NisNis Fest 2012

Last night was one of my favorite concerts thus far in Ulaanbaatar. It was the 16th annual NisNis Festival – a concert commemorating the anniversary of local grunge band Nisvanis.

Ten bands were featured alongside Nisvanis and they switched from two stages, to keep the show moving along. Most of the bands played 3-5 songs, while Nisvanis played both an acoustic and electric set. Bands represented several genres: rock, grunge, metal, folk rock, and indie rock. One band, Jokers Wild, even played Pink Floyd.

It can be hard to find a concert similar to what I’m used to back in the States here in Ulaanbaatar. The market just isn’t as big here, and so real rock shows are few and far between. But, last night’s show was an energizing display of all that the Ulaanbaatar scene has to offer, and all in one venue.

The crowd was mostly young, what you would expect at any rock concert. And although it was mostly Mongolian fans, there were a handful of foreigners who came to check out the scene as well.

Highlights included North Ducks’ rocking cover of a traditional Mongolian song. The whole crowd sang along to their reinterpretation – but, alas, I didn’t know the words. I also really enjoyed seeing Altan Urag (a band I’ve seen quite a bit at their regular restaurant gig) in a more raucous environment. Among the new bands I saw was, Solongo, which is one of only a few Mongolian groups with a female lead singer.

All in all it was a fabulous night. I spent much of the show running around filming a few of the bands and the crowd. I’ll have some of that footage up once I’ve had a chance to edit.

In the meantime, check out the videos below of some of the bands that played last night.

More Photos:


Live from UB: Metal Showcase

Last Sunday I attended the Season 3: Metal Concert here in Ulaanbaatar. The show featured Mongolia’s top metal/grunge/hardcore bands. It ended up being more of an experience than I had anticipated.

I’ve always been more of a folk/acoustic kind of girl. I appreciate all genres of music, but if I had my choice between attending a grunge concert and attending a folk concert, I would choose folk at least 95% of the time. I’ve never felt quite at home at any sort of concert that involves a mosh pit. Even in the United States I feel like a foreigner when I attend more hardcore shows. And so attending a metal showcase in Mongolia had me feeling like the ultimate outsider. The skinheads who greeted us (the only two white girls) with harsh stares when we walked in didn’t help. But, the musicians who generously let us film and checked in on us throughout the concert did!

Below are three songs by three different bands: Nisvanis, Prophets, and Zugeer I…  And, while I was busy filming, Hedy Dohm was snapping away. Check out her photos from the show here.

Enjoy the foray into the Mongolian metal scene!

Mongol Metal

I just got back from my first Mongolian heavy metal concert. What an experience. Metal has never exactly been my scene, but I am so happy I made it out tonight.

Nisvanis, Mongolia’s first real grunge band, was the big draw for me. I’d been hearing about them for awhile and really wanted to see them live. They have been around for over 15 years and own the title of Mongolia’s first grunge band. They definitely delivered, but I found that as an obvious outsider – the crowd was far more interesting. The venue was packed with Mongolia’s more hard core youth (18-30 year olds seemed to dominate). Several of the men had let their hair grown down to the middle of their backs – the perfect length for headbanging. At times, it seemed the crowed in front of the stage was pulsating, backs arched and hair flying.

Metal Concert Poster

I also had my first real run in with some of this city’s less savory individuals – the skinheads. As one of only a couple foreigners in the club, my friend (also an American woman) and I instantly became guarded, assessing and reassessing the potential for a confrontation. Thankfully, there was none. But it is pretty jarring to see a mosh pit full of young men with shaved heads, some with swastikas tattooed on their scalps, picking fights and jumping into each other. In fact, it was difficult to take my eyes (and camera lens) off of them.

I’ll have more on this concert once I’ve had a chance to go through all the video I took, but for now, here are some video clips of some of the bands who performed.