Results tagged “Mao” from Jake Newby

Serial killer targeting Shanghai's livehouses

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kurt.jpgAn electronic tip of the hat in the direction of friend of the blog Stevo, who pointed us in the direction of Nathaniel Davis' playlist on weliveinbeijing.com. Nathaniel is one of the guys behind Splitworks who, as you probably know, are putting on JUE Festival right about now.

Aaaanyway, one of the tracks he chose was by Kurt The Ripper, an electro artist who has a series of songs related to the various live music venues in Shanghai. You can listen to the YYT, MAO and Live Bar tracks by clicking right here.

The tracks form an album, Livehouse Serial Killer (anyone know how you can get your hands on it?), which is accompanied by the following blurb:

"It is said to be inspired by an unconfirmed news that a serial killer has been haunting about the livehouses in Shanghai, stalking and killing young girls after the gigs, especially those who prefer staying overnight in the McDonalds till dawn. At least 13 girls are missing now according to Seaborn Zhang, the archenemy of ShRock. Who will be the next victim?"

This is the original text from the Douban page for the album (here) and I'm guessing that "Seaborn Zhang" is what Google Translate does to Zhang Haisheng (founder of YYT).

Kind of weird, but I kind of like it. Go give it a listen. And yeah, if anyone knows how to get hold of the mp3s or whatever, please let us know in the comments. Ta.

What other people are writing about

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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.

0093/Rock Shanghai CD release this Saturday

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shanghairock2009.jpgIt's been a while, but this show is finally coming around. You can hear us talk a bit about why it's significant on the podcast by clicking here. You can also read an interview with Jiang Shaoqing, one of the main men at 0093, right here. What I want to focus on here though, is the line-up changes that have taken place since I last looked at the event page.

Perhaps most significantly, Top Floor Circus are no longer the headliners. They're still playing and are still the act with the biggest draw, but they'll be going on second to last. So who is at the top of the bill now? Firefighter. Well, they're billed as the 嘉宾 (support band), but they're going on last. Not really sure why. I'll be honest, I don't really know who these guys are. According to the PR blurb, they're four boys from Shanghai University of Engineering Science. They also seem to have been involved in the early stages of the Pepsi Battle of the Bands, judging by this video. What are they doing going on after Ding Ma? Your guess is as good as mine.

Another line-up change is that extremo band Double Control Where are no longer on the bill. Candy Shop (Tian Pin Dian) are however, which is good news. They may well have been on the line-up for a while and I forgot, but it doesn't really matter - the important thing is that they're playing and that last time they hit Mao, they tore the place up.

Finally, the other addition is Second. As I mentioned on my previous post just now, the girls will be teaming up with Pinkberry again. Overall then, Saturday night at Mao looks something like this:

20:00-20:30 The return of Bang Bang Tang
20:45-21:15 Candy Shop
21:30-22:00 Pinkberry + Second (+ Pinkberry's music video premiere)
22:15-23:00 The always brilliant Top Floor Circus
23:15-00:00 Firefighter

Not bad. Remember: 50 kuai gets you in and a copy of the CD (though they're limited to 500, so be prompt) and this is a big night for the scene. Come on down and support it.

Video: Second at 696

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So 696 is no more, but here's a video of Second performing at the space which the band has just put up on Douban. The song is《如果可以 》, which I'm going to awkwardly translate as If I Can.

Second are also going to be at the 0093/Rock Shanghai CD release thing on Saturday at Mao by the way. They'll be doing their combined show with Pinkberry again (as seen here), which should be well worth catching. In fact, there's been a few line-up changes since we last checked in on that event and so some of what we said on the pod last night is no longer 100% accurate. Sorry about that. I'll stick up a post in a minute with all the updates and the info and the hype and the blah, blah, blah. Just be patient.

