This is Julian reporting live from Home Hostels, Beijing! As I’m writing this, we are bunking in a hostel dorm where the five of us – Cher Siang, AJ, KJ, Choo Harn and myself – are bunking in the same room, for once.
We are on our ninth day, from our one-month long tour of China. So far, we have been to four cities and have done four performances, and we’ve got another fourteen to go. It’s been very interesting so far, to say the least.
Over the last nine days, we have performed at the following clubs in their respective cities:
1. JZ Club (Hangzhou)
2. Blank Space (Changzhou)
3. Wuxi Xie Tu Lu Bar (Wuxi)
4. JZ Club (Shanghai)
The trip has been interesting, and also quite challenging. Unlike the more high profile tours I’ve been on, this one (and the ones I’ve been on) is a lot more closer to the ground, where we are quite literally “on-the-road” – we have taken local transportation (buses, taxis, high-speed trains, hired vans, domestic flights) and stayed in their budget hotels/motels (Jin Jiang Inn, Hostels International, Motel 268), ate their local food (both of the street variety and more luxurious ones, thanks to some really good friends who hosted us) and walked around on foot from one place to another, whether it’s getting food or going to our performance venue. All of this while lugging around really heavy backpacks and also instruments.
Of all the four places we’ve played so far, JZ Club Shanghai was probably the most satisfying one in more ways than one. The rest were generally alright, but always had something that was a bit of a compromise, whether it was sound, equipment, and also the crowd. In some places, the crowd was good, but the equipment and sound wasn’t, or the venue itself was somewhat not as suitable for our kind of music. On the other hand, some venues were nice, but the crowd was not so happening. But I think it was somewhat understandable, Shanghai is a much more developed city compared to the rest, and the people in the other cities are still somewhat “catching up”.
We’ve also had the pleasure of the company of really nice, gracious and interesting people over the past week. Our good friend and brother-in-arms and photographer extraordinaire, Wong Horngyih, also joined us for a week until the Shanghai show and took some amazing shots of the shows (not to mention a lot of humour and stories on the side). We also reconnected with our hosts from the previous tour, Gugu (Wuxi) and also Yang Chen aka Chester Yang (Shanghai). What’s also interesting personally was that I got to meet up with Singapore legends – pianist Jeremy Monteiro and drummer Tama Goh, of whom I have the pleasure to consider good friends and mentors – during their tour with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra here in China. Definitely was a good hangout session as well.
Anyhow, we have quite a few more cities and shows to do over the next three weeks. I will report a little more as we go along. If I have time and adequate internet connection, I may post some photos.
Meanwhile, if you would like to keep yourself updated with little blurbs on the tour, please follow us on Twitter (@wvctrio) and Facebook (wwww.facebook.com/wvctrioplusone).