Results tagged “abe deyo” from Andy Best

Kite, Next Year's Love live @ Logo

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Vic NYL
Picture note: due to the interesting set up at Logo members of the band were completely in the dark when I tried to get a shot. Sorry Sophia.

Show one in my mini marathon of shows this week.


Promoter Abe Deyo Mysterio has been touring Swedish synth pop act Kite all around China and tonight was the final date.

New Logo has a nice set up with a wooden dance floor in front of the stage and a balcony too. The bar is to the side and out of the way. It's got good potential for sure. 

Next Year's Love played first. They built on previous shows and played a longer set than before. They play kind of synth-pop mixed with noise punk. I heard my favorite track Jump, No One Really Cares and other songs had been tuned up greatly. Some good moments in the music tonight where certain segments flowed well. Loved the "Mei Xiaoge" (no boys) shouts but lost on most of the audience I think.

Kite followed up with their, well, plain straight pop music. I really did think I was back in my teen years' house having accidentally turned on Top of the Pops. They played a shortish set and went out with a synth ballad minor key track with echoes of Alphaville. It's a shame there weren't more people in, that band are like porn for 80s fans. And there seem to be a lot around these days.

Mao history (the venue not the dude) and other blather

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andy at mao shanghai
Jake wrote up the Maybe Mars gig at Mao this weekend and we also shared some thoughts about the scene on the podcast. As far I was concerned the subjects were done for a while.

And then Zack wrote up the show at Layabozi and got everything going again in my mind.


After noticing/being annoyed by the same stuff as us, Zack makes a good point at the end about expectations:

Finally, on to the continuing problems with MAO. I think they are suffering from an expectation problem, for which they are at least partially responsible. However, it must be said that we, as in Shanghai underground music fans, are also to blame. I for one know that I expected a lot from this venue when it was getting off the ground. We wanted it to be like Yuyintang with better sound and more capacity. Well, we got those things. We really did.
Well, it's true that you can't have expectations that are too high in an underground scene and this blog for one was happy in old YYT with a single room and a small fridge. But the fact of the matter is that the show on Saturday charged three times over the going rate for a show on the scene and Mao opened with lofty proclamations of a livehouse revolution.The sound has not been any better than Yuyintang, it is often worse. There's more but let's get on.

So, on the pod we talked about the scene punching over it's weight. Where did the demand for a larger venue come from? What's the history. The history, that includes ventures such as 4Live, came to a point when a combination of independent promoters started to get regular shows going at the Dream Factory. This included Yuyintang and Splitworks, also people like Abe Deyo, Brad Ferguson and Frank Fen. 

They had just started to creep over the break even line despite many problems and challenges when this happened: 


So, they pulled out again three months later having fucked it all up decided they weren't satisfied with the deal. And then, barely eight weeks after that, SOMA announced they were teaming up with Japanese investors to open an even bigger venue in Shanghai - Mao. This was highly questionable. The progress made at the Dream Factory had still not answered the question of whether the scene could sustain a larger venue at this point, and in this political climate. Even that progress had been set back by the actions of SOMA taking it over then pulling out again.

Soma then came out with re-assuring statements. This would be a livehouse revolution for Shanghai. They would move in their studio and focus on scene development and long term planning. They were aware of the issues and history and wanted us to know that it was not simply a vanity project or an elaborate face-saving plot. But then, after the initial oversight from the partners left them to it, everything has been run on a shoestring and skeleton staff. 

Here's the thing: everyone, me included, wants the venue to succeed, that's why we go there and buy tickets. So why are we so worked up about the shortcomings, especially in the opening stages?

Exactly because we DO want it to succeed and all the signs are pointing towards failure. We have just over three short weeks before the six month point, which is usually a make or break point one way or another. Talk to anyone who worked on 4live: the venue is not big enough to survive on one sell-out show a month. Talk to anyone who worked on 4live again: how do neither-big-nor-small venues with one big event a month get by during the middling/average attendance days - the bar. 

Would anyone like to comment on the bar at Mao?

On the opening day, an extremely nice guy from Mao Beijing told me that they floated the place on investment for two years until numbers went up. Let's hope the same support will be on display here.

Tookoo/Bigger Bang live @ Yuyintang

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da bang three
Disclaimer: It should be noted that photographers Abe Deyo and Jeremy Brenningstall used smaller cameras and stayed discreet. Fair play to them  and they don't count in the upcoming rant.

Yes, yes, yes. Two excellent bands back in Shanghai and the night was half scuppered by the paparazzi. Let's get this out of the way. Pretty much the entire front row and the front 'wings' were taken up by a-holes, male and female, with large DSL cameras and powerful flashes. And every one of them took photos continuously through every single song beginning to end including of us, the audience, with no permissions or dampening of said flashes. Literally 12 or 13 of them.

These people are sociopaths with a complete lack of sense outside the self. They have no respect for the bands or for the fans who paid to see the show and have a good time. Yuyintang is a tiny club, it was plain stupid last night. I hope the lot of you die in a freak yachting accident and the last thing you ever see is the olive dropping out of your martini. Ok, so a bit of humour dropped in there. But come on, really, tone it down or f*ck off. I go to a rock show to hear loud music and let go a bit, I don't want to be photographed there several hundred times. Where's Russell Crowe when you need him.

Bands:

Moon Tyrant (newish, so no page yet)

Moon Tyrant are new but did a good job warming up the early crowd with their classic rock stylings. It wouldn't be fair to put them under any kind of scrutiny at this point but I'll say that the audience liked them. Good job guys.

Bigger Bang clearly toned it down a bit as they were officially supporting TooKoo, and sharing half its members, so we didn't get the video intro and explosive entrance like last time. I would link the video of the last time but Vimeo is gone here, well here it is for overseas visitors. But of course, they are a high energy indie band who mix garage rock riffs and dance rock beats while each member is cool and has real rock presence. There was a good contingent of fans who knew the songs and were there to get down despite a generally mellow crowd.  

I was already feeling the strain of two action shows in a row and have to admit not being able to last all of TooKoo's set. However, they opened with their most famous song Take Me Home, my favorite from the Seven Years CD, and the sound was loud and clear. The new sound guy at Yuyintang seems to have a fear of turning the guitar up but the opening choppy, percussive chords of Take Me Home rang out clear and ToKoo brought up a typically professional set. 

Pepsi fiasco: Shanghai scene story of 2009

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pepsibattleofthebands
It is fitting that I write this on the eve of Yuyintang's 5th anniversary. YYT is the community model of live music development that was always about the bands. It is the model that worked. Not a business model. Yuyintang simply asked, how can we get bands to play gigs and write music. Why? Because of those pesky humans and their desire to make culture and express themselves. Something that has been going on before the idea of mass marketing, fame or money from art.

