Modern Sky Festival Brings Chinese Rock to New York
This year's lineup has a mix of acts from both China and the West, including China's most popular folk musician Song Dongye, indie rock bands New Pants and Miserable Faith, British postpunk group Gang of Four and Yoko Ono and her band Plastic Ono
Fans watching Miserable Faith
On October 4th, New York, the second annual NYC Modern Sky Festival was held in Rumsey Playfield, Central Park. Modern Sky, started as Modern Sky record label in China, has grown into a brand that represents the most contemporary Chinese youth culture. Throughout the years, Modern Sky Festival has been held regularly in cities across China, entertaining over 100,000 fans with the most famous and celebrated indie music acts. This year's lineup has a mix of acts from both China and the West, including China's most popular folk musician Song Dongye (宋冬野), indie rock bands New Pants (新裤子) and Miserable Faith (痛仰), British postpunk group Gang of Four, alongside with Yoko Ono and her band Plastic Ono.
Song Dongye, playing his hit single Ms. Dong
The crowd was mostly filled with Chinese youth who were familiar with the acts and cheered and sang along throughout the entire performance. Moreover, they were so engaged and active that when New Pants' vocalist Peng Lei (彭磊) tried to speak English on stage, some people in the crowd went on to jokingly dis him, demanding that he switch back to Mandarin.
New Pants vocal/keyboard Pang Kuan interacting with audience
"Audiences in New York are as vulgar as those in Beijing." Peng Lei said on stage in Mandarin, making the crowd laugh again.
Fans cheering for Song Dongye
With more young Chinese people studying in the U.S, there is almost nothing here that can represent their identity and culture. Modern Sky Festival however brings a piece of Beijing indie rock scene to the States, which is what these Chinese youth miss most. Moreover, the happening of Modern Sky Festival in New York also symbolizes an introduction of Chinese indie music to American audience, which should be a milestone in this fast globalized era.
Gao Hu of Miserable Faith
The heat of the night came when Yoko Ono got on stage with Plastic Ono, a band that she and her late husband John Lennon first formed in the 70s. The crowd went almost quiet as people were amazed by Ono's experimental and controversial way of expressing art.
For Ono, who shares a special and personal relationship with New York, coming back and performing right in the middle of Central Park is presumably not easy. However, Ono used the stage as an opportunity to express her intention and belief in promoting world peace and eliminating tortures and pains caused by violence. Mostly voiced in Japanese, however, Ono left most audiences with little clue.
NEW PANTS performing Sex, Drugs, Internet
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