Slinkrat: Marquee 7 chat / sadness
Pic: Xiao Zhu playing with Second at Mao Livehouse Shanghai in 2009
This post is going to come across as an old person whining. So before that: I'm basically reposting a mini-interview with the singer from Shanghai rock band Marquee 7 over at the Slinkrat blog:
One part of the interview really got me thinking. I saw Marquee 7 playing their first open mic show in YYT and singer Sharon is good, and yet she mentions the first six months of trying to get a band being so hard she almost fucked it all off. But she also mentioned that bassist Xiao Zhu nearly gave up and sold her bass at one point recently.
It's brought something about the scene into relief for me. Xiao Zhu has been a local music community mainstay since 2008 and I first saw her playing in the original Second (重结晶 zhong jie jing) line up in early 2009. Pertinent to my upcoming point is that they first played at the Rock 0093 showcase night, Number 8, February 2009 to be exact. The idea that she, or anyone local, would have trouble hooking up a band is troubling to me. 2009 was the year that local bands could get 3-400 ppl into YYT and sometimes even more into the soon to be opened 'old' Mao and that the YYT and 0093 Douban groups were a swirling centre of activity. 0093 had enough bands through their doors to throw out 6-8 at every showcase of which half would go on to self-organise and play regular shows.
It seems to be clearer than ever that the effects of the Expo year have still not been fully recovered from. 0093 was forcibly evicted to make way for Expo events' wine storage, I shit you not, and didn't get a decent new location back until over a year later. Top Floor Circus got in trouble with Da' Man. Both these events saw a huge winding down of local band activity for the period of the Expo and even Yuyintang, after a couple of warning raids that saw its sound desk impounded for a while, focused on the Expo international acts and influx of ex-pats for a while. Then a new boom of ex-pat run bands started becoming super active (there was only one or two active ex-pat bands of note for the whole ten years before that) and this has caused an unfortunate displacement of sorts, in a way. Finally, there has been a coincidental exodus to use Weibo that saw the Douban groups die. It has led to less communication and organisation than before - those are the facts. People should definitely admit this to themselves and go back to more Douban use for online organising. Basically the centres of community and organisation that had peaked by mid 2009 all took hits around the same time and are shadows of their former selves when it comes to grassroots local activity.
We can't control the gov stuff, but other points there make you think, and here's a controversial idea which I'm not that sure of myself ... if something is discovered like Live Bar, where there's suddenly regular gigs by student bands practicing at Left Rock, that has sprung up organically, should a bunch of experienced bands and or promoters, of any background, descend on the place, so to speak? I guess what I'm thinking over right now is when is helping actually helping and when is it not - in the context of sustainability. That's just one example.
I know this: buying a ticket and seeing a show as a punter is always helping. So go and see Marquee 7 play.
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