Results tagged “Expo” from Jake Newby

Triple trouble

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3way.JPGSo it's my time of the month. The time where blog posts slow down and no one sees or hears from me unless they happen to be in the office with me. But let's say I were expecting to be anywhere other than sat in front of a computer tonight - come on, just pretend - then I would face one of those big decisions that define a man. Or something like that. Basically, there's three pretty decent gigs on tonight for those of you with lives to choose from. Here's the run down, in no particular order:

MAO Livehouse - Revitalisation of Shanghai Rock part 2
The Revitalisation series makes the step up to the big stage for part two. Ambitious. Manbanpai open up, followed by Candy Shop, Momo, Little Nature and FAF, though probably not in that order.
9pm, 40RMB

Yuyintang - Strange Rock Trip
Duck Fight Goose and Boojii are back from their travels for a bit. Hurrah! Rank and New Vector are in support. But wait, there's more - as exclusively revealed on this here blog earlier in the week, Vivien Fan is planning on playing a new song with Sunny from New Vector. 
9pm, 40RMB

LOgO - eXpo CD Release
Neocha's compilation CD gets a big old release party down on Xingfu Lu. Beijing's iLoop and our own Sun Ye are among those playing (meaning you can probably make it after Yuyintang, given that Sun Ye is in one of the bands), but the headliners are The Band of RPG, a brilliant synth rock act from Xi'an. 
10pm, 30RMB

Two Expo-related reads

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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.

There's an Expo goin' on

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Just in case you didn't know. Only three days to go now until all our dreams come true and to celebrate, I thought I'd post these pictures up. They were put up on Douban a few days ago by a local artist and harmonised within a few hours. Luckily, I downloaded them first so I thought I'd share them with you here. Enjoy the Expo opening, I'm off to Beijing. I'm sure Andy will keep you up to date on everything happening here while I'm gone.

Expo rises: The Shelter edition

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untitled.JPGLOgO had a gig messed with. Yuyintang got shut down for a couple of days. Now add The Shelter to the list of places fucked with by the Expo. 

If you haven't read it yet, check out this post on SmartShanghai. 

Morgan just linked it in the comments on the podcast, but I wanted to flag it up here. The Shelter isn't a place that gets written about on this site too much as they kind of operate in a different area of underground music, but, as anyone in Shanghai will know, they are basically the Yuyintang of the club scene - they have a commendable community ethic and bring in some quality acts in a down to earth setting. Now they've been told to close. Indefinitely.

Ridiculous.

Again, go here and read about it if you haven't already.

Podcast live Expo special

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It's back. Back again. Welcome to a special collector's edition of the Kungfulogy.com podcast.
Get listening and keep it harmonious.

Links

The official website of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo

Yuyintang open again

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yyt.jpgUPDATE: I was just writing a follow-up post about all the great gigs Yuyintang has coming up in the next few weeks, then realised Morgan had already done a much better job of it here. Seriously, check out that line-up of gigs. It's pretty strong. As Morgan says himself, "now more than ever you should head down to one or all of these to show your support".

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False alarm? Maybe. News has just come through from Yuyintang that gigs this week will go ahead as planned, starting with tomorrow's Northern Europe showcase (it's a full week too, calendar and details here). The authorities have sent word that the venue has not been issued with an official ban and is therefore free to operate as a gig venue again. They can go and reclaim the equipment this afternoon and will be given more information about it all then, but essentially it seems as if gigs are going on as normal this week.

Clearly this is great news, but the whole situation seems very odd. First the gig on Friday night got shut down after the doors had opened, rather than in advance of the show. It was shut down by authorities from the city administrative department as well, not the cultural bureau as is usually the case with these things (it was the cultural bureau who tried to shut down the LOgO gig the weekend before). Then the Pinkberry EP release got "postponed" - although as Andy writes here, they were able to sneak out a few cheeky songs using the old sound equipment - and the police who came to inspect that were, as Andy put it, "the kind of city federal/special cops with proper gear and in shape etc", not the normal police who do this kind of thing. Finally, Yuyintang are now saying it's business as usual this week for gigs.

So what are we supposed to make of all this? Was it much ado about nothing or a pre-Expo warning shot? I guess we just have to wait and see, but the important thing is that Yuyintang is open again, which is clearly very good news.

Now what?

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b6.jpgSo it's come to this. First LOgO last weekend and now Yuyintang. MAO Livehouse need to watch their backs. If this is a sign of things to come for the Expo, then it's going to be a long six months.

What am I talking about? Yuyintang has been shut down.

When the police tried to shut the LOgO show down last weekend, stating "the Expo" as the reason, I tried to stay positive and believe that it was due to the complaints of local residents, rather than actually for the Expo. But with the YYT raid last night, half an hour after the start time of the gig, things have been stepped up a notch. It now looks increasingly like the police are doing an area each weekend and shutting things down. Why would you want an interesting and vibrant music scene going on during the Expo, eh? 

It's interesting the kind of gigs that the authorities are focusing on. One was a Sunday night show, though the attempted raid came a few days before. The other was a low-key folk show. Peaches at MAO singing 'Shake Yer Dix' and 'Fuck the Pain Away' is clearly harmonious enough to be allowed. A Beijing band playing indie-rock or a local folk artist? Let's shut it down! Clearly, dealing with a handful of annoyed locals is a lot easier than trying to placate 600 drunk and angry white people. It's also less likely to get attention in the press.

