non-fiction rock from Aotearoa New Zealand

Nuts in Chongqing

wp-1478016656347.jpgIt’s a two hour train ride fron Chengdu to Chongqing. We go to grab a cab from the queue. We avoid the ‘dark taxis’, the independent operators. Kristin relays stories of passengers being ripped off, and of massive delays and unpredictable travel times. We’re get our cab and deftly load in gear, this game of physical tetris is impressive.

wp-1478016735140.jpgThe ride in the tide of surging taxis is like surfing with fish. Weaving and intersecting in a fluid motion that somehow makes sense, its seems incredible that it works without calamity.

That is until the front corner of our cab kisses the back end of another. Then our travel stops as a heated debate ensues on the main thoroughfare. Offers of cigarettes to offset the damage are handed through windows. The arguement is over a slight graze to the back of the front cab, which to be fair to our driver, is barely noticeable. Haggling escalates over money to pay for repairs. There’s no police but a gathering crowd watches the entertainment.

Face needs to be saved and we’re unsure whose going to win. Our driver gets back behind the wheel, drives half a block then ejects us onto the side of highway. It’s like being dropped in the middle of a motorway intersection. The two cabs then leave for a panel beaters and we’re left trying to hail another ride in a spaghetti of roads. We walk a bit, the god of taxis smiles and we hail a ride.

Chongqing is a major city located on a rolling landscape. It looks more liberal on a first impression, outwardly affluent with a very busy CBD of highrise and lightshows. It’s not a long walk from our taxi departure to NUTS Livehouse, tonight’s venue, located in the heart of a massive shopping complex.

wp-1478016716194.jpgNuts is a large space, a long established venue in the Chongqing music scene. Stickers adorn everywhere of local bands, punk and otherwise, and there’s a graffiti wall outside the venue which includes a large tag from Orchestra of Spheres.

wp-1478016667308.jpgIt’s a welcoming venue, supplying fruit and beer to the performers, super helpful sound techs and great gear. We’re playing with one other local band called You Come Twice, with a guitar/bass/drum/electronics arrangement. It’s an early in the week show, a big band from Japan played the night before, and elsewhere in town is a German punk band who we seem to be shadowing across China. Our turnout was decent though. We all felt warmly received and had plenty of great conversations afterwards.

We spent the night at a backpackers. Initially it looked like there was no room at the inn but the reception staff were brilliant at locating a second, and most welcome, option, when our booking got eaten by the booking system.

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