Results tagged “Dan Shapiro” from Jake Newby

Shanghai bands on The Guardian

p442773267.jpgTwo Shanghai bands have been featured on The Guardian recently, with Rainbow Danger Club and Duck Fight Goose both getting mentions on the British newspaper's website. 

First up, the MAP project featured Rainbow Danger Club's 'Neighbours on the Rooftops'. The Music Alliance Pact asks 35 blogs around the world to post up their track of the month each month, with my good friend Henry Barnes doing the honours for The Guardian. Last month's offering of the RDC track came from Wooozy. See the full list here.

After that, Duck Fight Goose were picked out by Louis Pattison as a band to watch in 2011 in The Guardian's round up of international acts to look out for this year. You can read that article, with some comments from Shanghai's own Dan Shapiro, right here.

Are you watching Beijing?

Read: 2010 in reviewness

2010.jpgSo happy new year then, hope you had a good festive period and all that. Before we head into 2011 - the first few months of which could be a bit quiet with Yuyintang closing after this weekend and MAO Livehouse closing at the end of the month - here's a quick look back at 2010 courtesy of other people.

Plus, in case you missed it, check out this massive piece of good news on China Music Radar. Congratulations and well done to everyone involved.

UPDATE: Rock in China and Wooozy have self-promoted their own wraps ups in the comments below...

Read: Shapiro on Little Punk

p585467888.jpgHey guy, you are big time alright. Just saying. Also, here's something you're going to want to read: an article all about Little Punk by Mr Dan Shapiro. I don't really have much to add to be honest, so here's the link and here's another one to a nice Little Punk package which includes the album, a bunch of photos, lyric sheets and what not. Clickedy click click.

Brad Ferguson on CNNGo

controlbrad.jpgRegular readers of this site will be familiar with Brad Ferguson and his impact on the local live music scene here. Now, 'the fifth member of Duck Fight Goose' has been profiled on CNNGo and the piece has all sorts of familiar people contributing to it, including Adam from Luwan Rock, Han Han and one Andy Best. That's partly because the piece has been written by another local scene stalwart, Dan Shapiro, staying true to his word to keep writing about music despite ending (the print version of) The Beat.

Anyway, enough waffle, check out the piece here.

The Beat (no longer) goes on

1113.jpgUPDATE: Here's the link

One of the things Andy (and occasionally I) used to do on this blog was round up the music coverage in the local magazines and media. Given my current job, I've stopped doing this as it's difficult for me to comment on such things without being accused of a conflict of interest (if anyone actually takes these things that seriously). Still, I'm going to make an exception here, because in the latest issue of CityWeekend comes confirmation of the news we've known for a while now: Dan Shapiro is to stop writing The Beat column.

His last entry isn't up online yet, but if you pick up a copy of the magazine you can find it - with him doing a round up of his favourites entries over the years. As he puts it himself 'while I'm not much for sentimentality, I'm definitely a believer in self-congratulation'. And he has lots to congratulate himself on. In the last two years, Dan has been one of the few writers giving regular English-language (or any language really) coverage to the underground bands in Shanghai, bringing them to new audiences.

In addition to bringing a whole host of domestic bands to Shanghai and promoting the hell out of them in order to get them the exposure they deserve, Dan has been a strong supporter of the local music scene whether he's involved in the gigs or not. He's always at shows and is known to everyone on the scene as very much a part of the local music community. 

Hopefully this isn't the end of his music writing (I think he's going to be contributing music articles now and then for CityWeekend still) even if it's the end of an era for The Beat column. 

Two Expo-related reads

4082441910_447be9b72a.jpgDid I mention there's an Expo going on here in Shanghai? Maybe I forgot. Seems like quite a lot of people have, or at least they just don't give a shit. 70 million visitors? Unlikely.

Anyway, two local-based music writers have recently turned their attentions to the Expo with a couple of interesting articles. 

