Results tagged “Yuyintang” from Jake Newby

The Mushrooms release debut album this weekend

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It's taken them a while - about six years in fact - but The Mushrooms will finally release their debut album this weekend, with an afternoon show at Yuyintang. The album has been available for a little while now after David Tao's label finally relented and put it out, but this Saturday will see an official release show for the CD. 

Regardless of what you make of the music, you can't begrudge the band this moment. There's a brief recap of The Mushrooms' story here, but typing their name into the search bar on either Andy's blog or this one will give you loads more background if you want it.

Earn money by going to Yuyintang this weekend

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2acc00a62d529bf.jpgThere are two shows on at Yuyintang this weekend where you'll get paid 1RMB each if you attend them. Yes, instead of forking out 40 kuai to watch a show, the promoters will pay you. If you haven't heard already, this is the brainchild of DJ BO and Dabei's Xiao Wei. The idea is to get more foreigners to see Chinese bands and more Chinese people to see foreign bands in Shanghai. 

The line-ups are as follows: 
Saturday Dabei, Prank, Senlinmu, Baiyu, Loudspeaker
Sunday Pairs, The Horde, Icenine, Moon Tyrant, Pacific

So if you've ever fancied going to see some of these bands and not got around to it, this weekend seems like a pretty good opportunity to do so. Check out more details here.

Video: Pairs' student band showcase

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The other week, Pairs put on a Sunday afternoon show at Yuyintang with a bunch of student bands to try and encourage more young acts to come through in Shanghai. Here's a video with Xiao Zhong explaining a bit more. It's mostly in Chinese, but worth a click if you understand a bit of the language. To see a clip of one of the bands performing that day, click here

The Sound of Beijing mixtape

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2011120502421263_Medium.jpgMatthew Niederhauser (who you'll know from those famous shots of Chinese bands in D-22 and other excellent photography) and Zhang Shouwang (who you'll know for being the driving force of Carsick Cars) have put together a mixtape for Domus' city series. Naturally, it mainly focuses on bands from the capital, but there are a couple of non-Beijing acts on there too, including Duck Fight Goose. In fact, the DFG song is taken from their debut album Sports, released on Friday at Yuyintang, so if you haven't heard anything from the record yet, here's your chance to check out the track 'Golden Gate'. There's loads more great stuff on there too though, so check it out here

The return of Banana Monkey?

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001372d8a1530b74e6701a.jpgIt's been a long time - about two years I think - but it looks like Banana Monkey could make a surprise return to the Shanghai music scene next month. Following The Beat Bandits' decision to call it quits after last weekend, the Trash a Go Go bills have been left without one of their staple acts, but they've pencilled in Banana Monkey as part of the line-up to support Korean rockabilly act The Rock Tigers at YYT on September 24th. 

Once hotly-tipped as a band who would break out of Shanghai and really put music here on the map, it never really happened for Banana Monkey. If the comeback comes off, this wouldn't be the first time the band have reformed (their shows a couple of years ago were part of a short-lived return). Perhaps with this in mind, the band/promoters are urging caution at the moment, stating 'it's not certain, we'll have to wait and see how things go' in regard to the Rock Tigers show, but there are moves to make it happen. It's not clear if it would be a one off performance or if the band would be making a proper comeback. Either way, the show will also be the last for The Instigation's lead singer Simon, who's leaving Shanghai.

For a bit of background to Banana Monkey and their significance, check out this post.

Old old video: Zhang Haisheng rocking out in '98

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Check this video out from way, way back in the day. An underground show in a room under Shanghai Film Art Centre filmed in 1998 with Zhang Haisheng, now owner of Yuyintang, rocking it. Thanks to Sophia for the tip.

Wooozy Sessions start this Thursday

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e476466.jpgYeah, yeah, I know you're all going to Macy Gray at M1NT, but I thought I'd mention this in case you get turned away at the door - they're pretty strict on the old dress code there. The good people at Split Works launch their Wooozy Sessions this Thursday at Yuyintang, a new initiative to bring non-Shanghai bands to the city who might not otherwise make it here. The gigs will be once a month and they're also going to be splitting the money made on the door between the bands and a charitable cause.

Which all sounds very nice, but doesn't mean too much if they haven't got decent bands to back it up. Well, they have - this week's inaugural session welcomes Mr Graceless back to town, for their first appearance at Yuyintang. They'll be joined by Forsaken Autumn. 

So yeah, Mr Graceless + Forsaken Autumn at Yuyintang this Thursday. It'll cost you just 30RMB to get in, starts at 8pm and your money will be going to good causes. For more on Mr Graceless, click here; listen to Forsaken Autumn here; read the official Split Works blurb on the events here; Wooozy.cn is here of course; and you can find out more about Shiyi Gongyi, this month's charity cause, right here.

The Fever Machine album release, Yuyintang

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fever.jpgWhile Pet Conspiracy were over in Pudong playing around with welder's masks, sparkly cloaks and whips, and Voodoo Kungfu were performing what looked like Texas Chainsaw Massacre live, The Fever Machine released their debut LP at Yuyintang with a straight up rock show. There were no fireworks, no theatrics - just solid musicianship and The Fever Machine playing their no-nonsense rock 'n' roll to an appreciative crowd.

Boys Climbing Ropes had kicked the night off, playing a set of mostly new material. They slipped an old favourite in toward the end, 'Whale Song', but the rest of the songs were presumably what we'll hear on that split record with X is Y after the summer. The crowd was still a little thin on the ground when they opened, but they blasted through a strong set regardless. Credit to them too for appreciating one of the key qualities in a support act: brevity.

The Beat Bandits were up next and played a solid set as well, albeit one familiar to anyone who's seen them before. People still lap up their cover of 'Whatcha Gonna Do About It' though, and why not.

And then came The Fever Machine. As I mentioned last week, the physical CD wasn't available at the show (the band had a contingency in place immediately), but they didn't let that throw them. They played their way through the album tracks with the professionalism and skill that anyone who has seen them play over the last year or so has come to expect. There was showmanship for sure, but they're a band who don't dress their music up particularly, they just lay it out there. And the crowd loved it, particularly a group of three guys at the front who stripped off (Fire in the Hole?) as the riffs built up. 

If you haven't got on it yet, check out the mono version of Living in Oblivion right here and I think I'm right in saying that The Fever Machine have been added to the bill for Proximity Butterfly's show this Friday at YYT so you've another chance to catch them before they head off touring for the summer.

Photos are pending, my camera's a bit screwed at the minute....

Die Die Die play YYT again tonight for free

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die-die-die.jpgSo I'm back in Shangers and I was going to write about Friend or Foe killing Bill and helping open the new LOgO this weekend, when I realised this guy had stepped up. If you missed his posts, catch up now.

Still, another show to look forward to is Die Die Die playing Yuyintang tonight. I mentioned how I was going to be gutted to miss them but they're putting on a free show tonight, which is great news. In support are Friend or Foe and new duo Death to Giants, so lots of reasons to make it out on a Monday. If you missed them too last weekend, don't make the same mistake again tonight. 

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.

Gotan Project cancel and other bits and bobs

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Flyer_1_h.jpgJust a quick note: if you were planning on forking out 400RMB for the Shanghai World Music Festival in Zhongshan Park this weekend, just bear in mind that one of the big headliners, The Gotan Project, have now cancelled. Equipment problems at customs or something. Blah. Also, and this is a big one, the Uzbekistan National Song and Dance Troupe have cancelled too. I know. That means there'll be some line-up shuffling - see if you can make sense of this press release.

On to other matters: Battle Cattle are new in Shanghai, have a Douban with a track up on it already and are playing a show with Kungfuology favourites Next Year's Love next week. It's free and at Yuyintang - can't say fairer than that. Here's the details.

Another date for your diary, at least for those who can bear gigs at LUNE, is May 28th when Boys Climbing Ropes, The Beat Bandits, Moon Tyrant and DJ BO come together for a show to help those acts raise money for tours in Mongolia and Japan. 

And another one for June 10th if you plan that far ahead: Beijing act Yantiao return to Shanghai with a lightly re-jigged line-up after impressing at Live Bar a while back. They're with Pairs, Guijian and new Shanghai duo Death to Giants, featuring him out of Moon Tyrant and him out of Rainbow Danger Club. Baddaboom.

Night of Comedy and Horror, Yuyintang

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a 024.jpgI left this event a little earlier than I would have liked so didn't see all the bands on what was a big and broad bill. It was a well-organised event and there was a good turn out for it, the first from the newly-launched Zangnan Recordings. They had a varied line-up too, with Ann kicking things off before overlapping sets from Ho-Tom the Conqueror and The Song Dynasty, a comedy interlude from Kungfu Comedy, The Dudettes, Stegosaurus? and Rainbow Danger Club.

Of those, I'd like to focus on Ann as this was the first time I'd seen them live. In short, they were great. They play a sort of post-rock-sounding music but with a singer - at least, for most of the set, she left the stage for the final track or two. They have a really good sound and incorporated a guzheng and flute into their set on Friday. It might sound a little cheesy, but it worked and I came away really impressed with what they're doing. Hopefully they'll play a bit more live as their gigs seem to be a bit few and far between at the moment, but credit to Zangnan for getting them on the bill. You can check out Ann's Douban here, scroll down a bit and there's some demos to listen to.

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

SUBS and Duck Fight Goose, Yuyintang

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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

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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: Friend or Foe's 'Snortin' Clorox'

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This video just went up from the Friend or Foe boys, check it out. Beijing, take note.

Break for Borneo CD release, Yuyintang

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7 128.jpgIt's taken me a couple of days to get around to writing this, but then it took Break for Borneo a little while to get around to having a physical release of their CD so I guess we're even. Sort of. If you missed the CD release and haven't downloaded the album yet, you can do it for free right here. The CD release had become part of a 24 hour festival thing at YYT that had kicked off at 3pm and the venue felt pretty festival-ly when I got there in the evening, with people all face-painted up and wearing odd headgear etc. It was the perfect vibe for Break for Borneo's summery feel-good tropical rock and the crowd really got into their performance, which also featured a cameo from Adam Gaensler

Duck Fight Goose had opened the night incidentally, but I got there late and missed their set. I was disappointed to have missed them, but even with them out of the equation, the remaining three bands made for a strong line-up. Rainbow Danger Club followed Break for Borneo and managed to get into the tropical rock theme. An expectant roar went up from the crowd during the opening notes of 'Neighbours on the Rooftop', but it wasn't quite the song they expected - instead, the band performed a reworked version of the track in a reggae-like style.

Shanghai 24/7 launch, Yuyintang

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shanghai 24 7 002.jpgI was actually thinking of going to see Shanren on Friday night and check out the new MAO Livehouse, but then I bumped into Ho-Tom The Conqueror at lunch time and he reminded me that he was on the bill for the Shanghai 24/7 thing so I ended up going to watch the same bands that I always watch at the same venue I always go to. Or at least, that's how it looked on paper. The night actually ended up having a surprisingly fresh feel to it.

Of course there's the new Yuyintang, but after a few gigs there now I can't claim not to be used to the refurbishments any more. It was more to do with the bands. Ho-Tom himself kicked off and was joined not only by regular conquering companions Franco and George, but also by the full Song Dynasty line-up. It's the first time I've seen him with a full band backing like that and he made the most of it, playing the longest set I've seen him do at Yuyintang. The full band brought something different to his songs and the crowd got into it too. Word is they're all recording some songs together so, though it'll be a few months yet, I'm looking forward to that one.

