Results tagged “MAO Livehouse” from Jake Newby

MAO Livehouse to host Shanghai Rock Awards

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b618e507308d349.jpgA couple of years after Midi launched their awards up in Beijing, MAO Livehouse have announced that they are to hold their very own Shanghai music awards. It'd be easy to write a snide post at this point, so very easy, but to be fair to MAO, while a lot of the best performance nominations are slanted towards bands who appeared on their stage, they've at least kept themselves off the list of 'best venue' nominees and Crystal Butterfly's name is nowhere to be seen, so it's at least a step up from the Miserable Faith Midi Awards. 

Of course, there's plenty to be said about whether Shanghai needs this or whether anyone will really care, but you can check out the nominees on the right here. No word on how they'll be judged yet, but the event itself will take place on Saturday February 18 and MAO promise that 'this night will make history.'

Another video: Ten years of Top Floor Circus

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Dingma play their traditional Christmas Eve show in a couple of weeks, this year it's at MAO Livehouse. The gig will double as a celebration of the band's tenth anniversary. As part of the warm up, they've released the above this video (now after the jump as I couldn't get the autoplay to stop).

Something for the weekend

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Here's a cursory glance at what's on gigwise this weekend. 

Tonight is strange foodstuffs night apparently: Silver Apples at MAO Livehouse (bish), Plastic Chocolate (that's them in the video) EP release with Pinkberry at YYT (bash) and Androsace and friends at Live Bar (bosh). And if you're wondering why Androsace counts as a strange foodstuff, just think about it....

Saturday everyone's doing double headers. Well, not everyone but YYT has Exit A on before The Fever Machine invade and Live Bar has Flamer followed by a separate show involving Battle Cattle. MAO Livehouse has those Second Hand Rose guys and 696 have a folk thing. LUNE meanwhile, have a free show with X is Y, Next Year's Love, Moon Tyrant and Girls Like Mystery, as discussed before.

Slovakian hardcore on a Sunday? Yep, that's what they've got at YYT. MAO Livehouse has some weird anime thing and Live Bar has Miss Panda (who gig like this) according to the flyer, but a slightly different line up according to the Douban listing. Take a gamble.

Sound Toy are coming back to Shanghai

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Chengdu-based band Sound Toy are playing at MAO Livehouse next month, which is a show to get excited about. They're playing on the 6th, which is a Monday, slightly odd, but and is the Dragon Boat Festival so worth getting out for. Sound Toy rarely tour so when they play here it's a pretty big deal - I think this is only like their second show here in about five years or something. Could be wrong, but that's my guess.

Music Fever are the people you should thank for bringing them your way again, the local-based label seem to be stepping up activity again after a dormant period - they also have a big weekend at MAO Livehouse week after next with two nights and a CD release headed up by My Little Airport.

Anyway, I digress. Check out Sound Toy here to see if their music floats your boat and if so, the show details are here.

Something for the weekend

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Tonight, Yuyintang hosts an evening of Comedy and Horror (and music) courtesy of Zangnan Recordings. Rainbow Danger Club, Stegosaurus?, Ann, Ho-Tom the Conqueror and The Song Dynasty (that's them in the video on the right here, more here and here) provide the straight up musical side of things, but there's stand-up comedy as well and a bit of both from The Dudettes. Details.

MAO Livehouse meanwhile welcomes back always entertaining Mongolian folk-rockers Hanggai. They had a bit of bad luck with their last show here as you may recall, so here's hoping Friday the 13th goes smoothly for them. Details.

Up at Live Bar, you've got Puppets of Distortion, Tang Trio, Sep and the delightfully-named Pinky Cock. Details.

696 Live hosts a folk show tonight with Xiao Wei headlining. Details.

Saturday and Sunday after the jump

Video: SUBS at MAO Livehouse

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I didn't make it to this show, so for everyone else who missed it as well, here's SUBS ripping through a classic this weekend in Shanghai.

World's End Girlfriend, MAO Livehouse

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p899567816.jpgSo after all the drama of last week, I finally got to see someone actually perform at MAO Livehouse last night. World's End Girlfriend and Black Hole Carnival closed out JUE Festival with a spectacular set of electronica mixed with post rock and gave a great show - let's face it, it's hard to argue with someone who has two drummers.

This being a Split Works organised show, it was professional and well-run, but even on a normal night, it's hard not to think that MAO Livehouse has the potential to be a fantastic venue. I think the new space is a big improvement on the old one - the lower ceiling and the mezzanine around the edge makes it feel less cavernous than the old venue did and (though there was a big crowd last night) it feels as if you could get away with smaller turn outs here not feeling empty like they did in Red Town.

The layout, lighting and sound are all really impressive, though at the risk of sounding like an old man, I thought the sound was too loud. If they put the 'force majeure' that is Subs on at that volume, they'll have all of Luwan district complaining about the noise. On the plus side, there's no smoking allowed in the main performance area (unless that was just for last night?) which means non-smokers can enjoy a gig without coming out smelling like an ashtray.

