Carsick Cars 10th Anniversary



By now nearly everyone knows about Beijing’s sudden transformation in less than a decade from a musically unimportant city into one of the most exciting places in the world for new, experimental and underground music. On August 19, Carsick Cars, the band that symbolizes this transformation, will perform at Yugong Yishan for its first performance of 2016.

Founded in March 2005, Carsick Cars was at the center of a brilliant wave of Chinese underground and experimental music that very quickly attracted attention both in China and abroad. Although it was often criticized as being too Western because it refused to follow Chinese musical stereotypes, a small group of young people understood that these stereotypes were confused and culturally backward. The new music being created by this wave of Beijing bands is as modern as urban China, and just as obsessed with speed and technology. It is an expression of a new urban culture developing in China after the huge social transformations of the past 20 years, which turned a poor, mostly rural country into an urban society with cities whose residents are sometimes among the most technologically advanced in the world.

Over the past ten years, Carsick Cars has toured China relentlessly, building a growing audience of sophisticated young people in every major city in the country. By 2010, the music they and their peers in Beijing developed had inspired thousands of young Chinese in dozens of cities across China, who were soon adding their own voices to a musical explosion that took place across China. Even in Hong Kong and Taipei, where artists had always taken a different path, young musicians fell in love with the Beijing bands, and Carsick Cars became musical heroes that would inspire a Chinese underground music scene.

It was not just in China that these musicians made an impact. In 2006, at the age of 21, Shouwang, the leader of Carsick Cars, was invited by American composer Glenn Branca to join the New York performance of his famous Symphony No. 13.  The next year, New York’s legendary Sonic Youth announced that Carsick Cars was their favorite young band, and took them on tour in Europe, for the first of more than a dozen major tours through Europe and America. First in New York and later in Berlin, Shouwang and Carsick Cars built their largest followings outside China, and as they toured the world, a growing number of young American and European musicians began to appreciate the energy coming from Beijing.

Carsick Cars and its members may be among the first Chinese musicians to be admired by experimental and underground musicians around the world, but for the nearly 1,000 young people who will crowd excitedly into Yugong Yishan on August 19, none of this will matter. They have come to see the band that has helped create music that belongs to them, and because it is some of the best music being created anywhere in the world, they are proud to share it. They will come to Yugong Yishan to hear songs that they know by heart, to experience the onslaught of noise, feedback and throbbing rhythms emanating from Shouwang, one of the most creative guitarists in China, supplemented by drummer Wang Xu, Beijing’s best percussionist, and American bassist and long-time Beijing resident, Alex Turner.

Carsick Cars has released three albums that have been included in nearly every listing of China’s most important recordings. Because Shouwang has spent the first half of 2016 away from Beijing working on a television program, Carsick Cars has not performed all year. This performance will be followed by a Japanese tour in September and the band’s sixth major tour of the US, beginning in October, and so it may be one of their only 2016 performances in their hometown. Few will want to miss it.

tickets online :

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  • Tickets: Rmb 100 (door) / 80 (persale | on a first-come-first-serve-basis)