Is Next Stop for Rock Bands Vietnam? P2

Posted: Tháng Mười Hai 7, 2009 in Âm nhạc, Cảm xúc rock
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Now the authorities are more open.”

Hanoi’s musical censorship has extended beyond rock. Trinh Cong Son (1939 – 2001), a singer and songwriter, often referred to as Vietnam’s Bob Dylan, spent four years in a re-education camp post 1975. Since death he has been honored by the authorities and his music lives on in Hanoi’s quieter music cafés.

Though permission from authorities is still important, Regurgitator were, inexplicably, not required to submit their lyrics for prior approval. “I’m really surprised there was no censorship,” said guitarist and vocalist Quan Yeomans, whose mother is originally from Hanoi, “we’ve heard stories about government shutdowns.”

“All song lyrics have been approved. A big program needs approval,” said Ngu Cung’s manager Ha. When asked whether the strong corporate backing that keeps the band so busy might create its own form of censorship, he paused and said, “They invite us (to play) because they love our music. They put their logos up and we do what we want.”

Ngu Cung does not play in Hanoi’s grimy rock clubs; they’re strictly a large event band.

This was evident during their well-polished performance. The smoky, do-it-yourself atmosphere of clubs such as ‘Heresy’, which are furnished with simple wooden stools and host guitarists who sometime have to play to their own backing tracks, lacking competent band members, are a world away from Ngu Cung’s dramatic rock star act, with wailing, multi-octave vocals, smoke machines and the occasional very long drum solo.

The young crowd, all in black pants and shirts with band logos or Che Guevara screen prints, went wild, thrashing and cheering at the foot of the stage. Reguritator received a similarly rapturous response from the crowd, though many had never heard of them.

“I think it was really good,” said Trang, 20, after the concert, as she and her friend passed a beer back and forth. “I never heard of Regurgitator before but I enjoyed it. I like Ngu Cung a lot.”

“It was really great, amazing, really fun,” said Regurgitator’s bassist and vocalist Ben Ely after coming off stage and being greeted by a new legion of fans eager for photos and autographs.

“I think it’s a very good beginning if they keep inviting great bands like Regurgitator from overseas. If that happens we’ll see a big change for Vietnamese bands. Meanwhile there’s a little bit of Vietnamese music,” said a smiling Quan as the young crowd quickly cleared out to beat curfew time.

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