Rock the City

Authors: Go Chengdu


Different from the heavy-metal of Beijing and the Punk Rock of Wuhan, Chengdu's Rock & Roll Music has its own unique style.
Chengdu is becoming a Melting Pot with elements from different sources coming together and a big fusion taking place. While visitors to Chengdu are impressed by the city’s leisurely living and cultural traditions, they are also fascinated by the changing of the city towards modernity. The mention of Chengdu wakes up a motley image of the ancient towns, old buildings, and tea houses with bamboo chairs, as well as the towering skyscrapers, up-scale malls, modern factories, and automobiles moving on the overhead roads.
Such inclusiveness and incessant transformation of the city allows for unlimited possibilities and the unique development of Rock Music which, though still immature, stands out to be a very important movement of Rock Music in China, different from the heavy-metal of Beijing and the Punk Rock of Wuhan.
The movement had its start back to late 1990s, when several small bands and individuals gave performances at pubs and bars, and has since seen an explosive growth and gained more recognition. Today, rock music makes appearances not only at entertainment places, but also in important music festivals such as China Rock and Roll Music Festival and Zebra Music Festival and so on.

Yu Zhiyong and his Insomnia Band
There is no record or public consensus as to the question “who started the movement?”, but most people agree that the first entry to the Hall of Fame is a guy called Yu Zhiyong.
Back to the mid-1990s, Yu Zhiyong, then an undergraduate from Chengdu University of Technology, showed peculiar love to Rock & Roll and made up his mind to sing and write his own music that was regarded as “insane and absurd”. He soon formed a band called “Insomnia”, in which he was guitarist, composer and producer.
For years, the young guys of “Insomnia” gave performances at bars in Wenhua Road, next to Sichuan University. They yelled, howled, screamed and sweated, and soon won a large group of fans, and at that time they didn’t realize that some of the audience, mostly young white collars and college students, began to have their own dreams for music under the influence of the band.

Tang Lei and her Little Bar
Tang Lei, a native of Chengdu, spent much of her “greener years” doing all sorts of “meaningless things” — as one of the “educated youth” she was sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, and then went and lived in foreign lands for some time as a wandering artist.
In 1997, she opened a bar in Yulin Community in southern Chengdu, which she named as the Little Bar. The bar soon became a haven for rock musicians in the city, and a major venue for rock bands, among which Ashura and Sound Toy are the best-known.
Because of her love and support for the rock music the rock bands of the city, Tang was given the name as the Godmother of Chengdu Rock & Roll, while she prefers to call herself as the Nanny of Rock & Roll.
Now the Little Bar has become an iconic location that rock bands of younger generations musicians in the city would be proud to have performed there.
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Eastern Suburb Memory

The Eastern Suburb Memory is a music-themed park that is remolded at the site of disused factories in the east of the city.

Oct 23, 2014

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