Andy Best: September 2008 Archives
The college's attempt to hold a hearing to expel Artem without telling him what he was charged with collapsed on Monday. When challenged the college was forced to admit it had no right to bully a student out of their education. The hearing has now been postponed until the college can put together a real case.
The college has given no reasonable explanation for the punitive measures Artem has suffered. Evidence of Artem's 'gross misconduct' amount to not removing a t-shirt reading "Newcastle College SWSS" questioning an Army representative and sending a text message inviting someone to join the anti-military campaign. This in the college's eyes was enough to justify punishment usually reserved for students who are accused of violent behaviour.
The college's reluctance to put such evidence down on paper is understandable - their disproportionate response is not. We are asking the college to drop the charges against Artem and lift his suspension. All students have the right to voice their opinions however inconvenient to the college management.
Every great passion ends in the infinite... Likewise, Motek is driven by instinct and the thirst for sultry recollections of forgotten emotional states. Sticking layers of effect-laden guitars, underpinned by a needy bass and entrancing drums create the texture of great music for the best moments of your life. This sonic dream closes the gap between wishes, wants and imagination with melancholy, madness, consolation and hope.
This free festival being organized by the people behind Taikang Lu's 288 Melting Pot bar is part of the Shanghai Tourism Festival. According to Head Organizer Ruby Hsiao, "It is the government's intention to support original music, and to earn more attention from the younger generation in
- Chinese or expatriates." Shanghai
Well, did you read this earlier post on when I was last there? They filled the dance floor area in front of the stage with tables and let people play dice games with their backs to the great band who came all the way from Korea. They delayed the show start an hour and fifteen minutes because someone there had a birthday and wanted their friends to perform some pop hits to a backing track. They are not trying to support local music, they are treating it like a background cover band and even bumping it for a keyboard guy. And I hope that quote was added in by enthusiastic newspaper editors - letting two rock acts play a park for tourist day does not compensate for the past three months. Unless support actually means kill in the above case.
2) Getting an early listen to Pink Berries, if they stick it out and get tight there's going to be some great shows in the future.
Banana Monkey are good. Their style is more indie than us, but I like to listen to indie too. ReTROS are really good live too. They are really professional, on an international level almost, and I like their attitudes towards music and life - they're very low key.
This is the pagan celebration of music, the dancers around the fires of creation celebrating the force of live music, turning on the inspiration, the hearts and the engines. For all of those about to say there's no rock in Shanghai, we recommend extreme care before pronouncing these words, you may be slapped by one of the dark wings of the demons flying over Shanghai. It's as simple as if you don't feel it, it's just not for you. And for those chosen to participate, join the lines and spread the word: Rock is striking out
. Hell Yeah!!!! Shanghai
Here is a description of Brad Ferguson:
Ferguson is one of the demons of Rock, who as many custodial demons, has been called to protect and feed the fires of Rock&Roll and during this present age Shanghai is the proud designated zone under his dark wings.
So, if you're into this style, perhaps Layabozi is the music mag you have been missing, check it out.
I was just checking the Youtube channel and noticed that the Modern Cheese video was getting a few views already. So, why not give it a post. It's good quality and more close in than the usual vids I do. Self Party still leads the view count on the blog's Youtube Channel though, by double the next closest challenger.
You also might note that at 2:52 you can hear Jordan from BCR shout "oh ... big solo!" That's exactly what I was going to say except that I knew there was a mic running right by my head. Excellent.
Anyway, check out the musicianship right now!
Tough choice tonight with one of my favourite Shanghai bands Hard Queen playing in a new venue across town. Finally I was tempted to Yuyintang by the words old school punk. I will see Hard Queen at Dream Factory next weekend. I must admit laziness playing a big part too. Since moving house last week, I am now literally five minute's walk from YYT.
Special mention: Upon arriving I was very impressed with the new sign. Check the photo. A professional looking light-up sign to go with the mural. You see, I hit all the important, insightful details when reporting the scene, like who has the nicest sign.
As support act Modern Cheese were setting up on stage I had a chat with Abe Deyo (promoter) and Jordan Small (of Boys Climbing Ropes) that was quite interesting. I'm hesitant to talk about it for fear of starting something off that may not be that good for the scene here, but I will anyway. We were talking about indie labels in Shanghai and how much they can financially support a band, or not. Jordan mentioned that he'd rather just self finance as it was comparatively cheap for foreigners. The Boys Climbing Ropes CD is good and they have a track playing on radio back in the USA in some capacity. The CD cost less than 8000 RMB to record. Strolling back later it occured to me that a good way to get your band noticed would be to come over and be based in Shanghai. You could play shows at will, headlining any venue you like, when you like and make a CD and marketing for ten times cheaper than back home.
Of course, if you do bring your band over to Shanghai, be sure to live here.
So Modern Cheese kicked off and I immediately noticed the line-up change from last time. They have added a singer. At the last show, the guitarist was also the lead singer. With this addition, the songs now have some good back-ups and harmony vocal parts. It made a difference. Their first two tracks are their usual strong ones but like the previous show, the rest of the set lacks the same energy and focus. I often talk about how support acts play on way too long here and don't seem to get the concept of supporting. However, I mellowed and like the idea that YYT gives new bands a chance to play and that's what's important. I didn't, however, count on Modern Cheese. The set ended with the guitarist bringing on a stool and launching into an intimate monolgue with the audience - followed by what amounted to a second, solo set. Anyway, this band do have chops and ability and they are still worth checking out in the videos.
