Andy Best: September 2011 Archives
So, yeah, the blog has problems. It's up again. But, for me, it's either blocked or so slow that anything I do gets timed out using the regular Chinese net service.
I can do stuff with a VPN service, but as we all know, some of those are having problems too lately.
This and many things about life are so annoying that, see picture, even at 38 years old, being juvenile feels great. It's my light painting ode to Perez Hilton.
Well, while I'm trying to catch up I should mention, in case the post doesn't get done, that this Friday is the Pairs CD release, Death to Giants have a bunch of new tracks on their Douban page and the Friend or Foe CD is also imminent. Full posts and links shortly.
- sigh -
Note: due to technical problems this post is way behind and lacking in meaningful details sorry
Glow Curve played Yuyintang on a Thursday night with Shanghai's own Duck Fight Goose. Check the pages to hear the tunes:
So this was a night of progressive sounds and post-rock stylings. And before hopelessly pedantic, borderline OCD, people have meltdowns ... I use the accepted definition of post-rock, that is, music played with a rock line up that doesn't follow the traditional patterns of rock music.
Duck Fight Goose were up first with their new set of songs that are now becoming familiar to me through the shows. It was a Thursday combined with the recent late starts and Douban limitations. So the room was pretty empty. And then the sound really ballsed up. Synths went missing and carefully constructed layers blurred. I still enjoyed History, which will achieve legendary status once the CD is out. In case you've never seen them, they have moved away from the sound on the Flow EP (and the Douban page) and added elements of post-punk, synth punk and that German 70's experimental that all the kids dig right now. They still, however, remain distinctly individual and Han Han's fingerprints are on everything.
Glow Curve, formerly Maze, are from Beijing. They played a set of more standard post-rock that builds and builds. They played it well and had two tracks with normal rock vocals too, claiming a bit of personal style in the genre. Their performance was a bit like a rehearsal though, debating with each other between tracks then starting again without looking at us. If you are up in Beijing you should check out the singer's digs ... the awesome venue/workspace Raying Temple.
As many people noticed, the blog went down completely. It generated a kind of fatal error and my host shut me down as a precaution (the error affected their MySQL database). I have contacted them and they have opened the blog again ... but I haven't had word back on the error so it's not really resolved yet.
So, for now, comments are off (error originated in comments DB) and posts won't be forthcoming until I get the exact info and fix. Sorry for the inconvenience everyone.
In the mean time, here's a photo from our many night rides in Shanghai. This one is much clearer and well thought out than the usual ones as I had help. Thanks, Micah!
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?
Beijing based DIY collective, organizer and writer Pangbianr have added to the current media bomb surrounding the upcoming releases from Pairs and Duck Fight Goose.
And why not, these are excellent Shanghai bands with great attitudes releasing awesome albums and representing all over China.
Also, when I say media bomb what I really mean is self-funded underground bands working their asses off to get some decent music out there - so read the material, link to the blogs, get the albums and go to the shows.
On a side note, Xiao Zhong is right in his comments about certain sections of scenes and backstage culture. I have a good story on this topic, so ask me at a show.
We've already reported on Pairs new upcoming album Summer Sweat
Intrepid American podcaster DJ EZ Eargazm met the band on a trip to Beijing, during which he caught many bands ... including his favorite, and mine, The Subs. He then followed up on a drunken promise and came to Shanghai to record ... 100 questions with Xiao Zhong (English).
It must be checked out, it's well funny.
And - it kicks off (at around ten minutes in, the start of the interview itself) with an exclusive new track from the upcoming album.
So check it out:
Also, listen for the quips at the start. When referred to as a local celebrity, Xiao Zhong laughs it off, and says they could find a real one as they'd just seen Jake Newby on the street from the car.
Shanghai is getting a new livehouse.
I tentatively joined the Douban group for this when it formed but now the story has been officially broken here ...
... I'll go on to talk about this a bit.
