Maybe Mars in NYC: "Incredible, awesome... my throat hurts"

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maybe_mars_us_tour_WEB.gifANOTHER UPDATE: While the debate about gig photographers rages on, Tim Franco has posted some great photos of the bands in the Big Apple. He's even done a write up of it all as well. SmartShanghai has the goodness right here.

UPDATE: Rather than just plucking the comments of some random off of Douban, the Radar has gone and done some research and commissioned a proper review and everything. Check it out here.

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that Maybe Mars are touring some of their bands through the US of A right about now. Here's a bit of background and here's some more details.

Well, it sounds like things are going a bit better than the Modern Sky attempted tour of the same land mass a few months ago. That was where they put Casino Demon and Hedgehog on at a Chinese Cultural Show. You can hear us talk a bit more about it on the podcast here and watch a video of the debacle here.

Word is that the show at The Glasslands, who hosted Xiao He, Carsick Cars and PK14 last Friday (together with These Are Powers), was a sell out with a twenty minute wait to get in. That's a venue of around 300 capacity. According to the same comment on CMR, people threw Zhongnanhais at the show as well.

There's a fairly, umm, interesting write up of one of the New York shows here as well. It's basically a stream of consciousness based on the show and shouting so much to Carsick Cars that his throat hurts, but give it a read. Here's a highlight:

"xiao he was incredible, awesome -- apparently pretty drunk before he even started soundcheck. xiao he lyrics: "YOU WANT CHINESE SONG, I GIVE YOU CHINESE SONG". xiao he lyrics: (chinese national anthem). xiao he lyrics: "i know you, you want to know me -- we are all here together -- FUCK YOU". by the end of the night, xiao he was completely wasted, freaking with random women, attempting to grope two members of these are powers as they were trying to perform on stage, grabbing their stage monitor and flipping it around so that it was emitting sound downward into the stage. he is our new hero."
So what does this tell us? Apart from the fact that Xiao He is an amazing performer (we kind of knew that already), it shows how successful Chinese bands can be touring abroad if they're put on in the right venues. Pet Conspiracy ripped through Europe recently, causing Helen Feng to label it "one of the most successful tours a Chinese band has ever done". By the sounds of things (and yes, I'm basing this on hearsay and a couple of comments - the ayi who owns this site won't spring for flights to the States), the Maybe Mars tour could be set to achieve similar success.

Modern Sky, please take note.

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I laughed at Dan's link love.

I can picture it now, I'm the ayi, mopping away, you're cooking the dinner and Dan is staring angrily from the table in his wife-beater vest, stubble showing and beer in hand.

You gotta keep in mind that Maybe Mars is focusing solely on the north/mid east coast of the US. Modern Sky's Sing for China tour spanned from coast to coast. Compare the traveling done between both tours, the advertising focus, the venues that were used (the show I attended was at the bottom of a church)... also that last show in Washington DC did not go too good and Modern Sky can share some blame, but its also due to bad weather?, mediocre publicity, and the audience (chinese cultural show, will include many older people and young children that have no idea whats up). Gotta congratulate both labels on pulling through with US tours though, it'll only get better next time.

You know, historically, bands seen as risky in conservative societies have sometimes gone off and got recognized in other countries before then being taken seriously back home suddenly.

Maybe these efforts might lead to the Hendrix effect for the bands. That would be kind of odd but good.

I wonder if the audiences are mostly ABCs?

Yeah, interestingly one of the NYC gigs was put on in Chinatown (but at a gig venue, not at a cultural show). There's possibly a few clues to audience make up here though, of course, a few blurry photos are far from conclusive. Guess we'll have to wait for that write up on CMR...

Later backstage I caught a bit of an interview that Yang Haisong was giving an American reporter: "there are more Chinese people here than at our shows in China."

Makes sense to me, still it sounds like they're packing them in!

From what I could tell the Glasslands show was mostly Brooklyn hipsters and musicians, with maybe one out of five being Chinese or ABC. It is not an easy place to find for people who are not regularly in the music scene. The Santos show, near the Manhattan Chinatown had a lot more Chinese/ABC, my guess being somewhere between one-third and one-half. I didn't see the two invite-only shows in NYC. There was a disproportionate amount of Chinese, which is not surprising, but most of the audience seemed to be the kinds of people who nornmally see these kinds of shows in New York. I think there were a lot of musicians, either there because they know the Beijing band members or perhaps because they wanted to check out the competition and see what the buzz was all about.

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