Results tagged “andy best” from Andy Best

One year off, ten years on

subs old days
Pictured: Kang Mao and Zhu Lei playing with Subs around 2005

This month marks a year off for this blog. During which time I've done some thinking. It is also late 2014, making it about ten years since the Shanghai music scene, the band scene, got going properly in the downtown area. 

Just to throw in all the info, I've been here continuously from 2001 and hanging around the band scene since about 2003. I just didn't start writing about it until the spring of 2008. 

What prompted me to write about this was a recent quote from Dostav Dixit of Splitworks, who used to run Vox in Wuhan for a time. He mentioned that 2004-2007 is starting to emerge as a kind of golden time for China bands. I started to think about if there was any real difference in amount and quality of local bands with local members. Then I realised there wasn't ... and that this simple fact was very revealing. There should be a difference: there should be a lot more now. 

After that golden age was cemented, by very simple things such as the existence of venues and rehearsal spaces that were affordable/viable for locals without tons of money, we came to the dubious period of 2007-2009. Actually, the scene went on much the same at first, but the roots of 2009 were appearing in 2007. Across this time, the following things started to come into play:

Involvement of brands and ad agencies
Brand/mall/corporate shows and festivals as a model
Bringing over more foreign touring acts
Large and sudden influx of ex-pats, audience or otherwise

All of these came with issues and impacts. In a smaller scene, it was immediately apparent that their activities were not adding to the scene but replacing things in the scene. What's interesting though, in the case of the first three areas I mention, the people involved went out of their way to claim that their activities would help local bands and the scene develop - and they argued that this was a sincere part of their intentions. I could go on and give examples but it's all moot now ...

2013 hiatus

crop hk gaze
Oh it's that time again.

Oh shit time flies I don't wanna die Not so long ago, I took a break from the blog and other stuff in order to push through and get a first draft done of a novel. It was across the first half of 2011 and the book made it out at the end of the year.

My Shanghai-set novel on Amazon (cheap)

After a long period of fucking about on three new ideas, I've picked one and have to get on with it. The last one needed six months off the blog and most other net stuff, it was about 210 pages. This one is more than double that length and way more involved. 

I dunno, it/me is not important and we've got a bunch of other blogs and sites doing stuff now. But according to the stats we got up over 15 000 individual IPs a month ago, so if you are one of the people who has been reading: thanks very much. 

Dystopian towers in the night

Other things I do: cycle around Shanghai at night when it's cool, there's no traffic and the views are inspiring.

night tower

Pic: SH Pride is coming

I stopped by 390 last night to chat to a couple of people, it's near my house and I was taking a walk to get away from the screen. As well as the advertised event there, Shanghai Pride had a merch table set up. So I made my donation and got a shirt for it.

They have serious commitment to put that on here - and this is the 5th time - sexuality is no big deal and we should support each other. Good luck, Shanghai LGBT community.


Pics: our show on Saturday

The Wooozy showcase was great and I want to write something about Feima soon. We had a great time. Here's a couple of pics courtesy of a drunken Paul and also Sun Lu. Thanks guys. Also after reading round some Beijing show reviews and discussions, I wanted to point something out. At Yuyintang, on the Shanghai scene, people come out and they enjoy the show honestly, famous bands or not. Having played some shows lately, I really appreciate it even more than before.

astrofuck wooozy one

astrofuck wooozy aftershow

Video / just for fun: Zodiac Mindwarp Planet Girl

This is a horrific quality video but it's a nostalgia trip for me. Zodiac Mindwarp was actually a kind of ironic / meta rock band project started by art school student Mark Manning but they were just really really good at it and took off. 

The band have a special place for me because Zodiac Mindwarp was the first proper rock gig at a professional venue with a bar that I went to. The first one my mum let me go to, in fact. The Wonderstuff supported and it was at the Liverpool Royal Court Theatre. I wondered what the actual date was and lo and behold ... it was March 13th 1988. Oh, shit. So I was 15 years and three months old.  

Self promotion minute

Just to let you know up front: this is an event I'm involved with, I'm playing in the band Astrofuck and I'm posting up this flyer because I'm playing there.