As YYT and 0093 successfully triggered a larger scene and a stable downtown presence, the next questions started to be brought up by many people with a different mindset. How can we make money off this or do it full time? There were many aspects to this and many differing approaches and results. But it was all up in the air and there was a sense of mixed feelings and shakey steps. Without a mainstream industry to speak of and with a deeply conservative government that routinely practices censorship, some flirted with the idea of corporate and ad driven sponsorships. 

The bands had vague notions of conflict that had never been tested in reality and the champions of this new approach were, unsurprisingly, people from within the branding and ad industries. And then one day in stepped global giant Pepsico and lit the fuse that would blow up into the scene story of the year.

First came the announcement. The story broke over at China Music Radar and then at Shanghaiist

With a RMB1m prize purse (including cash, equipment, a national concert tour and recording time in LA), and "up to 5,000 concert auditions", Pepsi have made a commitment to the "real" Chinese underground music scene by announcing a new reality TV program to air over 7 months on the Zhejiang satellite network.
This was April 3rd 2009. I commented at Shanghaiist on the post and chose not to blog it directly.Why, I thought, would local rock and underground bands be interested in a talent show put on by a company that markets junk food to kids. CMR's post date of April 1st seemed more relevant to me.

pepsipinkberry
Behind the scenes though, the regular bands of the scene, the better bands and the likes of Yuyintang had decided to give it a go and see. Soon they would all go to the judged 'audition' rounds. 

And then I largely forgot about it. But, this is not about me.

Douban.com is the site the scene uses to communicate. Sean Leow of Neocha called it BBS 2.0 but it's much more than that. It allows you to create separate feeds for friends, groups and band pages so you can easily follow the band uploads and news as it comes out in one stream. At the end of the first week of May, the regular Douban channels were hot with talk of the Pepsi comp. People were angry. Some kind of massive fallout had occurred at the filming and the major scene figures and bands were calling for a complete boycott of the show.

Here's how I broke the story:Pepsi / SMG TV bands show a predictable fiasco 

The lead statements on Douban came from Zhang Haisheng of Yuyintang and Pupu of The Mushrooms: Pupu's statement (Chinese language)

Helen Feng (Pet Conspiracy) added her experience at the Beijing event via China Music Radar: More big brand BS, and I quoted it in my follow up here: More Pepsi BoB BS

The bands and scene people had come face to face with naked, soulless corporate/branding culture. Having been seduced by the usual rhetoric about caring, culture and mutually beneficial arrangements, they were faced with uncaring and ignorant shills who were there to sell junk and expected the bands to simply tell their peers to buy. The musicians were treated with infuriating levels of disrespect and the whole set up was painfully amateur. 

From Helen:

Apart from the in your face branding that made us dizzy, we were also shocked by their serious lack of taste. In the back were a few skinny models in hot pants and a halter-tops also adorned with said logo stretched tight against none existent boobs selling the soda at the bar. Even the people working there had to have said logo painted on their face.

Having never done a battle of the bands before, said soda company had forgotten that unlike other talent contests, bands don't usually come with a back-up tape in hand so had allocated no time for stage changes. In between the bands, the MC (namely me) was suppose to interview the lead singer. This was a bit ridiculous as the lead singer was usually down on the floor plugging in equipment. When I expressed this to the sponsor, the responded by saying "well just tell them to hurry up."

Still with one minute allocated for stage changes, even the speediest of musicians could not get their equipment plugged in on-time. The head of said Soda company came charging backstage screaming at the staff saying things like "tell these kids if they don't get their equipment plugged in less then three minutes they will have points deducted from their total score."

markpepsi douchbagBut was this short lived anger or would it live on and turn into a new level of awareness around brands and branding. Well, it certainly was angry and one kickback was the minor scandal that followed involving the band Pinkberry.

A boycott was agreed by the quality Shanghai bands via Douban and one of the voices on the threads was Pinkberry guitarist Toni Yu. It came as a massive shock just a few weeks later when it turned out that the band had secretly stayed in the comp - and with all serious competition having pulled out, went on to win the whole round. A very mean-spirited Douban thread then went up in which the band were pilloried. 

Here is how Jake Newby reported the incident at Shanghaiist: Pinkberry and the Pepsi pullava 

In a way, the reaction to the Pepsi Fiasco set the tone for the breakout bands of the year in Shanghai. Bands such as the Mushrooms and Candy Shop, both regulars in various band competitions up until that point, went back to traditional indie scene organising. They put on their own shows, worked on the Douban communities and fans, improved their music and expanded their sets. It was this - and not comps or brand friendly management - that has led these bands to be local fan favourites and on the verge of bigger things. 

You might almost say they've done it in spite of 'help' from 'labels', who don't release records, gigs in malls and big sponsors like Pepsi. As we come up to 5 years of Yuyintang it is telling to see that the bands who are doing things are those who did their own groundwork. The story of 2009 is that the various attempts at brand cooperation and sponsorship simply didn't work. But the community based models did. Brands don't want to help bands, they want to help themselves. 

One amusing post script to the affair was the belated reaction of Pepsi themselves. Well maybe not Pepsi so to speak. 


During the Shanghai run of the show, Pepsi employed an intern called Jay Mark Caplan to run an English blog of the show. He only knew about the incident at all via scene regular and Pepsi comp stage manager Abe Deyo and his post comes on July 28th - nearly three months after the thing was done. In his post he dismisses the bands and calls out bloggers (linking my post) as jumping on the bandwagon.

See ya, Abe.

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punk not junk
Sad to say that I recently spoke to Abe Deyo, one of Shanghai's main independent music promoters, and found out that he's leaving Shanghai next week.

Abe has worn many hats in the scene and as well as promoting shows, he is a photographer and writer. He was the music editor at Shanghaiist when I was there posting a bit on Yuyintang shows. He has also written many articles for City Weekend Magazine and he blogs at their website as punknotjunk.

Check the blog here.

As a regular promoter of shows in Shanghai, he also featured heavily in this blog. Check out articles tagged Abe Deyo here

He also gave us one of the hottest gossip stories of 2008 when he complained in print about Beijing band New Pants and their attitude. Revisit the story here: Handbags

Following a boom in general attendances once the Ol*mp*cs were done, Abe got more ambitious and tried to put on larger and/or better quality shows. We had the The Subs at Dream Factory and then The Queers and DOA at Yuyintang. Abe also took the latter two acts on China tours. Unfortunately the attendances were not there this time. Abe will now move on to Wuhan with work. Wuhan has its own scene which is a lot more punk than Shanghai. Perhaps the spark will be ignited one more time.

