Bar bands rock an old political taboo

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 April, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 April, 1994, 12:00am

THE cry from China's music lovers for more live concerts, shows and even bar gigs is grabbing the attention of Hong Kong's bands.

One of the mainland's major political taboos, rock music, has managed to overpower government policies over the past few years with performances by big-name acts from Hong Kong, Taiwan and the West having mass public appeal.

And now Hong Kong bar bands are moving in for a piece of the action.

Keeping Posted bumped into popular local band Ube yesterday after their return from Beijing where they played gigs over Easter.

Formerly known as Eurasian Nation, the funky five-piece said the demand for musical diversity in the big cities was immense and believed the door was open.

''These people are stuck with seeing the same old local bands playing every week and want to see bands that are new and different - no matter where they are from or what they play,'' drummer Eamonn Fitzpatrick said.

Ube played three nights in the Grand Hotel, overlooking the Forbidden City, before a crowd of 200-300 people which included top Chinese singer Cui Jian who later jammed with the band.

''The crowd were very welcoming, receptive and really enjoyed themselves,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''There is plenty of room for Hong Kong bands to head to China - they won't make much money but we aren't the Canto-pop money machine anyway. We went to Beijingto play music, not for business opportunities.'' The band plans to head back some time in autumn, provided Leon Lai Ming doesn't book out a 20-night stint at the Grand Hotel.

Glenn Gale is on leave