There are some drawbacks - in particular the bar operates a ridiculous drink tickets system whereby you tell the bar person what you want, they direct you to someone selling drinks tickets who asks again, exchanges your money for the same value of tickets and then you pass the tickets to the person stood right next to them to get your drink. Surely that's not necessary?

But overall, it's an excellent space and has the potential to be a great venue as long as it's managed in the right way.
56934_446282050973_7124595973_5818456_8111871_o.jpgFestivals, festivals, festivals. It's hardly news that China is in the grip of festival fever. The latest addition is the Kama Love Music Festival, taking place in both Beijing and Shanghai in June and being headlined by Eels.

That adds to Split Works' JUE Festival, which wraps up this weekend with (despite all the troubles) two shows at MAO Livehouse, the planned return of the (more traditional festival-like) Yue Festival that they held in Zhongshan Park a few years back, the Nanjing (International) Music Festival (line up here) going head to head with Modern Sky's Strawberry in Suzhou at the end of April and Midi, which is finally coming to Shanghai, taking over Century Park from May 6. 

This latest addition seems to be more in the form of a one-night concert rather than a festival festival, but if they're pulling in an act like Eels, then they clearly mean business. The other thing which makes you think they're using the 'festival' term rather loosely is that they're holding it at MAO Livehouse. Still, Eels - that's not bad eh? The Kama festival's website consists mostly of a bunch of dummy text at the moment, so it's hard to know what the details are, but Eels have announced the date on their official website so it seems pretty legit. There's also (less excitingly) whispers of Keane coming, but we'll see how that one develops....

The latest from Trash a Go Go

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mohanik best alternative.jpgPicture by Andy Cullen.

So after all this, a couple of updates from the Trash a Go Go camp:

There will not be a show at Mao Livehouse this Sunday. Here is the new show information:


Trash A Go-Go

Place: Yuyintang (851 Kaixuan Lu, by Yan'an Xi Lu)

Time: Sunday April 3, 11:59 pm (LATE SHOW)

price: FREE

performers:

-Mohanik (Mongolian punk)* [more on Mohanik after the jump]

-The Fever Machine (big-riff rock)
-The Instigation (hardcore punk)


 DJ BO then goes on to explain a bit about the cancellation:


I'd like to establish that the decision to cancel the Trash A Go-Go at Mao Livehouse for this Sunday was made by the management of Mao Livehouse. It was made for the exact same reason that this Thursday's show there was canceled: clearly, Mao has not been given permission by local authorities to hold events at their new space.


The fine people of Split-Works will be having their shows at Mao Livehouse this Friday and Saturday. I assure you it is due to the special efforts of Split-Works, not Mao Livehouse, that these shows will not be interrupted.


Mao Livehouse put out a release saying this Sunday's show was canceled due to an illness by a member of The Lemons. That's simply not true. As I mentioned, Mao's reasons for canceling the show had nothing to do with the performers and everything to do with local authorities.

New MAO Livehouse: The Lemons show is cancelled

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p142506453-1.jpgAfter all those updates, I thought it was best to start a new post for this one. So, less than a week in and the new MAO Livehouse has been experiencing a bit of trouble. Here's a quick recap:

  • MAO Livehouse opened their new venue by hosting Shanren as part of the JUE Festival and then trying to squeeze in a Paul Kalkbrenner show afterwards, angering both promoters

  • On Saturday, Hanggai's appearance as part of JUE wasn't allowed to go ahead (despite support act Abaji performing), apparently following complaints about the noise from the previous night; Hanggai have since been rescheduled for May 13th

  • MAO Livehouse and Split Works (the people behind JUE) have confirmed that the JUE shows on Friday and Saturday this weekend will still go ahead - all non-JUE shows for this week have now been cancelled including Sunday's show with The Lemons and this is where the new update comes in

MAO Livehouse have put out a message on their Douban and on Weibo stating that 'due to the guitarist being ill' the promoter has had to cancel the appearance of Mongolian rock band The Lemons on Sunday. Given the confusion that has surrounded cancellations and postponements in the last couple of days, I decided to contact the promoters behind the show to verify this. Here's what DJ BO, part of team Trash a Go Go and responsible for bringing The Lemons to Shanghai told me: 'This is a MAO cancellation, this show has definitely not been cancelled by us.' 

Understandably, he's pretty angry about the cancellation, but especially about the way MAO seem to be implying that it's been cancelled by the promoters rather than the venue. Trash a Go Go effectively work as volunteers, they don't take a cut from any of these shows and this was their first attempt to put on a gig in a venue the size of MAO Livehouse. Obviously, the cancellation, and the way it's been handled, have left a bad taste in the mouth to say the least.

Trash a Go Go are working on other arrangements and I'll let you know any developments as soon as there are any. 
p899567435.jpgUPDATE3: Hanggai have just announced that they will return to Shanghai on May 13, which is great news.

