Don't let anyone tell you the music scene's lacking in Beijing. You just have to know where to find the good shows.
On Thursday night, my friends of Dumpy Loves and the Boiled Peanuts (also known as "Swamp Mamma Johnson and the La Dudes" and "Yellow River and the Supplies" -- they're indecisive about the name) played a couple sets at Tun Bar, nestled deep in the (dark, dark) heart of Sanlitun South Street. They went through an impressive repertoire of classic folk songs (Long Black Veil, Plastic Jesus, etc.) while resisting the temptation to perform "Man of Constant Sorrow."
Not sure when they'll take the stage again -- possibly not for a while as Luke, one of the vocalists (the other is Christine, a.k.a. Daisy), lives in Kunming -- but you can catch my other friends playing every Tuesday at Tun's Open Mic night, where Dumpy Loves was discovered (the manager agreed to pay for Luke's air fare to play Thursday; the band had been rehearsing over Skype). Next step: original songs. Not sure when that'll happen, but I'll keep you posted.