See ya, Abe.

Jue Festival Photos and bonus throwdown

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New Shanghaiist writer Elaine Chow has just posted up a photo gallery of the two Jue Festival shows I blogged here. There's a lot of pics and you should go there and check them out


I notice there's a bunch of gig/blog regulars cropping up in the pics, perhaps you recognize yourself in my little montage below? No me, I'm afraid, although Abe Deyo posted one of me in the Demerit mosh on Facebook. Good catch, I was only in there for two songs.

Quick comment. That Elaine knows how to tag her blog posts correctly. There are a number of different phrases and word you can choose to describe the scene ... she happens to go with shanghai music scene and shanghai underground. Yup, the blog category name and the Youtube channel name. Is this a Google ranking throw down? Seriously though, it's good to see someone at Sha-iist covering shows again. This blog is watching you, mwa ha ha.


jue montage

Upcoming shows I'm off to in January

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 warm songs flyer
Believe me, I still have no plans to start any kind of listings or be a regular website type thing. So, be clear, this is not everything that's going on in Shanghai, it's just what I'm thinking of doing. This is often determined by the distance between my house and Yuyintang, i.e. a short walk. 

I don't think this month is slowing down, but ... the schedules are not filled out as far in advance as they were lately. It's a Yuyintang weekend for me first:

Friday 9th: "Warm songs for a winter's day" showcase featuring seven bands in the folk style. That's the flyer pictured. Mogu Hong (Red Mushroom) is the only familiar name for me. Check her out.

Saturday 10th: A Brit-pop style night featuring Shanghai's own Hanging Gardens and The Way from Ningbo. The Way are really cool, check out an older review. While you're at it, read a magazine feature on Hanging Gardens here.

Sunday 11th: Abe Deyo brings legendary Hardcore Punk act D.O.A. to Shanghai who will be supported by one of the hottest bands in China right now, Demerit. Look ahead in the post to find another show by Demerit and check them out here

For all you stalkers out there, do stalk me, no problem. You know, as long as you are the talking type and not the stabbing type. Don't know anyone in the scene? No one else going to the show with you? Drop me a comment or a mail (via the about page) and we'll go together or meet there. It's all good. After just one show you'll be able to dump me for all your new found friends! Or your money back!

Continuing ... 

Friday 16th and Saturday 17th at Dream Factory: Up to the larger venue for the Jue Festival. On Friday is the main Demerit show that also features Pinkberry. Then on Saturday we have the Maybe Mars showcase with Ourself Beside Me, Carsick Cars and Snapline. These shows are being put on by Splitworks who are adamant about splashing out on pro sound set-ups and trained sound engineers. I'm especially looking forward to Ourself Beside Me.

Looking into my crystal ball I see one more show planned in advance. It's at YYT on Saturday 24th and features Sonnet, Banana Monkey and Cold Fairyland. Sonnet have been getting tight again and Banana Monkey are a big deal on the scene ... remember this story? This will be the first time I check them out since they re-formed. 

Ok, that's all for now. Now to figure out my Douban problem. I have a bunch of friends there, mostly local and all of whom I see have been to the same shows. The problem is that 80% of Douban users use nicknames and avatars that are not their own pictures ... and have no indication of who they are in their profiles either. It's like the thing with getting an "it's me" text and not wanting to say "yeah, but who are you?" in case you offend someone you know. Arse.

Pinkberry and ... The Queers!!! live @ Yuyintang

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joe queer
Yeah, that's right. I usually don't write up non-China based bands who come over because it's not related to the blog. But all that goes out of the window when it's ...The Queers! Have I mentioned that I'm a punk fan? Have I mentioned that The Queers and Screeching Weasel are like, the best bands ever?

So, Abe Deyo brought them over for a five date China tour. Opening for them was Pinkberry. Loudspeaker were on the bill too but inexplicably never showed at soundcheck. Not much to write here. Pinkberry played a good set but the room was only just starting to fill by the time they were finishing. Xiao You was looking tip top and seemed a bit disappointed in the audience who were chilling but appreciative while she gave her usual good performance. I mention this (tip top) as it pertains to later events. Anyhow, I uploaded a video of Xiaobudian. 

Then The Queers took the stage. Everyone got in the room and from the get go the first three rows or so exploded. At first I was watching star struck from the sidelines, not quite believing that Joe Queer was really on stage at little Yuyintang in Shanghai. But, as the set went on and the classics came out I had to get up there. They played Punk Rock Girls and I braved the moshers in my thoroughly knackered state. They did an encore and closed with an absolute stormer ... Joe Queer announced "This one is for Pinkberry" and then launched into She's A Firecracker. Ha. 

Apologies, I'm just a drooling fanboy tonight. Note to other organizations bringing in overseas bands to enrich the scene: Screeching Weasel.

Also, when Matt got nailed and ended up sprawled on the stage, he somehow managed to nick two plectrums. And he gave one to me. Matt Yeh = hero.

Pinkberry shoot wrapped

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pinkberry shoot
I have lately been working with Gemnil from Yuyintang and the band Pinkberry to produce a music video. It's a zero budget type thing shot over two two-hour shoots but we wrapped today and I must say the results are quite good.

We had a lot fun with it, shooting a classroom scene and then a 'live' scene at YYT (where we also bumped into singer Wang Xiaokun and promoter Abe Deyo). Gemnil released some of her photos today so I thought I'd throw a couple on the blog. Special note to Micah, we shot the class scene in Zhangjiang Gaoke then ate lunch in the mini mall next to the station. Oh yes, that mall is one happening place at 11.30 on a Sunday morning.


pink two

pink eight

pink one

That's Shanghai consigns Movius to the memory hole?

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old thats cover
It's around this time that I get a hold of the latest monthly ex-pat rags and check for any music news. I previously wrote about how That's had a well developed music section that included Lisa Movius' long running Rockpile column and then several supporting features and new writers. I then got a little concerned when a refit and redesign seemed to back on this and dropped the Rockpile column in favour of individual features. I got a bigger surprise this week.

So, this month it was all gone. No Rockpile column and nothing by Lisa in there at all, and nothing to replace the missing column inches. Not only that - I went to the also refitted online version of the mag and found that searches for 'Rockpile', 'Rock Pile" and 'Movius' return no results at all. To be fair, the old That's site is archived via a link at the bottom of their new page, but does this mean the regular column is really gone for good?

