Modern music first arrived in China back in the 1980s, and since then a thriving underground music scene has grown up, particularly in China's cultural capital Beijing, where various shows featuring all genres of music can be found most nights of the week. Following the arrival of internet and social media, several Chinese bands have now begun to build a fanbase overseas too. Wangwen, a post-rock five-piece from the city of Dalian, is one of them.

In July 2008, fresh from their tour round Northern Europe, their first overseas, Wangwen flew back to China and immediately began a 20-date tour of the provinces to promote their fourth album "IV". This photo-diary provides a glimpse into China’s evolving musical subculture and youth styles in 2008, a historic year for China, as well as highlighting the camaraderie and determination vital to the success of all bands, in China or anywhere.

Still jet-lagged after the flight from Europe, relaxing in their hotel room in Chengdu
: Still jet-lagged after the flight from Europe, relaxing in their hotel room in Chengdu

On the way to play at Chengdu
: On the way to play at Chengdu's Little Bar, waiting for the bass player and roadie. From left to Right: Geng Xin (Guitar), Lian Jiang (Drums), Yun Feng (Keyboards), Xie Yugang (Guitars & Vox)

Leaving Chengdu
: Leaving Chengdu's Little Bar. After dropping off equipment, its time to meet old friends for some authentic Sichuan food.

Standing tickets only on Chengdu-Chongqing high-speed train.
: Standing tickets only on Chengdu-Chongqing high-speed train.

The band arrives @ Nuts Club, Chongqing.
: The band arrives @ Nuts Club, Chongqing.

Situated 10 km from Chongqing CBD in a university district, Nuts Club attracts a youthful and entirely Chinese crowd.
: Situated 10 km from Chongqing CBD in a university district, Nuts Club attracts a youthful and entirely Chinese crowd.

Signing autographs and posing for photos @ Nuts Club. Five minutes later, the keyboardist gets a phone call telling him that his mother has died, and leaves the tour.
: Signing autographs and posing for photos @ Nuts Club. Five minutes later, the keyboardist gets a phone call telling him that his mother has died, and leaves the tour.

Waiting in the queue to enter Chongqing Railway Station. The temperature is almost 40 C.
: Waiting in the queue to enter Chongqing Railway Station. The temperature is almost 40 C.

After a 16 hour train journey of beer and card-games, Wangwen arrive in Changsha. Some of them spend the day asleep, others go for a massage.
: After a 16 hour train journey of beer and card-games, Wangwen arrive in Changsha. Some of them spend the day asleep, others go for a massage.

Indie girls wait for door opening time at Freedom House, Changsha. This will be the first show without the keyboard player, and the band must adapt some tracks.
: Indie girls wait for door opening time at Freedom House, Changsha. This will be the first show without the keyboard player, and the band must adapt some tracks.

On a post-show high in a Changsha hotel room: the best time to interview the band. Any earlier and they would be too focused on the show, any later and they would be too drunk.
: On a post-show high in a Changsha hotel room: the best time to interview the band. Any earlier and they would be too focused on the show, any later and they would be too drunk.

Geng Xin tries to grab some sleep on the train to Wuhan to cure the previous night
: Geng Xin tries to grab some sleep on the train to Wuhan to cure the previous night's hangover.

Soundchecking in Wuhan
: Soundchecking in Wuhan's Vox Bar.

Wuhan
: Wuhan's Vox Bar is one of China's best-known music venues. Almost every Chinese band who makes it big passes through Vox, leaving a tile on the wall.

Suffering from the previous night
: Suffering from the previous night's drinking, Xie tries to lift his spirits prior to the show in Vox Bar.

Gengxin is curing his hangover in the only way possible. A couple of beers are fine, however the band never get drunk as such before a show.
: Gengxin is curing his hangover in the only way possible. A couple of beers are fine, however the band never get drunk as such before a show.

Xie and the roadie make some last minute sound alterations with Duct Tape, with the expectant audience looking on.
: Xie and the roadie make some last minute sound alterations with Duct Tape, with the expectant audience looking on.

Onstage and tuning-up @ Vox Bar, Wuhan
: Onstage and tuning-up @ Vox Bar, Wuhan

Meanwhile backstage, some of the support band are less concerned with the music...
: Meanwhile backstage, some of the support band are less concerned with the music...

After shows in China, its normal for the local bands to take the touring band for food. Trying out different cuisine in different cities is part of what keeps the tour interesting.
: After shows in China, its normal for the local bands to take the touring band for food. Trying out different cuisine in different cities is part of what keeps the tour interesting.

A rest day, and Xie heads to Wuhan
: A rest day, and Xie heads to Wuhan's biggest second-hand clothing market to pick up new t-shirts.

Several shows later and the band are in familiar territory, backstage at MAO Livehouse in Beijing, a venue they have played at several times.
: Several shows later and the band are in familiar territory, backstage at MAO Livehouse in Beijing, a venue they have played at several times.

The Beijng crowd are perhaps the most familar with Wangwen
: The Beijng crowd are perhaps the most familar with Wangwen's early material, and the band throw in a new version of a track they wrote 10 years ago, to much cheering.

On the homeward leg, the service station half-way between Beijing & Dalian seems a fine place for another band photo.
: On the homeward leg, the service station half-way between Beijing & Dalian seems a fine place for another band photo.

Back home in Dalian after 6 weeks on tour. They have a day
: Back home in Dalian after 6 weeks on tour. They have a day's rest before their final show.

Playing to a packed home crowd in Hopscotch Bar, Dalian.
: Playing to a packed home crowd in Hopscotch Bar, Dalian.

Post-show beers at an open-air seafood barbecue with old friends, including pretty much every other rock/punk musician in Dalian. The night ends very messily.
: Post-show beers at an open-air seafood barbecue with old friends, including pretty much every other rock/punk musician in Dalian. The night ends very messily.

Some of the band are reluctant to settle straight back into normal life, and with most people in China in a festive mood pre-Olympics, the "post-show beers" continue for a few nights.
: Some of the band are reluctant to settle straight back into normal life, and with most people in China in a festive mood pre-Olympics, the "post-show beers" continue for a few nights.