Predictable Melting Pot Bar horror story at China Music Radar

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The story I'm about to comment on was first broke at China Music Radar here and then reported at Shanghaiist here

University radio presenter Louis Yu decided to spend part of his China trip seeing a local band and chose the Melting Pot. How unfortunate. His review of the terrible experience is now posted at the CMR link above. That's the Taikang Road branch pictured, this story is about the newer Hengshan Road branch. But, believe me, the story goes for both. 

I definitely do don't want to come across as all I told you so but let's also revisit some blog posts on the same subject first:

Here's a quote from the last of my three posts. Does it sound familiar (to anyone who's been there)?

The warm up act was in fact a crooning KTV guy singing pop hits to a backing track. Why? Whhyyyyy!!?? Because it was someone's birthday party. Yes, they let someone have their birthday do at the bar on a gig night and put they show back to 11.45 to accomodate a round of KTV crooning and some announcements etc. This is totally normal in the local stylee bar environment and dice shakers continued unabated.

So, here's a quote from when Louis went to see Cold Fairyland on New Year's Eve:

I went into the melting pot and asked the waiter" is cold fairyland playing?" "uh?" "band, is there a band?" "yeah, yeah band..." "what band is playing" "I don't know, new, new band" "do I have to pay for a ticket?" "no, no free". I sat down and it took me a while to clue in that cold fairyland was just some bar band that night ...

...Then he tried to continuously participate in the band's game, until Lin Di (the Pipa player and the leader of the band) said "no you had enough", and he proceeded to tell his friends to go on stage and participate in the game.For one of the games he was asked to give his fav number, in which he said "oh my fav number, beside cold fairyland's promotional number (WTF) is the number 69″, and then he looked around the room and laughed proudly. At that point I wanted to throw my glass at him. Another game he was asked what his fav animal was by which he said "pussy...", and another one, he finally won the game, and the band member gave him a gift, in which he pulled out a condom from his pocket and gave it back to the band member...

What more can one say? There are places like Live Bar and Yuyintang that get it. There are people like 0093 who live in windowless basement rooms in order to push new local bands. There are people like Frank from Mortal Fools and Splitworks pushing for larger events. There are even Indie Labels popping up. Louis adds that some famous bands he has spoken with lately said that they started out in places like that. The debate is, is mismanaged bad exposure better than none? I say - with places like YYT to play at and an established community of locals who know how to present their music, it will hurt you. This is because the choice is not between bad and nothing, it's between bad and something. 

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I think I was standing next to Louis at one point. I regret not chatting him up, sounds like an interesting guy. But yeah, Hengshan Road, whatcha gonna do...

And in Cold Fairyland's defense, they gotta eat. Do bands make money playing at Yuyintang? How much on average?

oh nono, I wasn't talking bad about cold fairyland at all. I completely understand they have to make a living. My point is that, it makes my heart break to see one of China's best indie band playing in a bar like that (and I described the shockingness, as I encountered them the first time). Look, at the west well known indie band have a lot of resources to their disposal. Cold fairyland should be allowed to make a steady living, enough for them to work in comfortable studio, enough for them to concentrate on music full time.... all that.

Say hi next time you see me, I'm coming back 16th/17th for the two dream factory shows, chat me up if you see me standing around. I was super akward at melting pot by myself :)

Thanks Louis. It stinks that there's no authority assigning bands to steady jobs and recording studios (there used to be, 工作分配!), but maybe that's for the better. I'll definitely say hi if I see you next time. And if you see Cold Fairyland again, go up and say hi to lead singer Lindi; she's one of the most approachable people I know in Shanghai.

and I think the two of us did talk a bit at the melting pot, we commented at how nobody's going up to play the games, and the people went up are the bartenders that are working there. Since when did u see a bar band bringing their own gifts and played games with the bar crowd, and the bartenders go up and play. It's like, comon. You don't find that ridiculous?? I mean, there are people that are truely there to see the band (the people that appriciate indie music, you, I, John Guise who was sitting in front of me, the Chinese couple that went in and had the same talk with the bartenders), the rest are just dice shaking, bar crowds. A good indie band shouldn't be reduced to this.... There are people that love them :) and I shouldn't have to go to a bar like that to see a indie band I love. I don't know I'm rambling

I just saw this diary.
I have to say that is funny.The new year eve in HengShan lu is the only one time we bring gifts and play with audience in CFL 9 years history.
We usually don't play in happy time,cause our music is not entertainment,can't make people happy,we only play to the people who really like our music,that usually in YuYinTang or some other place,those time we sale tickets,cd,like real concert.
We don't treat any gigs we play in some business bar as our real concert,and also pitty the boss who hire us to play there,because they will lose money.Wrong audience,we just make them disappointed or suffering.
But like we played in XinTianDi Ark for 5 years long before,if one boss try to surpport the original music,we will surpport them back.It's sort of like spread the seeds,more people hear new music,maybe they will start care about more new music.
We don't really need that little money from bar,(we can make much more money from our real concert in other place),in shanghai,you see all the bars taken by Philippines bands and Foreigners Jazz bands or chinese cover bands,all the indie music band can play in less and less places,that is sad.
People need to educated,the music hobby needs to bring up,it's not one night job.We don't care about how other people thinking,we just play our music,100% orignal,if u like us,welcome,you don't like,not bother us.
I am thank for louis come to our show,for the first time to see CFL,hengshan lu is not the right place,haha,so i never ask friends to go there to see us.
That day is speical,new year eve!Who dare can ask CFL play in New Year Eve? That is funny,so i ask my friends come,and i bring gifts for them,the friends who came to see us that night,all very nice fans since very long time ago,i decided that night is the day we celebrate new year together,so we play music and game all for our dear friends,not for other people,but i want make others happy too.
There are always rude people or ugly people in the world,we just try to create beautiful things like music,no time to pay attention to them.
The Melting Pot's owner Ruby,she is very nice woman,treat us very well,respect all the musician,surpport lot of bands for long time,we thanks her good heart,even we can't get satisfaction response there,but still will collect new audience,and bring them to real indie music world,haha.
That is the war.If u can understand.

Hi Lindi

If you read the rest of the blog, you will see that we completely agree.

We always support Yuyintang and people who care about god music.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy Best published on January 7, 2009 2:13 PM.

Rock 0093 Studio gearing up for the New Year was the previous entry in this blog.

Dong Zi / folk night @ Yuyintang is the next entry in this blog.

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