Chinese Indie Rock Groups Tour the U.S.

Not familiar with the Beijing music scene? That may soon change.

ByABC News
November 16, 2009, 1:32 PM

Nov. 16, 2009— -- When Americans think about indie rock bands, they don't normally imagine a band from China. But a new tour featuring artists from China has been introducing cities on the East Coast to a fresh new sound.

Solo artist Xiao He, and the bands Carsick Cars and P.K. 14, all from Beijing, blasted China's version of indie rock to a crowd of about 80 people last week in Gerrard Hall on the University of North Carolina campus.

Xiao began his set by showing off his expert use of his guitar effects pedal. Imagine the on-stage antics of American Keller Williams mixed in with the music styling of Australia's Xavier Rudd and you'll essentially have the essence of Xiao's music.

His guitar and pedals were connected to his computer and which gave him the ability to change the sounds associated with each string. One minute you'd be hearing a gong coming from the g-string, the next, a bird's whistle.

As Xiao played, the crowd, which was still growing in number, sat on the floor or stood silently watching as he programmed all his pedals.

When Carsick Cars came on, the band's lead singer, Shou Wang, told anyone in the balcony to come down and dance. And dance they did.

From the beginning of the first guitar riff to the end the students were dancing, jumping in the air and starting less-than-aggressive mosh pits. The band itself was solid from beginning to end, sounding like a mix between Sonic Youth, The Ramones and Cheap Trick.

"They're definitely some TV on the Radio sound to it, too," said Greg Strompolos, 21, a University North Carolina junior who attended the show.

"One thing you have to realize is that in China, the Internet is just opening up in a lot of ways," Charles Saliba, the Carksick Cars manager, said. "It's unlike here in America where music is a generational thing and everyone listens to music from the previous decade. In China, the past 60 years of music history have opened up all at one go, and that's why bands don't really sound a like there."