In case you didn’t know, it’s not all happening in the big cities. Some of the best bands you’ve ever heard of come from insignificant specks on the great cosmos of the musical map. Nirvana were from a tiny coastal town called Aberdeen in Northwest USA, before The Beatles hit the big-time, Liverpool may not have been widely significant either. The list is endless, including, The Cranberries from Limerick in the west of Ireland. Taylor Swift from Pennsylvania, Johnny Cash from a rural town in Arkansas.
When I heard about ‘Bricks‘, the first thought I had, as with many of my friends was, ‘Wait a second, China does ska?’ As bizarre as I originally thought, I was also intrigued. It suddenly opened my mind up to the untapped creative underbelly of possibilities and ideas that must be gurgling around in the small towns of China and the millions of youngsters across the country sharing the same hopes and dreams for creating something special that I did when I first found my passion for music.
Bricks are a (7-piece give or take) ska band from Xiaoshan, a developing city on the outskirts of Hangzhou with a population of not much more than a million people. Their recorded music to date includes five albums of collective punk-ska-rock-hardcore artists from various cities around China, independently released and distributed by the infamous Wuhan Prison Records, Punx Rebellion China, MLGB U Life, Country Punk’s Party, and 2014’s Juncture Fugue (音渡神游) .They’ve toured all over China at this stage and have performed in countless music festivals from Beijing, to Hong Kong, Wuhan, Chengdu and Xi’an. It is an absolute catastrophe that a band making live music like this in China is so under the radar that people aren’t talking about them in daily conversation.
On their douban website , you’ll find some seriously upbeat, dance-enducing brass arrangements with trombones, trumpets as well as punky guitar rhythms, all tub-thumping in a rumpus of visceral and lively rock’n roll. To be honest, if you’re already a ska-aholic you’re not likely to find anything that hasn’t been done and mastered by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Specials, Bad Manners etc… but whatever Bricks lack in the train of innovation, a night out (and there’s been a few!) in the company of this band will be one of your highlights in Hangzhou (or wherever you run into them). Although you’ll find a few tunes like ‘Punx United‘ sung in English, they definitely have this knack for really making me want to improve my Chinese.
Just check out their recent album, Juncture Fugue. It is totally infectious ska pop with a blatant lust for reveling in energy and passion, unlike many other bands you’re bound to see in this neck of the woods. Listening to an album like this you might as well be at the gig, or alternatively, just have the band play in your living room.
Listen to more music from Bricks on their website NOW –