ON THE ROAD
Nothing stays underground forever, and eventually one must push to share something remarkable with as many people as possible. Over the past five years I traveled with a number of Chinese performers, including Joyside, Carsick Cars, P.K. 14, Xiao He, and Demerit, throughout China and across the United States and Europe. Proving themselves more than just novelty acts, these musicians upped the ante and expectations for new music out of China which now incubates fresh, independent, and frequently irreverent voices in a country renowned for creative conformity and saccharine Cantonese pop. Touring is by no means a walk in the park, though. Long journeys at odd hours, shabby lodging, and a constant diet of noodles and beer are some of the highlights. Getting paid concert by concert also makes things tight. Still, these bands pride themselves on interacting directly with their fans whether it is a concert for eight in a backwater dive or hundreds in a hip urban center. Here are some moments on the road.