How much of an effect the English language mags actually have on the scene is another point for debate but we can also add to this the now public news that SH Magazine will close it's doors in two issues time. That leaves only City Weekend who make any kind of regular nod to the indie/underground scene and that's down to Abe Deyo and Dan Shapiro's personal efforts.

Talking of City Weekend, did anyone catch this blog post?

It caught my attention by opening with the following broadside that could only be talking about 3 or 4 people, two of which are his colleagues at CW, and another which is me:

OK you're a pseudojourno writing about Shanghai's underground (in quotes dripping with cynicism) scene

Then it kind of meanders through several 'types' simultaneously attacking and defending them before ending with a plug for a show at The Shelter. I had to read it six times to try and understand exactly what the through-line/point was. I still don't know. Anyone care to hazard a guess in the comments? Does anyone have inside knowledge as to what the post is referring to?

Magazines: New Pants continued

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new pants cd
So. This month's top hot off the press gossip story featuring New Pants gets one more round. The show is tomorrow and two magazines have run interviews with them. 

Here's the first installment: snub
And here's the follow up: handbags

And, before I go on, the interviews in full.

Jake Newby at SH magazine: read
Punknotjunk at City Weekend: read

Jake's interview is fairly sober and I can reveal that the questions were sent off and done before the scandal broke. By the way, I'm never, ever, going to use the phrase "I can reveal that" again. I just wrote several posts on gossip stuff lately and wanted to throw it in there once. Here's a sample from the interview:

SH: You used to be called The Structural Metal Workshop Master. Why the change of name?
PL: That's true. We changed it because we felt it was too obscure. It was like a name from a student band at the Bauhaus School or something. With New Pants, we wanted a name that made a clean break and set us apart from the previous two decades of rock music in China. So we chose a jokey, modern name instead.

Punknotjunk happens to be the same guy who started off the whole scandal, getting his article pulled from Shanghaiist, where he is the music editor. He starts off by immediately bringing this up and then asking them about it. If you've been following this then you'll note the irony when you read the intro. I still want to know where the 'heat' came from. Shanghaiist are near immune to complaints and last time they altered a post that was already up was when it contained snuff pictures. Just who did Abe piss off?

Here's a sample from the interview:

New Pants seems to be gaining in popularity.......any chance you might soon be breaking into the world of Mando Pop? Maybe a duet with Joey Yung?
A: In China, today, our music still isn't accepted by mainstream audiences, but we have a great fan base in the relatively small underground scene. Fortunately the scene is expanding. Given the chance we would love to work with Joey Yung.

So, after the show tomorrow, this will be put to bed. Must say it's been refreshing to have someone speak their mind regardless of social relationships etc. It hasn't exactly been bad for the blog either.

"Handbags": more gossip updates (and 100 posts)

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handbags
I have some follow up here on the New Pants - Abe Deyo story I broke after reading the Shanghaiist post which has since been taken down. 

Confused? Here's the full story.

The story has done the rounds now and we have some new comment and quotes from both Jake Newby at SH Magazine and Archie Hamilton of Split Works at his China Music Radar blog.

China Music Radar is a professional blog that deals with 'the biz' end of the scene. Readers of my blog should be following it too as it fills in a massive area of the scene that I don't cover much at all. What's more, it's written by people who are full time pros in that field. 

Here is Archie's post on the story: Handbags

Archie makes basically the same disclaimers that I did in the original post. That is: it's gossip, it's based on Abe's personal principals and not on direct quotes from the bands and also that ultimately you should judge the bands themselves based on the music. He also brings in some slang from the footy terraces and inspires the titles for both this post and Jake's article. I do want to stick by the fact that I like gossip and that these kinds of stories are par for the course in the world of music. Archie nails it, though, when he implies with his post that it seems mismatched to the size of the scene here.

Jake's article at SH manages to get a quote from one of the sources, but still not one of the bands.It's from S.T.D. the promoters of the upcoming New Pants show in Shanghai. Conflict of interest warning.

Reggie from STD (the promoter behind both shows) has said that The Gurge "were all delighted with their recent tour through China. They had an amazing experience, and as professional as both bands are, I would find it hard to believe that they would let this sort of thing come between them."

Good follow up from Jake but the quote doesn't really answer Abe's point. Abe didn't make any claim to representing the bands themselves rather he was talking about his principals and views on the matter. It seems obvious why it would be pulled from Shanghaiist but stories don't get directly posted there, they are stored and then scheduled after checking by the editor. It has been pulled from above following a complaint. Hence the intrigue. Anyway, it's a bit of a story for people like me to blog about, isn't it.

Jake then goes on, in his excellent post, to pick the Xiao He feat. Lu Chen of Top Floor Circus show. Great pick. These guys are great musicians, great performers and they're funny as f*ck. A warning though, I've recently chatted with some of the people involved in the upcoming show. It will be an expanded version of their recent Haibao drama act based, this time, around  Astro Boy. Last time this meant large sections of drama/comedy with some token songs along the way. Perhaps we are going to get a third rendition of Punk Rockers Suck with Astro crushing our balls. 

If you want a great night out with a real 'local' experience you should not miss this show. Lu Chen and Xiao He are gods in the scene. Well - that's 100 music scene posts for me and plenty more to come! I leave you with the video of Lu Chen's last show.



How to snub someone right proper

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new pants cd
Update: One of the two posts that I linked below have been pulled by the editors this morning. Shanghaiist have even left a note about it 'pending further review'. This is quite funny from a site that regularly posts up all kinds of offensive trash such as inflammatory far-right nonsense and tabloid stories. I have to speculate that S.T.D. are not happy with someone recommending staying away from one of their shows. 

But remember, kids, that's what gossip stories are all about: outrageous speculations.

End Update

Well, we haven't really had any good gossip for a while and it had to come at some point. Does that count as a preface?

Beijing punk rockers New Pants are on their way to Shanghai for a big show at the Dream Factory. It will be put on by S.T.D. and will really be a big show


So, here's the basic gist of the story. Shanghai promoter Abe Deyo, also the music editor at Shanghaiist, has just posted about New Pants and their perceived snub to Aussie band Regurgitator, who were just here. 

What do you think: Regurgitator are an established and successful band in Australia who decided to help out New Pants by flying them to Oz and paying for them to do the whole tour in front of sell out audiences. So, one year later the Oz band come out to China hoping to team up with a local act and reach a local audience. New Pants say we're a bit busy, sorry, and decline to get involved.

