Chinese Rock Comes To NYC Webster Hall

Beijing-based Second Hand Rose, one of mainland China’s biggest rock bands, will be performing at Webster Hall’s Marlin Room on October 19th as part of their debut #UselessRockUSA tour. Indie garage and blues-rock band 88 Balaz, one of the most popular and emblematic indie bands in Taiwan, will be opening for Second Hand Rose, introducing audiences to a broad range of Mandarin Rock. Advance tickets are available for purchase.

The 2-week Northeast tour will follow their performance at the Modern Sky Festival in Central Park on October 5th and include a lecture “Useless Rock: Youth Culture in the PRC” at the China Institute. The band will be introducing their unique brand of rock, tour and Red&Green fashion line during a press conference being held on October 8th at 3:30pm at 310 E. 44th Street (bet 1st & 2nd Ave).

To fund their travels, the band set up a crowdfunding campaign through PledgeMusic. Fans can pre-purchase tickets to any of the club shows or pick up items from the band’s clothing line, Red & Green. The patterns are designed by Liang Long and based the classic floral prints of northeastern China, instantly recognizable throughout the country for the red-and-green color combinations. Additional clothing created in collaboration with Hip Hop USA and featuring Second Hand Rose’s signature motifs will be unveiled at an event on October 12.

Back in 2000, singer Liang Long and suona (a wind instrument) player Wu Zekun burst onto Beijing’s underground music scene with a performance style that’s part cabaret, part Chinese theater, and part rock ‘n’ roll dance party. The band eventually filled out to a six-piece and set itself apart from its peers with live shows that have something in common with the tongue-in-cheek provocation of bands like the New York Dolls and the Japanese style of Visual Kei. Liang is known to perform in partial drag, at times a nod to the Shanghai glamour girls of the 1930s or taking on aspects of a People’s Liberation Army general in lipstick, while guitarist Yao Lan regularly strips down to his underwear before taking the stage.

The shows also feature elements of Peking Opera, folk tunes, and especially a stage tradition from China’s northeast called Two Taking Turns. A playful, sexually charged form of verbal sparring between a male jester and female beauty, Liang Long takes on both male and female roles on stage.

The name Second Hand Rose comes from the notion that rock in China is a secondhand and imported endeavor—as such, the band’s song “Leading a Dabbling Life” devolves into a Chinese sing-along version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” After more than a decade of winning over new fans around the country, earlier this year, Second Hand Rose played for a crowd of over 30,000 at the Strawberry Music Festival in Beijing, and last year they headlined a concert in Beijing’s state-owned Workers’ Gymnasium, one of the most prestigious venues in the country.

Second Hand Rose #UselessRockUSA Tour 2014
*Tuesday, October 7 at Cafe 939, Boston, MA
*** Wednesday, October 8 Useless Rock Press Conference
310 East 44th Street, New York, NY
*** Thursday, October 9 “Useless Rock: Youth Culture in the PRC” lecture
China Institute, 125 East 65th Street, New York, NY
*Friday, October 10 at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington, DC
*** Sunday, October 12 Red&Green Fashion launch
hosted by Hip Hop USA, venue TBA, New York, NY
*Wednesday, October 15 at Hard Rock Cafe, Philadelphia, PA
*** Sunday, October 19 at Webster Hall (Marlin Room)
125 East 11th St, New York, NY
*** – NYC events


In a previous life, Corinne ran a music website. After going strong for a decade, the site went on a hiatus. Consider her the antiTastemaker.