The Mushrooms all we need is u @ Mao
This was not just any show. The Mushrooms are a huge deal to Shanghai fans.
They got signed by David Tao's new label and then all but disappeared for a year and half. Then suddenly, they are back asking people via Douban to sell out Mao and that if they get 1000 people then the new album will come out.
This with no mainstream media backing from their label - the show was only promoted through Mao and Douban as usual. The brought up many questions, including:
After the long lay off do people still care about the band or the songs?
Could they really just ask like that then sell out Mao?
Are there enough active Shanghainese fans on the scene these days to fill Mao at all?
Would this gig flop and make me look like a total fuck-up for insisting in recent interviews that, personal tastes aside, this band were still the biggest deal to many local fans on the scene?
Well, let's clear one thing up first, they did it. The show quickly filled up the whole venue easily.
Let's go with the show itself first. There was only the one band and they played an hour and a bit. The sound was excellent with David Tao's own crew in charge. It was easy to see how they did it, they sacrificed some volume to keep the clarity. I got used to it quickly although the best situation is, you know, that the equipment in a venue is good enough to go loud AND clear in your own space. The Mushrooms kicked off with five back to back uptempo rock tracks, new and old. The music is still drums-guitar-bass and they rocked out well. The crowd loved Pu Pu and sang every word. At one point he lost it, looking out at the large crowd who clearly loved him, and blubbed. Bless.
Then there was an unplugged style mid section where they covered a David Tao song and revealed that the guy himself was up on the balcony. They finished with some classics although Love You So and Weishenme Ni Ai Ta have become different songs to the classic versions (which you can still hear on Douban, the 08 demos).
So yeah, what about the whole gimmick thing.
At the end of the emotional show and following a massive Pu Pu crowd surf, a clearly impressed label boss came onstage and announced that they shipped 1089 tickets on the day and that Shanghai had shown they cared about this band. He added, partially in English, "believe us, next, The Mushrooms will be everywhere."
So what was this, the band essentially auditioning for their own label? Isn't that how they got signed in the first place, by showing that they could sell out their shows with true fans despite having come up completely through the underground by self organizing? Well, more importantly for Shanghai scene watchers it showed that you can get fans into the shows if they care about your songs and, in the case of Pu Pu, you care about them.
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