UPDATE2: You can read a fascinating and, in the circumstances, fairly balanced account of what happened over the weekend from Archie Hamilton of Split Works here.

UPDATE: Thanks to Xiao Zhong in the comments who has pointed out that the Sunday 3 show with Mongolian band The Lemons supported by Pairs, The Fever Machine and The Instigation will also go ahead as planned.

MAO Livehouse have also now issued their own apology, blaming a 'force majeure' for the cancellation, which I guess is one way of referring to the PSB. Read the full text here.

As you may have heard already, the new MAO Livehouse ran into a little trouble on their official opening weekend. After hosting Shanren and shunting everyone out of the door to make way for a packed out Paul Kalkbrenner show on Friday, things went pear-shaped on the Saturday when Hanggai's appearance as part of the JUE Festival was cancelled. The band took to the stage, but were unable to play - the official reason being given on Douban and other sites at the moment is 'noise complaints', which doesn't bode well for future shows. With a month of big shows scheduled at the new venue (in addition to two more JUE shows next weekend, they have SUBS, Queen Sea Big Shark and Mono among the acts booked in for April), it's fair to say that this wasn't really the start that MAO Livehouse were looking for.

Fortunately, Split Works have just announced that their shows at MAO Livehouse this weekend will go ahead as planned, which is good news for them and for the venue. The promoters have also apologised for the Hanggai cancellation and offered a full refund for anyone who went and hasn't claimed one yet. It also means that anyone planning to go to the Gala (Friday 1) or the World's End Girlfriend (Saturday 2) shows can relax, they're on. 

Sneak peek: The new MAO Livehouse

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newmao.jpgThis is what the new MAO Livehouse looks like at the minute. Bear in mind there's nearly three weeks to go until they open, when they'll host Shanren as part of JUE Festival. Presumably that gig will be sans piles of rubble. 

Read a bit more on MAO Livehouse's new location here and here

Reasons to be cheerful

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p853117947.jpgIt's fair to say that the last few weeks haven't been packed full of gigs in Shanghai. But that's always to be expected at this time of year and with Yuyintang reopened and Mao Livehouse opening up again in March, things are looking up. There's a couple of shows on this weekend at YYT, but next weekend is when it all kicks off again (and I'm not even counting Mrs Nas) with Boys Climbing Ropes, Rainbow Danger Club, X is Y and Pairs at Live Bar. Here's a quick round up of other bands/shows heading your way at various venues around town in the next few weeks and months in the order that I remembered them (more details once they're closer)*.

Rainbow Danger Club album release party
Break for Borneo album release party
Moon Tyrant album release party
Shanghai 24/7 launch party with BCR, DFG X is Y and Ho Tom
Lots of Trash a Go Go/MT Hooligans shows
More Fever Machine and friends shows including one with Old Doll and Miku from Nanjing
Hedgehog album release
Bigger Bang
Subs
Reflector
A big Japanese post-rock band returning
Then there's all those festival rumours too

Plus, don't forget about JUE (running in March and April), which includes a Maybe Mars showcase with the long-awaited return of Snapline and AV Okubo, Duck Fight Goose and Pairs.

* These are just a few of the shows going on that I've stuck here to make up for the fact that posting has been light recently and it is in no way meant to be a conclusive list. There's probably some whopping omissions, so feel free to leave more shows in the comments.

Coming soon: New Sonnet album

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sonnet14.jpgLocal pop-rockers Sonnet have announced that they're currently putting the finishing touches to their new album, 14. At the same time, the band's drummer Lezi has announced that he will leave MAO Livehouse at the end of this month.

The new album will be Sonnet's first release since the six track S-File EP around two years ago and to stir up a bit of hype for the record, they're running a competition whereby you can get your photo put on the sleeve of the CD. All you have to do is upload a picture of the 14 in your life (whatever that may be) to their Douban gallery or weibo it at them: @Sonnet.

Meanwhile, Lezi has said that he will leave MAO Livehouse when they close at the end of this month. The venue, which will reopen at new digs near the Bridge 8 complex in March, will be run by Pang Pang instead. Lezi has said that he intends to concentrate fully on the Zhulu Hefeng label that he heads up, a project which has been consuming more and more of his time lately. 

The new MAO Livehouse

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mao.jpg'On 31st January MAO Livehouse will temporarily close for business until the middle of March. The new MAO Livehouse will be at 308 Chongqing Nan Lu. There will be space for 1,000 people, a specially designed bar area and both a large stage and a small stage.

'The new MAO will be an amusement park for musicians and fans where you can see the most exciting live music shows, while also seeing musicians up close on the small stage and can organise artist salons. At the new MAO, we will continue the philosophy of the old MAO, strive to do better and thank everyone for their long-term support.'

- Li Dalong  

More new MAO news

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mao.jpgA few more details about the new MAO Livehouse have emerged in the past couple of days. The new space, which is due to open some time in March (or possibly April), will be operating as a full time bar when there are no gigs on - i.e. the bar will be open daily regardless of events. The bar service at the present MAO has been little short of appalling, so there's certainly room for improvement and hopefully this move will spur them to do something about it.