It should be mentioned that I know nothing about it and I'm basically blogging Abe's two articles on the subject. He mentions that New Pants also bad mouthed The Queers, who Abe is bringing over and messed with another band's show he is involved in. This didn't only prompt him to break the Regurgitator story, it has messed with his cool. People here know that Abe is super-cool and professional. He is very careful not mess with other promoters or say anything negative about bands in general. A nerve appears to be hit this time though.

Here's a quote

Nov 22nd New Pants ... actually after the diss they laid on Regurgitator we don't recommend seeing these douchebags unless it's to throw rotten tomatoes at the f*ckers.

And here's the two articles: Sha-iist and City Weekend

There's a danger here of any press being good press for the show itself but Go Abe. This blog must recommend making your decision based on if you like New Pants' music or not but I love gossip too. Also, there hasn't been a promoter throw down for a while and when there was it was more like people getting mildly annoyed with each other. Where's Brad when you need him?

Youtube channel: Shanghaiist vs Douban

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channel
Newer readers to the blog may have noticed that I post videos here but may not have been to the channel and checked out the back log. So, before we get going:


Now, a happy coincidence last week has led to an interesting experiment. This involves two sites. I give you ...


...and

Douban (Chinese)

So, a bit of background. My Youtube channel's most popular video last month was at around 150 views and my poor little blog has about 2000 individual IPs (individual readers) across a month. Oh, writing that has made me realise that most of my readers don't pay much attention to the vids. Poor me, I know they are bootlegged vids but isn't that part of the romance of the underground? Ahem ... anyway.

When I was posting at Shanghaiist around March of this year, they got 200 000 IPs in a bad month and as much as 800 000 when Kenneth Tan ran the Edison Chen photo scandal stories. Their readership is English speaking Shanghai ex-pats and then overseas readers looking for Shanghai info via the Gothamist network. It's thousands of readers every day. Douban is a Chinese community site for people reviewing and sharing info on movies, music and books. It's very popular and hosts the net groups of choice for Shanghai music fans. A popular site in China like Douban has sky high traffic. Douban has over two million registered members for a start (so it says here). Also, Douban is the site of choice of the local music scene. 

So. After getting a reasonable video of Tianping Dian's great show last Friday, I decided to try something out. I joined Douban and posted the video there in a couple of relevant groups. At the same time on Saturday afternoon, Abe Deyo posted up a preview of The Rogue Transmission's Saturday show on Shanghaiist. He used my video of their Control show in the post. What a nice coincidence, now I could use the viewing figures at the Youtube channel to track how many people at those sites watched the video.

So, at the time of the videos being cross posted, TRS had 121 views and Tianping Dian had 6 views.

Then time passed until now. So there was Saturday night then all day Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Of course, not everyone who reads a post at those sites is a rock fan. I'm sure there are all kinds of factors at play but it's certainly interesting to see what kind of traffic gets generated. At least, just for fun.

As I write it has gone midnight on Tuesday and I'm checking the stats right now.

The Rogue Transmission video: 248 views (up 127)
Tianping Dian video: 28 views (up 22 and no significant difference to a regular video)

A certain net meme comes to mind here: Fail!

The Rogue Transmission EP release party

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Dan Shapiro
It was another sold out night in Yuyintang. Shanghai band The Rogue Transmission were following up their breakthrough show at Dream Factory with the timely release of their first CD.

Check out their page here.

The full line up was altered at the last minute when Nanjing psychobilly act Angry Jerks had to cancel. Luckily, goth-metal-ish new band Wang Yuezhe were on hand to fill in. I also found out that they have an official English name, Moongazer. Rounding out the bill were Mortal Fools and the headliners.

I did plan to get a bunch of videos for the Youtube channel but I was thwarted by the curse of the random flashing lights at YYT again. I uploaded one track from Mortal Fools and if you check it out you may agree with me that better bands playing there should not settle for the default flash setting. Talking of videos, Abe Deyo used one of the blog's videos in a post over at Shanghaiist - thanks Abe - which should highlight the difference in the lighting area.

Onto the bands. Wang Yuezhe have improved their set and have quite distinctive songs. But, like most new bands they lack a defined image. The singer has a hippy/goth look down but the rest of the band are 'at ease'. Tianping Dian had a similar problem. They really rocked last night with hard and heavy crossover metal but, for example, the keyboardist had on a polo shirt that wouldn't have looked out of place on a golf course. But all in good time. It's just great that a bunch of the newer bands are all starting to come through and the turnouts are back up as a result.

This was a great night for Mortal Fools. Despite the singer Frank's voice slipping a little at times, they have never sounded this good or loud. The place was packed out and eager to get moving. They puled out one of their newer ska tracks with Frank using a harmonica to double for a horn section and it worked. They got an encore and went out with a popular Ramones cover. Great set. The Rogue Transmission got on straight after and professionally made sure they got started dead on midnight. Yuyintang was at capacity and people were here to see this band. Makes you think though. With Shanghai underground bands starting to break through to the point where they can fill YYT - 250 people or more makes it bursting - it's a pity that Dream Factory is so upscale and expensive to rent. It really would be an achievement for the scene to start doing regular mid-scale shows: all without any mainstream advertising or ticketing or service structure. 

Another main feature of the night was the wide range of people there. I finally met one of the Layabozi people in the flesh. It was the founder, Mache. I have just put together a playlist for their site so keep your eyes peeled over there. I think there might be someone else going on before me so it might not be for a couple of weeks. Also, I met a couple of great guys from Tasmania of all places. One of them John, admittedly very very drunk, was just the funniest guy. His huge sprawling monologue on blogs and the blogosphere convinced me that he himself must get himself one soon and make a kind of anti-blog. Anyway, he really made my night and I just have to stick his photo up. Hi, John.

John

Mi San Dao live @ Yuyintang

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misandao
I'd expressed some reservations about going to this show as I wasn't sure about exactly what type of skinheads Mi San Dao are. Lucky for me, they turned out to be anti-nazi old school punk. And they ruled.

I turned up to the show with Evans, my wife, and immediately bumped into some familiar faces. Frank from Mortal Fools, who was involved in putting the show on, Abe Deyo, 'Super' Sophia and Yixin too. There was a fair amount of people there considering the very specific style of the band and a diverse crowd at that.

First in were Pink Berries. They seem to take any opportunity to play a show and are hungry to improve. They did a good job for a new band and improved greatly on the previous show. The sound was clearer and their songs started to take shape as they got tighter. They also played an on-time and shortish set, about right for a support act. This always scores big points with me considering how many bands play comparatively huge sets peppered with monologues when they are the second band on from six. Pink Berries guitarist Tony brings the Rancid style riffs and ska but overall the band is teetering between punk and pop. Hopefully they can keep together and develop a strong style or look too. 

