Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Apr 8th 2010 2:30PM by Marina Galperina
The misfortunes and miracles that ensue are all recorded, featuring Atkins jamming with bands and bitching at his assistant. Now available on SnagFilms, '16 Days in China' documents the Beijing downtown scene, as filtered through the musician's narration.
Editing gags and Atkins's silly talking head aside, his videotaped vibe-hunt reveals a diverse rock scene in the downtown club D22. The local bands (Snapline, the Subs, P.K.14. and more) get a riff into the film and are varied in sound -- from Ramones covers to death metal to No Wave to experimental rock-pop -- but are all mighty enthusiastic. Atkins learns about CBGB closing on the news while in China, and says, "The idea of the spirit that was supposedly at CBGB I know is at D22 at Beijing. And I want to go and be involved in the birth of that vibe instead of dancing at the funeral of the remains of the horribly lingering smell of the toilets of the old vibe." Convinced, Atkins believes that he has found among the D22 musicians, seen shuffling to play in multiple bands at the club, the feeling that once lived in London in the late '70s and in New York in the '80s.
Incorporating digital reverb, hip-hop DJs, his own mad drumming and experimental antics like holding up a cheap radio and "scratching" through Chinese stations, Atkins really enjoys his collaborations with traditional Chinese and Tibetan musicians. The mishaps are as entertaining as the performances they frame, as Atkins misses meetings, gesticulates frantically, struggles to sign acts and faces a bureaucratic hell when he returns from China. The film is a personal record on the music industry and some of the things that can go right and wrong as it's taken to the DIY level. It's one man's international quest to cure his nostalgia and make something new. Check it out below, courtesy of our friends at SnagFilms.