It’s Showtime For Dongguan’s Newest Foreign Band

If you’ve been roaming around night spots like Holly’s Bar and Restaurant and Murray’s Irish Pub on any Friday or Saturday night, you’ve probably seen all four members of The Beasts of Burden band hanging out together.

The band consists of four members: Arthur the lead singer and guitarist, Bernardo the drummer, Rafael the bassist, and Mike the keyboardist. Right off the bat, this group’s chemistry is undeniable. Having all been good friends before forming the band, the group eventually came together for jam sessions and sometimes even performed for an audience.

Bernardo explained that the band’s name comes from the Rolling Stones song, “Beast of Burden.” However, the word “Beasts” is pluralized because “well, there’s more than one of us.” The band has a fitting rock name since the Beasts of Burden mainly perform rock ‘n’ roll songs. Aside from playing some classics from bands such as AC/DC, Arthur also composes original rock music for the band. After writing the lyrics, he collaborates with the rest of the band members to complete the song.

On Friday, November 20, the band performed some of their original songs in front of a bustling crowd at Murray’s Irish Bar. The original songs they performed included Hallow, Don’t Bring Me Down, No Heaven and Kept You Safe. The Beasts of Burden also performed some classic crowd-pleasers such as Proud Mary. However, upon the audience’s lively insistence, the band gave an unexpected performance of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean and Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust. The audience members cheered enthusiastically whenever lead singer and guitarist Arthur gave an animated hop in the air before grooving into the next part of the song.

When asked to compare the music scene in China to their home countries, Arthur quickly pitched in: “At least in Brazil, the music scene is bigger but the genres are a lot different.” As for the music scene in the Philippines, Rafael mentioned that there “are a lot of different bands and lots of different genres, but mostly rock ‘n’ roll.”

As a result of moving to Brazil, Arthur will no longer be able to perform with the band. However, Mike mentioned that the band is looking for a new singer and guitarist in order to keep the Beasts of Burden alive. Despite looking for a new member, Rafael asserted that “We’re still a band; we’re like a family. When he comes back, we’ll just have…” His younger brother Mike enthusiastically finished the sentence with “five members!” and a roar of laughter ensued from the other band members.

The most important piece of advice from the band to aspiring musicians is said by Mike, shaking his head and glancing at Rafael: “Don’t be late to practice.” The advice was echoed by Bernardo, “Don’t be late to practice, it’s very important,” and further thrown at Rafael by Arthur with laughter from the band, “Actually, come to practice, Rafael!”

Besides the teasing advice, Arthur also mentioned the importance of getting past your fears and showing your original music to the rest of the band. Rafael also stated that the best way to improve is by simply jamming together during practice.