, featuring Chengdu’s post-punk darlings The Hormones, rap oddity Lows0n, among budding international acts like the Nick Cave-esque German import Jungstötter and London-based electronic project Chagall.

Conference: Sat May 18, 10am-5pm & Sun May 19, 10.30am-4pm; free entry; Festival: Sat May 18, 6.30-11pm & Sun May 19, 5-10pm; RMB260 (one day), RMB420 (two days); Danish Cultural Center at 798 Art Zone, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

May 18 & 19: Great Wall Festival 

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Courtesy of promoters

Great Wall Festival is back after its 2018 success, this time with a lineup including sets from techno royalty like Ben Klock, Marcel Dettman and Dave Clarke, as well as home-grown talents such as Diva Li. This is your chance to take part in the world’s most ambitious techno festival, taking place over two days in the shadow of one of the seven modern wonders of the world. 

Sat May 18 & Sun May 19, 1-11pm; RMB100-3200; Mutianyu Great Wall, see event listing. For more info and tickets, visit greatwallfestival.com. Buy tickets here.

May 19: Run to the Beat Marathon 

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Courtesy of promoters

Running and techno beats were really made to go together – monotonous yet enthralling activities with an inexorable sense of forward propulsion. This year, you can take part in a half-marathon, 10km or 5km run around the Ming Tomb Lake with your progress soundtracked by seven music stations of live DJs. 

Sun May 19, 8am; RMB268 for half-marathon, RMB238 for 10km, RMB198 for 5km;Ming Tombs Reservoir, see event listing

May 25 & 26: Rye Music Festival 

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Image via Jesus and Mary Chain/Facebook

The Rye Music Festival is back for another round this month with notable headliners as Taiwanese superstars Jay Chou and Jolin Tsai, veteran shoegazers the Jesus and Mary Chain, as well as dance-rockers Fitz and the Tantrums, brother and sister folk duo Angus & Julia Stone, pop singer Beatrich, Taiwanese indie act Deca Joins and more. The two-day music extravaganza is set across several stages at Changyang Music Park. Don't recognize any of the names? Get up to speed with the best acts to see.

Sat May 25 & Sun May 26, 12.30pm10pm; RMB450 (one day pass), RMB800 (weekend pass); Changyang Music Park, see event listing.

May 26: Grace in Form Yoga Class

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Image via Pexels

Practice some seriously tension-relieving yoga moves at this all-levels workshop. Increase the strength and mobility of your shoulders and neck with a focus on weight-carrying poses, guided by experts who will ensure you do so safely. 

Sun May 26, 2-5pm; RMB450; Yoga Yard, see event listing

May 29-June 3: The Three-Body Problem II: Dark Forest 

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Courtesy of promoters

The Lotus Lee Drama Project bring the second part of Liu Cixin’s science fiction trilogy, The Three-Body Problem, to the stage with a visual re-enactment of the world of the novels. The multimedia project follows a small band of humans who must save the planet when it comes under threat by space predators. 

Wed May 29-Mon June 3, 2pm or 7.30pm (depending on day); RMB180-880; Beijing Poly Theatresee event listing. Buy tickets here.

May 29-Aug 4: Bowie by Mick Rock

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Courtesy of promoters

798 Art Factory hosts an exciting exhibition featuring 65 photographs of the glam rock legend David Bowie taken by his official photographer Mick Rock. There will also be an original soundtrack for the exhibit, performance footage, filmed interviews with the iconic British photographer and more. 

Wed May 29-Sun Aug 4, 10am-7pm; RMB58 (special offer price, includes one drink or snack), RMB88 (early bird, includes one drink or snack), RMB108 (weekday ticket), RMB120 (weekend ticket); 798 Art Factory, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

Through May

New Spring Menu @ Moka Bros

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Image via Moka Bros

Moka Bros just debuted their new spring menu. Find old favorites and new comers like the Mediterranean-inspired Greek quinoa bowl and the drool-worthy smoked salmon salad, plus a new vegan wrap! In addition to the exciting offerings, Moka Bros' breakfast menu now features four different - yet equally as delicious - bagel sandwiches.

Daily, Moka Bros

New Specials @ Q Mex

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Image via Q Mex

Q Mex has added some exciting additions to their menu. Now you can get your Peking duck fix while calming your burrito craving with their brand-new duck carnitas burrito (RMB68) – slow roasted and crispy pulled duck, guacamole, kale and jewel rice. Wash it down with their fresh mezcal margarita (RMB68). 

Daily, Q Mex Sanlitun & Q Mex Shuangjing

Hulu x De Refter 

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Image via Hulu

Hulu recently partnered with De Refter, of bao burger fame, to create two new craft sliders for their menu: a truffle variety with emmental cheese, arugula, sliced red onions and mayonnaise with truffle paste and truffle oil, and a spicy Sriracha featuring shallot chutney, soft goat cheese and homemade garlic and Sriracha sauce. Can’t decide between the two? Just do like us and order them both. 

Daily, Hulu

Spring Activity Season @ House of Knowledge 

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Image via House of Knowledge

Now that spring is here, House of Knowledge invites you to attend a host of special events at their Xinglong campus. Spend some family time at their workshops on creative handicrafts, gardening and German culture and customs. Also, they’ll organize four open days to meet teachers and the principal, and to explore the state-of-the-art facilities at their brand-new campus. 

Activities: Sat May 11 (creative handicrafts), Sat May 25 (gardening), Sat Jun 1 (German culture), 10-11.30am; Open days: Tue May 7, Tue May 21, Thu May 30, Wed Jun 12, 9.30-11.30am; free entry; House of Knowledge Xinglong campus, see event listing.

Epic Ladies Night @ La Social

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Courtesy of promoters

Celebrate badass women at La Social’s Ladies Night every Wednesday. Pay your respects to the woman who started it all – the Virgin Mary – with a playlist crammed full of power tunes, 40 percent off house cocktails and Colombian Mule pitchers for RMB150. 

Wednesdays, 5.30pm; La Social, see event listing.

Slow Boat Beer Garden @ Timezone 8

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Courtesy of promoters

Spring has sprung and for one thing, that means the return of the beer garden at Timezone 8. From now through the end of the month, you can also enjoy pints of Monkey’s Fist IPA for RMB35 and Stone Boat Pilsner for RMB40. 

Daily, through Sun May 26; Timezone 8, see event listing


Have an event to list? Head here to list your upcoming event. We’ll choose the best new additions to feature on next week’s edition of ‘What's On in Beijing.' Not sure where to start? Here's a full guide on how to list your upcoming events on our website.

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