First up, Lisa Movius has bemoaned the lack of Shanghainese culture at the Expo:

"Considering the way the city's culture has been marginalized during the event, it's no wonder Shanghainese have grown resentful of the Expo, known in Chinese as shibo. Some are even using the initials SB as shorthand for the event--a pun on a common obscenity."

SB会 - genius. Anyway, read the whole thing here.

Meanwhile, over on his CityWeekend blog (and I assume in the magazine as well) Dan Shapiro has put forward an intriguing proposition - that the Expo saved Yuyintang from closure:

"So why was the venue allowed to re-open so soon? Could it be that the Changning District police were afraid of losing face just as the eyes of the world were descending upon Shanghai for the World Expo?"

You can read that one in full here.

What other people are writing about

hollerado.jpgUPDATE: According to Brad in the comments, about 300 people were at the ReTROS show. Not a bad turn out, but not good either - last time they were in town there was around twice that many. Given that there was a quality support act in the shape of Boojii as well, you've got to think that a turn out of 300 is disappointing. Of course, promoting events here has never been all that easy, but for this show it seemed particularly poor. 

I didn't make it to ReTROS and Boojii at Mao last night - I wasn't feeling too great. If anyone did, I'd be interested to know how it went so drop us a line in the comments. ReTROS always draw a big crowd, but the promotion for this show had been pretty dire. My feeling is that you can probably just about get away with it for ReTROS because they're one of those bands that people seek out the gigs for, but the fact that Shanghaiist didn't even include it in their music preview last week shows how little marketing had been done. If someone went, I'd be interested to know what the turn out was.

So yeah, I'm feeling a bit crappy, but I'm hoping to make it to tonight's Hollerado show at YYT. I don't usually spend much time on foreign bands on this blog, that's not the point, but I recommend checking this show out. I saw them at Midi back in May and, though I'd never heard of them at that point, I enjoyed their set. Their music is pretty easy to get into, but the thing that struck me about their performance was how genuinely excited they seemed to be playing China. The crowd could see it too and it made for a great atmosphere. They were one of the few Western bands to play that festival who didn't patronise the audience. The fact that they're back within the year shows how much they enjoyed themselves in China and you can read more about them and their love for the country over at Mr Shapiro's blog here.

While you're there, you might want to check out his piece on the year in Soma records and all of their era-defining achievements. That's here.

Dan writes that the label's lack of any releases has been due to a 'restructuring of priorities' and their concentration on opening Mao. And Shanghai's hot shot venue is the subject of an insightful piece over on the Radar. Go read it here. As well as an appraisal of the space, the article talks about how Mao and Soma have changed the game in Shanghai and how promoters who were bringing bands in before Mao opened, are now being cut out when the same bands come back to town. It's a very interesting read.

Meanwhile over at Layabozi, Zack has not only joined the ranks of The Mushrooms admirers, but has eloquently expounded his views on the recent photographers debate. Click here to read his thoughts.

Elsewhere on the interwebs, CNNGo and Shanghaiist have managed to arrive fashionably late to the Top Floor Circus anti-Expo party. I wrote last week about how the band had put a twist on their song Shanghai Welcomes You when they played the 0093 CD release and now, following a translation of the updated lyrics over on ChinaGeeks, both sites have posted the video and regurgitated the translation. Shanghaiist at least realises that it's a new take on what is now a fairly old Ding Ma song and drops a link to this here blog. Anyway, the kids are digging it apparently, sticking it up on their Kaixin wang pages and bbs fora etcetera. The video has been receiving a lot of hits, hopefully helping the song to become a real anthem by next May.

The Youth and The Destroyer support Steely Heart, LOgO

4104516285_57cba4f95f.jpgLast time I saw The Youth and the Destroyer, I commented that they maybe needed to be gigging more regularly and rehearsing more in order to improve. Well, they were in action again on Saturday night meaning two gigs in as many weeks. Introduced by bassist Reggie as "about the douchiest music you've ever heard", they played their way though half a dozen or so songs and even switched up their line-up for the last song, though it wasn't quite Candy Shop doing Ding Ding Dang. They might well have improved since the last time I saw them, but it was kind of hard to tell.