X is Y were up next and seem to be playing all their songs in double time these days. They certainly have a lot more energy and punchiness (for want of a better word) about them. Their set got off to a flyer and didn't really look back, with people jumping around again (which as Mr Fossy noted the other day was something that didn't really happen much before at X is Y gigs). Of course, despite the new energy to their set, the songs are still notably X is Y tracks, which is a good thing - I just feel like they've found a new balance to their sound that is working really well for them at the moment.

Hedgehog and Naohai, Yuyintang

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hedgehog 027.jpgSometimes there's nothing wrong with a bit of familiarity. This was a classic night in the newly-refurbished Yuyintang with a packed house being sent into a sweaty frenzy by Hedgehog ripping through their old favourites.

Of course, there were plenty of new songs too - the Beijing three piece were in town to release their new album after all - but when they closed their set out with what was effectively a greatest hits run-through it invoked the kind of jump around, big grin atmosphere that Hedgehog are so adept at creating. They're just one of those bands that you'd have to try really hard not to like and their live shows are infectious. People had to jump around and by the end it was a hot, sweaty mess of a crowd that screamed for an encore - like numerous Hedgehog gigs at Yuyintang before.

The new songs sounded great too of course. There's not been a massive shift in direction by the sounds of things (I haven't played the album yet), but that's not a problem. It's always hard playing a bunch of new songs to an audience who hasn't heard them before, but there were enough hooks and jump along moments to keep people happy until the more familiar tunes came around.

The other new element to the night came courtesy of support act Nao Hai, a band that I mentioned being interested to see live the other week. I've not seen them on any bills before anywhere, but they have some good demos on their Douban that had caught my interest. Still, given their lack of live shows to date, I'm not sure how they got on the bill to support one of the country's best bands, but their short set didn't seem out of place. They're still pretty fresh and a bit rough around the edges, but overall it was a solid showing of Gar-like rock that went down well with the crowd. Hopefully this is the start of them gigging regularly, they've got a lot of potential.

Decisions, decisions (part two)

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Still agonising over where to go on Friday? Wait til you see what's on on Saturday.

e404378.jpge414952.jpge407864.jpgThumbnail image for Tsunami Benefit - March 19th.jpg
Click on the pictures to see the flyers a bit bigger.

Decisions, decisions (part one)

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It may only be Wednesday, but this weekend is such a big one for live music that it's a good idea to start making your plans now. First up, these are your choices for Friday:

p858918874.jpgbeedeesposter(web).jpgCD-release-flyer.jpg

Click on the images above to see them nice and big and easy to read like.

The Fever Machine and friends, Yuyintang

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0 001.jpgFrom the time when Friend or Foe entered Yuyintang in boxing shorts, sparring in the middle of the crowd before they took to the stage, this was a night of straight up, quality rock. I was surprised that they were on first, but - after their great entrance - they kicked things off with a lively set. They showed off a couple of new songs as well, including 'Smith & Wesson' and they seem well on their way to having a record out before the summer slump hits, or if not, immediately after it. If you missed them, they're playing again next weekend as part of the Rainbow Danger Club album release (more on that later in the week) and again the weekend after that for Moon Tyrant's record release. As if that's not enough, they'll also be hitting Beijing in April so any northerners reading this should keep an eye out for them.

The next band were one half of the Nanjing contingent for the night. Micoo took to the stage with their frontman in his trademark blue shirt and cap and tore through a set of grungey rock. They have an album out, though I didn't see it at the show. They should have it with them when they play at Live Bar in a few weeks (April 1) so if you liked what you saw, or like what you hear here, check that show out.

The Fever Machine were up next and played a really powerful set. You really ought to know what The Fever Machine are about by now, but if you don't then make sure you catch them soon. Their 'and friends' shows are pretty much monthly - the next one's April 23rd - and you can hear four of their demos on their Douban (and download one for free).

That left Nanjing punks Old Doll to round things out. Unfortunately, it was pretty late by this point and I'd had quite a lot of beer to drink, but they're a quality act and I seem to remember enjoying their set. No one ever said this blog was about professionalism.

The Mushrooms for Meters Bonwe

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It's been a while since we heard anything from The Mushrooms - they went and got signed and haven't really done much since, which unfortunately seems to be something of a pattern for the band: they get a break, then go quiet for ages. But now they've popped up flogging Meters Bonwe's range of jeans. There's lots of gratuitous shots of their trousers obviously, but stick with it for the band talking about their city and their influences as well as footage of 0093 and Yuyintang. The band are on a few festival line-ups in the next couple of months and let's hope the tune sound-tracking this video is evidence that a record is finally on the way....

Trash a Go-Go with The Routes at Yuyintang

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the routes 011.jpgSo the new Yuyintang eh? Very nice, very nice. Last Friday was my first time in the new place for a gig and it was impressive. Trash a Go-Go packed the place out with the sort of numbers that would have made the old YYT uncomfortable and hard to navigate. As it was, the new venue dealt with the crowds pretty well. With the new bar, the larger main room and the upstairs seating, it's a big improvement on the old Yuyintang, much as I loved it.

And the bands were pretty good too. Things kicked off with local quartet Out of Groove. They seem pretty fresh and only played four songs, one of them an instrumental lead in. No Douban or anything that I can find on them yet, but keep an eye out for them playing again soon, likely with the Trash a Go-Go crowd. They play a kind of bluesy rock and the singer has a good voice on her.

The Beat Bandits were up next and were their usual fine selves - they're just a band it's hard not to love. They were followed by The Routes who played a good set of Mod and garage rock that went down well. And the night was rounded out by The Instigation who I unfortunately missed as wasn't feeling too good by the end. Overall though, great night with great bands and I came away really impressed from my first gig at the new Yuyintang.

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.

Yuyintang reopens tonight

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6b6b859ftw6deaycqs6m6j.jpgAfter a month-long closure, Yuyintang reopens its doors tonight. The venue has been shut for extensive renovations which have seen them increase their capacity and make it generally a much more suitable gig space. Tonight's show is an unplugged Valentine's Day special from Yuguo, so if your significant other is into weepy indie ballads then you should get on down there and check out the new space tonight. For everyone else, there'll be plenty of opportunities to get to see the new Yuyintang over the coming weeks - the venue is pretty much booked up until April, with a string of high profile shows lined up.

Also, the plan is for the venue to be run as a cafe during the day, open every day of the week. That phase of the renovations is still ongoing so it's not there yet, but the gig bit is obviously good to go and that's the important thing.

More pictures of the new space after the jump

The new Yuyintang

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new yyt.jpgMAO Livehouse shuttered their first location in Shanghai at the weekend, with around 1,300 people packing into the Red Town space according to the organisers. I didn't make it to the show unfortunately, but I did pop in to look at how Yuyintang's renovations were coming along this weekend.

The heart of the local music scene, Yuyintang closed their doors a couple of weeks ago and plan to reopen on Valentine's Day with a special unplugged show from Yuguo. So what have they been up to in a month? A lot. The refurbishments are extensive and should create a vastly improved venue.

The building was never intended as a gig venue, which was clear from its layout, and though this lent YYT some of its charm, it also led to frustrated punters at some gigs. Hoping to change that, the venue has made some major changes. It's a bit hard to describe without more photos, but I'll give it a whirl. First up, they've shifted the entrance to the left of the old front door, as you can see above. The small lounge area that used to occupy the space directly in front of the entrance has gone, replaced by a long bar down the side of what is now one big room opening out toward the stage. The stage itself hasn't moved, but the area immediately in front of it has been extended all the way back. Presumably a sound and lighting desk will need to be put in at the back (there wasn't one there when I snooped around), but overall the viewing area will be larger. They've also flipped the staircase so that it slopes towards the front entrance now, meaning it doesn't impinge on the area in front of the stage. I'm not sure if they've changed things upstairs as I couldn't get up there, but it's a major overhaul.

There's still a fair bit of work to do to finish it all off, but it seems like a positive change. Check it out for yourself when Yuyintang reopens on February 14th.

Duck Fight Goose EP release at Yuyintang

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dfgep.jpgThis was a great night for one of Shanghai's best bands. The release of Duck Fight Goose's debut EP had been hyped up, but deservedly so - this is a record that many of us in Shanghai have been looking forward to all year. Click after the jump to see how the record was packaged incidentally and if you didn't make it to YYT last night to get your hands on a copy, you can buy the EP here and on iTunes (soon).

Pairs opened proceedings with a typically laid-back set of down tempo chill out songs and were on really fine form as always, but this was really Duck Fight Goose's night. Part way through their set, DFG were hit by technical difficulties - hardly surprising given the number of wires and gizmos they have up on stage with them. But it provided a suitable interlude during their show. Up until that point they had played the songs from their Flow EP, but after the technical mishap, they showcased their new material.

They're never a band to stand still and in a lot of ways this EP feels very much like the closing of a chapter - the recording and releasing of a set of songs that they've spent the last year or so perfecting live. That's why I thought the interlude proved suitable - their new material is different in tone. It's not an enormous change, but there's a definite difference in the sound there, in particular with Han Han using his keyboard more. The band played three songs in this new mode and they were all frankly blinding. If the EP is one of the best records to come out of Shanghai this year, then we should all be very excited by the prospect of a new DFG album next year.

This was my last gig of the year and from here until early January, this blog will slow down a bit (possibly for longer given the closure of YYT), but this was a great way to round out the year.

Own some original SanSan artwork

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33.jpgWell, sort of. These postcards are available from Link Shanghai down in Tianzifang, a shop where they also have some Popil t-shirts and a very cool book from her too. But these postcards in the photo are SanSan's handiwork and they're great. I forget how much I paid for them, but they're not very expensive and obviously worth it.

Speaking of SanSan, I hope you've not forgotten that the Duck Fight Goose EP release is tonight. It's a big big night for Shanghai rock, so get to Yuyintang and get yourself a copy of that Flow record, you won't regret it.

Yuyintang closing for renovations

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yyt5.jpgHaving finally got their licenses and permits sorted out (well, until the government decides to change the rules), Yuyintang has decided to shutter its doors for most of January and undergo some extensive renovations, reopening again after Chinese New Year in February or possibly as late as March (it's currently unconfirmed). YYT has been going around six years now, about three of them in the current location and the management have decided it's time to give the Kaixuan Lu space a bit of an overhaul.

It'll be more than just a lick of paint too. The idea is to knock a couple of walls down and expand the bar space among other things, hence the closure being several weeks long. This isn't the first time the Kaixuan Lu livehouse has undergone such changes of course, when it first started out the current entrance area didn't exist and the "bar" was an old guy with a Coke fridge sat in one corner selling all drinks for 5 kuai. 

Attendances have risen significantly since then and now they have the right paperwork in place, they've decided to remodel a little. They'll close on January 10th.

Trash a Go-Go at Yuyintang

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p709577937.jpgBefore we get anywhere, I just want to quickly say congratulations to Lu Chen, the Top Floor Circus frontman, who sent me a message last night to say that his missus had dropped their sprog at last. 陆雍 was born at 6.30pm last night.  
恭喜你们!

Anyway, on with the gig. Unexpectedly, I found myself at Yuyintang last night. Unexpected, because usually around this time of the month I don't have any free time, but I managed to get out of the office and so headed to the first of two Trash a Go-Go shows this weekend (they do it all over again tonight, also at YYT, with Dead Elvis).

The Instigation kicked things off and were their usually tight, lively selves. If you haven't seen The Instigation yet, you really ought to. They play hardcore/punk in the style of Reagan Youth (whose 'Degenerated' they always close their sets with) and singer Simon sings from in front of the stage, pacing backwards and forwards at the front of the audience. They were very nearly upstaged last night by a crazy Japanese dude who kept jumping on Simon and onto the stage, and by a white guy next to him who was dancing like your uncle at a wedding, but the band were good enough to just about remain the centre of attention. Seriously, you need to check these guys out.

