There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Chinese rock band Second Hand Rose does everything in brash theatrics. The Beijing group’s frontman, Liang Long, usually wears bright red lipstick, long eyelashes, and a modified floral-print army general’s jacket while he sings in operatic tones and squeaky art-rock shouts. Long’s bandmates include a guitarist whose favorite power chords conjure up memories of Primus and Queen, a multi-instrumentalist who blows a high-pitched Chinese oboe, and a rhythm section that includes both a drum kit and traditional Chinese percussion. Oh, and occasionally, they all dress in drag. The group’s name references both the flower Long frequently tucks behind his ear and China’s borrowing of Western music and political structures. In a country where some creative expression can result in a prison sentence, Second Hand Rose sings Chinese lyrics full of innuendo and satire—the group even recorded a song called “Allow Some Artists to Get Rich First,” a subtle allusion to Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping’s statement about China’ economic state: “Let some people get rich first.” While listeners without a fluent understanding of Chinese might not grasp the meaning of every song, the prog-rock rhythms, folk motifs, and vivid costumes will provide enough spectacle. Second Hand Rose performs at 8 p.m. at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $12–$15. (202) 399-7993. atlasarts.org.