shanghai music scene: August 2012 Archives

Liveblogging Ballard's Crash Chapter Seven

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crashcoverTo access the whole series of posts just click on the tag crash at the bottom.

Now that Vaughan is haunting the margins of Ballard's post-crash life, things start to accelerate with immediate results.

James gets round to buying a new car and much to the horror of his wife and her companion it is exactly the same make and model as the one he crashed. He has even chosen all the same optional fittings down to custom wing mirrors. Relieved of most of his work duties due to his fragile temperament, Ballard drives the new car down to ... ... the yard where the wreck of the old one is impounded.

Here's the clincher, while he is examining the wreck, who should come along but Helen Remington, the other crash survivor and widow of the man killed in their accident. Ballard can't believe it, but it seems she has been going through the same experiences as he has. He offers to drive her to her office by the airport and things really kick off to the next level.

First they are stuck in heavy traffic and the atmosphere is tense and surreal:

'Do you want a cigarette?' Her strong fingers tore away the cellophane. 'I started to smoke at Ashford - it's rather stupid of me.'
'Look at all this traffic - I need every sedative I can get my hands on.'
'It's much worse now - you noticed that did you? The day I left Ashford I had the extraordinary feeling that all these cars were gathering for some special reason I didn't understand. There seemed to be ten times as much traffic.'
'Are we imagining it?'
She pointed to the interior of the car with her cigarette. 'You've bought yourself exactly the same car again. It's the same shape and colour.'
And then ... ... yes, he drives them to the exact spot of the crash and piles down the off ramp at full speed, losing control, bouncing off the centre island and careening out of control through the traffic circle at the bottom. Miraculously, all the other cars swerve out of the way. During this, his erect penis rubs up against the steering wheel and he cums in his pants. 

Helen doesn't mind. She has her hand on his shoulder and they drive off into the night, drifting through the featureless new housing estates, coming down from their sexual experience. 

Video: Duck Fight Goose Glass Walls

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Duck Fight Goose have just posted up their new video for the track Glass Walls. Check it out.

Pic: Livebar 7 year anniversary party

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Shanghai's Live Bar had its seventh birthday party on Saturday night. Xiao Zhong from Pairs took this photo from the stage for posterity.

Live Bar crowd

Video: Hedgehog The Burning Sun in the Morning

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Here is a new video from Beijing's Hedgehog. Hedgehog started off as a grunge inspired power trio and have had an interesting journey adding many influences via legendary live shows. I also ran into them at the NYL Vinyl release the other week which was a bit of a fanboy moment for me having been to all the Shanghai shows since Happy Idle Kid.

Logo remembrances: Mahanadan

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I just posted on the closure of Logo bar, as reported by Adam at Luwan Rock.

In the post I admitted to my ramblings being patchy and not based on any official statements from the owners. I asked if anyone could send me in their own memories. Boom! Right off the bat, it's Mahanadan. His take is remarkable in that reading it kinda feels like the experience of being at Logo. Everything Below this line is him:

... I never really liked Logo that much. The layout was shit and of course it sounded like elephants gargling candy camel dicks. No one ever stopped moaning about the sound. It was pretty bad, though.

However, Logo was instrumental in the formation of our band, Friend or Foe. Our first show ever was there. We had no bassist at all and decided to play the show with bass lines loaded onto Rabshaka's iphone. This was awesome until someone wondered, "what happens if you get a call in the middle of the set?" We were stumped, but soon figured out we could just put it on airplane mode. After that shitty set, the future Bill came up to us and asked if we needed a bassist. The rest is history.

We also had a crazy show there Halloween night 2010. This all had to happen after the Yuyintang show so it got started about 2 or thereabouts. The place was packed and we were all dressed up like bao an. People were dancing on the stage while we played and it was an all-in-all rock star moment. We went on to party like said rock stars 'til the sun came up, at which point I realized I had lost my phone. It was real fun slinking home to my wife and mother-in-law who were skeptical (at best) at my disheveled state. On top of all that, I had to go to the China Mobile office in that condition to get a new sim card, plus then to Cloud Nine to pick out a shitty new phone. Good times.

I think the funniest show ever was the Steely Heart show, though. The lead singer was doing his best Joyside impression and stumbled/sat down/momentarily passed out right into the kit. I remember thinking they were a pretty good band, like a drunker Strokes, but now they just churn out ridiculous synth pop.