The other little nugget of information is tucked away at the bottom of this article by Justin Bergman on whether Shanghai has lost its 'artsy edge'. Feast your eyes on this:

'Now, however, Mao will have to be more careful: it was actually courted by officials in the district of Luwan, a section of central Shanghai, to move to a new space in the same building that houses the district government offices.'

We already knew the new space would be in that area of town, but in the same building as the local government? They certainly will have to be careful.

Thursday night giggin'

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Thurs Gig.jpgJust a quick heads up that there's a couple of gigs on tonight if you feel like starting your weekend early. Dalian post-rock band Wang Wen are at MAO Livehouse, releasing their new album. They're pretty much the cream of China's post-rock crop, so if you dig the whole instrumental thing you should get to that one.

Alternatively, you can check out the show at Yuyintang, which as you can see from the flyer here features Androsace, Friend or Foe and Stegosaurus? So there you go, a couple of ways to celebrate this 'Singles Day' thing (or just go see some good live music).
flyer1260803640.jpgThis is something that's been going around the rumour mill for a little while now and I have to stress that it's unconfirmed and just a rumour. But it's an interesting one and one that I've heard from a number of reliable sources, so I thought I'd put it out there. 

I first heard that the people behind Yugong Yishan were looking at opening a venue in Shanghai a couple of months ago. I've not been able to contact them to discuss any Shanghai plans at the moment, but it would seem like a logical move for them. There's also been mention of the involvement of JZ Club, though people I've spoken to there say they know nothing about it. I know that makes this story just seem like a lot of talk and with no real quotes to back it up, but that's why I'm putting the caveat that this is just a rumour at the top there.

Even if it is just a rumour, it refuses to die and the latest take on it that I've heard is that the plan involves taking over the Zhijiang Dream Factory space. That too, seems to make a lot of sense. The Dream Factory is a decent venue but needs some investment - a new  soundsystem and some lights and Shanghai could have a pretty good mid-sized venue to go along with MAO Livehouse, itself in the midst of change.

Speaking of MAO Livehouse, the Dream Factory has of course had collaborations before, which ended rather unsuccessfully. If Yugong Yishan were to take it over though, I'd feel a bit more positive about it than I did when Soma got involved.

Still, it's just a rumour at the moment, albeit an interesting one and a story to keep an eye on...

Photo stolen from SmartShanghai

MAO Livehouse on the move

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mao.jpgI'm sure you all read Time Out Shanghai from cover to cover, page for page (like this blog does), so you've probably read this already in the Boozehound section, but MAO Livehouse is moving at the end of this year. They'll take over a new space down near the Bridge 8 complex on Sinan and Jianguo Lus, with February being touted as the most likely time for an opening (my guess is post-Spring Festival). My first thought was that it might be the old 4Live space, but apparently that's not the case.

Rumours have been swirling about the imminent demolition of MAO Livehouse's current location in Red Town for over six months now (China Music Radar first broke with that one here) and, though they will make it to their one year anniversary this month, don't expect there to be too many gigs there beyond December. UPDATE: Lisa Movius has kindly clarified some of the details in the comments and MAO will remain open up until the new venue is ready - read Lisa's comment for more information.

So after a year of half-filled gigs and some of the worst bar service in the city, are they down-sizing? Err, no. Apparently, the new space will be even bigger - with sources at MAO Livehouse likening it to Star Live in Beijing. I've not been to Star Live I have to admit, but the official capacity is 800, with some sources in the capital saying that the actual capacity is bigger than that. It sounds ambitious, especially given their previous form here, but if we're being kind we could perhaps argue that with a new, bigger venue, renewed investment and without the threat of demolition hanging over them (presumably), Soma et al will actually put more effort into filling this new venue and into making sure the well-documented problems with the current space don't reoccur in the new one.

Queen Sea Big Shark at MAO Livehouse

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p699497953.jpgI've had a pretty busy weekend this weekend, culminating in a trek out to Ai Weiwei's river crab party up in Jiading district, a party he wasn't allowed to attend (more on that here). It's left me pretty knackered, so instead of going to Buyi tonight, I'm going to blog this show and, if I get around to it, a couple of other things from this weekend: White Eyes at YYT and Ben Houge in Suzhou. Those posts might not go up until tomorrow though, we'll see.

Anyway, Queen Sea Big Shark at MAO Livehouse was on Friday night and was a big deal. This was the release party for their second album, a record that has been highly anticipated for a while now. It was their first show in Shanghai in a long time - provided you don't count the brand showcase things they've done.

It was 80 kuai and there was no support band, but that didn't stop a big turn out. There were plenty of foreigners, but it was a majority Chinese crowd - QSBS remain a big deal and, especially when it's an album release show, people are prepared to pay for them.

