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Chinese punks rock out for release party of all sorts...
September 11, 2004. Beijing, China.
“ONE, TWO, SEVEN, EIGHT!” Joyside lead singer screams out as an introduction to the last song of their set. Joyside, one of Beijing’s premier punk bands, played about ten songs in their 45-minute set at Nameless Highlander Bar in Beijing. Their music is beautifully reminiscent of the 1970s United Kingdom punk scene. The old school scene even influences their name; Joyside comes from Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious of the seminal British punk band the Sex Pistols. The atmosphere is a mix of old and new; old-style music and fashion and a distinctive new influence of mosh pits forming.
Next up is the first major all-girl group to come out of the Beijing punk scene--Hang on the Box. They play an eight song set of about a half hour, ranging from their older songs to those off of their newer album (which was supposed to be released tonight, but delayed through shipping). Their set really shows their range of musical talent and how far they have come since their more Riot Grrl roots in the beginning. Their song "Cherry Tree," off the new album, has guitar lines that are distinctly influenced by post-punk bands Joy Division and New Order. Another song, "Bitch," moves their music closer to date and is reminiscent of Elastica’s The Menace. Finally, their last song for the evening, "Shanghai," incorporates the dance-rock feel of The Rapture. Hang on the Box are distinctly Chinese, incorporating objects and themes from everyday life in China into their songs. On several songs throughout the set, singer Wang Yue makes use of the ubiquitous megaphones found all over Beijing to blast her vocals. On the song "Shanghai," lyrics such as “Shanghai is a beautiful city” sarcastically glorify the rival metropolis, referencing Beijing-ers' disdain for it.
The show tonight was more of a release party of sorts. Joyside’s debut album, Drunk is Beautiful, is set to be released on September 18th, and if not for the shipping delay, Hang on the Box would have their new album to promote tonight as well. In addition to showcasing the two bands, the night also featured a book release party for author Zhao Xing. Her book, Guo Qu Shi--or roughly translated, Days Past--chronicles her experiences in the Beijing punk scene. Between sets, Zhao said a few words of thanks and sold her books DIY style, right outside the venue. With all these releases in China, one wonders when these cultural products will be available in the States.
Date Posted: 10/1/2003