Results tagged “Subs” from Jake Newby

Subs need your help

It's been well over a year since I posted anything here. Other commitments have got the better of me and I just don't really have time to update this blog at the moment, although you probably realised that already. I'm still writing plenty about music in Shanghai here and blogging here if it's of interest, and of course there are plenty of other blogs on Shanghai bands these days.

But I just wanted to post up an appeal on behalf of one of my favourite bands, Subs. They've just started recording their new album, You Are You, but being steadfastly independent, they need some help with financing it. As I write this, they're about a third of the way to reaching their target on this Kickstarter-like site. If you can stump up some cash for the record, they're offering a number of rewards ranging from a credit in the liner notes to free entry to all their shows next year to getting to shout a bit on the album. Contributions can start from as little as 30 kuai and I reckon it's a cause worth supporting.

SUBS and Duck Fight Goose, Yuyintang

0 034.jpgI got to Yuyintang fairly early last night because I expected it to be rammed. A free gig with SUBS headlining ought to have been, even on a Thursday night. Eventually the crowd did pick up, but I think it was largely swelled by a bus-load of people on a 'Converse tour of Shanghai', which meant that they weren't necessarily dedicated gig goers. The atmosphere suffered a little as a result, despite a dedicated crowd of fans at the front - something Kang Mao herself remarked upon during SUBS's set. It wasn't quite a denouncement in the style of Windows Tembo a few years back when she swore at everyone not in the mosh pit, but still. 

More promotion might have helped, although it was always a bit dubious as to whether this was a private event or not. Despite the corporate backing, to be fair there was little in the way of branding on either the bands or the venue and it felt very much like a normal gig in most respects. Not that any of that mattered massively to be honest. You get the feeling SUBS would give an energetic performance to a crowd of three, whether those people were into it or not. 

Reminder: SUBS for free tonight


SUBS play at Yuyintang tonight for free with Duck Fight Goose. 9.30pm, be there.
e447317.jpgYou might still be recovering from the weekend, but here's advance warning of two shows in the next few days that you'd be a fool to miss.

First up SUBS and Duck Fight Goose at Yuyintang for free. SUBS. Duck Fight Goose. Yuyintang. Free. I believe that is what's technically known as a 'no brainer'. Thursday, 9.30pm.

Second, Wanderlust, Pairs and Next Year's Love are playing a free show at LUNE on Friday, 10pm. DJs Pink and Ryo are involved there too and it seems like the best thing to do after a day at Midi Festival I reckon.

Video: SUBS at MAO Livehouse

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.

Douban round-up

Untitled1.jpgA few bits and bobs floating around on the Douban:

Monkey Shine have a couple of new demos. Dodgy band name, but still, the songs are here and are emo-tastic.

Runaway Snail have had a line-up shuffle. They're now joined by Mei Er from Top Floor Circus, which seems a good move. The band should be gigging again next month once they've had a chance to rehearse together.

A bit of Beijing band news: in addition to Bigger Bang! coming back here armed with a new song for The Longest Nite show (12 hour party thing at the Mercedes-Benz Arena with 7 local bands) on the 19th, Queen Sea Big Shark are also returning, playing MAO Livehouse in April. Also back in April are Subs, whose Kang Mao and Wu Hao have recently formed a new, seemingly acoustic, band called 拜拜,多谢你们的鱼! No plans for them to play down our way yet, but they'll be at Yugong Yishan with the aforementioned Bigger Bang! next Tuesday.

Hedgehog, who are also in Shanghai on the 19th to promote their new album, have uploaded four new tracks to their minisite here. They've also announced that there'll be a separate CD of demos available at the gig, details here.  

Finally, a couple of days ago a little message appeared in the bottom right corner of Douban pages with a few polite reminders from your friendly Communist Party. In particular they'd like to let you know that according to Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the following things are banned:
'Organising to incite resistance'
'Fabrication of information or distortion of the facts, spreading of rumours in relation to the social administration'
'The inciting of illegal assemblies, marches, demonstrations and general disturbing of the public order'
'Engaging in violations of state, society and collective interests'
Please note these are rough/truncated translations of the points made in the notice (see the picture above for the full versions), but the message is pretty clear. Just in case you were wondering what that box was....