When I met the band up in Beijing back at the start of last month, they'd promised something special for their show in Shanghai and upon entering MAO, the crowd was greeted by a stage covered from top to bottom by a huge curtain. The only support was Linfeng DJing, but it was clear QSBS had something special planned - the picture here gives you an idea of what was revealed when the curtain dropped, but before that the band played CBD from behind the curtain with some great visuals projected onto it, climaxing with shotrs from the Beijing Olympic countdown.

It got the crowd fired up and the band ripped through a couple of tracks from the new album, which has seen them take a more poppy, dancey direction. They suffered a bit from the lack of familiarity among the crowd for these songs and from a slightly muddy sound in places, but most people remained transfixed by Fu Han and when they played the old favourites, the crowd went nuts. They also made up for the lack of support with a long set, including two encores.

Queen Sea Big Shark are not a band who appeal to everyone, and they may have alienated some with their commercial work and with their new dance-pop material, but they know how to put on a show and entertain the crowd and they did just that at MAO Livehouse.

Hard NOTCH life

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tumblr_kx7lmgrJNu1qakvjto3_400.jpgYou've probably not noticed, but this week has seen a bunch of NOTCH events going on in Shanghai. NOTCH is the Nordic + China festival or art, music and other creative stuff that's been happening in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou since 2006. They were the ones who did those gigs in the greenhouse with Neocha a few years back. Generally what happens is, they bring in some acts from the Nordic countries and pair them with local bands for some pretty decent gigs. As I say, this year was their fifth time doing this, so it's not just another Expo bit on the side event.

Why do I mention all this? Well it's been a bit of a mess. On Wednesday, they brought over electronic pop princess Annie. She's pretty well known and has an accessible sound that audiences in China would get into andit should have been a pretty big deal. Except there was no publicity. We ran an interview with her in the magazine because we happened to find out she was coming, but otherwise there was hardly any promotion done at all.

Unsurprisingly then, hardly anyone showed up on Wednesday night. Worse, most of those who did show up missed Annie's performance. She was the only act on that night - there were no support bands or artists, meaning there was no CH part of the event at all. Not only that, but she went on at 8.30pm. Most people (logically) had assumed the doors were at 9pm and that the headliner wouldn't be on for a while after that - pretty standard for gigs here. Anyone who turned up at 9.30pm, caught the end of the last song.

So what happened? Annie and the band were, understandably, pretty pissed off about the whole thing. The NOTCH people too, were not best pleased apparently, pointing the finger at MAO Livehouse for not promoting the event properly. MAO Livehouse, in turn, are unimpressed with how the organiser (apparently different to the one used in previous years) has handled the whole thing and blamed them for the lack of publicity. 

It all seems a bit of a shame, with the upshot of all these recriminations being that NOTCH are pulling the show scheduled at MAO for Saturday and neither party are keen to work with the other again.

It's all go at Soma

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AD Show Poster.jpgWell, y'know relatively. Yep, there's been a few goings on at our beloved Soma Records. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...

First up, the big news: Crystal Butterfly have confirmed the release date for their new album. Calm yourself, you've still got a while to wait. August 28 is the date for your diary, guess where the venue is? Go on, guess. Can we look forward to more self indulgent half nudity? A boy can dream.

Meanwhile, there's been a shake up in the management at Soma. Given the unbridled success of the label so far, you'd have thought such a move was unnecessary, but Lao Yao has decided to bring Zhang Li into the Soma fold. He's the bloke who manages Blue Garden. So that means Blue Garden are going to be a Soma band now too, while at the same time Zhang will manage all the other bands on the Soma roster. Oh, and if you're asking 'who?' when you read any of the above names, don't worry about it, chances are it won't really change much.

But wait, there's more. In another Soma-related development Little Nature, once an alright band, now kind of lacklustre, have lost their drummer Xiao Zhong (not, definitely not, to be confused with Xiao Zhong out of Pairs incidentally). They've replaced him and added a guitarist while they're at it because, well, why not?

All of which is pretty hard to give a shit about, but more worrying is that Soma are apparently sniffing around the actually-pretty-good FAF. Uh-oh...

Video: Bang Bang Tang

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Meanwhile on Saturday night at MAO, this was going down. I didn't make it to this show, but it was a free local one and this is Bang Bang Tang playing a new track, 'Heavens' with Xiao Bai at her sultry best. 

BBT return to MAO Livehouse are at YYT this Saturday for the Revitalisation of Shanghai Rock show and it's also Xiao Bai's birthday, so if you like what you see, go and support them.

Photo: Subs in Shanghai

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p75994362-9.jpgCheck out this photo of Kang Mao in Shanghai. It was taken by someone using the handle Malfunction on Douban and you can check out the whole set here. For those of you who know/care about photography, it was taken on a Nikon F3 with a micro-nikkor 105 F2.8 and shot onto Kodak Tri-x 400. No Photoshopping was involved apparently. Whatever, I like the scratchy feel of these.

SUBS bitches!