Anyways, I liked the new Logo (we killed Bill there, as chronicled on Shanghaiist), although it was far away from my place and I had two bikes stolen there. It's funny how people complained that Mao was never in the center of town until it moved (right where the new Logo is/was.) and then they still don't support it. Shanghai music was pretty much made for the f-visa ghetto I think is the lesson there.

Lune pretty much always sucked, due to the equipment and the fact that the speakers in the back only pumped out the mics' output and nothing else ... I had to anchor the bass drum in place with a fire extinguisher so it didn't wander into the crowd. I did play in my winter thermal pants and nothing else there one time, so there's that.

Ah, memory lane.

The Halloween show at Logo
fof cops

Logo Bar closed / under construction

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logo bar
Picture: 'old' Logo

Warning! Extensive ramblings from personal experience. Read the last paragraph. If you have any good Logo stories, show remembrances or updates to this news - mail them in and they'll go straight up. 

Adam over at Luwan Rock is reporting that Logo Bar, a venue on the music scene, is now closed and under construction. He has photos. No official word on if it's done or if it's moving yet.

Keep an eye on the comments there for updates.

When I first got here, this thread of local music history hadn't started yet. Then Zhang Du (Zooma), a 90s generation Shanghai scene guy, opened up a music bar called Tang Hui in the location that would become the first Logo. It was an instant success with the party crowd but not really an active scene venue in the way that Harley's was, for example. Zooma then upgraded to Tang Hui VIP and Logo soon appeared in the old venue. Tai Bei was the owner and Maxime Lenik organised the music side. 

Side note: Tang Hui ran into trouble and Zooma returned to the Xingfu Lu strip with Anar, also now defunct. 

So Logo was a big hit, mainly as a hang out for music scene people away from the venues. Sketchy shows were put on too, a few live on as memorable events. I saw Cassette give a great performance there and they overcame the famously shitty sound set up for the benefit of about 20 people who knew who they were and had any real interest. The problem there was its own supporters. Die hard fans of the place did most of the drinking directly out front with beers bought at the store next door. Also, they got continuous trouble from noise complaints because of said revelers out front. No one made any kind of effort to reign in any of this to any kind of degree. The party ended, the venue moved and none of them made any lasting effort to support the new Sinan Road venue to the same level.

There was a gap between the old and new Logo opening, which was filled with their lounge bar venture Lune. Despite many attempts, it never gained any significance with the majority local scene. It really ended there (new Logo) when Maxime moved on to greener pastures earlier this year.

When I think back to great Logo moments, I think always of old Logo and of a scene and events propped up by the international community here. The Fucked Up show was legendary, and also displayed the worst self destructive tendencies, crowds on the street causing a disturbance and buying their drinks anywhere but from the bar itself. Hedgehog had a good early one, as did Snapline. Abe Deyo and R3/STD probably had a hand in most of these, right?

Can anyone think of a good show there that did not feature the hand of an ex-pat in promoting it? I guess it was a scene to itself. These are just ramblings: if anyone has a good retrospective they want to write, or has a favourite show they want to review - mail them in to me and I'll post them all. 

New tracks from Next Year's Love

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Thumbnail image for nyl390
I recently posted about the Next Year's Love 7" vinyl release show. It was also part of a new bar opening 390 Shanghai. Here's the post:

The band made two new recordings for the release. Smash the Pink Bugs is an older song and usually the live show opener while True Love Song is newer. Both sound excellent and are now available for listening at the band's Douban page:

Right under those tracks you can also hear, and get free downloads of, their self-titled four track EP. 

Video: Full live set from Fuzzy Mood

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Beijing based band Fuzzy Mood play a mix of styles falling somewhere in the range of dream pop, post rock and shoegaze ... I dunno. They are good anyway, and liked. A cheer goes up when the first vocals begin. 

They are nice enough to have put up a whole set from this month. Enjoy.

Blogosphere: Chris B and Jon Campbell

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chris b
Photo cribbed directly from the SH247 article that is linked below.

Chris B, overlord of The Underground, works tirelessly to foster the HK underground scene. She came to Shanghai a while back when organising the China heats of the Global Battle of the Bands. Shanghai 247 bring us a feature on her and also an intro/gateway into the HK scene:

Elsewhere, Jonathan Campbell, author of Red Rock and Beijing scene veteran, muses on the Pussy Riot trial and contemplates the political impact of rock in Asia. Interestingly, he pulls up Pangu. Pangu are the Nanchang band who went overtly anti-gov and ended up fleeing the country. Read all about it here:

Next Year's Love live @ 390

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390 Shanghai is a new bar that has opened on Panyu Lu (yes, number 390) kinda opposite where Wills Gym is, just up from Fa Hua Zhen Lu.

