For the first time since it started in 2007, China’s Modern Sky Music Festival is heading out of the country and coming to the US. Managed by the indie label Modern Sky Entertainment, which includes artists such as Carsick Cars and PK14 under its name, it is the largest music festival in China.
International and Chinese artists will be playing on Oct 4th and 5th at New York’s Central Park.
The lineup looks fantastic, with many of the legends and pioneers of the Chinese indie music scene gathered together. I urge all who are around the area to check it out. It’ll definitely be a great experience (at a decent price), even for those not familiar with Chinese music.
Tickets are available through the festival website, and are going for $48 (1 day pass) and $85 (2 day pass). For more information, visit their official site here: http://modernskyfestivalnyc.com/
Below, I’ll provide a brief intro to the Chinese artists, with one song to sample so you get a feel of what to expect (in order of performance schedule):
Rebuilding The Rights of Statues 重塑雕像的权利 (China)
Theatrical icons of China’s rebellious undercurrent, Re-TROS shot to critical acclaim with just one EP and one album under their belts. Signed to Modern Sky since 2005, their debut EP “CUT OFF!” received the help of famous producer Brian Eno. Their musical influences include Bauhaus, Joy Division and Gang of Four.
Deserts Zhang 张悬
Genre: Folk/alternative rock
Taiwanese alternative folk singer-songwriter Deserts is beloved across the straits for her catchy, moody tunes that you can never get sick of. Everyone knows her most famous song, “宝贝 Baobei”, one of the karaoke classics that has become a household name since it’s release in 2006. Though her style has grown much from the simple acoustic arrangements of her first album, taking on more rock influences, she remains one of the most popular female singer-songwriters in the scene.
Second Hand Rose 二手玫瑰
Second Hand Rose have been making waves in China ever since they crashed onto the scene in 2002, bringing a never-before-seen brand of experimental rock that blends in traditional Chinese folk musical elements, as well as a traditional story-telling singing style. The best part of their music are the hilarious lyrics that derive much from traditional stand-up comedy. They’re also known to be wild live, with their lead singer who has a larger-than-life personality and loves to dress up in crazy, androgynous traditional costumes.
Hailing from Urumqi, Xinjiang, Tongue blends hard-driving angry rhythms with folk instruments and biting lyrics. Vocalist Wu Tun often alternates between his raw deep voice and high-pitched screeches to channel the band’s frustration with our rapidly changing times.
Queen Sea Big Shark 后海大鲨鱼
On the other end of the spectrum, Queen Sea Big Shark are a female-fronted, iconic fashion-forward band, who’ve amassed a huge international fanbase for their brand of dance rock that blends head-bobbing beats with a shoegaze-like retro feel. I’d say they’re sound is one of a kind.
Omnipotent Youth Society 万能青年旅店
Formed in the 1990s, this band from from Shijiazhuang came together because of two best friends who grew up together, who shared that weariness with the world and that desire to live with music. Originally under another name, the band became Omnipotent Youth Society in 2002, and released their debut EP in 2006 with little fanfare. Nevertheless, their sincere sound connected with many young people around the country and catapulted them to fame.