Similarly, if you've somehow managed to get this far without seeing The Fever Machine, you need to sort that out pretty soon. They went on second and were on fine form. In fact, I think the version of 'Dance with Deviance' that they did might just have been the strongest I've seen from them yet. Again, quality musicians with a really tight set up and a strong set of songs who know how to put on a show.

Finally, there was The Beat Bandits (well, actually finally there was Japanese act Goggle-A, but it was getting late and I had to work today so I didn't stick around for them unfortunately). They had Papa from The Instigation on drums last night and I'm not sure if he was just standing in or if that's a permanent move, but as always their surf rock was on the money. They were in foursome form last night, which meant they had the girl on keyboards as well, which always adds a little something.

So yeah, a good night all in all - just as well, as that's probably my last gig for a little while...
p700980920.jpgYuyintang was packed last night. I mean properly rammed. I got there just after 9pm and there was no hope of getting anywhere near the front. By the time Ho-Tom took to the stage to open (he wasn't dressed like this incidentally, think that photo's from Halloween), I had to stand near the back by the bar and crane my neck to watch him. Even that became a crush and I ended up by watching him from the side of the stage.

What I saw nearly had me welling up. See, Tom is a good friend of mine and he was playing to a packed crowd at Yuyintang. That's pretty special. Not only that, but they loved him. He introduced all his songs in Chinese and, from the first song which he explained was about Hu Jintao's daughter, the crowd was cheering loudly. When he did 'I Don't Know Why Your Mum and Dad Don't Like My Mum and Dad', a song he penned himself in Mandarin and with lyrics about not having a Shanghai hukou and not having a house, the audience was enraptured.

He was playing with Franco ('the Fierce') on mandolin and George ('the Goliath'... I think?) on harmonica, which added a nice layer to his sound and worked really well, especially on the YYT stage and with such a big crowd.

Clearly Omnipotent Youth Hotel (or Society, as their album has it) have a big following here, but Tom certainly won them over and was a worthy support act for the Hebei band who so many had turned out to see. Of them, I don't have much to say really - I saw the very start of their set, but was really there for Tom and had to barrel across town to make sure I caught the return of The Gar...

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).

The last days of LOgO

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photo.jpgYou know this already, but last night was the last night of LOgO. I had to bow out around midnight (y'know work and stuff), but it was pretty rammed and I'm sure it had a good send off. In fact, it's probably still going on now. The police stopped by for a bit, which was nice of them, just to remind everyone why it's shutting down.

Anyway, after YYT on Saturday night, I'd headed over to LOgO to find Friend or Foe on stage. It was another strong showing from the boys, despite Adam's guitar disintegrating toward the end of the set. By the end of it, which found him lying on the dancefloor on his back in the middle of the crowd, he might as well have been playing an erhu there were that many broken strings. Whatever, it was a great performance and one of those classic, slightly chaotic gigs that we'd all come to associate with LOgO. 

Last night was the Jam Session thing. Hmm. But there was also a brief appearance again from The Misfits, joined on stage by Marc Bolan at one point. I'm not sure who those guys were requesting 'Whale Song' though - pretty sure that's not a Misfits song.

So that's that. For now, the people behind LOgO look like they'll be focusing their energies on swankier new spot LUNE. I'm not sure how it'll work as a venue, but it'll get its first proper road test as a gig venue when The Gar come to town for their first show in over a year (now with ex-Hedgehog bassist Box) in a couple of weeks. Keep an eye out for that one...

KISS, The Misfits, Wham! and Joy Division at YYT

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e316421.jpgThis was a great night at Yuyintang - packed out and with great performances. Ordinarily, I'm not really into cover bands, but these were all done so well and with such humour that it was impossible not to enjoy it - unless of course you were that irate Wham! fan who complained that Pairs' "tribute" was sacrilegious before storming out. For me, that just made it funnier.

The night started with X is Y (plus two) as Joy Division. They did the songs really well - although I'm not sure about the metal/ska moments that crept in during 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'. Any problems they may have had with people not recognising Joy Division's back catalogue (people stood around me kept asking who they were supposed to be) they overcame with an energetic performance that meant people got into regardless.

If their's was a pretty close study of Joy Division, Pairs' version of Wham! was something else entirely. With F and Xiao Zhong dressed in Choose Life t-shirts, the pair ripped through a couple of classic Wham! tracks but in the Pairs style, before Xiao Zhong kicked 'the other one' out of the band and went solo for 'Careless Whisper', which featured one of the best endings to a set ever as he kept everyone singing while he packed up his shit and walked off the stage.

Boys Climbing Ropes then came on and did The Misfits, with Little Punk bouncing around the stage as Danzig. They really got the crowd going and had the biggest mosh of the night, though some dickhead threw a glass at some point. Someone had crowd dived during Wham! with a bottle in hand as well. Seriously, how fucking stupid are you? Anyway, I don't want to dwell on it - it shouldn't take away from a great performance from BCR, something they reprised at LOgO last night as part of the farewell to the Xingfu Lu bar.

Finally came KISS who looked and sounded incredible. The make up, the costumes and the music were all spot on. They really had it down, with Dan staying in character throughout and all of the band members with studied mannerisms - Fabi's bright red tongue was waggling all the way through the set. They even did the synchronised bit with the guitars. It was brilliant.

So yeah, a brilliant night - well done to everyone involved. If anyone has photos or videos from the night, please send them my way, I still don't have a camera. Ta.

The Fever Machine and friends at Yuyintang

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e312859.jpgNo promotional problems here. Despite going up against a whole bunch of other high profile events such as the JZ Festival in Century Park and the opening night of Shanghai Pride, the Shapiro publicity machine did its job and pulled in a big crowd for four of the city's best bands last night.

Rainbow Danger Club kicked things off with a great set. Jesse from the band was kind enough to send me a couple of mp3s the other day of demos from the CD they're currently working on and I've had them on repeat ever since. They're a quality band with a great sound and I can't wait to hear the CD when it comes out.

The Instigation were on next and caused the biggest ruckus of the night with their shouty punk. Singer Simon sang from in front of the speakers rather than on stage, marching up and down at the front of the crowd and occasionally getting drawn into the group of people throwing themselves around like crazy. It was a good show.

The Fever Machine took to the stage after them and produced the solid rawk display that you'd expect. Again it was a performance from a band of quality musicians on a night full of them. The band had a couple of new tracks added in to their repertoire and they're another act who are hopefully thinking of laying down a CD soon. In the meantime, you can listen to, and download, some of their tracks here.

Duck Fight Goose were last on and, despite it being 1am by the time they took to the stage, a big crowd stuck around to watch them. They weren't disappointed. The band have received a lot of hype in the local media in recent months and with good reason: they are fucking brilliant. The only worry is that they're going to run out of room on the YYT stage to put all their pedals and effects gadgets - every time they've added something new (last night it was this white, iPad-like box with a glowing red screen, not sure what that was). Their CD should be out next month and to say that I'm excited about it doesn't even come close.

All in all, a great night with four top notch bands.

Streets Kill Strange Animals and friends at Yuyintang

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e292213.jpgBefore this gig was advertised, I didn't really know much about Streets Kill Strange Animals. I'd heard good things about them from up north, but hadn't really followed them too closely. That'll change now, they were brilliant last night. I thought that maybe the gig was done in the way they sometimes are in Beijing whereby the headliner actually goes on in the penultimate slot because it's the peak time before everyone heads home. The crowd certainly thinned after Bigger Bang!, but anyone who missed Streets Kill Strange Animals missed an excellent set and they were worthy of top billing.

If people had run out of energy after Bigger Bang!'s set it was understandable. They haven't been in Shanghai for a few months, but you can tell how much they like playing here. Last night was no different - they were tight, played a great set and Pupi was on top form. They also played two great covers: Joan Jett's 'I Hate Myself for Loving You' and, more surprisingly, Beck's 'Loser' with Pupi pulling off the raps.

Before that Pairs had torn through a typically exhilarating set that had people around me worrying about Xiao Zhong's vocal chords. I'm pretty sure he'll be fine.

The Fallacy and Boys Climbing Ropes at Yuyintang

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e291715.jpgYeah I still don't have a camera so here's the flyer in place of a photo. Photo donations are welcome by the way.

Anyway, last night saw two bands at Yuyintang - The Fallacy, a post punk outfit from Henan, and Boys Climbing Ropes who you know plenty about.

The Fallacy kicked things off and played a solid set. They sounded a bit like ReTROS to me, similar kind of basslines and what have you. But I like ReTROS a lot so that was a good thing. Perhaps due to a lack of familiarity among the audience with their material, they failed to really kick things off and to spark much of atmosphere in the crowd. People weren't going crazy, but everyone seemed to enjoy them overall.

Boys Climbing Ropes were on after them and rattled through a set that got everyone worked up into a deliriously sweaty state. Some things don't change. There were old favourites, but they also debuted a new song, full of their trademark energy. No idea what it's called, but it sounded good. The Boys are back in town and it's been a while since Yuyintang had that many people jumping around like loons, hopefully tonight we'll have it again - 'tis the season. 

Friend or Foe and friends at YYT

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p623206965.jpgThere was a solid turn out last night at Yuyintang for a midweek gig that featured The Instigation, Friend or Foe, X is Y and The Beat Bandits.

The Beat Bandits and X is Y have been written about before on this blog, the other two less so. Unfortunately, I only caught the tail end of The Instigation, though I did catch them tearing through a Reagan Youth cover which was excellent.

I don't have an awful lot to add to what I've written about X is Y and The Beat Bandits previously, so let me just rattle through them quickly before writing a bit more about Friend or Foe, the newest act on the bill. X is Y went on third and had a new bassist, which should see them have a more settled line up now. It's math rock and it's played well, though I felt their set went on a little long last night. That's not necessarily their fault - just that someone needed to remember that it was a Wednesday and that there were four bands on. 

The Beat Bandits closed the night out and were excellent as always. They were in four person mode, with the girl on the keyboards. They're a tight outfit, play some great songs and have an energy and enthusiasm that's hard not to like. The crowd always feeds off them and it only took a couple of songs before everyone was attempting '60s-style dancing out on the floor at YYT.

However, the thing I really took away from the night was the performance of Friend or Foe. This was my first time seeing them - I think they've only had a couple of shows previously - and I was really impressed. Not that their competence was particularly surprising, their line up features Zack on the drums, Adam on guitar and Fish on bass - all strong musicians. I don't think they have a Douban or anything yet (please correct me if I'm wrong on this) so I'm going to describe their sound to you as broadly funked up rock and occasionally just straight up rawk. They reminded me at times of Cake and at other times of Soulwax songs like 'Too Many DJs' or 'Much Against Everyone's Advice'. But maybe that was just me. Regardless, they're really good and you should make sure you catch them next time they're playing live. Photo courtesy of 幽小巫
Sept 8th show.jpgI was out of town this weekend, meaning my barren gig stretch was extended. Shame, because it sounds like Chaos Mind tore shit up.

Nevermind though because tomorrow night at YYT sees a chance for redemption. If, like me, you've been in a bit of a non-gig-going rut recently, it's time to get over the summertime blues and head to this show. 

On the bill are The Beat Bandits, The Instigation, Friend or Foe and X is Y. The Beat Bandits are really good and The Instigation is another of Toshi's bands so (though I haven't seen them yet) I'm sure they're quality. X is Y I've written about before on this blog and I'm pretty sure I've emphasised before that they're well worth seeing. Friend or Foe are a new band, but one I'm keen to see as they've got that nice Zack Smith boy in their line up. 

So basically, it's a night worth getting into work late on Thursday for.  

