The Beijing music scene is emerging as a lively and eclectic one. Today, a variety of musical styles is heard in the capital's bars and clubs.
While most of the bands are predominantly Chinese, there are a few exceptions to the rule.
Bernice Chan meets one of them.
After the working day is done, the Beijing rock band Shake Hands with Danger pile their instruments into the back of a taxi and head to a rehearsal in Gulou, or Old Bell tower near the lake district in Hou Hai.
Ben Davey and Jeremy Hartley started the band five months ago. They met while working together at the China Daily newspaper. Helena Gallagher and Toby Larsson on drums make up the rock-quartet.
Tonight, they're rehearsing for an upcoming gig as well as practicing a few new songs.
Danger's music is dark and gritty, with lyrics speaking about life and death, war and guns, much like their namesake.
BEN: I heard a legend from an uncle of mine who was in Vietnam. And he told me that the Australian guys who used to go out and diffuse mines, that if they were ever passed to the other side… in the camp they would say he shook hands with danger, he shook hands with danger.
In the last three months the band has been performing regular gigs, mainly at D-22, a bar popular with university students in Beijing's Haidian District.
Although the band members have played in other groups outside of China, the idea of creating music in the Chinese capital came together spontaneously.
BEN: Well, we originally came over for work reasons and since Jeremy and I were hanging out a lot, we were kind of like, hey man, you want to start a band? And you were like…
Ben and Jeremy say Beijing's music scene is an eclectic one, which includes bands that play country, 80's pop, covers, metal and rock.
BEN: Beijing's scene in particular seems to be so young, it hasn't developed this snobbishness yet or sense of elitism that certainly I've found in a few scenes from where I've come from, which is Australia, and particularly in the UK and LA and that sort of stuff, they don't have that.
Despite the relative ease in finding venues to play, Shake Hands with Danger is one of the few expat bands in the city. And because they sing in English, they sometimes wonder if their hard-edged lyrics get lost in translation.
BEN: I'm talking to the audience most of the time, and most of the audience looks at me as if they don't know what I'm talking about. And we're not meeting… we're not meeting.
JEREMY: Maybe they're not getting the grimness of the situation when we're talking about gunfights happening in the street. But they feel it and they can intuit it because these are sort of universal ideas and it comes you know with a fair bit of feedback and noise… I think it's pretty clear what we're saying.
Having planted themselves squarely in the Beijing music scene, Shake Hands with Danger are hoping their sound will rock others across China.
With their wild ways and dark undertones, Shake Hands with Danger is indeed adding to the eclectic mix of the capital's musical melting pot. Who knows what this crazy quartet may spawn in the future.
This is Bernice Chan for China Daily Video News.
(英语点津 Linda 编辑)
About the broadcaster:
Marc Checkley is a freelance journalist and media producer from Auckland, New Zealand. Marc has an eclectic career in the media/arts, most recently working as a radio journalist for NewstalkZB, New Zealand's leading news radio network, as a feature writer for Travel Inc, New Nutrition Business (UK) and contributor for Mana Magazine and the Sunday Star Times. Marc is also a passionate arts educator and is involved in various media/theatre projects in his native New Zealand and Singapore where he is currently based. Marc joins the China Daily with support from the Asia New Zealand Foundation.
Bernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.