Talking of strong style, on came Mi San Dao. These guys have been doing it for over nine years now. They are skinheads, in every sense, and had a great presence. They were very professional players who put on a good show and didn't miss a note all night. They also had a great balanced set. They started out with the more hardcore tracks and then broke out the ska and anthems for the second half. Moshes and pogos broke out during the signature tracks much to the confusion of some random suit wearing bloke in the front. They rocked and even non-punks in the audience couldn't resist chanting along to the copious amounts of 'oi's in almost every track. 

I may have mentioned camera guy a post or two back and how it wasn't just me but also Abe who was getting really annoyed with it. Does this guy read my blog or is life just weird. A couple of songs into Mi San Dao, he again took centre front and hoisted his big pro camera up and stayed there all the time, getting in everyone's view/way. Then he seemed to gravitate towards Abe for some reason - and actually ended up camped right in front of him with the camera directly in front of Abe's face. And didn't move again.

At the end of the show we went to out to get a pic with the band, especially seeing as I'd recently shaved my head. I think the blog size photo is too small to see my expression though. That's maybe a good thing. Odd end note: we were walking back, buzzing from seeing a great band with a great attitude when I saw a full-on white stretch limo parked in front of C's bar. Unsurprisingly, a bunch of posers came falling out drunk and they were even whooping and yeah-ing. You can't bring me down, vacuous oxygen thieves. Oi!

pink berries

misandao group

Avril will ... ahem ... 'rock' you

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avril
It's the end of the month and new magazine time. Well, that sounds like there are some English language music mags to cover. It may also imply that I translate articles from Chinese music mags covering the local scene. They'd all have to exist first. Yes, it's ex-pat mags time. Luckily for us, a lot of these mags employ writers who are trying hard to sneak decent stuff in there, between the ads and listings. 

Obviously though, I'm going to have a crack at Avril and horribly naive/mercenary perceptions of what 'rock' or 'punk' is. That said I'd better preface this:

This post is mainly inspired by City Weekend running a cover story on local rock and the music scene here. So before the Avril related sarcasm begins, good job! I should also point out that this came about due to the good influence of Abe Deyo who is responsible for the 'local' parts of the feature and is obviously excluded from the following jibes.

The feature is called Rock is Back but is unfortunately based around a big advert for Avril Lavigne's upcoming China tour. So the feature is basically saying one of two things. Either, "Hey, we are clueless about music in general" or "we put shallow marketing above any kind of personal standards." Luckily, the inner reaches of the feature showcase three Shanghai bands:


Did I mention that featuring and interviewing Avril for a 'rock' feature is dumb? Oh, I did. Then, I'll go on. Hard Queen we know all about at this blog. They now have a new Friday night regular spot at a bar called Bee Dee's on Dagu Lu. Correct me if I'm wrong, Brad, and feel free to post the proper address in the comments. Rogue Transmission have done a CD and are currently touring around doing a bunch of release parties for it. They will eventually swing by Yuyintang so I'll catch them there. The big news in the Sonnet section is that they are reforming. I last saw members of Sonnet moonlighting in Top Floor Circus. So did you, if you watched the TFC vid post I made a couple of days back.

That reminds me, the Rogue Transmission and Boys Climbing Ropes videos have stormed up my Youtube channel and into the top six. if people are linking the blog or the vids on other pages, please let me know. Just because it's interesting and a kind of blogging etiquette. 

So back to Abe Deyo. I felt vindicated when I saw Abe complaining on Facebook about something that was bothering me too. Now, everyone in this day and age takes pics and short vids at local gigs with their camera phones and compact cameras. For example, me. I keep it quick, do it from the back or side and limit it to one song. If for anything, this is because I want to pay attention to the gig. Often though, half the peeps in YYT are holding up their cameras for 50% of the set. This still doesn't bother me that much though. What does bother me is that this one guy is now turning up to 80% of shows at YYT with a large HD pro camera and bulky mono-pod and standing dead centre-front filming for the entire set. He seems utterly oblivious to the fact that some people might want to enjoy the show and that they do not pay to see him. Let's hope the novelty wears of soon. If someone is going to film an entire set with a large rig, then make an agreement with the band and venue then get a special position on stage or something. Blah blah rant rant.

0093 Rock Party 7 @ Yuyintang

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0093 rock seven
Tonight was part seven of the 0093 Rock Parties. And a quick explanation: 0093 is a rehearsal studio. The 0093 nights at YYT are a chance for really, really new bands to play live and see what it's like. It is therefor normal to expect six or seven bands in the line up most of which could be playing mainly covers. Occasionally, a more experienced band pops in ...but not tonight.

So, first a confession. I mentioned previously that I was attending the show mainly to see the band Kongzhong Huayuan. They were the stand out act at the recent Britpop night. Alas, I didn't make it that far. I had been there almost two hours and the second band were still going. Like the first band, they did mainly covers and went on for ages, talking to the crowd at length between songs as if they were Iron Maiden playing an arena show. I did have a partner in crime for the night though, Abe Deyo. I have gradually discovered that Abe shares my passion for self inflicted pain checking out the very newest bands at multi-act shows.

Anyway, why not checkout an older video of Kongzhong Huayuan here. It's good.

The line up for the show was:

1. Brunch
2. Jiaoke Yuedui
3. Wang Yue Zhe
4. 8 mg
5. Kongzhong Huayuan
6. Death River

I'd like to finish with a bunch of rumours and tidbits. Abe tells me he's all but finalised his next event - bringing DOA and The Queers over to Shanghai and Beijing. Also, I was at a hotpot place with a bunch of YYT people and heard that Zhong Ke has already left his new band Muscle Snog. They were also talking about Crazy Mushroom Brigade losing guitarist Jerry Li. I hope not, he's the lynch pin of my favourite Shanghai band and they're supposed to be recording this month. I hope he didn't leave to form a shoegazing experimental post-rock band, that would really ruin my week. If anyone wants to confirm or deny any of that, the comments are open.

Shy Tall Mighty live @ Yuyintang

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new sign at yuyintangTough choice tonight with one of my favourite Shanghai bands Hard Queen playing in a new venue across town. Finally I was tempted to Yuyintang by the words old school punk. I will see Hard Queen at Dream Factory next weekend. I must admit laziness playing a big part too. Since moving house last week, I am now literally five minute's walk from YYT.

Special mention: Upon arriving I was very impressed with the new sign. Check the photo. A professional looking light-up sign to go with the mural. You see, I hit all the important, insightful details when reporting the scene, like who has the nicest sign.