Generation gap

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lipang.jpgNext Saturday at Mao is the 0093/Rock Shanghai CD release party. Top Floor Circus are going to be headlining, Bang Bang Tang will be making their comeback and Pinkberry will be there debuting their new music video that night. But more importantly, it's something of a milestone for the scene and especially for 0093. Dan Shapiro, over at The Beat, has labelled the release "the definitive moment for local rock in 2009." Read Dan's piece in full here. One quote that stands out, is Jiang Shaoqing, 0093 founder, on what the CD means to him:

"This is a change in the overall environment [of local rock music]."
Sure, he might be hyping the release a bit, but it makes for an interesting contrast with another local music piece that has gone up recently over on CNNGo. This second piece is by Soma PR Director and Shanghai-based writer Lisa Movius, who regular readers will know well too. It's essentially a preview for last Friday's official opening of Mao and in it, Lisa talks to late-'90s band Crystal Butterfly about changes on the scene. Read the full article here. Here's a quote:

'"There are more people, and slightly better venues, but really not much else has changed aside from that in terms of Shanghai rock," says scene veteran and Crystal Butterfly (Shuijingdie) guitarist Wang Wenwei'
In talking about the pressures of work and how bands still struggle, Wang may have a point, but are the band the best people to comment on the current state of music in Shanghai? I'm not sure I've ever seen a member of the band at a gig where they weren't performing. Having hardly played themselves in the past few years, do they really understand what is going on in Shanghai today? Do they deserve to be held up as a leading light on the Shanghai scene?

The Mushrooms and Crystal Butterfly, Mao

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mao.jpg"Firstly, I'd like to thank Mao for inviting us to play here tonight" - Li Pang, Crystal Butterfly frontman and Director of SOMA (i.e. the company running Mao). Does it work if you thank yourself for inviting your own band to headline the official opening of your venue? Well anyway, headline they did.

Having been open for nearly two months now, this was Mao's official opening apparently. According to the press release, "since its soft opening late September, Mao Livehouse Shanghai has lifted the bar several notches for the city's live music scene with dozens of well attended, highly acclaimed shows by musicians from around China and around the world." I've got to be honest, I'm not sure I can name one dozen shows at Mao that fit that description so far, let alone dozens plural, but the venue certainly looked good last night - it was absolutely packed.

Video: Six Shot

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Neither of the bloggers on this website managed to make it to the metal night at MAO on Saturday, the Hell United event that we talked about on the podcast, but Andy found some great photos of Fearless performing and now "deathcore" band Six Shot have posted up a load of videos from their set. My favourite is this one (for the track Unanswered), which shows the crowd going absolutely nuts. If you're not into metal, I urge you to still click play on this one and watch what happens (the sound quality is only so-so anyway).

The guy on bass there is David Chiang who also plays in instrumental post-rock outfit Triple Smash who will be at the Roots and Shoots benefit gig this Saturday at YYT before starting their tour of southern China. The charity show also features blog favourites Boojii, Boys Climbing Ropes, Duck Fight Goose and Resist Resist amongst others (i.e. you don't want to miss it).

Video: Duck Fight Goose at MAO

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And here's a video from last night of Duck Fight Goose performing their brand of "death ray rock". It's shot at kind of an odd angle - sorry about that. It's because I was just holding the camera in front of my chest and not really watching the screen - I prefer to watch the bands properly rather than on the back of my camera. I like to get videos for the blog, but I also like to enjoy the gigs and, unlike the people with long lense cameras who flooded MAO last night, I don't like getting in people's way with my camera.

Still, it's not a bad quality clip so give it a click all the same.
Pet Conspiracy at MAODiscoballs, alien-like headsets, toy guns, gay kisses. After all the hype, Pet Conspiracy didn't disappoint.

They certainly know how to make an entrance. Last time I'd seen them it'd been on all fours in chains. This time Helen Feng came on stage wrapped in a huge length of red cloth with a silver mask over her head. Check out this photo to see what I mean. YunYun entered atop Huzi's shoulders. From there they launched into a powerful set that had people jumping around like mad. For those who weren't seeing Pet Conspiracy live for the first time, there were some things that were familiar, but it was nevertheless a great performance and, as this was their first time in Shanghai, this will have been most of the audience's first experience of them. They left the crowd buzzing.

