MANILA -- From American Football to Chinese Football.
Chinese indie rock band Chinese Football will be performing in Manila on Thursday, October 31, at Mow’s, just a few months after their inspiration, American Football, hit these shores.
We spoke with the Wuhan-based band’s vocalist and guitarist Xu Bo on the eve of their first-ever Southeast Asian tour with Manila their fourth stop after playing Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Xu admitted to being weaned on American Football with lead singer and guitarist Mike Kinsella in particular being his inspiration.
“Their creativity and passion inspired me,” he 'fessed up. “But Chinese Football is not only about my taste but the preference of all four of us.”
His other bandmates include Li Lixin on bass, Wang Bo also on guitars, and Zheng Zili on drums.
Together, they have made a name for themselves as a top indie band draw in the region having triumphantly played in Hong Kong and Japan while being feted as China’s “emo kings.”
Chinese Football was formed in 2011, and at that time, American Football was still on a hiatus. Their American counterparts went on indefinite leave despite recording a critically acclaimed debut album in the late 1990s. American Football reunited in 2014 and have since released two more albums. They recently performed in China, with Chinese Football opening for them.
“That was a surreal experience,” described Xu. “It was a dream come true. Even when they were not together, I felt that somehow, someday, we would get to perform with them. So, it was surreal to see it finally happen.”
American Football drummer Steve Lamos repaid the compliment during their Manila show by saying, “Chinese Football are a very good band. You should watch them.”
And now Filipinos will get that chance this October 31.
The band is no slouch by any definition. Since their formation in 2011, they have been a top draw in and around China. They have recorded a full-length self-titled debut album that is considered a Holy Grail when it comes to record collecting. With fans offering to purchase the vinyl release for as much as US$250, it is surprising that the album has never been sold even on Discogs.
The emo/match rock crew has also released three extended play releases along with two seven-inch singles, one a split single with Japanese band, The White Tulips.
“I think we are lucky,” declared Xu. “Our hometown, Wuhan, is famous for its punk rock scene but because of the internet, we were able to connect with people outside our city. In fact, once a week, we play outside Wuhan. And this tour will find us in Southeast Asia for the very first time. We are excited because everything is new. Plus, we want to try the local food wherever we perform!”
“And we’re looking forward to our show in Manila!”