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Archived 'Beijing Beat' columns...

All 'Beijing Beat' articles published on CLUAS between November 2005 and February 2007 have been archived and can be found below. For the most recent Beijing Beat articles be sure to visit the Beijing Beat blog.

Beijing's most avant-garde rock club, D-22....

Dateline: February 2007

D-22 Bar Beijing"We're complete whores, anything that brings money or attention to our artists we'll do," says Michael Petis, co-proprietor of Beijing's most avant-garde rock club, D-22. Opened by childhood friends disillusioned with lives on Wall Street, the D-22's opening date - May 1st 2006 - was certainly auspicious for what its owners describe as "one of the only Communist organization in China!" Pettis, a tanned, middle-aged American, spent 15 years on Wall Street before relocating to Beijing to teach finance at Peking University. At night he rocks out with financial technology consultant Charles Saliba at nearby D-22, chatting and swapping CDs with Chinese punks. Read the full article...

The brains behind China's only international rock festival...

Dateline: October 2006

Beijing Pop Festival"We had a thousand security officers last year and 600 this year." That's progress for Jason Magnus. It's also a sign of how far government relations can take a rock promoter who has managed to bring some of the biggest names in popular music to a park in the most rarefied district of the Chinese capital for the Beijing Pop Festival. Hiring a large chunk of Chaoyang Park was costly and difficult but Magnus is doing something right. "Last year we had one stage. This year we have three."  Read the full article...

Banjo Breakthrough: Abigail Washburn's Banjo strikes a local chord

Dateline: June 2006

Abigail Washburn in ChinaListening to old timers warbling withering librettos in tumble-down Peking opera houses seems like an illogical start to an American recording career. But acclaimed American banjo player and singer-songwriter, Abigail Washburn, from the state of Illinois, spoke Chinese before she learned to play the banjo. And when the star returns to her old haunts in the autumn it will be with a new album of Chinese and English songs under her belt. She'll also be scaling new heights, literally. Read the full article...

The rise of the music festival in Asia...

Dateline: April 2006

Asian rock festivalsPoodle perms just don't suit Asian hair. But don't tell that to Thai rock god Pod. His band Modern Dog made history by being first onto the main stage for the first rock festival in south east Asia, the Bangkok 100 Rock Festival. That feat has made him an unlikely hero in Thailand's recent push to become a destination for music tourists. Read the full article...

Promoting gigs in China is no cake walk...

Dateline: March 2006

If you want to play to China's masses what kind of music should you play? "Pop music is pop music for a reason. It appeals to the most people." As a musician Jon Campbell has drummed and sung in bars, malls and corporate parties across China. From beach parties in sunny Sanya to real estate launches in dusty Henan and club gigs in Beijing the bearded Canadian learned there is no one type of music that fits the Chinese audience. Read the full article...

Giving Beijing bands a much needed live platform...

Dateline: January 2006

Lu YingHe doesn't do it to make money. Lu Ying has to sell a lot of beer to make the 15,000 Yuan monthly rent on the latest 'What?' bar and rock club he opened in late 2005 in Beijing. But the painter-turned-rocker ought to know what he's doing. Lu, a 30-year-old artist from Hebei, the province which encircles Beijing, opened one of the Chinese capital's first rock bars in the mid 1990s. His new bar breaks tradition with his earlier establishments: whereas before Lu opened clubs in old buildings the new 'What?' is a spacious, well-equipped purpose built venue.  Read the full article...

Hang On The Box, one of China's best girl punk bands...

Dateline: December 2005

Hang On The BoxThe contender swaggering down the lane drops his swagger to crouch in the reflection offered by a restaurant window. He's either a stylist or he's trying to look like Julian Casablancas. Hair fixed into the fastidiously-messy mop perfected by the Strokes frontman, he resumes his swagger, into the 13 Club, where about 200 people are swaying and shouting through a set by Caffee-In, a Sino-Japanese outfit specializing in jump-along funk. Melody: they have it in buckets. The guitarist is Chinese, the other have been a year together making music in Beijing. Read the full article...

Ian Brown at the Beijing Pop Festival...

Dateline: November 2005

Ian Brown in ChinaJaws dropped when the bill was announced mid-August. How did the organisers of the suddenly-sprung Beijing Pop Festival land one of Britain's biggest rock names for a festival in its first edition? Even more surprising, Brown would be coming to China barely a week after he'd released his latest album, Greatest, a time usually taken with press interviews. Read the full article...

China's cottage industry of rock music magazines...

Dateline: November 2005

Chinese Rock MagazinesI've lost count of the number of CDs from the Chinese publication Rock Music Magazine there are scattered around my desk. They all bear the same distinctive moniker, and a list of names bizarre and legendary. Most are still in the plastic wrapping they came in, made brittle by the dried glue with which they were pasted to the covers of the magazines they came pasted to. Every week, usually on a Thursday morning, the local newspaper cabin near my Beijing office is visited by a grubby deliveryman pedaling a heavily loaded tricycle cart. Read the full article...

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