A bit of bother at YYT

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yyt.jpgSo while posting has been a bit light here the last few days (it's been my time of the month), someone else has been blogging like a mad man. Check it out.

Meanwhile, the ever-reliable SmartShanghai has posted on the recent troubles of Yuyintang, Shanghai's most important live venue. I know it's kind of annoying when blogs just link to other people's articles without adding anything to it, but it's important and Morgan's pretty much nailed it, so here's the link.

Though I'm gutted there's no show there tonight (now that I finally have time to get to a gig), the real worry is next month - let's hope it won't interfere with all the goodness coming our way in September.

Pairs and Duck Fight Goose support Handsome Furs

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e272503.jpgI don't know if you went to see Handsome Furs last year when they played in town, but if you did you probably went this year as well - they make you want to see them again in that kind of way. Well anyway, if you went last year you'll remember it was ridiculously hot and sweaty in Yuyintang that night. Last night was no different. No shocks there really, YYT gets sweaty in mid-February with the right number of people in there, August wasn't going to be any other way.

Anyway, the place was packed by the time Pairs kicked things off. Not sure if you've heard of Pairs or not, you might have seen the odd oblique reference to them here and there, but they're alright. Last night they played as Trios, with Xiao Zhong's sister's boyfriend smashing the shit out of some stuff on stage while they played. They're nothing if not inclusive. Good for them, I'm all about widening participation. They were great.

Duck Fight Goose were on after that, another band you've probably not read about on this blog before, but never mind. They were ridiculously good as ever, though in a completely different style to Pairs obviously. Han Han had some effect thing going on his vocals, which is a new development and something I'm no so sure about, but they're still far and away one of the best bands around and seeing them is always a great experience.

So two great bands paved the way for Handsome Furs. Dan acknowledged as much when, in addition to saying YYT was one of his favourite places to play in the world, said that we 'should be proud of having two such great bands in Shanghai.' He's not wrong. So if that was your first time seeing those bands (unlikely if you're reading this blog admittedly), get out and see them more often. You can start tonight with Pairs at Not Me.
p518927125.jpgUPDATE This guy has gone and done a proper write up of the event.

As I was partly involved in organising this event, I'm not going to do a proper review type thing. I should point out though that I wasn't all that involved really - this was mostly Andy's doing and he deserves the credit for making this all happen, even if he gave me the finger when I said as much on stage last night.

So yeah, a big thank you to all of you who came out for the show and decided on some brilliant photographs and bands over Panic at the Disco! for 350 kuai. Thanks to Yuyintang and especially Supes for letting us host the whole thing at their place, thanks to Boojii and Duck Fight Goose and Brad for being amazing as always and thanks to Ren Hang for coming here and sharing his work with everyone and for being a good house guest (you too, Fish, I love this photo). Also a big thank you to Sacco for carting all his gear over and DJing for us - I have a horrible feeling I forgot to mention him when I was on stage last night, it's not personal, I'm just not a good public speaker (that and the beers didn't help).

This is Ren Hang's first time in Shanghai, but something tells me he'll be back before long - let's hope so.

That's it really. The turn out was fantastic, the photos and bands more than worthy of so many people and I had a great time. Hopefully you did too. Thanks.

0093's 3 year anniversary at YYT

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e262057.jpgYou know 0093, now no longer at 0093, but still supporting the scene and doing what they were doing before - it's been written about plenty on here and on Andy's blog. Last night and Thursday night was their third anniversary and they celebrated with two back to back shows at Yuyintang with a shitload of bands playing across the two nights. I didn't make it to the Thursday show, but I did go last night. The turn out was good and so was the atmosphere.

The problem with having so many bands play is that you have to rattle through them pretty quickly. Some of the earlier bands did four or five songs, but some of the later ones, wary of the time, could only do three. That was a shame, because to my mind the later bands were the better ones.

To be honest, I spent the first half of the night by the bar or out in the garden talking to people and catching up and just generally getting some semblance of a life back after a crazy few weeks at work. It was good. The bands I half heard from that position were Five Pence (Guns 'n' Roses covers and stuff) and Five Pointed Star (energetic shouty stuff).

I forget the order, but the next three bands were New Vector, Momo and Little Nature. I think. New Vector were good, but only played three songs. As mentioned before, I'm a philistine and therefore three songs is not a bad cut off for most post rock bands in my book. I enjoyed their set. Momo were scuppered a bit by missing Ding Jia, their singer. Little Nature opened with a song that had us wondering if it was actually Little Nature - they sounded energetic and good. But then we realised it actually was Little Nature and I couldn't really be arsed to go inside.

Eventually I did go in and watch a band properly though: Runaway Snail. Fanqie has changed his look once again so I barely recognised him when I bumped into him earlier in the night, but once up on stage he was his normal self and the band gave a strong performance. I just wish they'd play more songs and play more often, they're really good. Then Joker finished things off and were brilliant as well. They're another band that I'm a big fan of and never disappoint live. Can't wait to here their new album, hopefully out next month.

Right, see you at YYT tonight then.

Oh, still no photos by the way - still can't afford a camera, so you'll have to make do with flyers and stuff until I can.

You've not forgotten about this have you?

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e262052.jpgSeriously, that'd be worse than forgetting about Dre. A reminder:

Saturday 31st July, Yuyintang, 9pm. Mark that down. Carve it into the wall above your bed. Tattoo it on to your hand if you have to. This is an event you don't want to miss. Why? Because this is the line-up:

Ren Hang + Boojii + Duck Fight Goose

Ren Hang is going to display some of his incredible photography at Yuyintang and two of Shanghai's best bands, both proponents of 'strange rock' are going to provide the music. It's a real taste of China's avant garde and the whole night will only set you back 40RMB. As if that wasn't enough, DJ Sacco will be there spinning some quality rock tunes as well.

This blog has been accused of hyping certain events in the past, and of course this is something we're organising so we're biased, but seriously, this is definitely something you don't want to miss. There's no hype necessary either - from merely posting the event on Douban, we already have well over 1,000 people interested. Of course, not all of those will turn up, but compare that to your average gig listing on Douban and you'll see the numbers are pretty impressive. It should translate into a healthy crowd, so get there early.

A little background: Ren Hang is an amazing photographer. There's no point in me trying to describe what he does when I can just point you in the direction of his work. Go here and take your time going through all those albums, there's some great stuff in there. Also, remember that Pet Conspiracy naturist shoot? That was for Moon Magazine. Ren Hang is Editor in Chief there.

Boojii are one of Shanghai's leading lights when it comes to 'strange rock'. Their album Reserved is an outstanding record and they are a fantastic live act. Read more about Boojii here.

Duck Fight Goose need little introduction to regular readers of the blog. They are quite simply an immense talent. Read more about Duck Fight Goose here.
p547458618.jpgActually that title is a bit misleading - I missed Pairs' set. Fuckrats. I missed them on Friday as well, so was pissed off that I managed to miss them again. I don't know, work shit - you know how it is. I got there about quarter to ten or something and they'd been on already. Nightmare. Anyway, I'm going to stick my neck out and say that they were fucking good simply because they're never any other way.

Despite my tardiness, I did manage to get my hands on one of those rather fashionable Pairs t-shirts that you've probably seen on the catwalks and in all the fashion mags. I got my hands on it by snatching it out of Steve's hands, sorry Steve, but he's getting one saying 'Jake Newby is a t-shirt stealing cunt' or something so it all worked out fairly well let's be honest.

I digress. This was the second time I'd seen Birdstriking since they were last in town and them snuggling up to Maybe Mars seems to be working out well for them - there development has been marked in those two performances. Sure, they sound just like Carsick Cars, but they're starting to add their own personality in a little bit now and last night they were on good form.

Which left Taiwan's Boyz and Girl to close things out, which they did with a strong set. Their music was described by Pete from WeLiveinBeijing as 'fuzzed-out, wandering melodies that coalesce into some amazing grooves.' And who am I to argue with that?

By the way, a little footnote here: my camera is broken so until I can scrape together enough money for a new one (which will be a while probably) I'm just going to be pulling photos off the interwebs, so I take no responsibility for the quality being better than usual. If anyone would like to give me a camera for free, please go ahead - I am not above accepting charity.

I want that one: Pairs t-shirts

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DSC_0396.jpgIf you want one as well, then send Pairs an e-mail (their address is here), just don't take the one I want or there'll be trouble. More importantly though, come and watch them at Yuyintang tonight. They're playing with Beijing's Birdstriking and Taipei's Boyz and Girl and they're so ridiculously good it's not even funny. Do it.

Kungfuology.com presents: Eat Naked Lunch

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e262052.jpgSaturday 31st July, Yuyintang, 9pm. Mark that down. Carve it into the wall above your bed. Tattoo it on to your hand if you have to. This is an event you don't want to miss. Why? Because this is the line-up:

Ren Hang + Boojii + Duck Fight Goose

Ren Hang is going to display some of his incredible photography at Yuyintang and two of Shanghai's best bands, both proponents of 'strange rock' are going to provide the music. It's a real taste of China's avant garde and the whole night will only set you back 40RMB. As if that wasn't enough, DJ Sacco will be there spinning some quality rock tunes as well.

This blog has been accused of hyping certain events in the past, and of course this is something we're organising so we're biased, but seriously, this is definitely something you don't want to miss. There's no hype necessary either - from merely posting the event on Douban, we already have well over 1,000 people interested. Of course, not all of those will turn up, but compare that to your average gig listing on Douban and you'll see the numbers are pretty impressive. It should translate into a healthy crowd, so get there early.

A little background: Ren Hang is an amazing photographer. There's no point in me trying to describe what he does when I can just point you in the direction of his work. Go here and take your time going through all those albums, there's some great stuff in there. Also, remember that Pet Conspiracy naturist shoot? That was for Moon Magazine. Ren Hang is Editor in Chief there.

Boojii are one of Shanghai's leading lights when it comes to 'strange rock'. Their album Reserved is an outstanding record and they are a fantastic live act. Read more about Boojii here.

Duck Fight Goose need little introduction to regular readers of the blog. They are quite simply an immense talent. Read more about Duck Fight Goose here.

It's a big weekend of live music

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p458963873.jpgUPDATE: Check out the comments where a couple of people in the know have made up for my ill-informed support act ramblings.

So things are supposed to quieten down here in the summer. Someone forgot to tell the local promoters evidently, as there's a whole bunch of 'shit, I'm really not sure which show to go to' moments coming up this weekend. Here's how it's going down:

THURSDAY

Not Me, FREE! It might not be live exactly, but Sacco's Indie Heart Attack is off. The. Hook. Go, go, go.

FRIDAY

MAO Livehouse, 40RMB. Duck Fight Goose and Boojii bring their Adventure of Strange Rock tour back home with a show at MAO. The Fever Machine are in support so make sure you get there promptly (9pm). As if that wasn't enough, the bill is completed by 8 Eye Spy, the Nanjing experimental rock act whose album Yang Haisong says is the record he's most proud of (he produced it).

Zhijiang Dream Factory, 150RMB. Caribou, the Canadian guy and his band, not the Pixies song, hit town thanks to the good people at Splitworks. Not sure who's in support, but it's a big show all the same.

SATURDAY

MAO Livehouse, 80RMB. By all accounts excellent Beijing bluegrass act The Redbucks come down our way to promote their new album.

Not Me, 25RMB. The latest Mini-E showcase sees Sun Ye take prominence with new material and remixes of his stuff by ZiSTER and MHP, the other two acts to play on the night.

Yuyintang, 40RMB. More Canadian band action as Jets Overhead land at Yuyintang. If you were at Midi in Zhenjiang last year, you probably remember them. The brilliant Pairs are in support, which makes for a nice match up at 40 kuai.

