This weekend marks the 8th Anniversary of Little Bar, which is one of the biggest rock venues in China, which is down the street from me in Chengdu. To celebrate, they threw a giant party in a huge building in the north part of the city which lasted for three days. This was really my introduction to Chinese rock music.
I knew that the music would have a Western influence, but I wasn’t sure of how strong it’d be. Most of the bands were heavy metal or punk rock. They definitely like the harder edge of rock. There were more than a few speed/death metal bands, all made up of Chinese members. There were vocals, but no lyrics. Seeing this performed was fascinating. On the first day one band played a heavy metal cover of the Chinese national anthem. The place went nuts. I’m not sure if this is a sign of solidarity or if it’s like Rage Against the Machine bringing the American flag on stage, seeing everyone go wild out of anger and contempt. Either way, the music was pretty badass. I was in the mosh pit yesterday for a band called Thor, which I think was the best of the metal bands. There’s an interesting phenomena in mosh pits here which is when 10-20 people lock hands in a giant circle, and then run around in a circle smashing into everyone. Very strange. At one point they accellerated really fast and people were flying out of the ring into other people in the crowd, really fast. Bizarre. Watching the bands, I started to wonder when I’d see them do something really original, and not just emulate what’s already been done in other parts of the world. Thor did this, and a few other bands managed to as well. This was most successfully and dramatically evidenced when they would combine rock music with traditional Chinese instruments. For example, Thor had an ar-who player. I don’t know how to write this in Pinyin, or what the English name for this instrument is, but as soon as I hear it, it reminds me of China and of kung fu movies. Certain parts of a few songs would include ar-who solos which were truly fucking badass. Beautiful instrument.
The best band to play was Wang Lei. I’m not sure if this is the name of the entire band, or just one person. He’s a skinny Chinese guy with long hair who looks Japanese to me, and also appears to be in his early 30’s. He has a huge reputation here, even though my understanding is that he doesn’t live in Chengdu. Everyone was talking about him for two days. I met him last night, he speaks some English, and apparenly he’s into drum & bass, although I’m not sure if he’s dabbled in DJ’ing at all. He played with his band to close out the show, last night at 11pm. Before they started playing, I had an idea of their direction based on all their equipment and clothes which adorned the Jamaican colors of red, yellow, and green. Also, I smoked half a joint with Wang Lei before he played. They are a Chinese reggae band. Fucking awesome as hell, too. Wang Lei plays guitar and is the lead singer, there was a caucasian bass player with a Panama Jack hat on, a guy on samples with a DJ mixer, and the Pioneer effects processor I used to have, and a female woman on keys, with two keyboards (one was a Triton, I’m not sure about the other one). Thick vibes, everyone was hyped to hear them play. They had a tinge of rock in what they played, maybe a little reminiscent of Sublime, only in Chinese.
Most of the time that I was there I was hanging out with Li, Monkey, or Joe and Sasha, two Germans that I recently met. Joe has been here for a year and half and speaks really good Chinese. Sasha is visiting Joe from Hamburg. They seem to be German in every way possible. Thick accents, weird black clothes, and they like really fucking strange music. If it’s not experimental or inspires confusion, they don’t like it. Naturally, they worship Aphex Twin. Everything that I like Joe seems to dislike, even though he’s a drum & bass DJ. Apparently he picked up DJ’ing here in China though, and hasn’t ever really handled vinyl.
I downloaded 21 award-winning Korean short films from WDMA which I’ll watch now. I’m hungry though, so I’ll probably leave soon and go to Carrefour to get some jien dan myen.
I’ve been listening to Temple of Boom for 4 days. Easily my favorite Cypress Hill album. My favorite cut on it is Illusions.
Boom biddy bye bye, now it’s time to die. From the lyrics it sounds so hostile and threatening, but musically it’s very mellow and laid back with the xylophone hook. Maybe someone in Rolling Stone said it was a nice contrast.