As X is pronounced “Sh” in English, this festival has a someone unfortunate phonetic name, but enough of that. The poster is also a little on the risque side. Checkit:
word: sophia pederson
Nipping on the heels of JUE | Music + Art Festival, Sounds of the Xity (SX) event round 2 took place last weekend from April 1-6. The bulk of the events were held in Beijing, but made a small splash in Shanghai and Xi’an, too. The “festival,” now in its second year, is a group of events including live music performances, a music culture summit forum plus roundtable talks, and a national tour of documentary screenings at selected universities. Their mission is lofty and this year’s theme awkwardly translated into English (SX’s translation, NOT mine) is “The Relationship Between Chinese and Western Music and Encroachment Between Chinese and Western Music.” (It sounds a lot better in Chinese: 中西方音乐文化的互亲与互侵.)
As far as the “sounds” in Sounds of the Xity, the event brought some pretty solid but safe Chinese acts to various Beijing stages, including Mr. Graceless, Pet Conspiracy, Hanggai, Sound Toy, Hao Yun, Wangwen (more on this in a moment), etc… Almost as an afterthought, a few foreign acts came to take part as well – Korean punk rockers, Strikers and French dance music project We are Not Invited… a little strange given this year’s theme – but perhaps there was more on Western/Chinese relations and “encroachment” during the summit forum and roundtable talks.
SX music events coincided conveniently with one of China’s holidays – Tomb Sweeping Festival. To celebrate, I decided to pay my respects to Dalian post-rockers, Wangwen in Beijing at Yugong Yishan. They started off with crowd favourite “Waterless Pond” and continued in their depressingly beautiful instrumental post rock glory for almost a full 2 hours. Things got a little mundane in the middle – really, how long can a band hold a crowd with melancholic instrumental rock? (I’d say about an hour at best). However, the night ended on a good note as Wangwen played encore songs off their new album and with the help of flashing pink spotlights from the lighting booth and supportive crowd (gotta love Beijing!) it made me feel the 80RMB that I roped my friend into paying was well worth it.