The reformation rock powerhouse ‘PlanB’ is furiously rehearsing to be in peak condition for its up-coming tour of China. The aptly named “Second Time Around” tour commences two years following the band’s first visit to the PRC in mid 2012. The band will return to its previous rehearsal studios at Sky Music for 2 days in down-town Beijing to hone final preparations before officially opening the tour with a gig in Beijing’s VA Bar on Friday the 26th of September. Fans of the band will however have an opportunity to attend an “unofficial” performance of PlanB at Beer Mania the night before when local publican Thierry de Dobbeleer will host a ‘not quite Second Time Around Tour’, welcome to China party .
The most ambitious tour yet for PlanB, an Adelaide based rock outfit which started in the 80’s and reformed again in 2009, the Second Time Around tour currently includes 15 booked gigs across 13 cities, including three festival appearances. To put this in context, on it’s previous “Three Steps Closer” tour to China, the band performed ten gigs across three cities with a single festival appearance. Cities such as Shijiazhuang, Zhenjiang and Changzhou where PlanB is performing on the current tour, are not well know to the West and whilst regarded as ‘villages’ in the China context, each have populations of well over three million people.
PlanB’s previous tour to China, and in fact all its international tours to date, have been arranged entirely by the band and while this approach has been successful annual touring since 2009, it has tended to result in performances predominantly in capital cities of the countries to which it has toured. In contrast to this approach, for the Second Time Around tour, the band has negotiated an agreement with New York based Eric de Fontenay of MusicDish/ChinaDish, a specialist China music promoter, to organise the tour.
During its previous tour, the band appeared on stage at the Chinese equivalent of Woodstock, the InMusic Festival in the Zhang Bei grasslands, some 5 hours north of Beijing, heading toward Upper Mongolia. This was PlanB’s first festival appearance and a highlight of the Three Steps Closer tour. The current tour will feature three festival appearances. The first two festivals take place near Shanghai in Wuxi and Suzhou, both organised by Midi. The following is Chinese to English translation from the organiser (http://www.midifestival.com/) about the festivals:
“inviting hundreds of groups and foreign bands live performances, styles include folk, blues, bluegrass, Latin, BOSSA NOVA, soul music, world music, Suzhou Pingtan, Kunqu opera puppets and many other types of music.”
In December 2013 PlanB released it’s debut album “Too Late The Hero” through online distributor Tunecore making it available for download purchase and stream to all the major online content providers. The band has also arranged for its videos to be available on Vevo, the world largest online provider of music video content. This has made PlanB’s music globally available on the internet …….. except China.
China’s “Great Firewall” or “Golden Shield” prevents Chinese internet users accessing sites such as iTunes, Spotify, Facebook and Youtube. In order to make it’s music available to Chinese consumers PlanB has negotiated an agreement with Taiwanese based company Nuusound International to distribute it’s content to the Chinese equivalents to iTunes and Spotify. Also with the help of Chinadish it has commenced accounts with Weibo (Twitter alternative), Douban (Facebook alternative) and Youku (Youtube alternative) to reach to potential fans before it arrives in China to perform.
While on tour the band plans to record all it’s performances and touring experiences posting to Facebook and Instagram to provide fans in the west with updates on the progress of the tour. This media will also form the basis of a music video for “Blueprint” one of the tracks on the current album.