As support act Modern Cheese were setting up on stage I had a chat with Abe Deyo (promoter) and Jordan Small (of Boys Climbing Ropes) that was quite interesting. I'm hesitant to talk about it for fear of starting something off that may not be that good for the scene here, but I will anyway. We were talking about indie labels in Shanghai and how much they can financially support a band, or not. Jordan mentioned that he'd rather just self finance as it was comparatively cheap for foreigners. The Boys Climbing Ropes CD is good and they have a track playing on radio back in the USA in some capacity. The CD cost less than 8000 RMB to record. Strolling back later it occured to me that a good way to get your band noticed would be to come over and be based in Shanghai. You could play shows at will, headlining any venue you like, when you like and make a CD and marketing for ten times cheaper than back home.

Of course, if you do bring your band over to Shanghai, be sure to live here

So Modern Cheese kicked off and I immediately noticed the line-up change from last time. They have added a singer. At the last show, the guitarist was also the lead singer. With this addition, the songs now have some good back-ups and harmony vocal parts. It made a difference. Their first two tracks are their usual strong ones but like the previous show, the rest of the set lacks the same energy and focus. I often talk about how support acts play on way too long here and don't seem to get the concept of supporting. However, I mellowed and like the idea that YYT gives new bands a chance to play and that's what's important. I didn't, however, count on Modern Cheese. The set ended with the guitarist bringing on a stool and launching into an intimate monolgue with the audience - followed by what amounted to a second, solo set. Anyway, this band do have chops and ability and they are still worth checking out in the videos.

The Shy Tall Mighty took the stage next. No one seemed to have heard them before and there weren't any CDs knocking around the door or shop. I was mildly surprised to see the two frontmen apear - two middle aged British geezers. They just went straight into a high energy old school punk set, London accents and all. The crowd, who'd been very patient up to this point, instantly took to it. They never dropped the energy level and did a solid enjoyable show. They are not based in Shanghai though, and I'm not sure we'll see them again anytime soon or have cause to follow their development. Fans of good ol' Punk should definitely catch them if you have the chance. 

To finish, I want to mention that Kongzhong Huayuan (Sky Garden) are playing Sunday's 0093 Rock Party. I mistakenly reported their name as KongDE Huayuan last time. I really want to catch them again and see if they've improved any. Fans of Coldplay-esque jangly guitar bands should come too. 

Modern Cheese 

Magazines: Aug-Sep City Weekend

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city weekend onlineThey are not keeping up with That's Shanghai's amount of scene coverage from last month, but the latest issue of City Weekend features three columns on the music scene.

First up, all these articles should now be available in the magazine section of CW's website: here

The Shanghaiology Small Talk feature is an interview with Brad Ferguson that mainly covers this old news. Having it in print will definitely help stick it to his old boss more, which is actually causing some regrets as a new overseas manager has been brought in who is innocent in all this. Then again, the new guy is doing dance music. The interview throws in the usual scene analysis questions to which Brad remains calm and measured:

The scene will develop at it's own pace.

Next up is a small feature in the nightlife section called Size Matters. In it, Abe Deyo goes over some issues with venues, or lack of them, in the city. This one is definitely up at the website now if you follow the link. And why not leave a comment? There's some good columnists hanging around the site and a bit of love will surely encourage them to write more posts on top of the print versions.

Finally, following Aric Queen's departure, The Beat column has been taken over by Dan Shapiro. Here's Dan's band The Rogue Transmission. When the column was first started with DJ Michael Ozone of Antidote writing, it was clearly a music scene column. When Aric took over it shifted away from electronic music and DJs and focused more on rock and indie. By the time Aric left it was mainly about bars in general. Dan had been presenting Aric's The Beat vidcasts and doing some writing at the site so in someways there's continuity. I hope that Dan's direct involvement in the scene as an artist as well as an organiser and commenter will turn the column back into a true music scene column. Of course, we just had August and something needs to happen again before anyone can write about it. 

Gar live @ Yuyintang

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hard queenTonight was a cautious foray back into the gig world. The sporting event that shall not be named has not yet finished and the official back to business show is tomorrow at Dream Factory. The headliners for tonight were Beijing indie outfit The Gar.

Check out their myspace page here: Gar

Abe Deyo had predicted a limited turn out at Shanghaiist. It turned out to be reasonable but the August ban has clearly knocked a hole in the great turnouts at YYT this summer when we saw shows packed to the rafters with the local student brigade. I got there in time for the support act Hard Queen and spotted a whole bunch of scenesters, even John P of Sinosplice fame.

Hard Queen played a great set and had a nice sound too. They have enough good material to play a full hour of mostly originals. When I first saw them they clearly had standout songs but now the rest of the material is up there too. At one point, Sheena (singer) pointed out a Hard Queen T-shirt being worn in the audience. It's what they deserve. The material is good, they have their own sound and they have come together live - a fanbase is sure to follow. Hopefully they can cement this with the speedy release of their upcoming CD. Song of the night: We Don't Care.

The Gar came on straight after. The timely start and tight scheduling was down to the sports event that shall not be named, no chances could be taken. I was a bit shocked at the sound. Hard Queen had a pretty good sound which then seemed to take a huge dive for the main act. Then, after three tracks of jangly indie type stuff they left the stage. Odd. During this sudden break there was no activity on the stage and no sound checking or repairing. The Gar are a three piece with all the hallmarks of the latest indie trends including long instrumental sections. I came away from the gig feeling like I'd seen a Hard Queen show. 

Wang Juan and her band live @ Dream Factory

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wang juanSome classier venues, such as Dream Factory in the Tong Le Fang development, have managed to get around a total ban this month. And so, we have a show in my neck of the woods before the official restart next weekend. Dream Factory is a really good venue that is cursed with being in an expensive up-market corporate venture. They only get people at shows when events there are promoted by other people in the scene, such as Abe Deyo or Yuyintang, who have more idea how to do it. Brad Ferguson has his rescheduled PK-14 show coming up there and Yuyintang also have a big back-to-business multi band party there next week.

Wang Juan is a gifted indie-folk artist with two CDs out now. I add 'indie' to the genre there because the term folk here is a bit of a casualty. I'm not going to divert into some history thing but needless to say that Wang Juan is a guitar act that writes their own stuff and has no patriotic opera songs or old instruments - but they are still making music that represents a more traditional side of their own cultural experience.

And with that, why not just have a listen - here.

The turn out was not so good but enough to put a few seated rows in front of the stage. It was a diverse crowd that included Zhang Haisheng and Gemnil Lin from Yuyintang (the organisers) and artist Popil. I previously blogged about Popil's Eno show with Hard Queen here.

