5 months of 2011

A little bit of collective history, here are the first 5 months of 2011 in the Chinese rock scene:

On January 7th, 2011, during their anniversary celebration for the 13th year of Modern Sky, Shen Lihui announced that they are going to deeply integrate with Beijing based label/ promoter/ artist management company Robust Husband (荔芙娱乐) and hence all of Robust’s bands are to be considered Modern Sky bands, including Omnipotent Youth Hotel, Brain Failure, Steely Heart, Candy Monster, White Eyes and Go Chic.[78] On January 8th, Yaksa held their 15 years anniversary concert in the Yugong Yishan.

In March, various benefit concerts for Japan were held including: on March 18th the Japan Benefit Show at the 13 Club Beijing;[79] on March 19th at LUNE, Shanghai[80]; and on March 22nd, the Love You! – Mao Japan Benefit concert at the Mao Livehouse Beijing.[81]

On March 19th, for the tenth time, the 330 Metal Festival happened at Tango, Beijing.[82]

On March 24th, Archie Hamilton released an article at CNNGo about the current state of the underground music and the need for bands to take the next step. Among other statements Archie voiced:

The scenes in Shanghai and Beijing are still largely populated by expats and Westernized Chinese, while Shanghai’s pre-Expo momentum was destroyed by a flood of government-sponsored visiting artists creative who had little to no name recognition in China and (due to a general lack of organization and promotion) left very little impact and generally froze out the local audiences. The second and third tier cities that don’t have the expat populations struggle to sustain even a single live house (although Vox in Wuhan, Nuts in Chongqing, Little Bar in Chengdu and various others are doing their best). What is clear is that more grassroots activity is absolutely vital to move things forward.[83]

Further in March and April, the fourth installation of the Metal Battle takes place in Beijing.

At the beginning of May a series of cancellations and concert banning took place with the biggest cancellation the postponement of the Suzhou Strawberry Music Festival 2011 alledgebly due to damages by a thunderstorm effecting their power set up[84], however as per China Music Radar, rumours are that the actual reason is a happening at the Zhouzhuang Folk fest the weekend earlier:

Last weekend’s Zhouzhuang Folk Festival, someone sent a message containing “Aye Way Way (sic.)” to the public tweet channel, which has been shown on the big screen. Aye Way Way, the famous Chinese dis-a-dent artist, was ‘kidnapped’ by police at Beijing Airport early this April. The message was deleted immediately, however, it did not stop people from tweeting more. Shortly ahead of Zuo Xiao Zu Zhou, a famous underground folk musician, came up on stage, young folks started yelling “Aye Way Way”. The whole ‘accident’ wasn’t planned at all, but it was one of the greatest reactions within China regarding the authority detaining Aye Way Way.[85]

Furthermore several gigs including a show of Rustic were cancelled in Beijing.[85] In Chongqing raids by the police happened prohibiting foreign and expat bands to perform, alledgebly due to taxation issues.[85] Furthermore all international acts of the Nanjing Blossom Music Festival were banned to perform.[86]

Nevertheless these troubles, the Beijing Strawberry Music Festival 2011, the Midi Music Festival 2011 and other festivals happened around the May holidays. According to Beijing Daze[87]:

(…)
– The musicians were really cool with interruptions and shortened sets judging from their weibo streams. It’s cool that they were all mindful of each other.
– Again, a huge “big ups” to the crowd.. not as busy as the organizers would have liked with about 4000 or so that first day but definitely pulling their weight in!

Furthermore, the D-22 celebrated their fifth anniversary in a three-day concert (Apr 30th, May 1st and 2nd) along with those bands that grew big by the help of D-22 including Carsick CarsWhite,Snapline and many others.[88] [89] According to Beijing Gig Guide: D-22 might not be the only kid on the block any­more, but they’ve been an impor­tant step­ping stone to many.[90]

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