One of the people behind the project is DJ Sacco, also of Uptown fame.

Last night, there was a warm up show. It was the Next Year's Love vinyl release show. Featuring:

The bar has a dedicated back room with sound equipment and a band / dance area. It's cozy and like an upmarket Logo of sorts. The bands sounded pretty good, if not as loud as the other, pure rock, venues. I see lots of fun nights in the future featuring electro-clash, alternative dance and two piece acts. 

Oh, and there's a video screen behind the men's pissoir so guys get to urinate onto famous movie stars. Bonus.

Last Call for Friday night

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I already blogged about the opening of new bar Shanghai 390 here. Shanghai band Next Year's Love will release their vinyl at the show.

Meanwhile, across the way at Yuyintang, Stegosaurus? are releasing their album Purple Pachyderm.

Both shows are tomorrow, Friday 17th. Here are the flyers:

Here's what they say:

The time has come once again for a crazy, fun filled, stomach filled CD release show from Stegosaurus?! Named after Les Claypool's famous wine, Purple Pachyderm will see the light of YYT after two painful years of delivery and labor. Come for the FREE CD, FREE New York Style pizza and maybe a hint of Purple Pachyderm wine. Come early for the refreshments. Wine and Pizza will go quick! Support from Dragon Pizza. 40 Yuan.
So make your choice and head on out.

Fen Ran Punk Festival interview (600th post)

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Thumbnail image for Xu Qi
Pic: Xu Qi of Dragon Pizza

Pop! Bang! Whizz! Ooohhh .. ahhhh. It's the 600th post in shanghai music scene

Anyway ...

I recently posted on the upcoming Shanghai Punk Festival show here:

Now, SH247 have run a supporting interview with Frank Fen Ran, the organiser. Frank used to have the premier old school punk act in town, The Mortal Fools, and spends most of his time out in the suburb of Zhu Jia Jiao. As well as being a tip-tip bloke, he's always up to something in the world of punk. 

So, support the show on Sunday and check out the interview here:

Video: Nova Heart vs. Pairs

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The China scene has some amazing diversity. The first video is from Nova Heart and shot in Beijing. Singer Helen Feng is formerly of Free The Birds and Pet Conspiracy and is one of the biggest names in independent pop music.

The second video is Shanghai's Pairs playing Mao last year. The drums wipe some of the song out in the middle, but it's all good stuff. Pairs are IMHO the leading exponent here of a Lofi DIY aesthetic.

Top Floor Circus 0093 Revisited

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0093 revisited cover
Shanghai's most beloved band are Top Floor Circus 顶楼的马戏团 (dinglou de maxi tuan), shortened to Dingma. 

They are a punk band who started out influenced by G.G.Allin but were most notable for singing in Shanghainese and frontman Lu Chen's ability to connect with local fans on a cultural level. These days they fill Mao Livehouse when they put on a special show and were also banned for the duration of the Expo after a song making fun of it went viral on Youku.

In 2006 they released the album 0093 Revisited (蒂米重访零陵路93号 Dimi chongfan linglingjiusan hao lit. Timmy returns to 0093).

The album is both punk rock in the traditional sense and imbued with the band's own local identity as Shanghainese-Chinese. This is done without the single pluck of an Erhu or any kind of conforming to orientalist stereotypes. The insert is done in Shanghainese with Mandarin and English translations and lengthy explanations of the jokes and cultural references. 

Fan Gallery of Shanghai themed album covers (for their 2010 release) a hilarious insight into local Shanghainese culture and humour.

The opening track Heaven Here We Come 天堂,我们来了 (tiantang women laile) is a manifesto that stands for the whole album. The Punk riffs start and Lu Chen's voice kicks in with a glorious Shanghainese drawl. They spell it all out, nothing is working, the equipment is going to shit but never mind they're going to push on til the end anyway. The hilarious DIY video for the track has since been removed from Youku. 

The Douban page has a 115 link for free download of their entire discography but that FTP service has just last week been shut down by the man. Watch this space for more. Meanwhile, check out 0093 Revisited here on Xiami.

Video: Da Bang cut cut cut

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Beijing band Da Bang, previously also known as Bigger Bang, have posted up this official music video to their track Cut Cut Cut. 