696 Livehouse, 50RMB. 696 haven't revealed the name of the local band that they've booked to play tonight. Wonder why? Maybe they're a bit controversial or something? Who knows? They're promising a (ahem) top (ahem) act though so might be worth heading up to Hongkou for a look...

That lot should keep you busy anyway.

Last minute event: Dragon Boat rock

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e253415.jpgThey're a bit late putting this out there, but Yuyintang are throwing a Dragon Boat party tonight with five bands playing. Here's how the line-up looks:

9:30-10:00 X is Y 
10:10-10:50 Thruoutin 
11:00-11:15 Anita Shwanz and the Dudettes 
11:20- 12:00 Break for Borneo 
12:00-late Rainbow Danger Club

X is Y I wrote about back here. Thruoutin is from Beijing apparently, though his MySpace says Ningbo. Whatever, listen in here. There's some more on Anita here. You can listen to Break for Borneo's EP right here.Rainbow Danger Club meanwhile are here

It's 30 kuai to get in and all the event details are here. So now you know - those of you with holiday can pop along.

Even more video: The Beat Bandits

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This is my third and final video from Saturday's Good Jive 3 night at Yuyintang. It's like you don't even have to go to these gigs really, you can just watch the videos here. Anyway, this is The Beat Bandits doing a cover of The Small Faces' 'Whatcha Gonna Do About It' and if you like what you hear you can catch them this weekend at LOgO with The Dead Vikings. I love The Small Faces and The Beat Bandits do this well, check it out.

More video: more Ho-Tom

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Today is Ho-Tom the Conqueror day at Kungfuology.com. All Ho-Tom, all day long. Seriously though, I just managed to upload this video and it's a bit better quality than the last one. Watch it, then go see him live down at Anar tonight. It's a holiday tomorrow anyway (well, not for me actually, but probably for you), so why not?

Video: Ho-Tom the Conqueror

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Here's a video of Ho-Tom the Conqueror doing The Love Song of Daniel Mao. I think that's what it's called (I got it wrong last time). Daniel Mao is in the title somewhere anyway. My camera's a bit fucked so it's all blurry, but the sound isn't totally shit so you get the idea. Give it a click, listen to Ho-Tom doing his thing and then decide that you want to go see him play at Anar tonight. He's there every Monday and should be on around 10.30pm.

Good Jive 3, Yuyintang

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P6120524.jpgThis was kind of an odd one. The turn out wasn't great - again it was a school night for a lot of people, plus I guess the World Cup didn't help, but let's not talk about that or Robert Green, the muppet. It was a solid line up of bands regardless.

The Beat Bandits got us started and were great. I really like this band. They had their (newish) keyboardist playing last night who I always think makes a difference. I like their three-piece show as well and it seems to suit LOgO really well, but when they have the girl on the keys it just makes their surf/mod-rock that bit more summery and adds to the sound. This was their second gig at YYT in as many nights (they supported The King Khan and BBQ Show the day before) and, though as I say they suit LOgO for some reason, I hope this is the start of them playing at YYT more where you can actually hear them properly. I like 'em. They played a Small Faces cover - what's not to like?

Next up was Ho-Tom the Conqueror. As ever, I feel I should point out that Tom is a good friend of mine. Not like the other bands, I hate all of those people on a personal level. Just kidding. Friend or no, Tom was brilliant last night. His line-up was switched up a little and he had backing from Tom and Jerry, two Mongolian dudes who are in Lan Cao. One was on the mandolin, one was on the banjo, George was on harmonica and Ho-Tom was on fire. People lapped it up and rightly so, he was excellent. I've got a couple of videos of him to prove it. I'll get around to uploading them tomorrow probably.

X is Y were next. There was only two of them, LON wasn't around. Not really sure why, but they were good all the same. They play a kind of math rock and you can download an entire album of it right here. They're also at Yuyintang next Friday supporting The Dead Vikings with Pairs (The Beat Bandits support the Japanese crazies the following night at, oh, at LOgO). Go see them.

Sun Ye cancelled by the way. Nuts. No matter, because Stegosaurus? went on next and closed the night out with a good set. Those who were there enjoyed it naturally, it just felt a little empty. Maybe the two big gigs the night before had cleaned people out - as I say, a lot of people had to work today. Shame, because it was a good night until y'know Rob Green went and did that.

Time for a totally random link. Go and read this interview with MIA, just because she's brilliant. I love her music and her scattergun approach to everything.

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.

Mini E at Yuyintang

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mini-e.jpgLast night saw another of the Mini E showcases at Yuyintang. Mini E is the electronic spin off of the Miniless label. They were behind Sun Ye's excellent Trash Can album and feature a number of local electronic artists on their books. These days, they're mostly headed up by Zister of Confirm-X who has started organising regular showcases for the acts. There was one about a month ago on a Thursday night and there'll be one at Not Me in early July as well fronted by Sun Ye.

I went to the one a month ago or so and really enjoyed it. Here's what I wrote back then. Last night's event was a similar story really - the music was great, but the turn out was disappointing. Numbers were similar to the last one, but that was on a Thursday and on a Friday night you'd expect more. It did pick up a bit toward the end with the dancefloor filling up a little, but it still wasn't as busy as it should have been. Maybe the venue is part of the problem, it's debatable how suitable YYT is for these kind of shows. Not Me seems like a more suitable venue so maybe it'll go down better there.

Hopefully that one will be more of a success. The Mini E collective are doing some great things and producing some really good music - they just need more people to take notice. They also need the local crowd to appreciate local artists instead of just going to these megaclubs with DJ Whoever who is number whatever on such and such DJ list. That stuff is pish. Mini E aren't.

Here's a few links to some of the artists on Mini-E so you can listen yourself:

Sun Ye
Confirm-X
CDGE

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.

Thank you

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han han.jpgThanks to everyone who came out last night to help celebrate two years of Kungfuology. It was great to see you all there.

I'm not going to review the shows or anything, but I do want to say a special thank you to Ho-Tom the Conqueror and to Han Han for playing. They both did it for nothing and were both outstanding.

Hopefully Ho-Tom will get a Douban page sorted out soon so I can start linking to his stuff. I know he's been recording some of his songs lately, so if you've not seen him yet, hopefully you can get to hear his stuff soon. Of course, if you haven't seen him yet, you really ought to. He's at Anar every Monday night from around 11pm, so you've no excuse for not checking him out really.

Han Han's improvised solo show was incredible. Andy and I were both really pleased and touched that he played, especially as he sang songs about us. I don't think anyone has ever sung a song about me on stage before. It was hilarious as well. He'll be back with Duck Fight Goose and Boojii at MAO Livehouse in early July, as he sang last night.

So yeah, thanks again to those two, to Sophia and everyone at Yuyintang for hosting us and finally to everyone who came along and supported us. It was genuinely appreciated.

Thanks.

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

Yu Shu benefit gig, Yuyintang

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P5090102.jpgSunday night saw a gig of remembrance for those lost in the Yushu earthquake in Qinghai earlier this year. The show was headlined by Gua, a band from the province who were personally involved in helping victims in the area. 

Unfortunately, I was pretty exhausted by the time I got to this gig and thus I only stuck around for a couple of songs from Gua's set. That's no reflection on the band though. They were tight and had a good sound, I just needed to get some sleep. I know, I'm getting old.

So yeah I only saw the support acts. Luckily for me, the support acts included FAF and The Mushrooms. Actually on reflection, having them as support acts maybe contributed to me having no energy by the time Gua came on.

Nuka Cola, a fairly new band, opened the night. They play the sort of rap metal that The Mushrooms used to play before they developed their own sound more and they're clearly inspired by the Mogu Tuan boys. It's early days for them, but they had plenty of energy and got the crowd going a bit.

Most people were waiting for the double whammy of FAF and The Mushrooms though. Fair enough, so was I. FAF came on and the crowd started to move for the first time. They played a fairly long set given that they were the second support band, but no one minded. They've added a new song to their repertoire as well, one that sees Xiao Ding get out a semi-acoustic and play something a bit different to their usual sound. It works though. Yes, I know they spend a lot of time sweeping their emo hair out of their eyes; yes, I know the keyboardist looks like Elmo on crack when he does his screamy bits; and yes, I know there are a few cheesy choreographed stage moves at times; but fuck it, I really like this band.

Speaking of bands I like, The Mushrooms were up next. I'm not sure I even really need to go in to how fucking good The Mushrooms were do I? Really? Alright, just a little bit. They were brilliant. It'd been a couple of months since their last show here, during which time they'd played up in Beijing and impressed by all accounts. Not surprising really. Pu Pu was on fire as usual and looked like he might explode at times. The band were tight and professional and everyone lapped it up. There were screams every time Pu Pu announced the name of a song (not from me I mean, from the Mogu Groupies at the front) and plenty of people knew all the words. 

Good news then, that The Mushrooms are going to release an EP soon...

Top Floor Circus welcome again in Shanghai?

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tfc big-thumb-350x396.jpgUPDATE: Hmm, seems like this won't be happening after all. Venues are understandably still a bit worried about attracting unwanted attention.

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This is one of those posts where I'm going to have to keep specific details at a minimum I'm afraid. No one seems too sure how confirmed/public this is at the moment and so I don't want to get anyone into trouble if it's not really supposed to be happening, but - whether they're allowed or not - it seems that Top Floor Circus will be playing a show in Shanghai in the next few days. If you're not sure why this is a big deal, then you can follow the story of their anti-Expo anthem and their subsequent performance ban by clicking on the links in this post.

The gig that I've heard they will play at still doesn't list them as amongst the acts in its online listing, hence my reluctance to say which show it is, but if I can get permission from those involved I'll post the details here. In the meantime, choose your gigs wisely this weekend.

It's not the most obvious choice either. That would be Saturday's Xiao He show up at 696 Livehouse, but Zhi Wang (Lu Chen's other band) will be in support for that, not Ding Ma. Zhi Wang are also due to release a full length album in the next month or so, so keep an eye out for that and for them gigging more regularly in the next few weeks. Xiao He, if you haven't seen him before, is an amazing live act incidentally and well worth checking out. He was superb at Strawberry at the weekend and you can read about the last time he came to town, supported by Zhi Wang as well, here.

I'm not going to do a proper weekend preview post this week, but other than Xiao He and Zhi Wang, there are a couple of shows I wanted to highlight: Reptile & Retard at Yuyintang tonight, just because they're brilliant, and the Qinghai benefit show at YYT on Sunday. That one has a band from Qinghai playing with some top special guests from Shanghai including FAF and The Mushrooms.

Quote of the day: Pupu from The Mushrooms

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3759691341_a630bda6df.jpg"上海人可以不摇滚! 但摇滚人不能没有育音堂!"

"Shanghai people can not rock, but rock people can't not have Yuyintang"

Yuyintang open again

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

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

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

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

Now what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yuyintang shut down

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

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

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

Qinghai mourning cancels YYT show

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e219538.jpgI mentioned last week that my good friend and excellent singer/guitarist/spoken-word maestro Ho-Tom the Conqueror was going to be performing at Yuyintang this Wednesday and that you should all go see him. 

Well, no sooner had he sent a reminder text this morning about the gig, then I got another message saying the show had been cancelled. No alleged Expo funny business this time around - the government have decided that Wednesday should be an official day of mourning for those lost in the Qinghai earthquake, which registered 6.9 on the Richter scale and devastated communities in the largely Tibetan region when it struck last week.

For details of how to donate to relief efforts in Qinghai, click here.

In the meantime, the acts who were due to perform are hopefully going to reschedule. I'll keep you posted.