The event is actually the 2nd album release show for Baltic States and also features the band Xiao Xin Yi Yi. Anyway, the blog is also legitimately a record of stuff I do ... but, you should not take this posting as an endorsement of an event from an independent point of view. You'll have to research and judge for yourselves. Cheers.

Flyer by Kaine.


Still around / We Are Shanghai

Lately I've been busy with my own music stuff to the point of not having time or concentration for writing here. Which is probably a good thing. The world didn't end, so why not.

I'll still be posting here though. One weird thing: during not posting for two or three weeks I get two offers to accept pre-written posts praising various clients' products and interests in return for pretty good money. Of course, none of these would say they are PR material. And of course, I declined. The reason I'm mentioning it at all is cos it made me remember how common it is and that maybe some people take for granted that it's everywhere. Well, it doesn't happen here. And PR/Advertising which is not clearly labelled as such is still immoral. 

Tonight I'm going to the launch show in support of We Are Shanghai vol.2 which you can get here. So that's where I'll be if you want to find me and take me up on the previous remark and talk about how your band, is like, totally PR driven and proud.


Gone and back again

As many of you noticed, the blog has been down for a week. To quote the service provider, some malicious code was injected into my files, three of them in fact. Not the blog but other bits in the same space. Well, we're back now.

What have I been up to? Well there's a pic of me on a break while cycling around what's left of the Meilong area, by the river opposite where the swimming centre is. Also, I'm almost forty. 

I did go to a show and there's a bunch of videos and releases to be posted. So watch this space. Huge backlog of Crash posts too. 

Holiday fun: My Random Rules

Thumbnail image for Andy Best and his monkey
Random Rules is a feature at the A.V. Club which you can check out here.

One feature of the blog is to try and cover different stuff. Some of it I really really like and some of it I just recommend - in the context of exploring and understanding the overall scene.


I had my MP3 player out in front of DJ B.O. the other week and it occurred to me to do a random rules for fun. To my surprise, it didn't invite complete ridicule and a promise never to trust my opinion on bands ever again. Ha. 

Here are the rules: You set your MP3 player's entire content to shuffle then list off the first few tracks. In the A.V. Club feature they do 10-13 ish and talk about them. I'm just going to do a list for fun. The point is it's RANDOM and you have to stand by it, no track-skipping no matter what - that includes multiple tracks by one band or filler/remixes or whatever. 

So, without further ado, let the trust-in-authors-taste destroying begin:

[hits shuffle ... grimaces]

1 "Single Beat" Snapline (Party is Over Pornostar)
2 "Zaoyu" 8eyespy (How Damn Far to Yinma Lane)
3 "Tonight, Tonight" Smashing Pumpkins (Greatest Hits)
4 "Piece of my Heart" Janis Joplin (Greatest Hits)
5 "Broken Face" The Pixies (Wave of Mutilation)
6 "Ultraviolence" New Order (Power, Corruption and ...)
7 "Midnight" Rancid (Let's Go)
8 "Flight of Icarus" Iron Maiden (Piece of Mind)
9 "Your Silent Face" New Order (Power, Corruption and ...)
10 "Swallow Everything" The Mr. T Experience (KZSU Sessions)
11 "Four Women" Top Floor Circus (0093 Revisited)
12 "Smiling" Operation Ivy (Energy)

Well, I have to say, when you're a modern person with a decent MP3 player and at least a couple of thousand songs in there, twelve at random seems brutal. But there you have it. If you have a blog stick yours up.

I'm in Shanghai Talk this month

parkour girl detail
Pic: Parkour Girl detail. From my novel Parkour Girl and Yellow Fish Car.

Shanghai Talk magazine have a 'summer reads' feature this month. They selected four authors to give their advice on what to read in Shanghai when the heat drives you inside ... and also let them plug their own books.

Editor Kerry Allen was nice enough to include me as one of the four authors.

If you can find the print version it looks great and is very well laid out. For the basic text and photo version, it can be found online here:

I give shout outs to 2000 A.D. and J.G. Ballard. Lets face it, either Shanghai or Guangzhou is going to be Mega City in the not too distant future.

