Andy Best: September 2010 Archives
Been a lack of posts lately. Let me explain and in doing so preview some up and coming posts.
We are in the middle of a mess of public holidays and make up days. The Expo is still on and, for that and many reasons, the scene is dead compared to previous years.
I mean the part of the scene that I tend to cover, the home grown stuff that gives indication of where the domestic scene is going.
By the way, one of the other reasons is the trend of more established local acts deciding to take time out of the regular scene to focus on advertising work and promo events.
Another is that 150 'party people' and transients watching a touring overseas act has bugger-all impact on the scene. "The scene" meaning people based in the city creating music and dedicated regular audiences who support/contribute it. "The scene" not meaning the sum of entertainment events happening in the city at any one time.
Expect a big write up of the Expo summer when it's done next month, followed by a return to regular gig going / writing. It would help if Douban would restore the feed filters for checking band updates. It would also help if bands were updating.
I've written before about China, and Shanghai's, metal scene but Max of the Rock in China Wiki is the true defender in the blogosphere.
The Rock In China Wiki Blog has been busy posting recently and it comes as no surprise to find the majority of the new posts covering metal.
Here are three videos and an updated list of Wiki goodness. Keep up the good work.
Video: 641 (Tianjin)
The video links contain Chinese characters so if your system doesn't support them just go to the blog and have a look.
Saturday night at Yuyintang and a Beijing based Maybe Mars band was in town for a CD release. Usually a big event. They were Guai Li. The full line up:
Good turn out but a kind of weird mixed crowd of punters. Duck Fight Goose opened up. They had moved the stage around a bit to incorporate extra synth equipment. They started with a synth oriented track and it seemed to take the edge off their usually punchy set. They are always good, mind you. Ghost is Online was the usual standout track.
Guali's CD is rather good and singer Wen Jun was on tonight. For a mixed crowd and being far away in Shanghai though, most people were not familiar enough with the material to start getting down. There was a long period of time where there were no tracks on Douban at all. Also, the sound wasn't clear enough to let new listeners hook into the songs. Finally, it was a decent night.
I have to make a special mention of one negative aspect though, because it's been like this for years and i'm surprised it still goes on. This was essentially a CD release tour, and they didn't bring their own CDs. There was a selection of Maybe Mars CDs on a table, but they had to run out after midnight to find their own CDs and bring them back. I had given up and then ran into the bassist outside as he was bringing them over. Luck.
The CD is great.
Preface: I have nothing against Mao as a place for seeing a band, I also have no affiliation with Yuyintang. The split of the gigs in a coincidence, in fact, YYT hosted the previous Puma show.
So, I recently blogged the upcoming weekend of Sept. 10 + 11th - a massive weekend of great bands at Yuyintang:
It has come to pass that Mao Livehouse have also put on attractive shows (in a way) on the same nights. That may sound normal as they are both venues, but the stars don't often align in this small scene so that 'good' shows clash. Anyway, here's the thing - both Mao shows are fully branded promotional events.
On the 10th we have a Dickies promotion that features appearances from Queen Sea Big Shark and Lu Xing Tuan. On the 11th we have a Puma Archive Uncovered show featuring Mavis and her 100% band (plus others that are not actually declared on the Douban event).
On the one hand you have gigs that are marketing events designed to sell you stuff, in a roundabout way. Like a big living version of a 'cool' ad on TV. They are a thoroughly offensive invasion of a cultural space that we create together to, supposedly, avoid stuff like clothing ads and to express ourselves honestly. And you're even paying for it. It makes me sick. The Puma one even has a thing to make everyone turn up wearing Puma shoes and Tees, the whole audience. I have, in fact, just been sick.
On the other hand you have bands playing at a smaller community oriented venue. You buy the ticket and the money goes to the artists in return for their music and the shared experience. Yes, that's right. Want to help the bands make money, just give it to them directly. And did I mention that those bands and those shows are fucking amazing.
This is like one of those quizzes that reveals something about you personality:
Which shows will you go to this weekend:
Fri: a) BCR b) Dickies event
Sat: a) Streets Kill b) Puma event
Sun a) death metal show b) some swanky wine bar
If you answered all a's: You are a music fan who likes to see the local scene thrive, you have strong sense of independent music as an extension of the human endowment of freewill. You are a wonderful human being.
If your answers include any b's: You are a cunt.
Friday night at Yuyintang was a special gig promoted as Kai Xue, back to school. There was a selection of Shanghai bands and these kind of events usually attract a very specific crowd of local fans.
The line up shifted a bit but in the end I saw these bands:
The Rank are a newer brit-pop sounding act and Five Pence do mainly covers. Both tracks at their page (vids) are G'n'R songs. Chaos Mind were the only act who were experienced and truly developed.
The usual crowd were largely absent, to my surprise. There were a contingent of metal fans, with some noticeable absentees that made me realize some people only come if their own band is playing. Broken Promises singer Queen was there. There were also a lot of new faces and ex-pats popping in.
In fact, by the time Chaos Mind took the stage near midnight, there was a good crowd and the band was so good that everyone was an instant convert. The band play modern metal with good beats and hooks and plenty of power. They are experienced performers and got the people moving. They have recently changed the bass player, but the new guy is Levi Wang, previously with Shanghai's Mortal Fools, so they didn't miss a step. Their trademark quiet-loud-quiet-loud track Amanda was especially good and I think this band transcend the metal crowd now and can really rock any show and any crowd.
Midi have announced the headliners for the Zhenjiang festival.
News courtesy of Max at the Rock In China Wiki blog here:
These are the bands:
Midi are already famous for being hard-rock/metal oriented, in part because it came out of a rock school that produces technical guitarists and musicians' musicians. This happens all over the world. With this announcement though they have kind of painted the festival with the metal brush. In some ways this is good as there's so many wishy-washy festivals this year and this gives them a clear identity. On the other hand, despite all the tall tales, not that many people go and these bands surely put off non metal people. I guess I'm wondering if there are enough hardcore metal fans to support a festival of this kind in China. Midi have already done one festival this year, with a similar flavor and didn't do so well out of it.
Are you a metal person? Do you know that Soulfly is Max Cavalera's band that he formed after leaving legendary Brazilian outfit Sepultura? Does listening to Inner Space take you back to the classic days? No? Then you're not really a metal person. If you are then this is good news for sure.