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subs2.jpgThis was the kind of gig where I ought to open the post by saying something like 'I'm still recovering', but fuck it, I'm no way near recovering from this. Maybe I never will. This gig was immense. Here's a bit of disclosure: I was mildly involved in this event. Not really enough to skew any judgment, but I'll tell you the story regardless. I'd been on at Kang Mao for a while about Subs' new album and about coming back to Shanghai because they hadn't played here in ages. About a month or so ago she called me to say they'd booked a date in Shanghai, she said they didn't have any support bands yet, but they had a slot at 021 bar and what did I think. What did I think? 021? For Subs? Fuck that.

So yeah, they ended up at MAO Livehouse instead and then we got Boys Climbing Ropes and Pinkberry in to support. It was a line up I was excited about, but events still conspired against me and I managed to miss Pinkberry's set, which was a shame.

Still, I was there in time to watch Boys Climbing Ropes give a towering performance. Anyone sick of me banging on about how good this band are needs to skip the next paragraph. Seriously, they were so, so good. I love it when they play a venue like YYT and you're really up close and everything, but they're basically one of, if not the only, Shanghai band who can really own the stage at MAO and when they do it's incredible. They played a fairly short set (Subs wanted on fairly early, it was a school night for a lot of people remember), but they don't need long to get things going. They have the stage presence and they have the music to just really kick things off. They were brilliant.

Then Subs came on. They played a lot of new material - fair enough, this was a release party for their new album after all. That meant that things didn't kick off in the audience as much as they could have done, but things still got pretty lively down there. Oh yeah, there's no shit photos of the bands from my point and shoot for this post by the way, Subs gigs aren't for taking photos, they're for throwing yourself around like a loon. Anyway, Kang Mao was amazing, she really is the queen of fucking everything. Wu Hao is one of the best guitarists you'll ever see and as for the head gear, Luwan Rock has pointed out the likely influence. That's also where I stole this photo from.

Anyway Subs were immense. They are the best, there's no two ways about it. I got a nice lump on my forehead after someone brained me in the middle of one song, but it was completely worth it. For me, the highlights were like this: Postlude from the new album, Kang Mao nonchalantly expressing a wish to crowd surf by flicking a finger out to the audience with a 'should I?' expression on her face that sent people into a frenzy and them closing the night out with What More. Shut up, shut up, what more you wanna say?

Is it the weekend already?

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beatbandits.jpgPretty much, yeah. So other than watching England cock things up in the World Cup against a country who don't even call the game football, there's a bunch of top gigs coming your way. Here's a cursory run down.

FRIDAY

Alright, so there's an all-girl band event going on up at 696 which is very right on and everything (Ann, Miss Panda and Machiato are the bands), but let's face it Friday comes down to a straight fight to the death between The King Khan and BBQ Show and the Queen of Fucking Everything. Who's your money on?

In the blue corner: The King Khan and BBQ Show. At YYT with The Fever Machine (interview here) and The Beat Bandits. Totally crazy and weird. Plus, they split up the other day and have only just reformed after some fucked up shit at the Sydney Opera House or something. 

In the red corner: Subs. At MAO Livehouse with Boys Climbing Ropes and Pinkberry. Subs back in town after over a year away and with a new album to boot. China's best live band plus local favourites BCR and Pinkberry in support isn't too shabby. As has been stated elsewhere, 'expect death and mayhem'. 

SATURDAY

This one's probably an easier choice, even if the main show of the night was completely passed over by another so-called music preview out there on the interwebs. You've got the Summer Rock Party up at 696 with Max, Sear, Purple Planet and a whole bunch of others, but down at Yuyintang it's the third installation of Han Han's Good Jive night. 

Good Jive's bill looks a little like this: Ho-Tom the Conqueror (possibly with a new line-up featuring the Curry Soap), X is Y (top notch math rock), Stegosaurus? (good times rock and on stage antics), The Beat Bandits (excellent garage rock) and Sun Ye (legend).

And that's pretty much how it looks for the weekend.

Bits and bobs

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This is another one of those posts with a bunch of random links and what not, that aren't really related to each other except for the fact that they all relate to underground music here in Shanghai. Don't expect it to flow too well, but all the points are noteworthy. Let's go.

First up, check out the picture on the right. Fuck yeah. Hopefully the release party will be free so we can have some more of this.

Speaking of new albums, Pinkberry have managed to shift over 100 units of theirs in the first month. Maybe 100 doesn't sound like a lot, but bear in mind that the release party for the band's debut EP Go! Boom! was stomped all over by Haibao so they've not done badly. The band have recovered some of their mojo of late and have reportedly gone down particularly well in Zhu Lu He Feng's recent spate of university tours. You can catch them in action supporting Subs together with Boys Climbing Ropes on Friday at MAO Livehouse.

