Here’s a bit of music news followed by something you can do for Chinese rock.
The media-starved Chinese indie scene got a huge push on Sina Weibo this week when blogger Han Han found time between his car racing and corporate whoring to plug Shijiazhuang’s well-respected indie quartet Omnipotent Youth Society.
This is a big Weibo ripple considering Han has over 11 million followers and rarely posts (only 57). Han, who unfortunately once fancied himself a crooner, recommended the songs Kill that Man from Shijiazhuang and Qinhuangdao from OYS’s self-titled LP (2010). For the latter he wrote the lyrics in calligraphy and posted:
I know I’m hearing about these late. It makes me think back about when everyone was busy playing Happy Farm, I was blogging, and when everyone was blogging I was stealing their vegetables. People say I’m different, but really I’m just behind and the last to know stuff. Hey, better late than never.
Much like Han’s elliptical writings (or his ghostwriters’, depending on who you ask), both the songs tell of the dangers of idealism, lyrics which Han dedicates to “all those young people still crossing those waters” (also lyrics from Qinhuangdao).
Curious to know what a 11-million-strong Weibo post can do for a band, we contacted OYS, who was surprisingly not willing to talk about it. We’ll keep you updated.
Although the English-language music blogs have already done their part, one last push for pianist/composer Liang Heping’s benefit concert at Beijing’s Yugong Yishan tomorrow is in order (8 pm, 150 yuan at the door), not only because of the winning lineup (includes He Yong, Second Hand Rose, Tomahawk, Liquid Oxygen Can, Thin Man, Ma Tiao), but it’s also a chance to help one of Chinese rock’s progenitors cover medical costs.
Late last June, Liang was injured off-roading in Inner Mongolia, resulting in partial paralysis of his arms, leaving him not only unable to play as before but also stuck with huge medical bills.
As China rock scribe Jon Campbell pointed out, Liang was an instrumental player in rocker Cui Jian’s early years, and also produced He Yong’s “Garbage Dump,” which is essential 90s Chinese rock listening:
That’s Liang on the keys (5:40, don’t blink) during a 1994 Hong Kong performance of “Bell and Drum Tower.”
He Yong is paying it forward now by organizing the concert, which will also include an auction of items donated by Chinese rock royalty, including Xie Tian Xiao (who finally has a new album coming out March 30). All proceeds go straight to Liang.
James Tiscione writes about music for That’s Beijing.