(PRWEB) October 01, 2014
One of the biggest rock bands in Beijing, Second Hand Rose (二手玫瑰) brings its distinct mix of heavy rock ‘n’ roll and traditional Chinese instrumentation to New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia in October.
Named for the signature rose singer Liang Long often wears behind his ear and the notion that rock in China is a second-hand endeavor, Second Hand Rose revels in taboos (innuendo-laced lyrics, gender-bending costumes) and tweaking the establishment: for their performance at the state-owned Workers’ Gymnasium, they brought pig statues on stage to reference the line “a group of pigs fly to heaven” in their song “Allow Some Artists to Get Rich First," an allusion to Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping’s slogan, “let some people get rich first” as China began its embrace of capitalism.
The band draws on a stage tradition from China’s northeast called Two Taking Turns, in which a male jester and female beauty trade flirtatious barbs—though in the band’s case Liang plays both parts. The song “Clingy” adapts a traditional Two Taking Turns tune, “Lovers Infatuation,” and infuses it with Second Hand Rose’s trademark sound: power guitars mingle with braying suona (a Chinese horn) while Liang takes on a role that’s part rock ‘n’ roll troubadour, part Peking opera warbler. "'Clingy" recounts the story of a passionate young couple that sneaks out of their homes for a secret affair,” says Liang. “The chorus portrays this in poetic images that are simultaneously romantic and terrifying: the nightly meetings, the ‘picking of the flower’ (i.e. sex), and difficult departures.”
Click the image above to watch the Liang Long–directed video for “Clingy,” with English subtitles. “You ask me to come/Who the hell wouldn’t want to come?!/...But your wall’s tall and encircled by watchtowers/I’m afraid of your father’s shotgun.”
Liang was drawn to Two Taking Turns because it’s a folksy and somewhat vulgar tradition—much like rock music. And by combining the two, the band creates a truly Chinese expression of rock ‘n’ roll, embracing all of the contradictions and competing influences that come with being an artist in modern China.
#UselessRockUSA Tour Dates
Tuesday, Oct. 7, The Red Room at Cafe 939, Boston
Wednesday, Oct. 8, Press Conference at UCT Cultural Development, 3:30pm, 310 E. 44th Street, New York
Thursday, Oct. 9, Useless Rock: Youth Culture in the PRC lecture, China Institute, NYC http://conta.cc/ZuCQG4
Friday, Oct. 10, Theresa and Jane Lang Theatre at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington, DC
Sunday, Oct. 12, Red & Green Fashion Launch with Hip-Hop USA and film screening, Ran Tea House, Brooklyn
Wednesday, Oct. 15, Hard Rock Cafe, Philadelphia
Sunday, Oct. 19, Marlin Room at Webster Hall, NYC
-A message that truly resonates with an audience that grew up among the boom and bust of early Yaogun (Chinese rock n’ roll) and...a mercurial energy that prevents the music from taking itself too seriously. -China Music Radar
-[Liang Long’s] trademark flowery jacket, bright red lipstick and round vintage sunglasses naturally conjure up waves of screams from the audiences. Holding a pair of cymbals, he shakes them slightly, while asking the crowd, "Shall we start?" -Xinhua
-Second Hand Rose’s unique brand of hard folk is genuinely homegrown, melding heavy guitars with old style Chinese horns and percussion. Flamboyant singer Liang Long, not averse to makeup and a figure-hugging dress, warbles his tunes in a shrill tone that’s somewhere between Peking Opera and “crosstalk”. -CNN