Although I was only in Frankfurt am Main for a little over a week, I was reminded on countless occasions of how ubiquitous American culture really is. I had taken a metro from my hotel in Bad Soden to meet a friend, who worked near the Haupwatche stop in downtown Frankfurt – and when I got off the train, I heard a vendor playing Biggie’s “One More Chance.” I saw an Occupy protest near the European Union’s Central Bank; episodes of Law and Order dubbed in what I think was Italian; talk shows and reality clearly based on American programming; near Haupwatche was a very popular McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts; and I once saw a car manufacturer who had a demonstration that used German hip hop and had breakdancers. And in some way, it shouldn’t be surprising that that aspects of American culture have taken root in some rather far-flung places across the globe, including Shanghai, China, the hometown of experimental, punk band Round Eye.
Since their formation back in 2012, Round Eye have developed a reputation as one of Shanghai’s premiere (and probably first) punk rock bands – and like the Western bands that have deeply inspired them their sound meshes 50s and 60s garage rock spirit with blistering power chords and shouted lyrics. And as you’ll hear on “City Livin.’” off their forthcoming self-titled debut EP, their sound channels the infectiously brash, youthful energy of punk’s early days – i.e., The Ramones, The Clash, etc. with the same “We don’t give a fuck” attitude. If it doesn’t make you want to mosh, then you must have a dead, cold heart.
Interestingly, the band has toured the US, Mexico, South Korea, Japan and mainland China and have shared stages with the likes of renowned acts including Ceremony, Iceage, D.O.A. M.O.T.O., The FUs, The Paul Collins Beat, P.K. 14, SMZB and Misnado. They also have the rare distinction of having their a mainland China tour with The Boys banned by the Ministry of Culture apparently due to “crowd control issues” following the tragic Shanghai stampede, a few months before; a rather controversial tour poster; and reports of the band’s lewd stage antics. And as a result, the band hosted secret gigs in bomb shelters. How about that for badass, right?
Expect the band to make a Stateside tour to support their forthcoming effort in July. Hopefully, they’ll make a stop in the NYC area; I have a sense that it’ll be outrageous fun.