A special one folks… rockers, dancers, screamers, surfers… answer the call: Most of this blog’s readers are rooted in rock n roll so you might not know who Miao Wong is and I’m here to tell you she’s an awesome person carrying on her shoulders the weight of a different type of underground music in Beijing: Miao has been a stalwart of this city’s electronic scene: founding member of Acupuncture Records, and fixture at White Rabbit, Lantern and supporter of local EDM artists no matter what label they’re on or where they perform. Last week, she was admitted to hospital preceding the removal of a brain tumor, which will happen this Friday. To help out with the costs involved with a three-week hospital stay and brain surgery, the friends she’s made in Beijing are rallying together and hosting a party at Lantern on April 6. Dubbed Party For The Awesome Miao, all of the ticket sales will go towards hospital fees, and you’ll get to dance to some of the best names in EDM – DJ Weng Weng, Elvis.T, Chozie, Patrick Yu and Saul D. More Info: http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/events/106393/ I might not be the biggest fan of electronic music but those guys have their work cut out for them and Miao is leading the charge with smile, even from her hospital bed!!! and that is Rock n Roll. To quote my friend Alex, 加油Miao
Like I warned yesterday, you’re not done reading the name “Jon Campbell” on this blog, at least not for this week. I believe I’ve already interviewed Jon before before, albeit more for gigs he was playing in. This time around, it’s different! He’s in Beijing as part of Jue Festival and the Bookworm Literary Festival promoting his book, Red Rock::The Long, Strange March of Chinese Rock & Roll. I read the book a while back and I’ve also been following Jon for quite sometime.. this was an opportunity to catch up and get some extra details out of him. 1- How is post Beijing life treating you and what’s been keeping you busy now that Red Rock is out? Post-bj life is great. Mellow. Very not rock and roll, really. But nice. My wife and I own a house and a dog and a backyard and it’s great. I work as a publicist for Harbourfront Centre, a cultural organization and venue on Toronto’s waterfront that hosts all kinds of festivals, events, exhibitions, dance/thatre performances, concerts, etc, most of which is free. 2- I’m curious.. What made you decide to write the book? Was there a sort of Eureka moment or was it a long process? The short answer is that Earnshaw Books put out a call for writers. I answered it. The longer answer is related to that feeling I think many expats have, which is, I have a perspective that is worthy of getting out into the world. I [...]
Of all the good people that have left their imprint on Chinese rock n roll, or Yaogun, as he likes to refer to it, none deserves more kudos than Jon Campbell as far as I’m concerned. He’s been a true trooper, participant, supporter of Yaogun and we do miss having him in Beijing. ( Jon, how about some Norwegian Death Metal Bands??? ) Well, since Jon is coming for a visit as part of the Bookworm Literary Festival to talk about his book, Red Rock, -the quitters retirees slackers good folks that made up hell raising, bourbon and white russian guzzling bloozers- Black Cat Bone will take out the suits from the old closet, put a little deodorant or baby powder on them and head over to 2 Kolegas friday night for the farewell performance they never gave. This will happen after the regularly scheduled show with Devils at the Crossroad, Flaming Heat and End of the World So, the flyer says it all….. This.will.be.rough…… Don’t forget Jon’s talk at the bookworm Saturday March 17th at 4:00 pm. He will be joined by music critic Han Fan in a talk moderated by Nathaniel Davis of Split Works. It’s a joint Jue Festival & BLF event.
Flash back to 2009 when yours truly had a hectic circuit running around Beijing from show to show, the one slotted in the middle featured Voodoo Kungfu and the Folk Orchestra at Mao Livehouse. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sight of Li Nan perched up above the stage, his body covered in writings, preaching to a hypnotized crowd in a packed Mao Live. It was beautiful! Fast forward a few years, things have changed and it’s apparently time to waive Voodoo Kungfu goodbye as their frontman and musical soul, Li Nan is headed out to Berklee College of Music. The announcement was made through his weibo account also announcing a farewell tour sometime this spring. Here’s hoping it’s a grandiose and befitting celebration of a unique monster. All of Voodoo Kungfu’s tunes are now available for download on their douban page for personal use and hopefully not for abuse. Voodoo is one of the most interesting acts still and Li Nan definitely had a lot to do with it. I’m sure something will come out of his time stateside! You can also follow the band on weibo for some interesting tidbits and historical facts that Li Nan has been posting lately about the music, logos, makeup, influences etc… http://weibo.com/voodookungfu I don’t think many people will understand how special of an artist China is losing… I’ll refers you to this slightly outdated, but nevertheless relevant, interview by Gary Temple for City Weekend a few years back: http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/articles/blogs-beijing/the-beat/voodoo-kungfu-and-the-coming-dark-age/ Up from [...]
I know the last few write ups that involve Helen Feng fronted bands were less than enthusiastic… That is not a reflection on the person though, it’s an opinion on the music. Helen Feng, the person, is still one of the more talented and well spoken persons I’ve met from my years roaming around China. She’s just got a way with words and pretty interesting opinions. I published an interview with Helen over a year ago when she parted ways with Pet Conspiracy. I still consider it to be one of the better ones I’ve ever done. Now, ArtSpace China, courtesy of the University of Sydney, has gone ahead an published their own interview with the Feng lady while she’s touring down-under with NovaHeart. and it’s a good one: Helen touches on the current Chinese music scene, GLBT and more. http://blogs.usyd.edu.au/artspacechina/2012/02/nova_heart_helen_feng.html Some choice quotes: [The Music Scene in Beijing] It’s huge – it’s getting bigger and bigger. And although it is starting to split out into different genres there is still a lot of crossover. There’s kind of a roots punk scene, and a metal scene, but in the end people just hang out with each other. or China is an independent culture, and people get that. It’s not Hong Kong, because Hong Kong was a British colony. And it’s not Taiwan – Taiwan basically became an outpost for the US military, like Korea. And so even though all these cultures supposedly hold onto more traditionalism than China, what they [...]
