October 2010 Archives

Infiltration: unfinished expo stuff

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Come on lads just one more week and it'll be open, just in time for the Exp ... oh. One of the major Expo developments - a huge 3K long park zone along the shore of the Huang Pu from the Lupu Bridge (Puxi side) all the way down the back of Long Hua - is still not open to the public.

But, it's pretty much done and it's cold now so night guards just kip in the bottom of their boxes. Oh what fun to be had, even for non-life-risking types who love to bike about. Alas, couldn't get so many photos as my camera is shit and it was dark. But check these out.

Oh, important point. If you go for the cranes (see photos) do not use the stairs in the middle of the base - you'd have to climb on the outside to get around the door - and risk broken legs or death if you fall. Just enter via the adjacent skywalk, with the wooden board floors and you'll see safe double doors in the old prison style - i.e. ladders. 100% safe.

What's this?

Going up.

A pristine (but horribly designed) bike/skate area! And it's lit all night.
bike park

Underpass near the Wanping end.

McRefugees on my hot chocolate stop. The Tianyaoqiao branch where someone got stabbed waking one up. 

My machine outside.

White Eyes coming to YYT, rejoice!

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We've been following Taiwan Chinese Punk band The White Eyes at Kungfuology Towers for a while now. Beijing were lucky enough to get at show at Mao but no Shanghai, until now. The band are trying to play a bunch of mainland dates to promote their new album Kiss Ur Eyes. This band are superb and should not be missed. The show is promoted by STD so there's a mild chance of dance music DJs, obnoxious behavior, electrics blowing, fights and well, the tickets are reasonable at 50.

It's at YYT on Saturday, November 6th. 

Seriously though, great band, support this show, YYT ... and STD. Here's a preview: 

1984 cover
Here's a very rare 'other' category post. It does feature a link to something I've done but this is not my project - hence it being here and not at Indie Everything.

H.A.L. is a publisher for people who like to write and happen to live in Shanghai, but don't want to write about China in that horrible white-expert way. 

I recently went to their open meetings called Groupthink and had a good time. And, let's get this out of the way now, I have a new short story there.

Keep in mind the meetings are every two weeks and you get the brief a little over a week from the deadline. Anyway, here it is. Try not to fall into the usual trap when you read it. It's, you know, fiction. I don't really do .. well, I won't spoil the end for you.

The best thing about this group is that they are in fact serious about publishing. Check out the photo. That's a demo cover of their soon to be released first book Party Like It's 1984. This is something really worth supporting. And if you like writing yourself, why not come along to the meetings? There's a tab on the site for submissions, but coming to the group, taking the challenge and reading your stuff out is the best way for them to get to know you and your work/style. Everyone's really nice too. 

Video: Rakasasa at Yuyintang

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Oh my god, I haven't taken video of gigs for ages but this one was worth it. Hefei metal band Rakasasa came to town and blew the lid off Yuyintang. Singer Huizi has a voice the devil would be proud of and this track rules.

Be sure to watch all the way as the track and performance go different places. For me, the highlight is the "grind-out" at the very end. Sorry about a couple of blackouts early on, caught in a mosh.

Metal night @ Yuyintang

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Image: Rakasasa

The weekend of 22nd October featured a single must see show from a visiting band who brought star power and a blistering hot live set that took the breath away.

I am, of course, talking about Hefei's Rakasasa. The show was The Descent into Darkness and here was the full line up:

血色沉沦 (xuelun)
Rakasasa (罗刹)

Yes ... three bands of genuine quality with genuine fans (Chaos Mind, Fearless and Rakasasa) in one night.

The turnout was old school amazing and the place was full of younger local fans, genuine metal heads and the coolest members of other bands out to support. It was mercifully hipster free, although it made me remember how people who claim to be interested in local youth or local culture spend more time dictating what it is than actually experiencing it.

Xuelun and Screaming Christ were the opening acts and each played a set of melodic metal that was boosted by the high turnout. Rakasasa were the first of the big acts to go in what was really the prime time slot. They were nothing short of amazing. Great, loud sound, committed and professional performance, they rocked the place to the rafters. The band play fast modern metal/thrash and fully embody the style. Punters were mesmerized by front woman 惠子 (Huizi) whose aggression and guttural vocals were of the highest skill level.

Fearless were good as usual but needed a couple of songs to really hit their mark. It all came together for the strongest track, the awesome Lords of Twilight which showcases all their strengths, especially the dual guitar leads. Unfortunately, it was 12.30 by the time Fearless got done and a large part of the crowd went home before Chaos Mind got on. Including me (work at 8 a.m. and not so young any more). Perhaps just four or three bands next time?

