Film delves into inner world of famed Chinese rock band

By Chen Nan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-01-13 10:51:58

Film delves into inner world of famed Chinese rock band

Gao Hu (first from right), founder and lead vocalist of Miserable Faith, and his band tour the country last year, which was featured in a recently released documentary.[Photo by Zou Hong/ China Daily]

A documentary on Chinese rock band Miserable Faith opens with reggae legend Bob Marley's words: "Love the life you live, live the life you love."

The film, Because It's There, which was released in Beijing on Jan 6, is based on the band's tour of a dozen Chinese cities in the past summer. It is as much about live performances and music fans as it is about conflicts among band members and other general problems with the country's rock scene.

"This documentary is candid. We don't want to present our lives as 'too good to be true'," says Gao Hu, band founder and the lead vocalist. "Everything is real, on the stage, behind the scenes, with the fans and being lonely."

The band kicked off the tour on a black bus that came with their logo and images of members painted on it. Departing from tradition, this time the band performed at bigger theaters rather than live-house venues or outdoor music festivals.

For domestic rock bands, including Miserable Faith, whose popularity has endured since their inception nearly two decades ago, China has been a tough place for their brand of music-rock has yet to appeal to mainstream audiences. Such challenges have been recorded in the documentary as well.

One scene, for example, highlights how theater regulations in the country disallow audience members from gathering close to the stage while a show is ongoing. Standing close to the stage and singing along with bands or imitating their animated performances is a standard practice at rock gigs in many other parts of the world.

The film also shows that at one of their concerts, Miserable Faith had to leave the stage, abruptly ending a song as the time was up according to the venue's rules. It was at a theater.

"If we could have performed two more songs, the night would have been perfect," Gao is heard saying in the documentary, with fans shouting "encore" in the background.

The documentary is also a retrospective of the band's biggest hits-from the noisy sounds in their early years to softer works such as the 2008 album Don't Stop My Music, which was inspired by Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road, to songs from their latest album, May Love Be Without Worries that combines world music and Marley-inspired reggae.

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