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PUNKCAST#1678, video podcast on the Maybe Mars US Tour stop in Brooklyn, NYC

General Information

Released: November 11, 2009

URL: http://punkcast.com/1678/index.html


Xiao He, Carsick Cars, P.K.14 at powerHouse Arena Brooklyn, November 5, 2009

I was given a heads up on this weeks in advance by Anna from These Are Powers who recently toured in China - Maybe Mars, a musician-run label associated with Beijing underground rock club D22, were setting up a US tour with three of their best acts. I duly put the opening NYC date in my calendar - at a new venue to me The powerHouse Arena in DUMBO (for you non-New Yorkers that's a newly upscale area underneath the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges on the Brooklyn side). The Arena turned out to be a huge multilevel bookstore-cum-artspace and the show, as well as the first date on the tour, to be a launch party for an exhibit of photographs of the Chinese music scene from a new book - 'Sound Kapital: Beijing's Music Underground' by Matthew Niederhauser. Arriving late I found the place packed, but I was just able to set up in time to get Xiao He's last tune. This piece was a lengthy improv involving electronic looping, acoustic guitar, and Mongolian style throat-singing - all to bewitching effect. Next up were the catchily named Carsick Cars, a young and winsome trio who played just three songs, opening with the liberating 'You Can Listen You Can Talk' and closing with - reportedly a Chinese underground anthem - Zhong Nan Hai - a silly song about a popular cigarette brand that just happens to be named after the seat of Chinese Government. The point being, as I understand it, that being punk is being beyond politics. Lastly came P.K.14, apparently elder statesmen of the movement. Sporting a tight Swedish drummer, and singing in pure mandarin, one could discern a wide mix of influences from pop to punk, to post-punk, to freak-out rock. I've picked two tunes from them - the more melodic 'Eden' and the wild closer 'Some Surprises Happen Too Soon'.