Picture flashback: Little Punk cover

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On 1st August 2010 me and some friends put on a show at Yuyintang. For that show, we brought down Beijing based photographer Ren Hang. While he was down we organised some shoots including this one which produced the cover for Little Punk's solo album Hey guy, you are big time alright. Free from Bandcamp.

This is the original image from which the cover was made. Click for larger.

LP cover

What does selling out mean?

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station agent
Update: Brad F has a response here where he takes issue with my logic and adds some new points on the topic.

Dinklage sez: I sort of learned not to accept those roles, where I'm playing a sight gag ... 

We, as organisms, have the ability to reflect on our world and lives and express ourselves. It's a natural state, it just happens. Art represents the many ways we communicate these ideas to others.

Once we were living in large enough communities, several issues came up. One biggie is art in the service of power. Like propaganda. Some fellow coined the phrase the pen is mightier than the sword. Another issue is art used to sell things, or the intersection of art and commerce. This is especially relevant today as we live in a global consumer age and the people who run it have the power. What effect does all this have on music and the cultural communities around it?

This is nothing new or controversial. Talking about these issues shouldn't bring up shock, panic or defensive behavior. But, I find that when I bring this idea up, especially in relation to the actions of PR and advertising companies in arts communities, it causes a lot of fuss - predictably, from people within the advertising/PR community themselves.

One rebuttal I often hear is that selling out is a dated concept and there's nothing wrong with making money from your work. 

Next Year's Love vinyl release @ 390

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Shanghai band Next Year's Love have made a new recording and are releasing it on vinyl.

Yeah, the vinyl thing is in the China scene now. There's a whole label for it in Beijing: Genjing Records. There's also a flagship store for vinyl and players in Shanghai: Uptown. All good stuff.

The release show will be on 17th of this month and feature:

The Macaronians

The show is also notable for being at the bar/venue Shanghai 390. It's new.

The bar is just opening and is at 390 Panyu (Fanyu) Lu. That's just around the corner from where old Logo was and thus not so far from Dada Bar either. Looking at the flyer, you get the 7" for free. Nice.

How to find 0093 rehearsal space

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0093 shanghai door
0093 is a legendary rehearsal space in Shanghai that was responsible for a boom in the scene with its super cheap fully equipped rooms.

After a brief enforced move shutdown during the Expo, they came back and have been vital again.

The biggest issue, however - is how to find the front door.

The regular rooms are 35 Yuan an hour (which you then split between the band) and the larger ones are 50. Here's the official address:

Qu Xi Lu (near Da Pu Lu) 1228

Tel: 6416 4645

It is notoriously hard to find the first time. So, look at the picture, opening it up if necessary. The shop on the corner is called Gua Gua Gong Zi and the street number is partially hidden below its sign. Then the door to 0093 is the one I have door-matted in bright green.

When you step through, it will look like you have entered the filthy back of a shitty restaurant complete with leaking fridges - you have! Turn immediately to your left and follow the fridges, then left again to find the top of the stairs - then go down and follow the passage until you come out to the studios.

Click for larger. 
Shows Gua Gua Gongzi in relation to the Line 4 Luban Lu Station.


Youtube: Early Androsace video

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Continuing with the theme of regular bands in Shanghai that are breaking up or changing, here's an older but cool looking video of Androsace. This is from when they supported White Eyes in 2010. 

They have recently had to stop all activities and refit after first losing the original bass player and then their Guitar player / songwriter Sasha. 

Xu Qi
Yuki, the bassist for Shanghai punk-metal-core band Dragon Pizza, just reminded me that their show on the 19th will be their last one ever.

That sucks. Dragon Pizza are one of the best live acts in town. They are great musicians, play a tight set and entertain too.

I bought my Shanghai guitar, the black Ibanez, from Xu Qi (pictured) when he worked at Blue Hand seven years ago, maybe more. 

The show is the Shanghai Punk Festival on Sunday 19th August at Yuyintang. Full details here. It features bands all day including the legends Top Floor Circus and Nanjing's Angry Jerks.
Here is a kind of diary video posted on Tudou by Shanghai based noise artist Arrebato. Arrebato does solo material under the name lllllllllllHH and has also performed regularly with Mai Mai and Torturing Nurse

Shanghai's noise scene is world famous, mainly down to the tireless output of Junky and Xu Cheng with Torturing Nurse.Their monthly showcases are under the moniker NOIShanghai.


About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the shanghai music scene category from August 2012.

shanghai music scene: April 2012 is the previous archive.

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