Before them Boys Climbing Ropes and Duck Fight Goose had got the night going, interspersed with the Baijiu Robots and other DJs. On the podcast, I mentioned that my hunch would be that the bands would all go on first, followed by the DJs. But Andy thought otherwise and so it proved.

Duck Fight Goose opened the night while the venue was still filling up. An inflatable Haibao with an erection positioned at the front of their stage, the band produced a great performance. With a high quality soundsystem, all Han Han's loops and effects really come through and now that they've got a decent number of songs to their name, the band are really coming into their own. Given the assorted talents on display, it's hardly a surprise, but Duck Fight Goose are a fantastic act and are definitely a band to watch.

So too are Boys Climbing Ropes, but then you probably already knew that. I'm seriously looking forward to the new record and there were a couple of new songs in last night's set that I assume are taken from it. Despite Little Punk being hidden behind a bizarre keyboard set up, they are another band who really do the set up at MAO justice with their music.

All in all a successful night for the Antidote crew I'd say. More photos after the jump.

Don't forget: Hanggai at the Dream Factory tonight.

Did I mention Pet Conspiracy are playing tonight?

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petmoon.jpgSavour those naturist photos of Pet Conspiracy. The album has now mysteriously disappeared. In its place though, are a series of shots from a photo shoot for Moon magazine. They're not as funny, they're just gory, but there's some nudity there if that's what you're after. Turns out that's where the one of them holding cigarettes for each other comes from as well. You can download the magazine, which features an interview with the band (in Chinese) here. Or just look at the pictures here.

So a recap then:

Pet Conspiracy tonight at MAO, 9pm, 60 kuai. One of the hottest bands from Beijing right now, this show is going to be crazy.

Boys Climbing Ropes in support. One of the finest bands in Shanghai, these guys are always brilliant live. Check out the latest podcast for one of their tracks.

Duck Fight Goose on the bill too. Take LAVA/OX/SEA's Hans, Boojii/Muscle Snog's San San, Boojii/Hard Queen's Damen and Muscle Snog's Panda and you've got yourself some of the finest musicians in the country. In one band.

Don't miss this.

I'm not affiliated with this show in any way, I just want you all to come because if we can pack out MAO, this show is going to be unforgettable. Be there.

Wow: Pet Conspiracy in all their glory

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conspiracy.jpgBy now you've probably seen the press photo for Pet Conspiracy that features four of the collective's members sat half-naked on chairs and holding cigarettes for each other. If not, don't worry - there's some even better shots below. I've gone with a fairly timid one here so that anyone reading this in the office or in a public space doesn't get weird looks, but believe me, you definitely want to see what's after the jump.

The photos were put up on Douban just now and show members of Pet Conspiracy getting back to nature. Just in case you were too lazy to follow a link to Douban, I've put the photos in the extended version of this post.

Not only are there some incredible photos below, there's also a great video featuring clips from Pet Conspiracy's recent tour. This is their 13 stop European tour that Helen Feng described as "one of the most successful tours I think a Chinese band has ever done" in an interview with Sam Gaskin at Shanghai Talk. Read the full interview here.

These guys, plus Boys Climbing Ropes, plus Duck Fight Goose, plus B6 and the Antidote DJs - this Friday at MAO could be a huge one.

Oh, and in case you're left in any doubt, the photos after this jump are almost certainly NSFW.

Podcast Two: 24 Hours "Your Song"

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Welcome to podcast number two. This week, we talk about coverage of Chinese bands and their politics in the Western media, review the Misandao, Culture Clash and Runaway Snail shows from the weekend and preview what's coming up in the next couple of days including 24 Hours' album release party. Then we realise we've got a bit of time left at the end and go back to talk about Low Wormwood's gig last Sunday, before playing Your Song, a track from 24 Hours' new album.

