As I have mentioned before, my favourite Shanghai band to watch lately is the Crazy Mushroom Brigade. I was won over by a series of amazing shows despite me not usually getting excited about that style of music (rap-nu metal/insert pretentious, near meaningless word here). As I skipped around, as giddy as a seven year-old with a new smurf, I found that not everyone seemed to share my beliefs. That's enough journo style writing.
Other locals, Shanghainese band members and venue staff shared my excitement and were happy to blab on about the band and how they were getting good but it was a different story in the ex-pat-iverse. Over a few weeks I bumped into a number of ex-pat scenesters, band members and writers for English language columns. They all politely listened to me speaking, then either hoped to change the subject or countered with the dismissive "really? I don't think so" rejection. There was only one notable exception. Tim Anderson of Mortal Fools confirmed that the band are always practicing non-stop down at the studio and are really tightning up.
I was reading That's Shanghai today because I love
pain reading a magazine on the weekend. I was surprised to see the Mushrooms finally break into ex-pat thought - but in the most unlikely of places, the Rockpile column of Lisa Movius.
Before I get into this, the column itself is available online here.
Lisa has been around Shanghai for a while and her column is the longest surviving English language column on the scene. The column itself tends to focus on the people and places of the previous 'generation' and draws a fair amount of criticism for being out of touch with the present or even snobby. However, in endorsing the upcoming Mushrooms show at Yuyintang, the column has now re-invented itself as the finger on the pulse. Well, that's what I say. It's a dubious honour.
What other truly regular columns are there? The Chai Le blog and wiki has been defunct for 2 years now. The last time I read the City Weekend print column it was reviewing great cafes and bars for 'pre-summer' and waxing lyrical about drinks on the Labella balcony turning into a great glass of wine. To be fair, the columnist, Aric Queen, has been suffering burnout lately and has just buggered off for a couple of months on holiday. His old project, Gig Shanghai, was the last really good English blog and podcast on the scene but that's been defunct for a while too. The Chinese sites are not in much better shape either. It seems that Pu Pu's comment quoted in the article about the need to work together more is on the mark.