Wang Juan and her band are excellent musicians and they did a super tight set of beautiful compositions. I've been playing music myself since I was 13 and at one point was hypnotised by a duet that featured Wang Juan's Chinese classical singing chops and some virtuoso guitar magic. But aside from the appreciation factor, as i've said before, I'm a rock fan. It was guitar-ish enough to keep me going till the end but when it comes down to it - I get more from a song about breaking up then realising your favourite sweater is trapped at your ex's house than I do from a song about a small bird flying over the Xinjiang landscape or what have you. 

City Weekend summer picks

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cold fairylandCity Weekend Magazine run a monthly column called The Beat. It covers the music scene but often strays into non music pubs and other digressions too. Columnist Aric Queen also keeps a blog of the column on City Weekend's website.

The latest print column, also available online here, picks five songs for the summer by Shanghai bands. And, ahem, one of the picks is mine. Aric also produced the column as a podcast - you can find that here

I picked "Love You So" by the Crazy Mushroom Brigade. Alas, they don't have either a CD out or a publically available quality MP3 of the song. Aric has tried to rip a live video but my pick is basically inaudible on the podcast.

The full list of picks:

Aric Queen: "Boogie to the top" by Pharaoh
Andy Best: "Love you so" by Crazy Mushroom Brigade
Ciga: "Happy dreamer on a small bed" by Muscle Snog
Archie Hamilton: "The Flood" by Cold Fairyland
Abe Deyo: "Synth Love" by I-Go

Obviously, this is a survey taken from the English language world. And ... I must make some clear disclaimers before launching into my comment: In the CW column Archie clearly states that Cold Fairyland are "not really rock and roll", so the following comment is not any kind of riposte to his pick. Secondly, Cold Fairyland are skilled and talented musicians who deserve their reputation, the following comment is not about that at all.

So, Cold Fairyland ... first up, you can listen to them here.

Now, Cold Fairyland are a popular, talented band with CDs out and a following. They often play in venues that I frequent. But, I won't be going to the shows or getting the CDs because ... I'm a rock/indie fan. I would no more buy their CD than I would buy Sounds of the Forest or K-Tel Presents The Mystical Pipes of Patagonia. I'm simply not into World Music

World Music, as most people know, is an easy listening genre that combines regional folk music with studio production. It does not mean and has never meant, bands from other countries than the one you're currently in. Excluding people who have never left mainland China, there is not one of you reading this blog who hasn't seen a World Music section in a large record store or doesn't know what I'm talking about.

So, when I hear (or read) other ex-pats talking about CF in the same breath as, say, Top Floor Circus I have to assume one of two things:

A) They are suffering from some kind of ex-pat culture shock thing.
B) They are genuine World Music fans and the CF CD is sitting on their shelf right next to An Ancient Muse.

I suppose it's a reflection on the realities of the scene. I'm not getting into any kind of judgement or analysis, but most of you will know what I mean when I say that ALL independently produced music is basically in the same boat so there is a lot more crossover between styles here than other places. Back home in Liverpool, a rock club is a rock club and it's unthinkable that a DJ playing anything other than rock would play at an event/show there.

There is some hope. I don't see the hip-hop crowd chillin at Punk gigs and I don't see skateboarders hooking up for street sessions with rollerbladers. If I did go to a hip-hop show (I am a fan), I'd hope it was it was rich, focused and produced by people with something to say who live for Hip-hop. I'd hope I'd be stepping into a world, not the world. 

Post-rock night @ Yuyintang

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21 gramsI have to admit, I'm lost with modern music terminology. I have tried but it's evolved from a few genres into a complete system of jargon. So, I headed down to Yuyintang to see 21 Grams and Wang Wen in the hope of finding out what post-rock is all about.

Well, if this show is anything to go by it means long indulgent instrumentals that are atmospheric or ambient in feel. In Wang Wen's case there was a lot of crossover into jazz as well, especially some of the drum beats. Yuyintang just can't go wrong at the moment. This was a Tuesday night show featuring instrumental bands and yet again it was packed.

You can see vids of both bands at my youtube page

It was another interesting night for bumping into people. This time round was Sean from Neocha. Neocha is an online community for artists and musicians in China. Check it out. The best feature of the site, from the music point of view, is their Next MP3 player. You download it to your PC and then it plays random tracks from their complete database of songs. More importantly, Sean knows his soccer. Respect.

This was also a CD shopping night at YYT's in-house shop. I got PK-14's new CD and also CDs by Sko and Wang Wen. I also picked up a copy of Pleasure to be Here by Boys Climbing Ropes. It's really good and I'm quite taken with their song Dirty Bots. To finish off, I was amused to see that some cheeky bastard has started to sell their own CDs outside the venue. Then again, they had badges (buttons in USA English) and T-shirts that YYT don't have in their shop.

Next up, got a tip off from Abe Deyo about a battle of the bands tomorrow night that includes Hard Queen. 

Ark live house and photo books

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stickerSome news that I read on Shanghaiist lately that made me think a bit. It comes from Abe Deyo in this post. There are two main points: Ark Live House is closing and a new photo book called Shanghai Soundbites is being released.

First of all Ark Live House. I didn't metion this in my last post called I Demand A Recount. This is because it hasn't been doing anything for so long that it hardly counts. Also, it is in Xin Tian Di. That's an upscale restaurant area made by Shui On with the highest prices in town. I went to Ark once and got charged 70 RMB for a can of coke (usually 3 RMB in a shop).  There is one possible repurcussion though. Zhang Haisheng who runs Yuyintang gets a lot of his income from working at Ark as a DJ.

I haven't seen the photobook yet but it made me think of how useless the scene is at communicating, so much is left to chance. Abe Deyo promotes gigs and meets the bands every week and I go to his Shanghaist post for the gig dates. Yuyingtang has a facebook page and Live Bar have just got a new website. In fact there's more in English than in Chinese. But anyway, I have been to the shows here for a few years and know a bunch of people in the scene and try to keep up with it - but the annoucement on Shanghaiist of the book launch on the same day it was happening was the first I'd heard of it in any way, ever.

As for the book itself. I read the blurb on the website. It suggests that people who have made the scene lately are leaving now. Hmmn, is that a reference to the VISA issues and transient nature of the ex-pat population? There's a lot of that opinion around but I don't think the bands have VISA issues, they are Chinese. If all foreigners were repatriated last week, the only difference to the Gala show on Saturday would have been 6 or 7 less people in the audience of 200+ I'm sure the photos are nice, though.

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