There are actually lots of half-decent livehouses in Shanghai, enough to make a scene like in Beijing. The problem is that in Shanghai the man makes it extremely difficult to run them and most people cannot be bothered. There are also other factors but I don't want to get into mudslinging. This new place, Shan Hai (山海) will be up on Aomen Lu and will actually be the third livehouse in that area along with Dream Factory and Kento's Livehouse. Think about that, three venues there in walking distance all between the 2-400 people mark. With good management, the right equipment and respect for the music and musicians, it could be a world beating live scene all by itself up there.
Then near me we still have Sus2 and Harley's. They both have custom live music spaces that hold 50-100 people and really suit rock gigs. Especially Harley's. The boss of Sus2 was the founder of the original Sus2 (Gua'er) factory space in Yang Pu - the first ever YYT type underground space.
Everyone knows the functioning ones, Yuyintang, Mao, Live Bar and Logo. Shows can also go on at Lune and there's Corner Bar in Songjiang Town and 696 in Hong Kou. Singer-songwriters get Beedees, Anar and Fanfare too. Oh, and large acts can play The Mixing Room in Pudong also - but I hesitate to think of it as a 'part of the scene.' So what's the count so far ... 16 including the new one.
Sixteen. And I'm sure I've missed someone, it always happens. Take from that what you will, but if everyone had a similar attitude to the YYT people, things could really happen. Just saying.
As for the new place. Lezi runs the Zhu Lu He Feng label which now has a stable of performers and it's own genuine following. That venue is probably going to be a de facto home base for the group as a whole. It makes sense. I have hopes for it although these places don't have to be so big. One hint though. The last bar managed by the same people was Mao Livehouse's first location so let's hope there's an improvement on that to go with the good musical possibilities.
Note: Tudou is now doing an auto play thing and I can't figure it out just yet so the video will be after the jump. If it doesn't resolve I'll just go to Youku. Sorry.
Shanghai metal-core trio Loudspeaker have been around for years and they are punk in the true sense of the concept. They love to play, have their own private room at Ju Ju and just keep going and going because they love it.
Here's the track I Will Be Back from YYT on Friday. Hear the recorded version on this page. Scroll down to see the MP3 player.
Friday night was this show featuring bands that play loud and only charge 25 RMB for the show also. Great.
In order of appearance:
Fearless are still missing a drummer and played their set acoustically. What was interesting is that they really played the exact same songs and notes (usually melodic death metal) but instrumental with no drums and on acoustics.
Loudspeaker have been playing for over ten years in Shanghai and have modified their style a couple of times. Right now they are metal-core and play hard and fast. They have an EP knocking around you can get called "I will be back". Drummer Wang Lei has a high reputation on the scene and he showed up tonight driving the set with his frenetic and yet effortless looking beats. An interesting aside, Brad Ferguson is currently working at Yuyintang and the first time I saw Loudspeaker was when he put them on at Harley's Bar a few years ago. Deja Vu.
Moon Tyrant were the organisers of the event and got on a little late as Loudspeaker did a full set. They play modern metal sprinkled with some diverse interests that individual members bring to the music. All the familiar songs from Future Superhuman were on display but I was really taken with a newer track "Galactus, My Heart." Not only did it have a memorable bass intro and good dynamics ... it's about Galactus. Did I mention it's about Galactus? You don't know Galactus? Sliver Surfer? Galactus? No? Then, seriously, f**k you. That is all.
Beijing's Glow Curve are on their way to Shanghai and will be playing Yuyintang on Thursday 19th. They will be playing together with Duck Fight Goose which will create a death-ray rock supernova. Well, go to the band's sites to get the actual sounds.
Glow Curve used to be called Maze (Mi Gong). At their page I found a link to a good CNNGo article intro-ing them and four other Beijing based bands. It's from June and is timely as the word on Beijing right now is stagnation and a bit of digging shows that's not necessarily true.
At the time it was written these bands were not really under the radar here and all of them had played Shanghai. Streets Kill Strange Animals and Birdstriking had played memorable shows. Mr Graceless are on Maybe Mars and have since been brought down for a Wooozy showcase. However, it's true that these bands are doing things in Beijing so check out the article.