The Shy Tall Mighty took the stage next. No one seemed to have heard them before and there weren't any CDs knocking around the door or shop. I was mildly surprised to see the two frontmen apear - two middle aged British geezers. They just went straight into a high energy old school punk set, London accents and all. The crowd, who'd been very patient up to this point, instantly took to it. They never dropped the energy level and did a solid enjoyable show. They are not based in Shanghai though, and I'm not sure we'll see them again anytime soon or have cause to follow their development. Fans of good ol' Punk should definitely catch them if you have the chance.
To finish, I want to mention that Kongzhong Huayuan (Sky Garden) are playing Sunday's 0093 Rock Party. I mistakenly reported their name as KongDE Huayuan last time. I really want to catch them again and see if they've improved any. Fans of Coldplay-esque jangly guitar bands should come too.
I just created a new feature for the blog, a google map with photos and info of my neighbourhood. Check out the pages sidebar immediately. Not only that - I am about to lay out the case for why it is the ultimate neighbourhood for true hipsters. As you will see, this area includes Yuyintang and other significant scene spots too.
First of all. Yes, you can play with the map from the page and it's cool and embedded. But, I've got to be completely honest, it's much better of you click the link to the larger version.
So, what's the deal with this Xinhua area? First of all, it's downtown - inside the inner ringroad and a desirable part of town. Then, it's off the tourist map so mercifully free of tourists and ... other hipsters. I have lived around here for six years. The places I'm about to describe are all within walking distance of each other. This is a small sampling.
Yuyintang Live House the premier venue for local rock, indie and punk.
Logo Music Bar the premier hipster hangout
C's Bar the premier dive bar and spiritual home of Antidote
Sus2 Music Bar the originals, now running a laid back cafe version right here
Rehearshal Rooms one of the famous band rehearsal spaces is on the east side of the block at Huashan lu/Huaihai lu
Sofa Cafe modern wifi hangout with great food
Marco Polo Cafe and Bakery small ultra hip place on the Xinhua garden street
Banyan Tree Cafe Chinese style wifi cafe on Fahuazhen road
Xinhua Road conservation area and lanes (Xinhua Bieshu) Our beautiful tree lined main strip and surrounding lanes. Former British and German suburb that includes the former home of J. G. Ballard - this area was also a playground for neo-colonial fetish of the month, architect Laslo Hudec. Perfect for inspirational literary strolls and free of tourists. You can live in them too, I spent two years in a beautiful terrace right on the strip for 1500rmb a month (shared).
Affordable Housing my friend Anthony had a perfectly good place here for him and his GF (now wife) for 1500 rmb a month all in. And this is a nice downtown area. You can even get a modern style two or three bedroomed place for 2000-2500 rmb a month in the infamous Fanyu Dasha ghetto towers. Split three ways that's cheap. And Anthony's 1500 place could house two people, or even three with a room share of the big room - if you're young and struggling. Ideal for hipsters and young uns alike.
Come and check it out, live here even. Who knows what the place will be like even two years down the line - this place changes fast.
Endnote: this is my 50th post in the music scene category. Hooray.
That's Shanghai September 2008 edition just came out and you can see the articles I mention here.
Not as much good coverage as last month, but that's OK. Last month was especially good ... remember?
Before I get to Lisa Movius' Rockpile column I should briefly mention the Wang Wen review on page 29. I quote
Unlike the band's high energy live performances, their recorded material ...
Hmmn. Has the reviewer been to one of their shows? I have, and quite recently too. They were typical of a meandering post-rock band. Low energy. That's not a criticism, it was a reasonable recreation of the energy levels on the CD.
Now, I was impressed with the Rockpile column for a third month in a row. Let's be honest, I'm always impressed with anyone who appears to agree with me on bands and music. Equally, if you don't agree with my picks - you don't know anything. Ahem. This month is another pick, this time Little Nature. I have seen this band three times and wrote up the first time for Shanghaiist back in March here. They were the standout band that night despite their Happy Birthday closer. I most recently saw them at the Jiao Ban night at Yuyintang where I was happy to see they had stayed together and started to get a following.
Lisa talks about that night and reports that all three bands (Momo, Crazy Musrooms and Little Nature) met with Shanghai based Soma Records and walked away with deals. This is amazing news for me as they are the three bands I have been relentlessly tipping all year. I especially want to have the Mushrooms on CD. It does however beg the question, who the f*#^ are Soma Records? Obviously not the Scotland based dance label. Hmmnn, Lisa any chance of a fill-in in the comments? If not, I may have to do research, oh no.
These are good picks from Lisa. The Mushroom's CD will be especially good and these are all bands who have room to improve, mature and produce great songs given the chance to record. Let me finish by re-linking (sorry older readers) the demo we did for CW with Aric Queen that features two full songs by Momo (then Happy Strings). The demo that was followed shortly by Aric and CW manager Colin leaving the country. We will still make it if another host and backer come in ...anyone ...no ... sniff.