Hiatus: April 2012

Well. I've had a little time off the blog, and most everything else, due to a bout of flu. 

Now I'm back but I've come to (another) moment where I've realised I need a break from the blog. 

I'll still be around and available for the usual e-mails and enquiries, no problem, but no new posts for a while.

I've got a bunch of stuff I'm in the middle of that needs full attention. Also, I'm at a point where I'm doubting the usefulness of the blog outside my own record keeping. Either way, it's time for a break. Unfortunately, Jake is unable to post regularly too. At time of typing we get from 8 - 10 000 individual IPs checking in over a month. Not bad for little ole us. And between the two of us we managed 1025 posts.

Not too bad.

Quick note about Twitter

I just want to take a second here to mention Twitter. This blog is on Twitter.


Sure, it's my personal Twitter account but most of the stuff I put there is to push the posts or talk about related stuff. 

If you have an account, follow me and just retweet any posts I tweet there, please. It really helps, not just helps me but helps get the bands and the scene out there. The kinds of people who spread the word and have cache are also the kinds of people who carefully follow the social media and know how to use it. 


Bookworm International Lit Festival: Red Rock

As most people are aware, Beijing based Jonathan Campbell has an excellent book out now called Red Rock. It details the history of the Chinese rock scene from it's roots until present day.

He will be appearing in the Bookworm International Literary Festival ... and I'll be appearing with him, in dialogue, for the Suzhou event. Hopefully, we'll be playing some music and media and making it a bit more than just a writer talk.

We'll be on at 6.30 P.M. Sunday March 11th. You'll have to watch their sites for details as they are published. The Bookworm Festival is a huge deal in Beijing and Suzhou is its second branch, after Chengdu. So come and help us get it underway.

Here are the links:

See you there.

Year of the Dragon

Happy New Year to all our readers and everyone here in the scene. 


Parkour Girl and Yellow Fish Car flash site

PKG flash site
Do you want to read a novel that mixes detailed modern Shanghai life, good writing and costumed hero action?

No? Oh ... sorry.

Well, my book is officially live now so why not give it a try? Anyway, we now have an eponymous URL and flash site for the book.

The original art was done by Wuduo Studio and the site coded by Netricks. As with the cover, what really excites me about this is just seeing that style of art or story but in Shanghai. We now move on to phase three of our master plan and I'll soon start to post up the whole naked process at the Indie Everything site. Soon.

In the meantime, help an indie culture maker out and spread the word anyway you can. If you've read it and have an Amazon ID, add a review. Blog it. It's cheap cheap cheap, but also, if you or someone you know has a legit site or job for reviewing I could send a copy over. Let me know.

My book: an early look

amazon pic
Alright then. 

Err, so, I wrote a book. It's a regular novel. 

Close friends know that I write books all the time. But this was the first one to get feedback that encouraged me to get it published. Actually the publishing/marketing process is still ongoing and in early stages but it's now up at Amazon for Kindle and other eBook readers. Here:

(Mail me at the blog addie for review copies, writer people)

The cover illustration was done by Ivan Belcic at Twin Horizon.

It's a fictional work about vigilante heroes in modern day Shanghai and people who live here will see that most of it is either true or very closely based on true Shanghai stuff. Just not the costumed hero battles. There's a synopsis thing at the Amazon link. For non-Shanghai people, this will give you a look at modern Shanghai that's completely out of the mainstream. 

It's also full of action and genre stuff to please all fans of heroes and whatnot.

This is still very much DIY by the way. I just happened to find someone who believed in the book and was willing to sponsor a kind of assisted indie publishing method.

And for those that read it and know me or the scene ... no the real Zack Smith is not a vigilante hero on a team with Parkour Girl and Lightning ... or is he?  

Tech problems: Update

painting with light
So, yeah, the blog has problems. It's up again. But, for me, it's either blocked or so slow that anything I do gets timed out using the regular Chinese net service.

I can do stuff with a VPN service, but as we all know, some of those are having problems too lately. 

This and many things about life are so annoying that, see picture, even at 38 years old, being juvenile feels great. It's my light painting ode to Perez Hilton.