The headliners were Steely Heart, recommended by Dan Shapiro on The Beat (go here) and also by Morgan Short when I was at the Heart Attack night last Thursday. These guys know their stuff, so I went along to check them out. Steely Heart's lead singer has the swagger of Bian Yuan and the band have a sound that's similar to Casino Demon's - not surprising given the friendship between the three. Honestly, I didn't feel all that engaged by the band's performance. That's nothing against them necessarily (or those who recommended them) - they could have been amazing, but again it was kind of hard to tell.

Why? Because this gig was at LOgO. Anyone who's ever caught a band at LOgO knows that it's not the best place to see a gig and that the sound is far from the best. Although it's never been my favourite place to watch bands, I've never had a massive problem with it, but on Saturday night it seemed particularly bad, worse than usual. Maybe, having caught a couple of shows at MAO now with their fancy (i.e. good) soundsystem, it's made me realise just how bad the sound is at other venues, but at LOgO on Saturday it was really poor. Not everyone can invest in a state of the art system like MAO, but when it gets to the point that it damages the performances of the bands, it's time to do something about it. Or simply go elsewhere.

Get your clicks

24hoursfield.jpgBored? Here's a few places for you to double click your mouse.

First up, The Guardian's New Music on a Wednesday blog, which, as you may have already guessed, writes about new music on a Wednesday, has picked 24 Hours' Mr Stevenson as one of the tracks to listen to this week. They've even included a link to this humble blog. Read the NMOW post featuring 24 Hours here and then add the blog to your RSS or Google Reader thing as it's always a good read. Theirs I mean, not mine.

Speaking of Maybe Mars bands, you've probably been reading over at China Music Radar about a bunch of them heading over to the US of A. Well Dan Shapiro was apparently stowed away in one of their suitcases or something and has now surfaced with a piece all about them in Time Out New York. Not too shabby. Have a read here.

Managing to be in two places at once, Dan has also just published a piece in Shanghai's CityWeekend about the Neocha boys and their newish venture NeochaEDGE. You can read that one here. Proving there's no end to my seemless linking, Neocha (now apparently a person) also pop up on CNNGo's list of 20 people to watch in Shanghai.

I'm not on said list, sniff, but friends of the blog Archie Hamilton (Splitworks maestro) and Zhang Haisheng (Yuyintang founder) most certainly are. You can see the whole list right here.

Right, reading that lot should ensure that you don't have to do any work this afternoon. You're welcome.
crystal butterfly.jpgSpeaking of websites promoting events, the 0093 compilation CD release will be held under the banner of BBS forum Rock Shanghai. You can read about the CD itself here and the night should feature several (if not all) of the bands on the record. Top Floor Circus, Pinkberry and Bang Bang Tang are all confirmed at least, which makes it a great line-up already. The gig will be taking place at MAO, not at Yuyintang as I stated previously, on November 28th.

The week before, on November 20th, MAO will be holding their opening party. I know, I know, they're already open, but that was just their soft opening period, as is often the way here in China. They're now ready to harden up, as it were, and that night will feature Jason Falkner, The Mushrooms, BIZ and, interestingly, a return for Crystal Butterfly.

Crystal Butterfly, who have also just set up a Douban page, are part of the older generation of bands who were formed in the late '90s. They emerged following the split of Lunar Eclipse, other members of whom went on to form The Honeys (playing tomorrow with Yuguo at YYT incidentally). Crystal Butterfly are fronted by Pang Pang - one of the main guys behind Soma and consequently MAO itself.

Since 2005, when they released their Magical Mystery Tour album, the band's appearances have been a bit sporadic (they've had a bunch of trouble with their former record company too) but I imagine being in a band and seeing what the MAO stage is capable of is a hard mix to ignore for Pang Pang. Maybe this is the start of a comeback?