Stegosaurus? CD release at Yuyintang

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steg.JPG"Stegosaurus in da house / Stegosaurus burn it down / Check the mic and pass it round / Y'all dinosaur's is goin' down"

Exactly. I love that song. Sorry Dan. It opens Stegosaurus?'s new CD and they opened their set with it last night. It rocks. The CD's really good too. I'm not sure how you can get it now if you weren't at the gig last night, but I assume it'll be available at their other gigs or something. Anyway, you should get your hands on it. Last night it got a good release party too, with a good turn out and a load of top performances, including from the Stegosaurus? boys themselves of course. Congratulations to them.

There were roughly 642 bands on the bill last night, so when I wandered in around 9ish a whole load of people had already been on. I got there as Baby #13 were finishing off and didn't quite make it into the main room to see them. Rainbow Danger Club were up next. Experimental rock is I guess how you classify them, though they probably rail against things like classifications of music. They pull out all the artsy rock things, last night they played guitars with sticks and did some vocals through a megaphone (and that was just the first song), but, having seen them a few times now, I quite like them. Oddly, there was a slower conventional rock song somewhere in the middle of their set, but overall it was pretty interesting stuff and I think they've got a good sound.

Dragon Pizza came on after that and gave a typical Dragon Pizza performance, i.e. they were great. It wasn't exactly their usual crowd, but they're one of those bands who don't really know how to give a lacklustre performance - they just go all out every time. Yuki's got a job as Stage Manager or Performance Manager or something at the Japanese pavilion at Expo, so this was their last show for a while - at least until after Expo - which is a shame, because I always enjoy watching them play.

Boys Climbing Ropes were on next. Meh. Then Stegosaurus closed the night out with stage fights, costumes and big balloons filled with glitter. Good stuff.

Mini-E at Yuyintang

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P4150837.jpgI didn't get to see as much of the Mini-E showcase at YYT last night as I would have liked. I had good reasons though. First off, I got there late because I went to see Ho-Tom The Conqueror playing at Fanfare earlier on in the evening. Tom's a good friend of mine, but luckily he doesn't suck - in fact, he's really good - so I can recommend his shows with a clear conscience. Seriously, he has some great songs and last night he punctuated them with some spoken word stuff. It was really good. He was followed by 周勇 who also seemed like a really strong performer. Unfortunately, I only caught one of his songs as I wanted to head to YYT. Fortunately, you can catch them both in action at next week's New Faces Underground show at Yuyintang on Wednesday. Here's the details.

I also have to admit to bailing a little earlier than I would have normally, because I wanted to go catch a bit of Grandmaster Flash at MAO. Yeah, I know that seems a bit hypocritical given that most of what follows is an appeal for more Mini-E events, but there you have it. 

So Mini-E then. It was a modest turn out, a few regulars including the Stegosaurus? boys (did we mention they've got a CD out this weekend?) and their collaborator Xiao Bai (listen here) with a few friends of the acts, but this was a Thursday night after all. The music was great though. I got in part way through Sun Ye's set and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. You've probably realised this by now, but I'm a big fan of Sun Ye's stuff. Check out more on him here


Reflector at Yuyintang

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4487275618_15326a9a48.jpgWhew. It's been a while since we had one of those at Yuyintang. Totally packed out right from the start with diehard local fans all singing the words. Not that that was a surprise - the exact same thing happened last time Reflector were in town.

It's not hard to see why they're so popular. They play catchy punk, are a super tight band and are really nice guys to boot. They've been around for 14 years now (with only one change in line-up a few years back) and it shows. Their set tonight was really strong and their professionalism showed throughout. They were thoroughly entertaining and the crowd lapped it up.

Earlier, Dragon Pizza had kicked things off (at 9pm on the dot pretty much, due to the place being rammed) with a short but punchy set. It's been a while since I've seen them play, but I always enjoy seeing them - they're also great performers and always give a good show. Still, tonight was all about Reflector and the fans who turned up in droves were rewarded with a top show.

Taking care of business

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deadelvis.jpgNothing substantial enough here for a full post, but a few things that are worth clicking on, haphazardly bundled together into the following few paragraphs. But before we get to that, go read this if you haven't done so already. Go on

Right then, FAF lead singer Xiao Ding Ding also does his own solo stuff on the side. He's put up a new track of late, so go check it out right here.

Speaking of new tracks, Pinkberry have stuck one up as well. Sort of, it's like a collaboration between Xiao You and rapper Tim Wu. Anyway, aparently the music is all recorded for the forthcoming Pinkberry EP now and they just need to lay down the vocals. Look out for that in the next month or so.

And speaking of forthcoming CDs, friends of the blog Stegosaurus? have set a date for their CD release. Mark your calendars for Saturday 17 and put 'Go to Yuyintang tonight' in big letters. As if that wasn't a big enough draw for you anyway, the boys have roped in a few friends who you might recognise: Dragon Pizza, Rainbow Danger Club and some band called Boys Climbing Ropes who I've never heard of.

A little nearer on the horizon, this weekend is the last of JUE. If you missed the last one... well holy shit Dead Elvis was a-fucking-mazing. Anyway, before it all ends you can catch Matthew Niederhauser at Dada's photography night on Wednesday night at 8pm. Whet your appetite with these photos right here and while you're on that esteemed site, feast your eyes and ears with MP3 Monday - 'best one ever'. Yes indeed. By the way, Dada are showing Spinal Tap tonight for the SubCinema night. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Finally, competing for your attentions with the JUEness this weekend is a metal gig at Harley's. Sporadic they may be down there, but check out the line-up for this one: Chaos Mind, Six Shot, Fearless and La La Ying. See you there.

New Hedgehog support The Thermals, YYT

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P3180343.jpgSo The Thermals are pretty damn good. That's established, it's a given. Hedgehog are one of the Four Great Inventions to come out of China - them, Subs, gunpowder and something else. Seriously, look it up. Put them together and you've got a recipe for mayhem. Unless, of course, you put them on on a Thursday night and charge 100 kuai on the door. Then you've got a recipe for an occasional bit of jumping and moshing.

Apparently the B-Side Lovers and Thermals show in Beijing was half empty on Wednesday night and it wasn't much better here in Shanghai. It was an alright crowd, but not what either band deserved. What was that about Modern Sky? Wednesday night in Beijing, Thursday in Shanghai? At those prices?

Anyway, The Thermals were... fuckin' a, but this blog isn't about bands like them - there's plenty of better places to read about how good they are. We're here for the Chinese stuff, so how were Hedgehog with their new lineup? The truth is, if you shut your eyes, you wouldn't have known there was anything different. Atom was still incredible on the drums, Zo was on fire on the guitar and the new bassist held his own with them. Admittedly, they played essentially a greatest hits set and thus it was hard to tell where they'll go from here, but they nevertheless excelled with the classics.

The sound was good and the band was tight. Although I always felt the bassist was a bit of an unsung hero in the band, the attention has always naturally fallen on Zo (as the frontman) and Atom (due to her undeniable prowess on the drums), but it seems it will even more so now. Still, I'm looking forward to the new material and this was a strong showing, albeit on pretty safe ground. For those who knew the songs, it was a great set. For those who didn't, hopefully they won some new fans - bring on the new album.

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.


Candy Shop and FAF for PeTA

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4388936951_e10aa6a47c.jpgSo we mentioned it a couple of times on the blog previously, but last night the show finally came around - Candy Shop and FAF playing a free gig to help promote 81fur.com.

That's 81fur.com

I say finally, it actually all came together remarkably quickly. I guess that's what happens when you have a good cause and are part of a strong music community. Oh, and when it's something that Andy has put his mind to. He probably won't like me giving him so much attention, but he deserves a pat on the back next time you see him. Seriously, it's been a few short weeks since he had the idea and last night it came to fruition. He called in favours from people on the scene and put on a fantastic show that really helped promote an important issue. Sure he's a mate and this is his site, but whatever - he deserves a lot of praise.

Because the night really was a big success. It was free admittedly, but it was also a wet Thursday night and yet YYT pulled in a really good crowd. People were reading the flyers and signing up for the mailing lists etc and it's hopefully put these issues into the minds of young people here who hadn't considered such things before.

Musically, it was a cracking night too. Candy Shop were great, they're always good fun, and gave a typically energetic performance. Brad was on the sound so it was all coming across nice and clearly and people were really into it from the off. And FAF... fucking a. Those boys are so good. They just need more songs now but, considering they're still a relatively fresh band, they're really impressive. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.

Thanks and congratulations to Andy and Xiao K, the bands, Tim Franco who took the photos, Splitworks who stumped up for the studio, Brad for the quality sound, all the volunteers who helped out on the door and basically anyone who was involved and came out to support it.

The Mushrooms and others, Yuyintang

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4352588695_49e112aa03.jpgIf this was The Mushrooms' last show in Shanghai before heading up to Beijing as part of Splitworks' JUE Festival, then they certainly left on a high note. But then, they don't really know any other way. If you're reading this up in the capital, then go and see this band when they come to your neck of the woods. They might not be as hyped or as artsy as the bands you've got up there, but they sure know how to put on a live show. Even though the regular Mushrooms mosh-set had been decimated by Chinese New Year and even though they were playing with a new guitarist, The Mushrooms didn't miss a beat and tore Yuyintang up just as they always do.

Yuyintang had capped the entrance at 400 (or at least said they would), clearly fearing a repeat of the crush at their five year anniversary, but the New Year meant that the fears were misplaced. It was nicely busy, but not so packed you couldn't move. Momo kicked things off and, given that The Mushrooms and Little Nature were both on the bill as well, it felt a little like an old Jiao Ban night for a while. Live, and without the Soma guys in sight, Momo's sound was stripped of all the computerised voices and over-production and was much more guitar-driven. Thank fuck. They weren't exactly the Momo of old (or rather, Happy Strings), but they were much better than the Soma-fied version you get on their Douban.

Next up came Double Control Where, which seemed like a mistake to be honest. They certainly should have been above Little Nature on the bill, but never mind. They had their female keyboardist with them, who added some nice backing vocals and an extra layer to their sound (I'm sure the last couple of times I've seen them she hasn't been there, but I might just be remembering that wrong). They played a solid set, but things didn't really kick off like they could have done. Everyone seemed to be waiting for The Mushrooms.

We still had to make it through Little Nature before we could get to them though. Another band hit by the Soma curse, they seemed a little lacklustre - although in fairness the new sound guy at YYT wasn't helping matters by having the guitar turned right down. By the time they got the sound right, they only had a couple of songs left, but they still didn't really do it for me even then. Luckily, The Mushrooms came on to finish things up and, as always, they didn't disappoint.

Happy New Year! 虎年吉祥!

RESO 11, Yuyintang

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reso11.JPGThere's nothing quite like a bit of experimental music on a Sunday evening. Well, for some people. RESO, the experimental night set up by Muscle Snog's Mai Mai, is rarely what you would call well attended, but it always makes for an interesting evening. 

And so it was on Sunday for the eleventh installment in the irregular series - they're usually once a month, but Chinese New Year has seen Yuyintang scrabbling for gigs a little bit and this was a last minute addition just a few weeks after the last one. The crowd consisted of the performers, a bored looking sound guy, a few people who looked like they'd wandered in by accident and a handful of people who were actually there to watch. Stood at the back of the room, I saw eople with their fingers in their ears on more than one occasion. It's not for everyone.

Unfortunately, those who were there to watch weren't exactly treated with much of a visual spectacle either. Although RESO nights are often as interesting to look at as they are to listen to, this was a "laptop special". Sonically interesting maybe, but visually stimulating it wasn't. 