Here's some links for you while you listen:

Political Articles

Alice Liu's article on Chinese bands being "too pampered for politics"
China Music Radar's post on the Alice Liu piece.
Andy's response and the ensuing comments

Show Reviews
Write-up from the Misandao show
Mortal Fools' MySpace
Misandao's MySpace
Culture Clash write-up
Write-up from the Runaway Snail gig
Video of Runaway Snail

Previews
24 Hours' new video
24 Hours on MySpace
Rustic on MySpace
Video of Second live at MAO
Second's Douban page

Low Wormwood show write-up


Mortal Fools support Misandao, MAO

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mortalfoolsatmao.jpgWell what do I know eh? I built this up as a big one, a clash between two big nights at Yuyintang and MAO. I plumped for the latter in the end - I hadn't been to a gig there yet, I'd never seen Misandao before and this was the last show for Mortal Fools with the current line-up. I got there about half 9, the advertised kick off time, and the place was dead. There were a few people sat at the candlelit tables near the bar listening to the soul and jazz music being played (this is a punk night remember), the members of the various bands were milling around and there was a handful of punters there. The start had to be delayed in the hope more people would show up. Check out the photos after the jump for more of an idea of how things looked.

I'm not sure how things went down over at Yuyintang, I haven't spoken to anyone who went yet. I hope it got a better turn out than the MAO night though. Did anyone go? How was it? Let us know.

The real tragedy was that the bands were excellent. The Mortal Fools were on top form and the three Bejing punk/ska bands - Hell City, Early Bus and Misandao - all turned in good performances. Misandao in particular played a great set and, in a week when it's been questioned whether Chinese bands are "political enough", it took them all of five minutes to curse the government and the Expo. Their set was one massive "fuck you" to the authorities, with songs about those in power and the police. The singer had his middle finger raised for pretty much the entire set.

But they didn't have the audience they deserved. I'm not really sure why. It wasn't particlarly well promoted, but then there are quite a few shows where the venue just sticks it up on Douban and enough people turn up. Actually, about half way through the night, there probably were enough people in the place to make Yuyintang look ok if not busy - especially if you've got a bunch of people jumping around at the front. But MAO, of course, is much bigger than that and needs a bigger crowd. Plenty of people last night were just sat around the edges as well. Everyone I spoke to - band members and punters - were bemoaning the lack of people.

What made it worse was that this was Tim Anderson's last gig as drummer for The Mortal Fools. And they were brilliant. The Mortal Fools are one of those bands who don't really know how to play a lacklustre set. Nevermind if they've got a packed venue or a sparse crowd, they're always top draw performers. Though I really enjoyed their set, I couldn't help but feel a bit gutted at the same time because of Tim's departure. They're such a tight unit and there's such a great understanding there. The band is planning to continue, which is good news, but Tim, you'll be missed.
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

Culture Clash vs Three Represents

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culture clash.jpgLayabozi, "a web magazine about music in Shanghai today, with a sprinkle of the extra-mural and a tart sassiness--without ever being cloying", are going into events promotion. They put on this Mushroom Jazz event last weekend and tonight they're promoting an event called Culture Clash.

They're not the first website/events link in on the local music scene obviously. Rock Shanghai (more on them in a minute) have done the same - read the review of their one year anniversary here - IndieChina.com did one back in July and Indie Heart Attack have their weekly DJ nights at Not Me. Hmm, maybe we should start doing a Kungfuology night. Just kidding. Hopefully these nights help drive more traffic to the sites in question and, as a consequence, this helps those sites develop and post more regular content. We'll see.

I'm not sure why they've called it Culture Clash to be honest. But what I do know is that it clashes with a big gig at MAO. Misandao, the skinhead punk band, are down from Beijing for a gig with two other punk bands that they're calling The Three Represents (in a nod to a famous speech by Hu Jintao). Not only that, but they've got Mortal Fools on the bill as well. That's a pretty fearsome line-up at any time, but throw in the news that it'll be drummer Tim Anderson's last gig with The Mo'Fo's and you've got yourself a potentially explosive night.