Finally, the gun-toting Dan Shapiro has started doing regular previews of forthcoming gigs over on CW, giving you a more in-depth overview of where to spend your weekend, but while I'm mentioning some upcoming shows, here's a few others I'm looking forward to in the next couple of months:

Oct 31 - 24 Hours release their new album at YYT
Nov 6 - Pet Conspiracy (craziness from the capital) at MAO
Nov 7 - Hanggai (Mongolian folk outfit) at the Dream Factory
Nov 21 - Boojii, Duck Fight Goose, Boys Climbing Ropes, Resist Resist, Triple Smash rock for Roots & Shoots at YYT
Nov 29 - Zhi Wang and Xian (Shanxi duo) at 696 Live Bar
Dec 5 - ReTROS promise some new songs at MAO

Since I left you

karakul.jpgI said I wasn't going to do this, but I changed my mind. I'm sure you've all been keeping track of this stuff while I was away, but, seeing as I was sans internet, I've been playing catch up and can't believe I've missed some of the stuff that's gone down. Here's a round-up:

After all the hype, Mao Shanghai opened. Andy's review of the opening night is here and there's his write up of the Mushrooms gig that followed a few days later here. We've been hinting for a while that this could be the last Mushrooms show for quite a bit (making me doubly gutted to have missed it) and I wish I could say more about why this is, but rest assured all will be revealed when I'm allowed to say something. Rounding out the first slew of gigs at Mao was the Rock Shanghai anniversary party. I'm looking forward to catching a show there soon.

The Global Battle of the Bands competition returned to Shanghai. Despite a good turn out of local talent in Beijing (they had 20 bands, of which 2 were laowai acts), the Shanghai leg wasn't quite as successful. I speculated on some of the reasons for this before. Nevertheless, 7 acts took part and you can read all about it here.

Then, the real craziness kicked in. Maybe we should all be used to the ridiculous whims of the Party, but I was still pretty shocked to read about the decimation of the Modern Sky Festival on China Music Radar. That was followed by Andy posting that the ban extended too all gigs by foreign bands which apparently led to the bizarre spectacle of The (International) Noise Conspiracy standing around in Yuyintang unable to play at the gig they were meant to be headlining. What. The. Fuck?

Battling flack over battle of the bands... still

harryhui.jpgUPDATE, Sep 17: In addition to K.E. and Five Pence, it now seems that October Capricorn (picture below) and Anchor have withdrawn from the GBOB. Sam Dust of YYT has stated that October Capricorn will not be taking part while Anchor's drummer has explained, "after we said we'd enter we discovered that we had to pay to take part. Originally we were just going to play and hadn't realised we had to pay a fee. We're no longer participating in this competition."


Anyone who's suffering from Battle of the Bands fatigue out there, I feel your pain. And yet, here I am, stealing Elaine's headline and taking up more space on the interwebs about them. I know, I'm part of the problem.

So why bring these competitions up again? A couple of reasons: first, Dan Shapiro has offered "Another Look at that Pepsi Battle of the Bands" over on his blog at CityWeekend (go read it here); second, the Global Battle of the Bands that I mentioned before here, has been taking a bit of stick on Douban of late.

Dan makes some interesting points in his piece and argues that the exposure the bands receive is far greater than that for bands who remain underground and gig at mid-sized venues. He admits that the sticking point is the sacrifices a band may have to make in terms of their artistic vision, but argues that sticking with an indie label doesn't mean you get a carte blanche artistically either:

"Of course, mainstream labels may limit artistic control; singing with an indie label should ensure your band receives complete creative license. But wait, in Shanghai, singing with a local label means you may have to change your sound, your style, your hair (Little Nature) and even your band name (MOMO / Happy Strings), in order to fit the target demographic."
This is a fair point in regard to Soma - they have changed the artists they've taken on board. Andy wrote a while back about the changes to Momo's appearance and when I interviewed lead singer Ding Jia nearly a year ago I asked her about why the band had changed their sound so dramatically and she simply said "because we signed with the label." She didn't bat an eyelid.


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