Zhu Lu He Feng's first round of university tours is now complete and, as I mentioned before, they've pulled in decent numbers. So much so that the label has received invitations from a load more universities to come and play on their campuses. Whether this can translate into more numbers at regular gig venues in the city is questionable of course, especially for students based way out in Songjiang or up in Yangpu, but hopefully it'll help feed into the scene in general and help the development of these young bands.

MR, newly signed to the Zhu Lu He Feng collective has put up a new track recently.

As has Sister Whale (a Velvet Underground cover), part of Grand Flower Children, who unfortunately had their gig with Cocoon messed up by a complete freakout 'personal issue' for the French duo the other week.

Even more exciting than that are two newly uploaded tracks from Duck Fight Goose. It's been a while since I engaged in the blogging equivalent of foaming at the mouth over this band, but I saw them last week as part of the TransmitChina thingy and they were as outstandingly brilliant as ever. Their Adventure of Strange Rock tour with Boojii winds up in Shanghai at MAO Livehouse on July 2 - you'd be an absolute fool to miss it. Talking to Yang Haisong (ahem, name dropping) outside LOgO last Friday, he was saying how much he likes the band and is keen to get them into the studio. Please can we have a DFG album soon?

And that's about your lot for now.
P5290213.jpgI'd planned to go to Yuyintang last night for The Fever Machine presents... show with X is Y, Pairs and Rainbow Danger Club playing along with Dan Shapiro's new band, but I had a bit of a headache around gig-going time last night and decided that maybe a bunch of folk artists might be more suitable. So I headed over to MAO instead for the Here Comes the Spring CD release from the Music Fever people.

It was the sort of turn out that would have been a good one at Yuyintang, but in MAO just looks tiny. If MAO are really looking at a bigger space when they relocate, they need to think that one through hard. How many times has the space really been filled since they moved in? Five or six? Maybe not even that many.

Anyway, for a lo-fi folk show, it was a good turn out. Never mind that it's nearly the summer, the Music Fever guys (basically Sunny and Fanqie Chaodan) have done a really good job on the Here Comes the Spring CD - there's some great tracks on it and it's professionally produced. It's also really nicely packaged and designed and if you can get your hands on a copy, I recommend it. The night itself was well organised as well, with graphics from the CD providing a back drop to the artists, good sound quality and a special piece of music playing in between performers (these sound like small things, but regular gig goers here will know that they're not always achieved). Overall, it had the feel of a really professional night.

Unfortunately, I only caught a few of the acts as, having perked up a bit, I wanted to head over to Not Me and catch Ben Houge's pop set there as well. Fortunately, one of the people I did catch was Mogu Hong, who I really like and she was certainly the stand out act from those that I saw. You can hear her stuff here.

I left part way through V-Day's set, who turned out to be the Britpop band from Nanjing who played at the last Kunming Lu Live Bar gig the other week. That night I thought they were ok, but on the MAO stage they struggled a little. Anyway, the reason I was leaving was to go see Ben Houge play. He's been away travelling for a while, wisely avoiding the Shanghai winter, but he's back now and it was great to see him perform his pop set, which I love.

He played a great set, even throwing in a Jay Chou cover as an encore after the crowd refused to let him leave without playing one. The only drawback was the set up at Not Me which saw him playing at the back of a small stage in one corner of the dancefloor with decks acting as a division between him and the audience. It meant he was a bit too far back, but despite the far from ideal set up, he still produced a cracking set. He's on the Douban as well, so listen in here (especially Jessica's Scissors and 口口口口口口口口) and is playing D-22 on June 5th for those of you in Beijing.

Music Fever are doing stuff

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fever.JPGI've written a fair bit about Zhu Lu He Feng and all the stuff that they're up to (new track from MR. here by the way), but I haven't really written much about Music Fever, another locally-based music collective. Well, this post is an attempt to redress that balance a bit.

Founded at the beginning of this year, Music Fever is headed up by Fanqie Chaodan, Sunny (from New Vector and Runaway Snail), Tong and Wang Er Xiao. They've organised a number of events in the last few months, mainly featuring local bands and folk artists and this Saturday they've got another one coming up at MAO Livehouse. That pits them against a different type of fever, namely The Fever Machine (with Pairs, Rainbow Danger Club and X is Y at YYT, details here), but there's enough difference in the genres to mean there shouldn't be too much clash. 

The Music Fever event is called Here Comes the Spring and features a six act line-up including Mogu Hong, April (from Beijing), V-Day (from Nanjing), Runaway Snail and New Vector. They're also releasing a CD at the same time (listen to some of it here) featuring tracks from the aforementioned artists along with others. There's a full tracklisting and more details here.

Anyway, here's the full details for the event and if you dig the folk stuff and can bear to miss The Fever Machine at YYT and Ben Houge's pop set at Not Me, then this is one to check out.

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

More video: Mini Midi at MAO

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While I was up in Beijing this weekend, Mini Midi was taking place down this way. This is the experimental/noise festival set up by the legendary Yan Jun and this year he brought it to Zhujiajiao and Shanghai. Junky from Torturing Nurse has just put up a bunch of videos from their show at MAO Livehouse. Check them all out here and hit play on this one as well why don't ya? The one embedded is my favourite: Junky collaborating with experimental Beijing leaders Mafeisan. Make sure you watch it all the way through too, it gets pretty entertaining. These guys really know how to bring the noise.

