Tuesday, 26 April 2011

China - Beijing

"There isn't much of a hardcore-punk scene in Beijing. There is a punk scene and there is a metalcore / tough-guy scene (as well as an extreme metal scene, grindcore, thrash metal, etc). I'm not really a part of the metalcore or extreme metal scene so mostly I will talk about the punk scene but I will try and give links to some bands in the other scene... in any case all the scenes are fairly small.

There are several established venues in Beijing that book most of their own shows. The main ones for punk are D-22 and WHAT Bar sometimes there are also punk shows at MAO Live House and and Hot Cat Club. The metalcore bands will mainly play at MAO as well as the skinhead bands.

I'm the booking manager for D-22 and like to do punk and hardcore shows two or three times a month on the weekends. Lei Jun the singer from Mi San Dao also books and promotes punk / skinhead / ska shows, mostly at MAO, and holds a big Punk Festival once a year. Most of the bigger foreign acts who come through, like Bane and Terror, are booked by Paul at Hot Pot Music. He works very closely with the metalcore bands. Besides the main promoters many of the bands will join together in groups and book shows at one of the clubs.

There are several different "scenes" that all come together and interact as one. I don't want to break them apart two much but some of the main bands in the scene are:

Fanzui Xiangfa - one of the only hardcore-punk bands in China. It's formed out of both Chinese and expats, including the guitarist from DS-13. They will be touring Europe this summer. mys

Demerit - this band started out punk but has been moving more towards a mix of hardcore / 80s metal. They are one of the bigger bands in China and touring the US on WARP Tour this summer. They are signed to the record label Maybe Mars.

Gumbleed - A fairly young punk band who has been active recently. They have already completed one tour of Europe and will be doing another one this summer / fall.

Soju Legion - these guys are a fairly young band who have been making a name for themselves in Beijing with a raw sound, powerful stage show and catchy sing-a-longs. By far the most popular of the younger bands.

Cold Case - A younger punk band who belongs to DM Records. They have great live shows with a raw powerful sound.

Flyx - the are a straight-up "Anti-Flagish" punk band who are pretty popular. They have released some songs on a four-way split for Maybe Mars and will have a couple tracks released on a 7" split through the German Eastcore Records.

No Words - these guys are one of the youngest bands in the Beijing scene but also one of my favorite. They are short spastic thrash with an absolutely crazy singer. Recently they have taken to adding some anthems into their set but their older thrash stuff is still the best.

Discord - One of the older bands in the Beijing punk scene they have been going at it since the early 00's. Solid anthem and sing-a-long punk.

Hell City - This band was formed out of members from the older band "Gang Bang Sex Abuse." They play a slick full sounding version of punk reminiscent of the Clash.

Mi San Dao - Mi San Dao is an old and very active skinhead band in China. The singer has worked very hard to hold punk shows and a punk festival each year. They are often featured in foreign media because of the novelty of being "Chinese Skinheads." They were recently featured in the documentary "Beijing Punk" along with Demerit.

xIt Never Happenedx - they are part of the CUA metalcore crew and they have just released a demo.

Unregenerate Blood - an older band whose members came out of a really great old band called "Last Chance of Youth." They are pretty straight up macho metalcore.

Hutong Fists - Again this is another band from the tough-guy / metalcore scene.

Return the Truth - This band is also part of the CUA crew.

There are a few younger bands in Beijing and always more that are just starting out but this covers most of the ones that are active now.

There are almost no zines left in China. You used to be able to find them in the late 90's and early 00's but not now, at least not in Beijing. I know there are still some kids in South China doing them but there aren't very many. Most of the kids who play music in China use a social networking site called Douban where they can post their music, info about releases, upcoming shows and blog posts. Almost all on-line activity around music happens on that site and most of the links I gave for bands were to that site. Besides douban it's hard to find personal blogs on the hardcore / punk scene.

There are also very few labels that release punk / hardcore music. Most of the material released is CDr demos or MP3 only. Maybe Mars has released albums by Demerit and SMZB (from Wuhan) as well as tracks from Flyx. There is a small punk label run by the singer from Demerit called DM Records that has released a CD by the Dalian hardcore band "Jason Kill" but hasn't done much also. There are also several record labels in name that haven't produced any material."

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