This is the first time since MAO opened where there are two fairly big gigs going on at both Yuyintang and MAO at the same time. I'm seriously not sure which one I'm going to go to at the moment - it's the first night where it's not been a no-brainer. That makes it interesting on two fronts: one, how many people will turn out at the respective gigs? Two, who will turn out?

MAO needs around 400 I'd say to have a decent atmosphere. It can pack in more of course, but any less and thing might start to look a little sparse. The reason Shanghai needs a mid-sized venue like MAO is because Yuyintang starts to get cramped at anything over 300. So how will it go? In a city of 19 million, it seems ridiculous that we should wonder whether both venues can be supported, but it'll be interesting to see what numbers both places get.

Videos: Mortal Fools and Triple Smash

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Finally, some videos on this blog that don't feature me. Mortal Fools have recently uploaded a video of them doing Age of Assholes at the Beijing Punk Festival and Triple Smash have put up a live recording of them doing 再见大合 with 曹大 (of Chaos Mind) lending his vocals. And that's what you can see here (Triple Smash are after the jump), give them a click.

Also just up online are some excellent photos from the first few gigs at Mao, including some classy shots of the Second girls and you'll find those linked to right here. Toni from Pinkberry/Mortal Fools also makes an appearance in that album. Of course, if you're looking for the best photo taken at Mao Livehouse so far, it has to be this one really.

Behind the scenes at Mao Livehouse Shanghai

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Mao Livehouse ShanghaiOn Sunday I got to take a look inside the new Mao Livehouse Shanghai and thought I'd share what it looks like with you. They've gone with the Beijing Mao look of rusted metal on the outside and down the long corridor through which you enter the main space. For anyone who went to WTF before (I saw Ghostface there a couple of months back), they've ripped out all the seating around the dancefloor to create a bigger crowd area and have moved the bar to a much more sensible place. Some of the seating up at the back will remain as will the pool table (though not where it was before). It could be a great venue.

Soma are going to move their offices down there eventually and there'll also be Tian Tian's CD shop and a 0093 practice space, but all of that will come later. For now, they're just focusing on getting the bar, stage and public area ready in time for the weekend. Remember that 200 kuai My Little Airport show that they were due to open with? It's been postponed so the place will now open (this being China, it'll be a soft opening of course) on the Saturday with Sonnet, Momo and Life Journey. That show's a freebie by the way too.

Free and 200 kuai won't be regular door charges apparently, they're more likely to fall in the 40-50 kuai range, which sounds more sensible. The guys there are also aware that it'll take time to build up the gigs and the crowds but are in this for the long haul, which could be good news for Shanghai.

More photos (including shots of the interior and some older ones of the outside under construction) after the jump.

MAO Shanghai opening in September

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MAO.jpgIt's been a couple of months since news first broke of Soma's move to hook up with the people from MAO and open a Shanghai live music venue. Since then, locations have been scouted, proposals written and trips made to Japan to persuade investors to buy into Soma's vision of a "livehouse revolution." It's now been confirmed that they will be opening a new live music venue in the space formerly occupied by WTF next to the Red Town area. It will be called MAO Shanghai and it should all be ready by September 18th, when Hong Kong indie-popsters My Little Airport will take to the stage. UPDATE: Latest word is that the My Little Airport opening show could be delayed, possibly to the following week, possibly until even later.

The news was confirmed by Lisa Movius (who is doing PR for Soma) in an e-mail/comment by proxy here:

"While it will be a subsidiary of the Japanese investor, and not of the Beijing locale, it sounds like the Shanghai and Beijing Maos will be quite closely affiliated, with a coordinated line-up. Which hopefully will mean that our Shanghai bands will get more chances to play in Beijing and Japan.
 
Mao Live Shanghai is now slated to open on 18 September with a concert by Hong Kong's My Little Airport.
 
Mao Shanghai's space can hold 800-1000 people and is on Huaihai Xi Lu, adjacent to Red Town. Zhijiang Dream Factory will, after this month, return to New Factories' management."

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