Da Xiao, Mai Mai, Xu Cheng (him out of Torturing Nurse) and Olaf Hochherz did some interesting things with their mouse (mice?) and keyboards, both as soloists and when they paired up later on in the night (Mai Mai performing with Hochherz and Xu with Da Xiao), but it was crying out for a VJ or some sort of animation while they were playing. Oh well, maybe next time...

Good Friday

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4159715368_db2a5600f1.jpgLast Friday, Andrew Bird played at the Zhijiang Dream Factory to a full house. A full house and then some really. When I turned up, people were being turned away at the door. Although Splitworks did finally allow a few more in having assessed the situation, there were clearly many who were disappointed and didn't make it into the venue.

Meanwhile, over at Yuyintang, the Playful Warrior night of metal bands was packing them in as well. On show were some of the city's finest metal bands who have built up a solid following, particularly since the founding of the Hell United collective nearly a year ago. These people love their metal and from Andy's write-up, it sounds like a great atmosphere.

At the same time, MAO Livehouse hosted Break for Borneo, Lions of Puxi and The Violent Phlegms. Different genres again and, one suspects, different demographics in the audience, but the same result by all accounts: a decent turn out.

Now, in a city with a population about two and a half the times of London, getting big crowds at two mid-sized and one smallish venue doesn't sound like a big deal, but anyone who has been following the Shanghai music scene for anything more than a couple of years, knows that this is something worth celebrating. So yeah, this is me celebrating it. Now let's just hope the Expo doesn't fuck it all up.

That photo is from an old Mushrooms gig incidentally, just thought it illustrated the point nicely

New Little Nature and other stuff

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little nature.jpgLittle Nature (remember them?) have put up a new track on their Douban. It's an English-language version of their track Different World, which always had an English chorus anyway. Click here to listen to it (it's the bottom track) and see what you think, then get on the comments and share your thoughts on the song - it's an interesting look into the mindset of Soma that they've recorded an "international version" of the song. I think I've probably said enough in the past about Soma, so I'd be interested to see what people think. The band, shooting a music video that hardly anyone's seen in the photo here) are also going to be at the Yuyintang New Year's party on February 12, a night that also features Momo, Double Control Where and The Mushrooms.

If you click here, you'll find a few videos from the Playful Warrior show that Andy wrote about here. Apparently, Mr Best has one of Six Shot himself, but it hasn't gone up yet Mr Best's video isn't happening. Keep your eyes out for that one.

Mai Mai has a couple of live recordings up here from a show he did this weekend and that I only found out about after it'd taken place. Damn.

Boys Climbing Ropes and Duck Fight Goose at YYT

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bcr.jpgSo Andy was joking on the pod that I was foaming at the mouth over this gig and it's true I was really looking forward to it - even though I've seen both these bands loads of times now, I felt it would be a great show. And it was. Boys Climbing Ropes have, with production from Brad Ferguson, released an accomplished CD and last night's gig showed them at their best. Everything sounded great, the crowd kicked off right from the start and it was just an all round brilliant show.

Naturally, they played material that was mostly from the new CD, but they also slipped in a couple of old favourites. It's the kind of music that deserves to have a room full of people jumping around to it and last night it happened - they got the response they deserve. I'm running out of ways to describe just how much I like this band.

Same goes for Duck Fight Goose. I know I say this every time I see them, but they just get better and better. The bar is already pretty high from their previous performances, but each time they play, they just seem to improve on it. Again, I'm running out of superlatives for them, but they really are that good. If you've never seen this band play before, you seriously need to get along to their next show, they are outstanding. Someone needs to get those guys in the studio now.

As a postscript, I got to LOgO for Dan'sToshi's night there in time to catch some of Jehosophat Blow and the Blah Blah Blahs. I'm not going to write too much about them as I didn't see the whole show, but give that link a click, listen to their stuff and if you like it, I'm fairly sure they'll be at Yuyintang on Friday. I'll confirm that when I can...Confirmed. Details here

More Boys Climbing Ropes watch

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P1300118.JPGNot sure if I've mentioned this already or not, but Boys Climbing Ropes are releasing their new CD tonight. The CD is excellent, the band are on top form and Brad Ferguson has, as usual, done wonders. It's a top quality release and if you don't love it when you listen to it, then you need to get your hearing checked out.

I went to see Andrew Bird last night, a sell out at the Dream Factory and one of the most idiosyncratic performances you're ever likely to see, but Andy caught a gig of a slightly different nature. Read about it here.

But yeah, tonight at Yuyintang with Duck Fight Goose in support. Call it hype if you like, but I am genuinely very much looking forward to this gig. You should be too.

Good Jive at Yuyintang

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bcr.jpgLast night saw the launch of Good Jive down at YYT, a night organised by Han Han to promote more experimental and interesting music. It's fair to say it lived up to that billing.

It was a decent if not massive crowd, largely populated by foreigners, who saw Rainbow Danger Club kick things off. The band are pretty new but have been formed by the guy who used to front The Living Thin way back when. They had a good sound, bringing a trumpeter on stage for part of their performance too, and played a solid set.

Boys Climbing Ropes were up next, which I was a bit surprised by - I'd assumed they'd be higher up the bill given that I'd never heard of Attractive Rootine, but anyway. Boys Climbing Ropes gave a nice taster in preparation for their album release in a couple of weeks - they were excellent. I've been listening to the last EP a lot recently in anticipation of the new one and seriously can't wait. Don't miss the release party on the 30th, it's going to be huge.

Next, the night took a turn for the bizarre with a performance from Attractive Rootine. The act consisted of a girl on a constantly feedbacking mic (it wasn't really clear if it was intentional or not) and a guy in a suit and a gimp mask flicking switches and twiddling dials on a pretty complicated looking set up. It was dancey, but no one danced. In fact, the crowd dwindled considerably - no one really knew quite what to make of it and so many just plumped for leaving.

It was a shame because they will have missed Duck Fight Goose close the night out with yet another fine performance. Actually, the crowd did seem to swell a bit again once they took the stage, but it wasn't as busy as it could have been. Regardless, DFG were on fine form.

Video: Triple Smash with 小丁丁

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Andy reviewed the Triple Smash gig from last weekend (here in case you missed it), but here's a video that I took from the end of the gig. It was kind of a thank you and farewell show for the band - they just got back from a tour and are going to take a break for a couple of months before gigging again - so there were lots of interludes and thanks yous etc. At one point, the band started playing the opening strains of FAF's Escape, but instead rounded out their set with this cover featuring the support band's lead singer. Check it out.

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.

Back to school at Yuyintang

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yytclassroom.jpgThis is why Yuyintang is a great boost to the Shanghai music community. They're running free music production classes for anyone who's interested, the only requirements are that you love music, that you have your own equipment (i.e. a computer and the right software and/or a MIDI keyboard) and that you have the time to do it. Not bad. 

The idea is to help young bands and artists get an understanding of the basics of music production and enable them to independently produce music. Given the importance of the internet and the ease with which bands can potentially get their music out to big audiences these days, such self-production expertise is an important step in the development of a band. 

Often on this blog, I link to band's and artists' Douban pages and the quality of some of the tracks on there are amazing. Bands like Double Control Where (here) and FAF (here) are just two recent examples of how having a quality demo on your site can be a real boost in addition to your live shows. Having some basic production knowledge is clearly a massive help.

So yeah, well done Yuyintang for offering it up for free. Check out the full course details here (in Chinese) or contact YYT direct through their website

Han Han launches Good Jive

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e175425.jpgAndy and I have spoken/written before about the search for a new Shanghai sound, or at least the attempts to shake off the cheesy rock label handed the city in the late '90s and early '00s. One emerging sound is emo, as Andy has written here. Definitely check out the FAF video here too, it's a corker. If you like what you see/hear, you can download the track for free off their Douban page

But the real reason we started talking about this was because of the crop of Miniless-affiliated bands in the city. Muscle Snog produced a fantastic album late last year, Boojii had a record out too (brilliant band, but I'm still to hear the CD) and the emergence of Duck Fight Goose led us to ponder whether Shanghai might become known for more experimental rock. 

Now, Han Han has launched Good Jive, an organisation whose aim is exactly that. Good Jive is a loosely defined organisation but, according to Han Han, the idea is to promote more interesting types of music in Shanghai and act as a counter-weight to what he sees as too much pop-rock in the city. 

If you're still not up to speed on who Han Han is, he's in Lava/Ox/Sea and Duck Fight Goose and recently joined Boojii. Originally based in Hefei, but now living in Shanghai, he also helped found Miniless records and has a fantastic approach to music and the community here. This was his view on the aims of Miniless when I interviewed him back in June last year:

'Hmmmmm...maybe to spread something, but only spreading, not pushing. It's a little hard to explain that "something", I'd rather say we are trying to bring young people an option. Yes, an optional option. This is also the mission. And I hope this option could help the growth of a certain "Scene", which is totally different than the others in other countries'

Check out a great interview with him here too, from a year previous to mine. 

With such views and with Han Han at the helm, it'll be interesting to see how this goes and what impact Good Jive has on the local music scene here - whether it can help foster more experimental bands in Shanghai. 

Good Jive's first event will be at Yuyintang on January 15 and will feature Duck Fight Goose, Rainbow Danger Club, Attractive Rootine and Boys Climbing Ropes.

Bang Bang Tang and Joker support Guai Li, Yuyintang

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wenjun.jpgThere was no sign of the police last night thankfully, which meant we could get on with the music. There was no risk of a crush either, with a decent, but far from full crowd at Yuyintang. Until about half way through their set. the headliners had been underwhelming and seemed a little put out by not playing to a packed venue. Then, for the last five or six songs, lead singer Wen Jun came alive and started performing with the energy for which she is renowned. It was a rousing last twenty minutes or so, it was just a shame the rest of the set had lacked such force.

Until that point, Bang Bang Tang had been the band of the night and had actually shown Guai Li up. This was the first time the band had played Yuyintang in nearly a year following their break from gigging for a large chunk of 2009, but they made a fine return. Although their sound was still fairly indie pop as usual, there was more of an edge to their performance than when I've seen them before. Xiao Bai looked and sounded stunning and the band were really tight. In short, they rocked.

Although Bang Bang Tang ended up being quite suitable as a support act with their edgier sound, it had seemed like an odd line up on paper. So it proved when Joker came on after Bang Bang Tang. I like Joker a lot, they're a good band, but they seemed out of place as a support act for Guai Li, especially on the back of a high energy Bang Bang Tang set. They were in their four piece mode last night and played a solid set, but the crowd wasn't really feeling it.

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.

育音堂万岁!

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yyt5.jpgAs China Music Radar pointed out a few days ago, "this weekend marks significant birthday celebrations for 3 of China's most enduring musical institutions". The Shelter held their two year anniversary last night, Splitworks will (unofficially) celebrate their third birthday on Sunday when Hollerado come to town and Yuyintang are five.

While other venues have come and gone with varying degrees of importance, Yuyintang has been crucial to the development of the Shanghai music scene in the five years that it has existed. And last night was a classic Yuyintang night: packed, sweaty and great fun.

Mao had shown that it's easy to cram a venue full when you make it free entry, but Yuyintang last night was ridiculously busy. At 9 o'clock on the dot (the advertised start time), they stopped letting people in it was so busy. Half an hour later, they relented and just abandoned the door as people built up on the street outside.

Having fought my way to the lockers on the stairs, I was slapped on the back by Pupu of The Mushrooms who told me they were about to go on. The trouble is, there were so many people, the band could hardly get down the stairs. People let them through eventually so I followed them down and managed to worm my way into the middle. And then I couldn't move. I was properly squashed in. It was the sort of crowd where if one person moved even a little, everyone moved and soon the whole room was swaying from side to side. That was before The Mushrooms even came on.

