Since Beijing’s Queen Sea Big Shark have never played in Australia, we live out our obsession of them over YouTube. Lucky for us, film crew Geek Shoot Jack have made a 90 minute feature length doco, following the indie band’s escapades promoting their latest album, Beijing Surfers Adventures.
Across 90 minutes, the four members of Queen Sea Big Shark bare all as the cameras interview and follow them, prodding and prying into their inner thoughts and drunken rants.
The footage goes as far back as 2013, on a tour where for the first time they head west and out of the city to Tibet.
From then the band says, their touring slogan has been “Be Wild”, and they’ve kept it ever since. Life for QSBS is one big adventure, and it’s a motto that reminds us all to go on and live whichever way we fucking please. To create your own “new 5D mysterious masterpiece.”
In the face of rebellion and thrill seeking though, “Be Wild” also carries with it the burden of societal norms. The expectation to “Grow Up” in the midst of pursuing a love for music.
Lead singer Fu Han brutally sums it up best in the movie:
“There are a lot of things that sound like fun. Then suddenly you wake up at some day, then you realise the world you are living in is cruel and real.
Everyone is growing up, and you are the only one that still lives the dreams of teenagers.”
And it’s a theme, whether through purposeful or incidental truths from the quartet’s members, that resonates throughout the whole doco between the ecstatic live performances, the drunken nights out and the hapless efforts of the male band members to chat to pretty girls at shows.
Musically, the movie is an explosive array of all the band’s sounds and songs stemming from their first self titled album in 2007 to the newest release in 2016, Beijing Surfers’ Adventures.
Scattered between the vibrant stage performances of bangers like Glow in the Dark, U R So Fancy and Himalaya, there’s also smaller clips of joyful impromptu singalongs over a mountain top campfire and a sweet acoustic rendition of Bling Bling Bling sung by Fu Han in her living room.
Like its members who are growing up, Queen Sea Big Shark’s sound has also matured and reincarnated over time. 2007’s Queen Sea Big Shark was an infectious rockabilly sound, full of bluesy bass lines, surfy reverb and steampunk attitude.
The second album in 2010 Wave saw the introduction of synths to the mix for a dance ready electronic record. By 2016’s Beijing Surfers Adventures, the group had radically replaced all their computerised sounds in favour of acoustic instruments to produce a refinely orchestrated pop album.
To recreate so drastically is testament to Fu Han’s songwriting and creativity. But more than that, it’s the daringness of the Beijing outfit to tackle new sounds head on, to change with experiences and to embrace the bullshit that comes with life, that makes us admire Queen Sea Big Shark so much so.
This doco is a celebration of QSBS’s music, growing older and an ode to treating the world as a perpetual adventure. Upon the conclusion of the film, it’s apparent that the ending is simply the beginning of the next exciting chapter for this enigmatic band from Beijing.
It’s perhaps fitting that Fu Han, on the closing moments of the show’s final tour, yells out to the audience:
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Beijing Surfer’s Adventures!”
Stream the Queen Sea Big Shark documentary in all its 90-minute glory on YouTube: