[23 May 2011]
The UK’s White Belt Yellow Tag are a young band on the rise, with their year-old British debut LP being favorably compared by NME and others to stellar bands such as Elbow and Doves. Their brand new US EP, You’re Not Invincible, has just been released and we have the pleasure of presenting you with the premiere of “Postcards”. Fans of the aforementioned groups, as well as the Verve should dig this tune. Keeping with the postcards theme, White Belt Yellow Tag was good enough to share with us some photos from their recent trip to China along with their thoughts on the trip in their words. Check out the full photoessay after the jump.
Postcards from Beijing
As you can see from the above photograph on arrival in Beijing, everyone’s excitement about the trip is somewhat tempered by slight trepidation. None of us have ever been to China before so we have absolutely no idea what to expect from the shows, the people, or the city, itself.
The airport was very quiet when we arrived. Empty airports can be quite eerie places, especially when you know very little of what to expect once you leave the comforting confines of the universal international airport experience.
HOME SWEET HOME
From the airport, we arrived in the Chaoyang Park District and at our hotel for the duration of our stay in Beijing, the Yong An Hotel. It’s a nice change to be based in one hotel for an entire trip. The Yong An Hotel is a pleasant business hotel with a renowned and quite impressive buffet. More on that later…
This picture shows some of the cakes offered at the Yong An Hotel buffet. As appetizing as the buffet seems in this picture, it wasn’t a constant winner. My post on trip advisor would be as follows, “Those with an adventurous pallet, BEWARE. If it sounds disgusting, it probably is. And definitely try to avoid the mixed intestinal breakfast salad.” Our sense of culinary adventure quelled, we enjoyed the majority of our meals at a nice little place in Chaoyang Park called Nasca Café.
As we left the hotel for soundcheck the night before the first shows, we knew very little about the event apart from the fact that we would play six shows in three days on two stages. Our first piece of classic Chinese into English misinterpretation was over the names of our stages. ‘Jazz Truck’ was stage two which sounded quite self-explanatory. However, stage one was titled ‘Unnamed Hill’ which sounded more like a place of execution than anything else.
INSIDE UNNAMED HILL
It turns out that the uninspiring title, ‘Unnamed Hill’ gives no insight to the enormous stadium complex large enough to house a football pitch with a running track around it. This is a picture of us just milling about backstage. The size of this place was incredible.
THE STAGE AT UNNAMED HILL
The stage at ‘Unnamed Hill’ is obviously quite large!
There aren’t too many photos of actual shows because we were warned that security wasn’t very keen on us taking photos of the audience or the event so we snuck just a few. This is the ‘Jazz Truck’ stage. Some friends managed to take some sneaky photos from behind amps on this stage. We also managed to capture all that we could on flipcam footage as any larger film camera would have been confiscated.
SNEAKY AUDIENCE SHOT
Here is a cross section of the audience snapped from behind the stage. Notice in both the shots, the guys in military uniforms on the barrier. At the first couple of shows, they prevented the audience from standing up, coming to the barrier, or participating in the shows in any way. After the second day, everybody had loosened up a bit and the audience were down at the barrier clapping along and hanging out for autographs and pics with the band after the shows.
SIGNING AND SNAPS
On day two and three, we must have spent at least an hour after each show having our photos taken with people and signing programs, shirts, and merch. I think by security loosening up a bit and involving the audience in the show, the people found us much more approachable. We’ve seldom had a response after shows like the one we had in Beijing. We’ll post some flip footage shortly so you can see what we mean.
THE SUN SETS ON BEIJING
I had to end this with a cheesy line of this nature: Beijing is a fantastic city with very warm and friendly people. Of course there were a few cultural boundaries to cross, but it has genuinely been an amazing experience.