Image from Wang Jian Shuo
So, we lose a venue and all the others are banned from putting on shows until the Ol*mp*cs are done. My reviews and vids have come to a sudden halt for the next three weeks. Does this mean I have to go out and do interviews or does it mean I will simply rip other people's stuff?
Lucky for me, it's that time of the month when the ex-pat mags come out. First of all, it's important to remember that China doesn't have any good magazines in English or Chinese dedicated soley to indie/rock music. Some that try are basically there to intro 'western' scenes and have an occaisional feature on a Chinese band. Think you know one I've missed? Make a comment and I'll ridicule it for not being a 'real' rock/indie cultural product. My wife quit writing for China's Rock Magazine when it ran a cover story on Britney.
What we have are columns in decidely non rock'n'roll publications aimed at ex-pats in general. Shanghai Daily has a music feature in its Scope section. The latest feature it ran on live music was about Music Matters. Music Matters are a bunch of English teachers who decided that music is, like, really important and should not be absent from the community. They organise a monthly night at Mural Bar where they play covers and rap and all sorts of things. Is it possible that they have completely missed the fact that there is a music scene here with venues, shows, rehearsal studios, muso hang outs and ample opportunity to hear original music or form a band and make your own? The article certainly reads like that. Shanghai Daily, finger
up its ass on the pulse.
So, onto That's Shanghai magazine. I just got the new one and must note that their music section - that covers the local scene - now covers a couple of pages and a few columns. Lisa Movius has the Rockpile column. Ben Hogue has Shanghai Live. Also, the two of them plus some staff writers put in a couple of pages worth of Musicology features.
The Musicology features - not yet posted at their website as far as I could see just now - are about the closure of Ark Live House. This is older news that I blogged about here, but you can't blame the monthy magazines. It happened right when last months mags went out which means it had to wait until this months to come out, obviously. Lisa Movius rehashes the debate of the past month but follows up with a good mini-feature about other venues that went the same way called Hello, Goodbye. She lists U-like, Ark Live House, Tribesman, Gua'er, Tang Hui and 4Live. The reasons and stories are varied but there's a pattern which is found in many industries. A project is started by people who love what they do and they get it into the black, not huge profits, but it's running fine. Then, when it starts to pick up, an ego-maniac manager or owner steps in with a
ridiculous ignorant ingenious idea to make it more profitable and sinks the whole operation.
Next up in the Rockpile column, Lisa goes with a pick for the second month running. Last time it was Crazy Mushroom Brigade and this time she has gone for Loudspeaker.
Loudspeaker have a new CD out and good quality recording on their myspace page: check it out.
The column focuses on the fact that they are one of the scene mainstays at nine years and counting. I have seen them a few times and you can find a brief clip on the blog youtube channel. I have an image stuck in my head from one gig as an overheated, sweating Zhang Jian (the singer/guitarist), straight off stage and on a high, went directly to a quiet corner and spent the next ten minutes carefully and lovingly wiping down his guitar. I immediately wished there was some way I could apologise to my own guitars down the years.
I wonder if Jimi Hendrix is plagued in death by the spirits of his ex-guitars that he not only smashed, but often burnt in on-stage rituals?