The Amazing Insurance Salesmen Rocking Out Loud In Chengdu's Zebra Festival
Guitars were tuned, ties adjusted and nerves abandoned. It was time to do our thing in Chengdu!
By Maikel Liem
[May 1st] We left Beijing in great spirit and slightly hungover from a previous night of drinking to our upcoming performance at the Zebra music festival. The festival would include an impressive lineup of both local and international bands, including The on Fires (Australia), Success (France) Good for Nothing (Japan), as well as Chinese folk rock legend Xu Wei and Beijing rockers Brain Failure. The 3 day festival was to be concluded by the (in)famous Edison Chen.
A few hours after we arrived at the hotel, we went out to the venue for our 11pm soundcheck. Once at the hilly Tulips Flora Park (Yujinxiang Huahui Gongyuan), the main stage loomed over us. Xu Wei was just finishing his set and we were lucky to catch a last couple of songs from backstage as well as take some pictures with him. But then it started to rain, so the organizers decided to postpone the soundcheck until the following day. Since the festival is in Xindu, on the outskirts of Chengdu, we decided to hit the hay after unsuccessfully trying to find a (decent) massage place.
[May 2nd] We went to the venue around 13:30pm, still fearing that the rain would put a stop to our performance. We watched The on Fires' soundcheck and were especially amazed by their kickass drummer. A small audience had gathered in front of the stage and started to applaud the bands. If they liked the soundcheck, hopefully they would love the actual show.
Backstage, we were getting prepared in our tent (i.e. boozing up and smoking). Then around 4pm, we got to the stage. Guitars were tuned, ties adjusted and nerves abandoned. It was time to do our thing in Chengdu!
Overall, I think the audience was impressed. It was hard to hear each other, so we made a few more mistakes than usual, but every song was greeted by warm applause. We started our show with our typical song "Intro". The audience had considerably grown at this point.
We then proceeded with the more than appropriate song "In the Park". This loosened up the crowd, especially with Maomao's energetic drum beats. People vigorously clapped along to "Babies" and the mellow song in our set list "Uranus" calmed them down. Our instrumental song "This Day" showed off some bass tapping and crazy bottleneck solos by Jean-Sébastien, while "Escape" brought a little funk rock to the house. We finished our set with a relatively new song called "Dancing to the Voice of a Dead Man" and Jean-Sébastien showed the people his dance moves.
While still on stage after our last song, I took a few pictures of the screaming crowd who seemed more than happy to be photographed. We then proceeded backstage, and after a small break, it was time to do some interviews, including one for China Mobile. We then went out on the field to see the other bands. We got our drunk on and enjoyed the free spirit of the festival blessed by the lucky panda.
Beijing's own Brain Failure was giving a hell of a show and we really admired their stage presence. Unfortunately, their show was cut short for some reason. And finally, Edison Chen started his performance, which was met with a lot of (female) cheering.
It was great doing festivals again, like the Nanluoguxiang and Haidian Park festival we'd done before. But Zebra was the most memorable so far.
[May 3rd] We and the Brain Failure boys took the same plane back home to Beijing, sharing our fun at one of the greatest outdoor festivals in China: Zebra!
It was certainly a great experience and definitely something we would want to repeat bery soon. We got the opportunity to meet new bands, make new friends, and get new fans. So get ready for our experimental fusion rock to blast your ass at a venue near you!