We talk a lot about bands breaking up, artists starting new projects, new albums, etc… all the news from the music scene! What we don’t bring up often enough is the people that keep us informed about the music scene and how important/influential they can be. We also rarely take the time to thank them, mostly because they stay behind the scenes and we rarely know who they are! Well, one of these people is leaving us and it’s quite a sad thing in my book… a big loss: Michelle Dai, who has brilliantly held the post of Live Music Editor at The Beijinger, is leaving the job and the city in pursuit of other adventures! I still remember when Michelle first made an impression on yours truly, with her live music roundup that covered the reunion of giants (he yong, cui jian, etc…) Earlier this week, while I was having dinner in a restaurant in Gui Jie, He Yong walked in and sat at the table right next to ours. All of a sudden I felt my heartbeat accelerating. In order to explain my feelings to my friend – a financial journalist who has close to zero interest in rock music – I said: “Imagine if the ex-managing director of China Citic Bank just randomly walked in and sat down next to you.” More than 15 years ago, in the spring of 1994, three men – He Yong, Dou Wei, Zhang Chu (aka “The Three Heroes of Mo Yan” [...]
There’s been a lot of noise around Beijing recently with an infamous artist writing a piece about how Beijing has lost it among others. There’s also been a lot of bickering in the press and the discussion forums about traffic, increased cost of life, pollution and what not! What’s happening to the city? The first set of answers came indirectly from good friend Kaiser Kuo on his goodbye column that you can read here: http://www.thebeijinger.com/blog/2011/11/03/Auf-Wiedersehen-Ein-Beijinger-Says-Goodbye This saturday, a very distinguished panel of what i consider knowledgeable China Hands will gather at Capital M at 4 PM and dissect Beijing’s Soul, if it’s got any… Danwei’s Jeremy Goldkorn, David Moser, Kaiser Kuo and author Zha Jianying will be the surgeons in charge of said dissection. This Saturday, December 3, CET and Sinica will present “The Soul of Beijing,” a live podcast event about where Beijing is and where the city could be going as it barrels into the future, at Beijing’s Capital M restaurant. From the event page: Where is Beijing headed in the 21st century? What sort of city is it morphing into? Has it found a way to maintain its role as political and cultural capital while keeping its historical character and ineffable personality? Why do we still love it so, despite it’s toxic air, its horrific traffic, its disastrous fengshui? And is it in danger of losing its soul? Join us for a lively and thoughtful discussion with Renaissance man Kaiser Kuo , author Zha Jianying (”China Pop” [...]
In Bloglands, 5 years is an eternity… to keep something going for that long takes dedication, especially when it’s non-profit and mostly unrewarded! Well, today, our buddy Froog is celebrating 5 years of blogging over at the Beijing-centric Round-The-World Barstool Blues (sorry, needs Vee Pee En) http://thebarprop.blogspot.com/ Froog has been around Beijing for quite some time enjoying the Beijing’s alehouses, livehouses and other establishments scattered mostly in the gulou area. He’s seen many an establishment come and go, many a band disband and has kept his brand of extremely BIASED sarcasm (some might say grumpiness) intact through it all. Sure we disagree on a few things ( think donkeys) but we also happen to share an appreciation for all things music in Beijing. Froog has been a fervent supporter of the local scene through it all despite not getting the recognition! So, here’s to you mistah… one tipple on ‘daze for when we meet in the haze!
When Ruby sat down to write a review and comments on Alan Paul’s appearance at the bookworm on Tuesday, I don’t think she realized what can of worms she would be opening. I didn’t either! Truth be said, I never met the gentleman but I had good dealing with him last year via email and enjoyed reading some of his back columns. Still, when news of the book and potential movie deal came about, he started being a bit of a controversial topic amongst some of Beijing’s expats…. Well, here is Alan Paul, answering the critics, in his own words…. 1- What’s going on in your world? This is your chance to plug your stuff My book Big in China came out March 1 and I’ve been out there plugging it and mostly having fun doing so. Ivan Reitman and Montecito Pictures optioned the book’s movie rights and that seems to be moving forward. I’m really happy to be back in Beijing with my pengyou. After two brief acoustic performances backing book readings at the Bookworm and the Orchard, I am playing at Jianghu tonight with Lu Wei and Zhang Yong from Woodie Alan and very much looking forward to it. 2- Congrats on the book! I read a few extract but not the whole thing yet. Still, I was surprised at how much you sound surprised at the events that happened to you. how was that? Well, I truly was surprised by a lot of it, particularly the band. [...]
Not many laowai can claim to have become ‘Big in China’, the only person I can think of would be DaShan maybe? Well, Alan Paul can also claim that title, or at least he does in making that the name of his book about life in Beijing as a trailing spouse and ‘rock star’. I’ve only been in Beijing a little over 2 years myself, so I missed the phenomena that was the Woodie Alan band and have only heard stories about the good old days of the Beijing music scene, back in the times of the old Yugong Yishan and The River Bar. So a little bit of curiosity about City Weekend’s Beijing Band of the Year 2008, and a love of the band Alan refers to as starting his Beijing music career Sand, brought me to The Bookworm on a stormy Beijing night to see what all the fuss is about! Now, I haven’t read the book or even heard Woodie Alan’s music before, so I was coming into the talk completely without doing my homework! Normally before a show I little to do a little research, listen to douban, check out Rock in China wiki, get a feel for what I’m going to see. But in this case I wanted to appreciate this from fresh eyes and ears, the way someone from outside China would when reading the book, although living here and understanding the music scene does give me a little head start! Alan started off [...]