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".

Podcast SE02 Ep Six: Hedgehog Apart

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The end is nigh. This is episode six of series two and that means we're putting our feet up for a bit after this. We'll be back though, or will we...?

This week's pod looks like this: naturally there's a look back at the weekend's big shows including Local King 3 (featuring special guest star Jagermeister) and the Hell United one year anniversary. The chat bit comes in there as well, partly because there's so damn much going on this week we didn't have time for the usual ramblings in the middle. So yeah, after that it's straight into the previews, before we play you out with a bit of Hedgehog. Treasure this pod, it's the last for a while, possibly ever (one of us could die in a freak Jagermeister cocktail accident tomorrow y'know).

Click out the jams:

Reviews
Local King 3
Hell United one year anniversary
All your individual band links are included in those posts and, frankly, I'm too lazy to write them all out here so just click those instead.

Previews
Julie Doiron & Cold Fairyland
Mod Dance Party (Friday at LOgO, with The Fever Machine and the Beat Bandits and all the Northern Soul hits you love)

Post-CNY malaise ends

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4082441910_447be9b72a.jpgYou've probably noticed that posts on this blog have dropped off a bit lately. There's a couple of reasons - one is that I've been insanely busy with other stuff, the other is that it was Chinese New Year recently and therefore the live music scene shut down for a couple of weeks. For the former, I'm afraid that's just going to happen and when it does, you need to go here. For the latter, it's well and truly over now as this weekend shows.

Things start on Thursday with Break for Borneo at YYT. That's got Gooda Boys, Mis.Whale! and Stegosaurus? too. Speaking of Stegosaurus?, Andy mentions that they're close to finishing a CD, so keep an eye out for that and go check out the demos that have been popping up on their Douban recently. If you like what you hear, things kick off at 9pm on Thursday and it's free entry so get on down there.

MAO Livehouse have got Taiwanese pop-rockers 1976 both Friday and Saturday nights, but if that's not your thing, Yuyintang have Big Qiang Dao on the Friday. That's Sonnet, Pinkberry, Manbanpai (Hama's new band) and Yinle. That one starts at 9pm and is 40RMB.


Maybe Mars showcase at MAO Livehouse

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P2280128.jpgThis was the second Maybe Mars showcase in as many months and, according to Dan Shapiro's article here, they could become a regular thing in Shanghai, with the label looking to bring bands from their stable down here as often as once a month. Whether that will happen next month, given that a load of their bands are heading off to SXSW remains to be seen, but this showcase was a strong outing for them. At least in terms of the quality of the line up, it was.  

Birdstriking, not officially a Maybe Mars band but one working with the label, kicked things off. Their set started well, but tapered off a bit and they could do with thinking about the order of their set a bit more. They are essentially a mini version of Carsick Cars, playing very similar music and with a lead singer who even looks a bit like Shouwang. 

Guai Li were on second and played a solid set. Wen Jun was on typical female Iggy Pop-like form, swaggering around the stage and drinking constantly. It was a bit of a change of pace from the openers and their greater experience showed. Their use of a VJ to provide graphics in time with the music helped the whole thing as well.

Third were Carsick Cars, despite being the headliners on the flyers etc. They were on pretty good form, especially with the classics He Sheng, Mogu and Zhongnanhai and were joined on stage by mini-Shouwang for the chorus of You Can Listen, You Can Talk.

Finally, AV Okubo closed out the night with an upbeat set. I'm not sure they were quite at their best, but I like this band a lot and I'm pretty sure they will have won some new fans with their performance. Hopefully the album does well.

So that was the bands. But now a few moans. 

Got any plans this weekend?

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If so and they don't include the below then drop them, drop them now. This weekend is a cracker. Check it out:

Friday night has instrumental rock outfit Triple Smash returning from their tour to play a special thank you gig. FAF are in support. Yep, the band featured here and in the video embedded in this post.

Saturday sees Beijing's TOOKOO combine with Bigger Bang! for a potentially explosive night. Last time Bigger Bang were in town it was a great show and some people got pretty excited about them at Zhangbei too. TOOKOO are a quality act as well. More on that here.

Sunday has brilliant Canadian folksters Great Lake Swimmers in town. Should be a good 'un.

And that's just at Yuyintang. MAO Livehouse has Joe Chou on Friday - check out an excellent article about him by friend of the blog Tom Mangione over on SmartShanghai by pointing your mouse here and using your clicking finger.

Then they've got Sonata Arctica on Sunday, while Live Bar has the band with the fake CV on Friday (actually, you might want to give that one a miss) and Bremen, Rainbow Danger Club, Truth and Unlucky Bear on the Saturday.

So much musical goodness. Sod the cold, get out there.

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