Water Ripple: A Bluesy Chinese Rock Band


 Photo:  Wu Yongfeng, lead singer of Water Ripple

Having seen too much in the way of punk and metal rock these past few weeks, I was glad to take a break and head to Mao Livehouse Tuesday night for a concert featuring more classic rock-oriented bands.  The first band was Water Ripple 水纹.  When I arrived at the Mao at around 8:30, the place was dark and a few guys were hanging out on the steps.  I asked what was going on and they said there was a power outage and that it would be fixed shortly.  Turns out these guys were the members of Water Ripple.  I told them I was there to film and they gave me their card.  They were right friendly folks, especially lead guitarist and vocalist Wu Yongfeng.  The other two members are Luo Hao on bass and Zhang Qingsong on drums.  They have been playing together for a couple years now but have yet to produce an album.

Hanging out at the door, I started chatting with a bearded foreigner who looked and smelled like he’d just got off an 18-hour train from Mongolia, which he in fact had.  Andy was here in BJ vacationing from a Peace Corp stint in Western Mongolia and hoping to catch a bit of the punk scene in China.  We had a couple of chuanr at a local dive and he told me about his experience teaching English on a Mongolian frontier town.  Made me realize how spoiled I am living in places like Beijing and Shanghai (let alone Sydney or New York!)  By the time we got back to Mao, the lights were on.  After a short time, Water Ripple began their act.

They were far more bluesy than any band I’d seen in China, save for a cover band at the 13 Club that I blogged a month ago.  They said they had a Brit pop style and I could definitely detect it in their music.  There was a noticeable Pink Floyd influence in their trippy sound.  Coldplay also came to mind.  They had a combination of English and Chinese songs--I tended to favor the latter, especially their last song, 她来自天空 "she comes from the sky".  It’s nice to hear bands here singing in their own language for a change.  All in all I had a good impression of this band--young and full of ideas, spirit and talent and in need of more support.  Just like most of the bands I’ve seen.  

If you want to learn more about Water Ripple, here’s their site:


There wasn’t much of a crowd there that night, I’d say around 25 people or so.  Over the concert the crowd continued to dwindle, and most of the audience were other band members or their groupies in any case.  Well, it was a Tuesday.

Next up was a lone folk singer named Zhang Tie 张铁 .  He had a nice high voice and put a lot of passion into his songs, but I found his music a bit uninteresting--he seemed to be stuck in the E A D triad, with an occasional run up the fretboard.  

Third was Jing Hua Yuan 镜花缘.  They were much more conventional, more Chinese-pop oriented in their sound.  I found their songs a bit too cliche for my tastes, though I appreciated the skills of their lead guitarist, a tall thin dude with long hair who had his metal chops down.  But again that probably describes half the guitar players here in Beijing.

As the fourth band warmed up, I realized I’d had enough for the night.  Just as I was leaving a crop of Europeans entered the club.  I was glad that the last band would get a bit more support than I could give it.

There’s a punk night tonight at Mao Livehouse, which I’m planning to attend.  More on that tomorrow if I have the time and energy.