Punk Power Diplomacy

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Punk Power Diplomacy, by Mark Godfrey

October 2006 at Chinatoday.com.cn

URL: http://www.chinatoday.com.cn/English/e2006/e200610/p58.htm


Introduction

An epic tour of Scandinavia by Chinese punk band SUBS comes after a visit here by Norway's JEF. What, punk bringing people together? There's more to come

A breezy stage in the mountains of far-north Norway on a summer night is an unlikely launch pad for an unlikely Chinese musical career. But when Beijing punk band SUBS belted out their back catalogue at the Oya Festival under a midnight sun last year they won over hearts and minds across Scandinavia's fjord-carved kingdom. So much so that when the band went back for a second tour this year they sold out some of Norway's top rock clubs. That Norway fell for a punk band that most people in its Chinese hometown never heard of is down to talent, and a rare musical friendship.

Hungry for gigs in addition to a scheduled slot at Oya Festival, SUBS postponed their return tickets to Beijing after a last-ditch meeting with Kjell Moberg, guitarist and founder of Norwegian rock group JEF. Through his October Party label and a network built up throughout Europe from his former band Punishment Park, he secured gigs for SUBS in clubs across Norway. When the Chinese punks delivered rock-solid performances, it was easier to arrange a two-month trek across northern Europe this summer. Traveling in a Volkswagen Transporter van the band played its first gig at the Ilosaari Festival in Finland on July 16 and finished with a final gig on September 6 in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

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