punk rock is roughly defined as:
rock music with deliberately offensive lyrics expressing anger and social alienation; in part a reaction against progressive rock (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)
A loud fast moving form of rock music with crude and aggressive effects. ( simplythebest.net/music/glossary/music_glossary_p.html )
The first result in Google image search for punk music is:
I think of Punk Music and I have images of The Ramones, Iggy Pop, The Clash, Blondie and Patti Smith floting around my head. It’s usually non-melodic, charged with attitude and rebellious to a fault. It’s not a fashion statement or a cutesy label by any means! The idea is that you recognize punk when you see it and you recognize punk when you hear it. I’m not sure Beijing got that memo!
I planned to head over to head over to 2 Kolegas this past friday to her the Ningxia crew until i glanced over Mao Live’s listings and saw the “Punk” festival with Demerit on the bill. I’m pretty ignorant of the punk scene here and the little i had seen was limited to SUBS and a few other mainstream acts. A friend’s heavy endorsement of Demerit was good enough for me to try and catch them for once that they were around my neck of the woods.
I made it to MAO about 10:00 pm. to catch the last song by “Hell City”, a spike-haired foursome that looked like they had escaped from some 70’s revival show in the UK. I can’t say I was impressed but I’ll refrain from final judgement until i see them again. Their brand of punk seemed more about fashion than anything else and they’re best described as a bunch of guys with instruments and spiked hair for now.
Next up was “The Unsafe” who started things up with a cover of Metallica’s Seek and Destroy! I was forewarned that they walk a fine line between Metal and Punk which is indeed correct. They were quite heavy in terms of delivery and their musical ability undeniable!
Their set was about 45 mn of blistering guitars and anthems that the crowd ate up without questions. Color me impressed! One special mention for “The Unsafe” goes to their new drummer whose name I don’t know: He is undeniably one of the best I have seen in China by far. This guys drumming was freaking insane with thunderous hits, headbanging and stage presence like you wouldn’t believe! Very very nice indeed!
I’m putting “The Unsafe” in my list of must see bands for Beijing right now and encourage you to learn more about them starting with is interview over at We Live in Beijing
“Every day, I feel unsafe everywhere,” said Zhang Nan, singer and guitarist for the metal/punk hybrid The Unsafe. “My life is dark—my love has died. I only want to play rock and roll: I don’t want to do anything else.”
The 26-year-old spent two years enrolled in an IT program in Birmingham, England. “But it was so boring,” he laughed. Solution? To take guitar lessons from one of the axe-slingers of grindcore pioneers Napalm Death. […] read more
Here is a snippet of The Unsafe at Mao on Friday night:
Next up was
Shochu Legion MiSanDao (thanks for the correction Alex) http://www.myspace.com/misandaooi who were in my opinion the only real punk act of the evening! The lead singer looked and acted like someone i wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley! one tough looking mofo with suspenders and clockwork orange t-shirt!
The band was tight and played the kinda music that i expected to hear in a punk show. They didn’t resort to gimmicks of any sort and almost looked like Cheap Trick’s long lost chinese cousins Here is a snippet of the show on Friday Night:
They ended their show with a reggae flavored song which didn’t quite fit the rest of the set but at least was introduced as such.
This was the only time tonight where i could recognize what i had seen and heard as Punk.
The next band up was advertised as a SKA band and that was my cue for getting the hell out of dodge
Earlier that night, I was informed that Demerit wouldn’t be playing the show for whatever reason and I was slightly pissed off about that! They were the main reason i made the trek over there. This kind of thing is happening a bit too often at Mao with bands not showing up or playing shorter sets and what not! I’m less than impressed by the logistics and organization there and i feel it affects the likelyhood of going to shows from now on.
In their defense though, when i asked about Demerit before buying the ticket, the little girl immediately said they were not there and made sure i understood before letting me buy a ticket.
Overall, i got to see 2 quality bands and I’m still unsure as to what the hell is punk in China.. a little metal, a little rock, a dash of reggae and splash of ska? maybe it shouldn’t have a name but it’s still a good cocktail!
I’d be curious about others’ opinions on the Beijing Punk Scene.. comment away!