A little bit of self love

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lp cover
Yup, the blog has been slow as hell and I seem down but I have been doing stuff. Most of the stuff, including events, art and music production, has been documented at the Indie Everything blog. It's not all organizing though.

Now it's out, I'm happy to say I'm proud of the Little Punk lo-fi punk/folk album. You see, I also wrote and played the guitar on it. Obviously, LPs voice and lyrics are the star of the show but a UK blog picked it up lately and had this to say:

This new solo work, however, is something a bit different again. The music is eminently simple; comprising of Xiao Pengke's stream of consciousness vocal, absolutely laced with anomie, over the top of some excellent guitar work, part punk/part surf/part folk, provided by Andy Best. Need more convincing? Then check out the smart and funny DIY video, in which Little Punk turns Hit-Girl style masked avenger, for track no. 7, 'I'm Not In the Mood for Making a Song', which can be seen here.
Being nice is good. Now I feel all happy again. 

Also, despite the inactivity you can hear the original Expendable demos here for posterity. And, Ho-Tom finally talked me into going to the HAL writer's group. They are a good group of people and they were even nice enough to stick up my piece for the session at their site. Keep in mind you get a brief and then about 10 days to write it. 

Experience some local steel on Friday

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decent flyer
After a summer where the breakthrough younger local acts all but disappeared from regular Yuyintang shows, to be replaced with Expo bands and double price tickets, the younger local audience has largely gone too. Even the free entry Genohmang Jaeger promotions over at Mao are not exactly setting the place on fire.

2007-9 already feels like a lost golden age to be looked back on with nostalgia. 

Luckily there is still one event you can go to with a decent atmosphere that is not populated solely by hipster ad-people and the party crowd - the Playful Warrior/Hell United metal shows.

This Friday's line up:

Rakasasa (Heifei)

Chaos Mind are enough by themselves to justify the trip and the price, a reasonable 40 RMB. They are a real headlining act and this is the show of the weekend and they are the band to see. Non metal enthusiasts don't be put off, Chaos Mind are an accomplished modern band who play an accessible show. 

In other news. Breakout local emocore acts FAF and Double Control Where have been quiet for a while. DCW have just added a new demo at their page here. They have a complete new line up too. To be honest though, I still listen to the first two demos there Say Goodbye and Some Just Want Everything and remember those amazing early shows where both bands conjured up instant audiences of lyric singing devotees. 
pinkberry 2010
Local label Zhu Lu He Feng have announced their second tour of Shanghai university campuses spearheaded by their band Pinkberry.

This time they will visit eight universities including the Jiao Tong campus in Minghang.

Here is the full listing (Chinese language).

Chinese universities, like all levels of education here, are one entity together with the ruling political party. The principals are party appointees and the political culture permeates college life. In the world's developed music scenes, college radio, student union events and student support for live music is not only a given but a pillar of the industry. In China these things simply didn't exist. Until now.

The first fledgling steps have been taken towards student societies that can organize themselves, although it must be understood they are still way off the norm. However, Zhu Lu He Feng's Lezi is blazing a trail from the start. Having made contact with the new music societies the first time around, not without teething troubles, he is now taking his bands in for a more comprehensive tour.

There's a first time for everything and this could be a real step towards the future.

Bang Bang Tang @ Yuyintang

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bbt yyt
This is a holiday week (nationalism day) and a lot of people are off at one festival or another. For Shanghai, the Changjiang Midi, up the road, is the main culprit. Still, life went on at Yuyintang and Indie Pop favs Bang Bang Tang were back with some younger supporting acts.

I saw The Rank and BBT. No worries, Yin and Bremen are cover version heavy acts anyway.

Ahhhh, how to keep this short? During BBT, a guy with a huge camera set up, including an assistant with a pole mounted flash, took photos from the front every song, continuously for the entire set. It included putting the camera and powerful flash directly into band member's faces. He was everywhere and not an un-intrusive second was to be had.

That shameless c**t had absolutely no regard for ticket buying audience members there to see the band. It was so extreme that I can only think that maybe he was hired by the band or something. 

Now the band. As usual, the musicianship of this band was top drawer and singer Xiao Bai has one of the best voices on the scene. They played through a good set of all their famous tracks ending on A Song for my Angel. There was a decent turnout for them and they have a lot of genuine fans. If there was a normal music industry in this country then surely they'd be a nationally famous pop act. They should be.

One odd side note is that the Douban event info had all the links for the Zhu Lu He Feng label on it in a way that suggests they put this on. The flyer looks like their style too. But none of the bands are on the label and non of their crew were around.

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