Reasons to be cheerful

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
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.

Photo: Subs in Shanghai

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!

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?

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.


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'. 


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.
p394676405.jpgWell alright, there's not actually any new Subs that you can listen to yet, but they are recording new material at the moment, which is pretty exciting seeing as how they're one of the best bands in China. They've put up some photos of them recording the vocals for their new album - check out the gallery here. A cursory look around their Douban page reveals no details of when the album will be out, but hopefully if they're doing the vocals it won't be too much longer. A new Subs record is something to get excited about.

New material that you can actually listen to, comes in the form of a new demo from Shanghai's Bang Bang Tang. It's called 异客梦, which I'm going to translate (probably badly) as Traveller's Dream. As always, Xiao Bai's vocals are fantastic and the musicianship is tight - check it out here.

Another new demo has gone up recently from Da Fresh, a Shanghai Brit-pop band. They were quite active a while back, but have been quiet recently. Basically, they've done hardly anything since they started working closely with Soma, but I'm sure that's just a coincidence. Ahem. Anyway, the song is called 完整夏天 (All Summer) and you can hear it here.

If those two tracks are a little pop for your tastes, then check out the new instrumental demo from Shanghai metal act Screaming Saviour. That's right here

Kang Mao in Do You Want to Play a Game?

subs,20091018161216924.jpgHot on the heels of China Music Radar posting up the trailer for a documentary on Beijing Punk (featuring Misandao amongst others), I thought I'd post about Beijing punk heroine and Subs lead singer Kang Mao being in a documentary of her own.

Kang Mao's blog has been down lately. Every time I've tried to get on it the last couple of weeks, I've been redirected to some photo site or something. Anyway, it's back now so I can finally post about the film. It's called Do You Want to Play With Me? and she recently posted on it and a film festival in Nanjing.

Information on the film is pretty limited to be honest, but it's being billed as a Punk / Performance / Direct Movie, is directed by Liu Yonghong and Liu Zhiyong and, frankly, anything with Kang Mao in is good enough for me.

The plan is for the film to be released online, but not until next autumn. She's not too sure why it won't be out for so long either - apparently there's still a bit of editing and stuff to do on it. Still, another year? Seems a bit over the top. Hopefully it won't really take that long and we'll be able to see it soon.

Subs' Kang Mao is angry

kang mao.jpgRemember how I had a few gripes and grumbles about the InMusic Festival? Turns out things weren't all that great backstage either. China Music Radar alluded to the poor treatment of acts in their excellent review of the festival and now Subs' lead singer Kang Mao has posted an entry on her blog where she says, "I didn't eat a single mouthful of food, I was too scared to use the toilet and I didn't dare drink the water" (maybe that explains why Fu Han from Queen Sea Big Shark had to go on a beer run) - plus they've still not been paid. However, that's not what's really got her angry. Indeed, though she says conditions were far from ideal, Kang praises the sound set-up on stage (in general it was really good from the audience point of view too), says that she felt really comfortable up there and that overall she had a good time. You can see some video of the band's performance in this post, also on her blog.

So what's really wound up China's leading lady of "spunk rock"? It's the press and their coverage of the festival.

In her post, "I don't want to talk about Zhangbei", she writes of how, in the week leading up to the InMusic Festival, the media and public opinion had been whipped up into a frenzy about the event and what it meant for Zhangbei, a poor town in a remote part of the country, and its government. There was a lot of attention in the press in the run up to the festival talking about what a momentous occasion this was for a town that had only received press coverage in the past when it was struck by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake in 1998. Some of this hyperbole came from the organisers, naturally trying to promote their festival, some of it came from the local government - essentially saying "look, we may be just a poor backwater town but look at the great music festival we're putting on." It's hardly surprising that the local government and the organisers wanted to attract more people to their event, but Kang's real fire is trained on the reporters who regurgitated these lines, compared the festival to a certain American one that took place 40 years ago this summer and contributed to "a media and public opinion frenzy with discussion groups on the topic growing and growing."


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