'Police ban Peaches in Shanghai' headlines are more likely to make waves in the run up to Expo than a story about a Chinese guy who plays folk songs having his gig shut down. But Yuyintang is massively important to the local music scene here and anyone who cares even a little about music in this city needs to make a fuss about it now.

There were warning shots. Top Floor Circus' ban at the end of last year should have been a wake up call. Instead, little attention was given to it. A few local sites ran posts on the 'Shanghai Doesn't Welcome You' performance at MAO, but few covered the subsequent performance ban of the band or the censorship and deletion of the song and the confiscation of the associated merchandise. Aside from a journalist from Radio France International, who ran a story on TFC's song and their subsequent ban, media coverage of the incident and its implications for the Expo period was non-existent.

Yuyintang shut down

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tandemLast night at around half past nine, police showed up at Yuyintang and told them the planned gig for that night (local folk artist Wu Ji) would not be going ahead. No real reason was given, they simply asked to speak to the manager and asked to see the venue's licenses. Audience members (there were around 20-30 people there at the time, not a huge crowd) were told that the gig was cancelled and that they needed to leave the venue. The authorities then confiscated equipment from Yuyintang - the cash tills and everything from the sound desk, including the computer. Tonight's Pinkberry EP release has been "postponed" according to a notice from the band, though they will still be at the venue at 9pm tonight to give out postcards and to meet any disappointed fans who show up expecting a gig.

Yuyintang are currently trying to ascertain exactly where they stand now - and how they get their equipment back. They have some big, big shows lined up for May with gigs taking place almost daily, starting with big name experimental indie act Xiu Xiu on Sunday 2. There is no word on these shows yet and clearly the hope is that they will not be affected, but they have to be in some doubt at the moment.

When attempts were made to shut down last weekend's gig at LOgO, I wrote that I thought it likely to be caused by resident complaints rather than the Expo, even though the big event was the reason given. I was trying not to think the worst - if the Expo really was the reason, then there would only be more to come. Well, now there's more, a lot more. Between us, Andy and I have written numerous times about the importance of Yuyintang to Shanghai's music scene. Put simply, it is the heart of the local underground music community here. Its closure, for however long, is a huge blow. Hopefully YYT will be open again very soon and this won't disrupt them too much, but I wouldn't expect to catch a gig there this weekend.

Cassette at LOgO

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cassette.jpgBefore we get into the intrigue surrounding this gig - which includes the police and alleged Expo interference - I want to say that Cassette were excellent and that the poor turnouts for their shows are no reflection on the band themselves. Even though numbers were disappointing, the band still gave a fantastic performance last night. I've been listening to them for a while and was really looking forward to seeing them live. They didn't disappoint. They are all quality musicians and have a really tight set up. You can listen to their songs here, but I strongly recommend you see them live. They're playing the Strawberry Festival in May so go and see them there. They played a great set of songs last night and lead singer Tearpixy was captivating with an incredible voice and a great stage presence - sexily strutting around and performing as if the band were in a much larger and packed out venue. They should have been as well - this band deserve better than they got on their first visit to Shanghai. Hopefully they'll come back soon and have a better time of it here, because this time round didn't really go to plan.

So what happened then? Tearpixy told me last night that the turnout for their gig at MAO Livehouse had been disappointing. I would rather have seen them at Yuyintang, but partly because YYT was full this weekend and partly because, being from Beijing, they naturally trusted the MAO brand they went with the bigger venue. That shouldn't have been a problem for a band of this quality, but for some reason the gig didn't draw in the crowd it deserved. Weird given that Candy Shop were in support as well (together with X is Y) and that those guys have been drawing in decent sized crowds lately. I guess MAO's attention this weekend was all on the Britpop night and they didn't promote Cassette as much as they could have done.

I have to admit that I didn't make it to the MAO gig either. As much as I wanted to see Cassette play, the night clashed with Stegosaurus?'s CD release and I couldn't miss that. Plus, I knew they were going to be playing LOgO on the Sunday, so I knew I could do both. Still, the crowd at Stegosaurus?'s CD release wasn't the usual YYT crowd so I don't think they drew too many people away from the other show.

Nevermind though, because there was still the LOgO gig. Except that that too got hit by problems not of the band's making. On Friday night news filtered through that LOgO had been visited by the police. According to Tearpixy they had ripped down posters for the gig and taken away all the flyers. They told LOgO that the gig couldn't go ahead and when asked for a reason, were supposedly told "the Expo".

When is a performance ban not a performance ban?

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ding maUPDATE: They've just announced a date in Nanjing as well - seems like they're deciding to play everywhere else following the ban in Shanghai. Time to hop on a train...

When you play in Hangzhou of course. Or at least that seems to be the case with Top Floor Circus. If you haven't been paying attention, here's a quick catch up:

Top Floor Circus play Shanghai Welcomes You at 0093's CD release, with new, direct lyrics

Top Floor Circus get called in for a cup of tea with the authorities

Top Floor Circus' Christmas show gets cancelled

Shanghai Welcomes You and all traces of it are wiped from the interwebs

Top Floor Circus get handed a six month performance ban

But now the band have announced a gig in Hangzhou. They'll play Traveller's Bar on the 27th of this month, more details here. Of course, this doesn't take away from the travesty that is their performance ban in Shanghai for voicing dissent against the Expo, but at least they're allowed to play somewhere. I wonder if they'll play Shanghai Welcomes You...

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