Global Times seeking controversy where there is none or are they?

I usually try keep things simple and mostly blog about shows i go to and restaurants I eat at without overanalyzing things.. not really much into commenting on other people’s articles but I’m gonna make an exception this time around thanks to the good folks at Global Times and two of their articles I came across today.

First up is this lovely piece by none other than Dialogue’s Tian Wei: Will old rockers’ concert in Beijing be the day the music dies?
She’s tackling this coming friday’s show at gongti that’s been labelled a reunion of giants with Cui Jian, Tang Dynasty, Black Panther, et co. She writes:

China has never seen an event like this before.
Music fans, particularly those in their 30s and 40s, are so excited about the coming performance that they describe it as a once-in-a-lifetime, mouth-watering opportunity.
For weeks, the Chinese media has been busy publicizing the event and speculating about what the lineup of songs is going to be.
People are also curious whether these middle-aged rock legends can satisfy today’s audiences.

I might be missing something, but I don’t quite see how this can be equated to “The day the music dies” in any way shape or form. Never mind talking about some of those artists like Cui Jian or Tang Dynasty as being past their prime without considering that they’ve been playing for the past few years to plenty of sold out crowds all over the country.
I might not be the biggest Tang Chao fan but they looked nothing past their prime at Strawberry or Star Live and they’ve still headlined MIDI, InMusic and Max Star music festival amongst others.

She then goes on and writes:

Yaogun, or “rock’n’roll,” has long ceased to be a taboo word, and musicians and bands have emerged from the underground.
There is even an official rock’n’roll billboard in China today – surprise, surprise – despite the fact that not many care as to who and what are on the list anymore, as none of the bands today ever have reached the glory and popularity of the old guns who are to perform during the weekend.
And you cannot blame the young, because they are now comfortably intertwined with the society as responsible citizens with jobs and are detached from most of the harsh realities of Chinese society.

Fair enough, but how is the music dying? The old guns are still around and the younger generation is coming up and building a following! There are more venues to play in and more bands playing in them than ever before. Sure, they’re not all that good but there is still plenty of music around.. it’s alive and well! Chinese bands are being flown around the world, headlining festivals and winning global competitions…

With all due respect to Tian Wei ( and she deserves plenty), I don’t get the point of the article or the sensationalism of the headline! I might very well be missing the point and be overly critical but it’s almost sounding like a case of “everyone is writing about this, so i should write something too..I just don’t know what”

What do you folks think?

Next up is lovely piece titled Rain, nervous police meet moshing, middle fingers by James Tiscione presented as a review of Max Star Festival day 5 with Brain Failure, XTX, Carsick Cars and Twisted Machine amongst others. I don’t personally know James but i remembered his name from a good article he did for the Beijinger a few months on the last day of MIDI and his well written review of a rock festival in inner mongolia not too long ago. I like his style….

However, on this one, James goes in with the old cliche angle of Police stopping concert goers from having fun and dedicates his opening paragraphs to the topic; he also closes the article with the same angle… A for consistency but it was misplaced…. James’ article is making it sound like throughout the show, security got in the way of concert goers preventing them from having fun and it was definitely not the case!

Earlier parts of the gig with Nancheng brother had no issues. Carsick Cars played their set with no issues, Xie Tian Xiao played his set with no issues! Only twice did security get a bit touchy and that was during Brain Failure and Twisted Machines’ sets when the rain was pouring and they tried to stop wanna-be divers from getting on the slippery fence to crowdsurf! I didn’t see security even once try to get in and break the moshpit.

What was happening over there was a simple case of keeping things safe and protecting audience members from being stupid and getting unnecessarily hurt by slipping on wet metal. The same thing would have been done in most places in the world when playing under the rain! Had they wanted to stop the mosh pit, they would have sent security into the crowd to get that done.

Now, maybe things looked different from James’ point of view but it sure as hell didn’t seem like that to me… or maybe i’ve been desensitized because I’ve seen too many shows where there was an army of security in front of a stage to prevent problems over the years and this seemed like a miniscule issue.

At the end of the day, when I left that gig, I was not thinking about the Rain, the middle fingers or the police and it feels to me that the readers are being misled into believing things were bad when they were not!
I walked out of there thinking it was a great show and an amazing display of appreciation by both musicians and concert goers alike to stay in the rain for so long and enjoy the music… I walked of there mesmerized by Xie Tian Xiao’s performance and thinking that he very much is deserving of his “king of Live” title ( the piece mistakenly refers to him as “self proclaimed godfather of rock which I’ve never heard before in regards to XTX).

So I’m just wondering at this point.. Is the whole sensationalism thing prevalent in Global Times articles or am I being oversensitive to these two particular articles? Are they trying too hard to create and find controversy where there is none?

curious to hear your thoughts…

4 Responses

  1. Kris says:

    Old rockers, haha! It’s funny that when I think of “Old rockers” i think Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, or even Aerosmith.
    “none of the bands today ever have reached the glory and popularity of the old guns” (referring to the new bands) This is TRUE, why? because the old guys paved the way, they are the pioneers, the first innovators. This isn’t a comparison, the old versus young. Cui Jan was one of the first rockers in China, he give this country a sound that’s never been heard before, and new musicians are just grateful for all he has done for the genre. Today, when you want to get into rock music, there’s plenty of choices and lots of great bands. The bands today are not trying to be the next Cui Jan, they just want to capture their own niche and audience. It’s like guitar players do not expect to be the next Jimi Hendrix, that would be crazy! Being in Beijing’s music scene in the past 2 years have shown me lots of great Chinese bands out there that’s making a name for themselves. the article title “Will old rockers’ concert in Beijing be the day the music dies?” is completely absurd. It’s not the day the music dies, it’s the day the music strives on, and to let China know Rock music is here to stay. And with all the new bands popping up in China, I’m sure a few of them are going to kick some serious ASS!

  2. I Love Beijing says:

    I’ve always thought Tian Wei talked a lot and said nothing, particularly on Dialogue, where she gives speeches disguised as hard hitting questions and never acknowledges her guests answers.

    I loved James articles, and think he is one of the best music writers in Beijing. I thought his article was a little more nuanced than you describe — I thought it was about police being surprised by the moshing, and not knowing what to make of it. I did not think it was about the police (succeeding in) ruining anyone’s fun. I took it as less of a “news” story and more of a “slice of life” focusing on a kind of generation/culture gap.

    • Beijing Daze says:

      ditto on Tian Wei.. this article of hers seemed very out of style because she sounds like she’s actually taking sides and making a statement about the longevity of music and what not… then she blabbers around randomly.

      As far as James go, he is definitely one of my favorite writers in Beijing and he’s been Ace on this sending an email about his perspective. I’ll maintain that this one came out wrong and reading both articles on the same day my lovely scooter was stolen was maybe not the best thing to do.

      Cheers either way