Earlier Yuguo had gone on at 9pm (they had to catch a train or something, hence them being first), but they were already done by the time I got in. Plenty of people were there for The Mushrooms though and they tore into their standard performance, i.e. blistering. A few people flaked out after a while, partly due to the crush and the heat (most of them were still wearing their winter coats and sweating like crazy) and it became possible to jump a bit more, but it was still packed. And The Mushrooms are always at their best in front of that kind of crowd.

You could tell it was an important occasion for them and they didn't disappoint with their set. Pupu led the crowd in a chant of the venue's name as well and talked about the place's importance. When he thanked Yuyintang for everything they'd done, you knew it was genuine. As he put it, "no matter what else happens, there's only one Yuyintang."

Video: PZ64, Yuyintang

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Meanwhile, over at Yuyintang, here's what was going down. This is All Summer by PZ64 who were supporting Chengdu's Ashara. 

Rock for Roots & Shoots, Yuyintang

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boojii.jpgThere were six bands last night, so things got underway early. For once, I was on time though (actually, I was embarrassingly early, but never mind). The line-up was a really good one, although oddly it didn't seem to have attracted much of a gig-going crowd. The night was up against Au Revoir Simone over at Mao, which may have had an impact, and of course we talked about it on the pod, which is always the kiss of death for a night. Regardless, a lot of the people who were there seemed to be there for Roots & Shoots rather than there for the music. That's fine, it's a good cause obviously, but it doesn't necessarily make for the best gig atmosphere.

Resist Resist kicked things off. They get better every time I see them and the addition of Tim Anderson on the drums has made a real difference. If there'd been more people there, everyone would have been dancing like crazy. Or like Little Punk.

RESO 8, Yuyintang

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metituidema.jpgIt's probably fair to say that RESO nights aren't for everyone. There's an important distinction between these and the NOIShanghai nights - at RESO, it's certainly more about experimental music than straight out noise or performance art. No meat was thrown last night.

Still, they're not the most accessible of nights and I understand the small turnouts and that sometimes the people who do go are turned off by it. Personally, I always find something worth watching. This time around, I was most impressed by (没腿的马) Legless Horse/MTDM's collaboration with (徐凤霞) Xu Fengxia, who played the Sanxian and produced some incredible vocals. Before that Mai Mai had produced a lengthy collaboration with a trumpeter, but I prefer it when he's picking the guitar by himself and playing it with his teeth.

They might not be the most crowd pleasing nights around town, but if you've ever been intrigued by a RESO night, I encourage you to check out the next one on November 22nd at Yuyintang. Yan Jun is on the bill. Yan Jun is the founder of Sub Jam, is one of the best known sound artists in China and is the guy who tortured Torturing Nurse. If you don't have any of his stuff and are looking for a starting point, they sell some of his CDs in The Thing on Wujiang Lu. I recommend Vive La Vaches (a collaboration with Wu Quan) or the semi-transparent white one (with Wu Quan and FM3) that doesn't seem to have a name. Ben Houge recommends the Music for Shopping Malls record that he's on as well (I don't have that one).  

Get your clicks

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

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

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

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

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

Right, reading that lot should ensure that you don't have to do any work this afternoon. You're welcome.

Podcast Three: Boys Climbing Ropes "Dirty Bots"

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Welcome to podcast number three. First up, Andy would like to apologize. Despite coming in with a sore throat he went on to eat up the majority of the pod time with his riffing, scatting and bebopping. Sorry. Next week will be a special edition of the pod called 'An evening with Jake Newby.'

Yikes.

So Pod-pickers here's what he/we blab about this week: we take a look back at last weekend's shows and Andy brings up the story of why 24 Hours think Jake is a stalker; we give you the lowdown on the F Visa Ghetto and what Brad Ferguson is up to down in JuJu; we preview this Friday's big show at MAO by talking a lot about nudity; and Jake manages to squeeze in a quick word about Hanggai before we play you out with a track from one of our favourite bands, Boys Climbing Ropes.

And here's your links, click 'em while they're hot:

Reviews
The 24 Hours write-up, conveniently omitting the stalker story
24 Hours on the MySpace
Rustic, also on the MySpace
A write up of the night at 696
The shocking LeiRen on Douban
Second's Douban page
Resist Resist write up

F Visa Ghetto
A bit of background
The fancy maps
Brad's brother on the bamboo
Shouwang and Shen Jing's noise project White

Previews
Pet Conspiracy take their clothes off
AIDS Wolf do the same
PETA, 81Fur
Andy and Kang Mao naked (link currently missing)
Torturing Torturing Nurse
Pet Conspiracy European tour video
Casino Demon and Hedgehog in Washington
Duck Fight Goose
Boys Climbing Ropes
Hanggai

Super VC gig cancelled

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If you were planning to catch Super VC at Yuyintang tonight then you're going to be disappointed - the show has been cancelled. Beijing has been hit by heavy snowfall and flights at the Capital Airport have been severely disrupted. The band have been at the airport since 6am hoping to be able to get on a plane to Shanghai, but have just been told that all flights for the day have been cancelled.

Here's a video of the boys from Beijing playing their Brit-rock for anyone who was hoping to see them tonight.

24 Hours, Yuyintang

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24hours.jpgThere were no tricks last night for anyone who chose this over crappy Hallowe'en parties. 24 Hours were a real treat. Touring in support of their excellent new album No Party People, they produced a great set of short, sharp rock. The last time I'd seen them was up at Zhangbei where they were lost a bit on such a big stage. With all three members contributing vocals at times, it's hard for them to move around on stage and that can mean that, on a large stage particularly, they don't work all that well as a spectacle. On a smaller stage and in a more intimate venue like Yuyintang however, this isn't the case and they were on fire last night producing an excellent show.

Some time with a quality producer has really helped them hone their sound and they now have a live show to match. The two female members, on guitar and bass, are both excellent musicians, but one of the real highlights of the band for me is the drummer. He is just incredible to watch and really drives their performance with his beats.

Before 24 Hours had hit the stage, the support acts had been disappointing. The Snots overstayed their welcome. As someone (who I won't name) commented to me during their performance, "what's with support bands playing really long sets?"

Rustic too were a bit of a letdown. I hadn't heard too much of their stuff before last night but, having beaten out a large field to win the Beijing round of the GBOB, I was intrigued to see them. They did a cover of the Sex Pistols' Anarchy in the UK at one point and that gives you a fairly accurate idea of their sound. But I felt a bit like I was watching a comedy band, like Spinal Tap or something. Without the humour. Actually, I can understand why they won the GBOB - a competition where voting is based on the performance of two tracks. With their outlandish clothing and energetic performance, they certainly make a mark, but I feel like they have a bit of a limited appeal. After a few songs I felt I'd seen enough, I'm in no rush to see them again and I wouldn't really want to buy a CD.

In fact, during the sets of both support acts, I really got the feeling I was just waiting for 24 Hours to start and the longer the other bands went on the more irritating it became. Luckily, 24 Hours were well worth the wait.

Coming soon: Haibao - the book

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yyt flyers.jpgNo, not the Expo condom, the Chinese word for flyer or poster (海报 not 海宝). I've been meaning to stick up a photo gallery of the posters for gigs at Yuyintang for ages, but I'm lazy. I've got a bunch of flyers that I've kept and most of them are online too, but do you know how long that stuff takes? Upshot is, I haven't gotten around to it.

Lucky for me then that the lovely ladies from YYT - Kaine and Sophia - are putting together a book of their best flyers. It's still early doors right now - they're choosing which ones to go for - but the plan is for it to be out before the end of the year or early 2010. The posters for the gigs at Yuyintang are consistently cool and a lot are on Kaine's blog here. Check out that link for some fantastic gig/band photos too - they make me rightfully ashamed of the crappy shots taken on my little point and shoot. You might want to check out some older artwork from Kaine here as well.

If you, like me, are quite taken by the poster art for the gigs in Shanghai, take a look at this blog by Greenwall, who designs the posters for shows at Chengdu's Little Bar. Those are well worth a butchers as well.

Incidentally, speaking of things I'm looking forward to seeing (and of the other Haibao), word is that Top Floor Circus' MV for Shanghai Welcomes You could be ready in the next week or so. Let's hope so. A bit of background to that here.

Resist Resist support YACHT, Yuyintang

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lucy.jpgWhile Andy was over at 696 catching a somewhat haphazard sounding show featuring Second and Lei Ren, I was down at Yuyintang. On the bill were a Violent Femmes cover act, the Violent Phlegms (see what they did there?), The Youth and The Destroyer, Resist Resist and YACHT. I'd seen and met YACHT back in 2007 when it was still just Jona (he's now been joined by Claire L Evans) at Splitworks' excellent Yue Festival in Zhongshan Park. He was so good that I went to see him again the next night at LOgO and he genuinely seemed to remember it, pointing to me in the crowd toward the end of the gig when looking for people who had been at Yue as well. Anyway, that's my fan moment out the way.

This being an STD show, I'd assumed that things would get going a bit later than usual (in fact, by the time YACHT was done it was so late that Kid Koala had already finished up his set over at Shelter, meaning I missed him). When I did get there though, I'd missed the Violent Phlegms. So The Youth and The Destroyer were the first band I saw properly. This is the band of STD promoter Reggie, who plays bass. This is the second time I've seen them (last time they were on the bill for the sell-out Ratatat show at Dream Factory, also an STD night) and they only play sporadically. To be honest, this showed a bit. Putting your own band on the bill when you've got a big international act in town is all well and good, but they didn't really blow me away and I feel like they need more work.

Resist Resist have been gigging more regularly lately. They played the Antidote Festival down in Zhujiajiao a few months back and I thought they were pretty good. They weren't totally satisfied though, so went away for a while and honed their sound. They've now come back with a strong set of songs and are playing more shows. They were all dolled up for Hallowe'en and cracked out a solid set of synthpop that got the crowd going. Lucy has grown in confidence a lot since that first show and this means her vocals really come through now, which is great because she has a good voice. Definitely a band to look out for and they paved the way nicely for YACHT, who were excellent.

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


Low Wormwood, Yuyintang

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lowwormwood.jpgSo the story goes that when the guys over at Maybe Mars saw Lanzhou folk-rockers Low Wormwood perform live, they immediately started the Maybe Wood spin off label to sign them up and record their latest album, We Can't Help Kissing Each Other. Fair enough. If I had a record label I'd probably start a folk section just to sign them up as well. They were back in town on Sunday at Yuyintang promoting their new record and were fantastic. The title track is available for free download here so hit that link and check it out - it's a great song, especially once the drums kick in properly about half way through.

They don't have the avant-garde oddness of someone like Glamorous Pharmacy (although Xiao He did produce their debut EP), but there's plenty to like about them all the same. There was a honesty and down to earth nature of the band that was hard not to like. The band members seemed a bit awkward at being the centre of attention, as if they didn't quite understand why everyone kept cheering and clapping for them. When the lead singer first spoke to the crowd it was merely to say "this is our second or third time in Shanghai... err... I don't really have anything to say."

But there was no real need for banter with the audience - populated mostly with dedicated fans by the looks of things, with a few fellow Lanzhou people amongst them as well. The music and the songs were enough to get people captivated and the shyness of the band only made their performance more absorbing.

It was a low key night, but it worked perfectly in a venue like Yuyintang - especially for a Sunday night. Definitely check out that track linked to above and listen to some more of their stuff here. If that makes you regret having missed this gig, then make sure you don't miss Mongolian folksters Hanggai on November 7th at the Dream Factory. It's a slightly different style of music, but if you dig the folkness then you'll love them. They're supposed to be pretty damn entertaining live and even come recommended by Pitchfork and The Guardian.

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