Tran Lap recalls the rough initiation his rock band Buc Tuong (The Wall) had in Ho Chi Minh City at the end of the 1990s.

When he and the other members came down from Hanoi, he heard "a famous rock band dismiss our music as not being rock".

Their music – or style – was not "unusual or frenzied" like that of other bands, he was told. For starters, apparently, their hair was not long enough.

Lap believed at that time that the opinion was held only because people had not heard their music.

Since then Buc Tuong has achieved tremendous success, becoming arguably Vietnam's most popular rock group.

Musician and singer Lap and guitarists Tran Tuan Hung and Nguyen Hoang were studying at the Hanoi University of Construction when they formed a band called the "The Wall".

"In the first few years, we did not have instruments and had to borrow from the university," Lap says.

"But the band overcame all difficulties and the huge shadow cast by established groups, and created for ourselves a style that attracted young audiences."

In 1996, a year after forming, the band created a stir with a hit song called "We are the Wall" in a TV show. Four years later came the name change and, gradually, success. Its shows were always full. The pinnacle was a live show called Tam Hon Cua Da (Rock's soul) in Hanoi in 2002 that attracted 10,000 fans.

There were then a series of albums and awards, including one for the best hard rock band at the first Rock Viet Festival in 2004.

In 2006, the band decided to split and held a last live show that attracted 20,000 fans who came to say a tearful goodbye.

But in 2010, the band regrouped, but with an important change – it was to no longer perform hard rock and metal rock, switching instead to modern rock. To mark the change, Buc Tuong released an album called "Ngay khac" (Another day.)

A year later Buc Tuong held a live show featuring their old songs but with a new arrangement. It attracted 10,000 people, proving the band had lost none of its appeal after nearly two decades in the business.

On December 7, the band is set to perform at Ho Chi Minh City's Nguyen Du Indoor Stadium as the main artists at the fifth "Dau An" (Milestone) concert.

The concert is a monthly event organised by Thanh Nien Media and Vietnam Television on the first Saturday of every month, featuring the nation's leading artists.

Lap has promised to perform some of their biggest hits, and has composed a song, "Dau An", specifically for the show.

The band will be accompanied by popular singers such as Phuong Thanh and Minh Thu and two others from the first season of The Voice Vietnam two years ago - Nguyen Khanh Phuong Linh and Ha Van Dong.

Starting at 8pm, the show will be broadcast live on VTV9, several VTV provincial channels, and other stations.-VNA