Asia: Gang Of Four Cancels China, Hologram Joins Lang Lang

Andy Gill of Gang Of Four
Andy Argyrakis /
– Andy Gill of Gang Of Four
Metro / Smart Bar, Chicago, Ill.

Gang Of Four Cancels China

British post-punk progenitors Gang of Four canceled its planned China tour on March 11, but it wasn’t because of their provocative name and its Chinese overtones. 
Sixty-three-year-old Andy Gill, the only original member of the group, was hospitalized last month with a chest infection after cutting short a Brooklyn concert. According to an announcement on 247tickets, Gill has still not recovered. 
That means not only were the group’s China dates canceled, but also their two Tokyo shows scheduled for the first week of March. The accompanying Australia and New Zealand tours have been “postponed.” 
Seungri Charged 
The Seungri scandal has bottomed out, with the former BigBang member, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, being charged with “supplying prostitutes” to VIP guests of a Seoul nightclub he has an interest in. Police had been investigating the allegations, in addition to suspicions that drug use was going on with his knowledge at the club, since early this year, causing the K-pop star to cancel a planned solo tour of Asia. 
With the 28-year-old star facing a possible three-year jail term, Seungri announced he was “retiring” from show business.
“At this moment, it seems like it would be good for me to retire from the entertainment industry,” he wrote on his Instagram page. “I’ve decided [to retire] because of the huge social controversy that has arisen.” Seungri continues to insist he is innocent of the charges, but “cannot accept causing pain to those around me just for my sake,” meaning not only BigBang, with whom he worked for 10 years, but also management company YG Entertainment. 
According to various media, police said at a news conference that they had “booked Seungri and changed his status to that of a suspect in order to issue a search and seizure warrant and clear him of suspicions.”
Coincidentally, Seungri is supposed to appear for his mandatory military service in two weeks, which is why he was doing a goodbye solo tour. However, with the investigation ongoing, his service may be put off indefinitely. 
Watain Singapore Show Waylaid
Just two hours before they were scheduled to play their first concert in Singapore, the Swedish death metal band, Watain, were told they would not be allowed to play. According to Channel News Asia, the city-state’s Infocomm Media Development Authority had initially approved the concert, while giving it a rating of “Restricted 18,” meaning no one over 18 could attend. However, at the last minute the Home Affairs Ministry became involved and told the IMDA to cancel the show. 
By that time, about 70 fans had already arrived at the venue, the EBX Live Space, including several who had flown all the way from Indonesia. They told a reporter from CNA that they only learned of the cancellation after arriving at the venue. 
The perceived reason for the cancellation was the image of the band’s music. One fan told CNA, “I don’t know where people get this idea that the people who listen to heavy metal are aggressive or that we worship Satan. Ask anyone in the scene. We are merely cat lovers coming together to enjoy good music, or at least we believe it’s good.”
What angered the fans was that the show had been promoted for months, which means approval has been given a long time ago. A representative of the concert organizer told the reporter that the show was relatively small – they were only expecting to sell about 150 tickets – and that it cost between S$15,000 ($11,000) and S$20,000 ($14,700) to bring the band to Singapore. The IMDA called the organizer in the morning to say the show might be canceled, but didn’t confirm that it was off until the afternoon. 
The representative said the IMDA “expressed serious concerns” about the band’s history of supposedly “denigrating religions” and “promoting violence.” On March 7, the Home Affairs Minister admitted publicly that his office had advised the IMDA to cancel the show, arguing that it would “be against public order interest and affect our religious and social harmony if we allow the concert to go ahead.”
In addition, CNA said that a petition had been circulating demanding that Watain and another death metal group, Soilwork, be banned from performing in Singapore. As of the afternoon of the planned show, the petition had garnered more than 16,000 signatures. Soilwork is supposed to play the same venue Oct. 29. The petition was started by a private individual, who said that the message of Watain songs were “death and suicide.”
Fans disagreed and told CNA that the petitioner “ruined a lot of people’s experience because she simply didn’t agree with it.”
Hologram Joins Lang Lang 

Lang Lang
(Joel C Ryan / Invision / AP
– Lang Lang
Pianist Lang Lang poses for photographers upon arrival at the Global Gift Gala in London, Thursday, March 7, 2019.

China has its own virtual idol now. On March 2, the holographic, animated singing star Luo Tianyi shared a stage for two hours with classical pianist Lang Lang at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai in front of “thousands of screaming fans,” according to the South China Morning Post. Luo has more than 3 million fans on Weibo, China’s micro-blogging service. Tickets to the concert were as high as $235. It was the first time in China that a hologram and a human performer played together in concert.
The newspaper says the concert required the services of 200 staff to pull off, with many of the technicians coming in from Japan, where virtual idols have been a thing for years now. A Japanese company shares the rights to Luo with the Henian Information Technology Co. Though the “performance” was produced well before the concert itself, a voice performer and motion-capture actress worked backstage during the concert. 
Virtual idols have become big business in China, with more than 30 “holographic celebrities” attracting attention, but so far only Luo has managed to turn a profit, having become a brand ambassador for Pizza Hut and a Japanese video game. She is supposed to be 15 years old, and will stay that age forever. However, she was brought into this world in 2012 by Yamaha and Thstars, the parent company of Henian, and has been in development ever since. And because she is virtual and thus impossible to tempt with drugs and other bad habits, she’s been embraced by the Communist establishment.