Surfing the scene

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andy at jue
Well, Jake's away and it's an eight day holiday for me too. I thought I'd share some surfing with you. It's a familiar recent genre: Mainstream English language journos on the emerging China music scene. It did throw up a good quote though.

Firstly, I noticed that a Google search of Shanghai rock scene throws up my blog as the first result. Yay. So then I changed to Beijing rock scene and surfed into this 2008 Guardian article:

It's ... errr ... true to the norms of the genre, but I was interested in one particular observation. Lately there has been a lot of blog discussion and local Douban discussion on ad agencys and corporate sponsorship and the related issues. 

Dan Shapiro has been throwing up both sides of the coin at his blog lately.

Here's the paragraph from Petridis that interested me:

If you really want to splash out, you can hire a table and play dice using a Chivas Regal-branded cup. In fact, it's hard to find anything in the club that isn't Chivas Regal-branded, evidence of Chinese youth's attitude to corporate sponsorship. Almost everywhere else in the world, it's seen as (at best) a necessary evil, a pollutant of artistic integrity; here it is actively welcomed, and not just by superclubs.
Exactly. At best, evil and a pollutant of integrity. He is wrong in attributing it to the Chinese youth at large though. But what worries me is it's general acceptance here among the foreign contingent who are supposedly more aware of this. Of course, as I've pointed out before, a lot of 'ex-pat' writers and players on the scene here willfully and happily work in PR, Advertising and probably think there's nothing wrong with it. In fact, they are being paid to actively promote it.

Also, did you catch this review in the same paper that mentions Boys Climbing Ropes?

Anyway, got time on your hands this week? Comments are free and available without registering. What do you think about that article?

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The article by Alex Hoban? A lot better than the condescending Alex Petridis one for sure. Whether there is a need to prove yourself in Shanghai before moving on I can’t comment on but I do agree with a several of the comments. Potency of shows in shanghai? Absolutely, I guess the small size and intimacy of venues has something to do with that but the atmosphere at some gigs is brilliant and there is none of the attitude you can get in say London. Take the recent Bigger Bang gig, it looked like at least half the floor had turned in to a giant (but controlled) mosh pit, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the enthusiasm and that seems to feed back to the bands.

“Local talent outshines foreign acts to such an extent…” is maybe a little OTT but the quality of local bands here is quite incredible really, last night at Mao Supermarket imho outplayed Monokino by an enormous degree (disclaimer! - I am not a fan of electro, 80 type stuff by the way and I had to leave during the Monokino set ). Supermarket’s show was stunning; interesting act, hugely eclectic influences, when I arrived there were just two on stage playing keyboards (very well) and I was thinking Devo, as the show progressed guitars and drums slowly came to the fore and I was ticking off influences as wide ranging as sonic youth, mogwai, kasabian, stone roses, massive attack and for one sublime moment the Happy Mondays. As impressive as their playing was the way they developed their sound over the set was even better - both clever and very effective, these guys are an excellent example of as per the article Chinese acts taking influences and mixing them with local influences and producing a sound of their own.

That wasn’t meant to be a promo for Supermarket btw, got a bit of track didn’t I? It is this sort of thing though that is so impressive about some of the acts here, they don’t just copy slavishly (although, yeah, some do but that isn’t unique to China) and there is to some degree I think a “Chinese Indi” sound developing, remains to be seen if the difficulties of challenging the mainstream here and the lack of any exposure outside of the relatively tiny underground are too much but I for one think not. It is only a matter of time, the power of the interweb in this country and the speed at which information can spread is frightening, once original music breaks through here it won’t be long before it hits the rest of the world. Takes over? Maybe not but the future does look bright for local bands.
Long comment – clearly I do have time on my hands 

Great comment, thanks.

Mushrooms tonight at Mao.

The bigger Bang gig was fun. I managed to last the entire mosh (controlled and fun one, as you said) but I was drinking water all night after and lost a bit of weight. Got hot in there.

Thanks for the Supermarket review too, didn't make it to that one.


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