Well, while I'm trying to catch up I should mention, in case the post doesn't get done, that this Friday is the Pairs CD release, Death to Giants have a bunch of new tracks on their Douban page and the Friend or Foe CD is also imminent. Full posts and links shortly.

- sigh -

The 500th post

Ling Yin Si
Welcome to the 500th post in the Shanghai Music Scene category of the blog.

It's only relevant to the scene in a meta way, but well .... 500 posts. Coincidentally, this month marks exactly ten years in Shanghai for me too. (Not ten years of the blog though.)

Must make a special mention of Jake Newby the first person to really 'get' the blog and understand, through his own local scene experience, what it is/does. He then joined up and now has 416 posts of his own here ... yes, that's 916 together. 

We are not famous and the blog has never advertised outside of people we know. But saying that we recently went over 10 000 individual, non-bot IPs a month. It makes us happy. So thanks for reading to those of you that read it. 

What else. We have resisted all offers to put advertising on the blog. There have been some surprising offers from big mags and newspapers looking to reach the China 'creatives' market but we have always said no. It's very important to us to have 100% integrity and independence on the blog and we can proudly say not a single one of the 916 posts were in way profited from or paid for etc. 

Righty then, roll on 501.

My 24-7 long form interview: now in Chinese

Andy Best and his monkey
So, we were just on the subject of long interviews a post ago.

Well, my interview at Shanghai 247 has now been picked up by the Chinese indie music site and translated into Mandarin. I think they really did a sterling job, the layout and content is the same and it has all the reference MP3's in there. Thanks to Fanmu at the Wooozy/Split team.

And I just want to say that I do know some people over at Wooozy and Splitworks but you'll see that their blog covers very different ground to mine and other scene writers. They have never previously come over to this side or translated my posts before. So I guess what I'm saying is that it's being run there on merit. So I'll have to thank the 24-7 guys yet again.

Kungfuology is on Twitter

twitter account
Well, I'm a bit hesitant to announce this officially, but for now my free shit proxy thing seems to work pretty well all the time.

So, I'm on Twitter.


So follow me if you're there. I've had a play and I now guarantee you that as well as announcing new posts on our sites, there'll be other links, retweets and Q&A. If enough people follow it that I have more followers than followees, I'll keep it 99% China music related.

See you there.

My 24-7 long form interview

Thumbnail image for andy bw 2001
I'm sure most people who follow this blog or Jake's blog will know the site

They are the newest magazine site on the block who have now built up a formidable collection of music and art content that includes blogs, reviews, music videos and podcasts. 

I was recently over at Shanghai 24/7 Puxi HQ recording the next episode of their Chongming Island Discs pod. Afterwards we sat down and had an extended conversation about the music scene here. We recorded the whole thing and the guys have compiled the comparatively coherent parts into an interview piece.

They did a great job and even embedded songs of bands we refer to. So show me and them some love and check it out. 

I'm Still Here

Thumbnail image for by Wee Ling
Update: Brad pointed out that the comments are off on the blog and he couldn't give us the update on DFG. Comments are off because I'm not posting or checking here much now and the spam build up is just too much to handle.

As for DFG, the new material will be added to soon and will be the basis for future shows and the first full length recording. 

... and so is Jake. We're not growing beards and stalking Diddy though. Before I write on, remember that this blog goes on over at Jake's bit:

Also, just because I'm not blogging doesn't mean I'm incommunicado. Feel free to mail or meet for the usual reasons. People still are.

I've been to some shows lately. Hedgehog played Yuyintang to promote their new album, which is ace. Great turnout of local fans who all knew the words. It was packed and action ensued, felt just like the classic nights of 2008/09 at YYT. 

Went to the launch party of Shanghai 24-7, also at YYT. Saw Ho-Tom, X is Y, Duck Fight Goose and BCR. All good. Duck Fight Goose played a set of entirely new songs in a re-tooled style. Blimey. Better get along to their next shows to check it out, I'm not sure if that will be the standard from now on. Brad?

And here's a thought. On the Saturday Moon Tyrant had their CD release party too, solid rock with a big R but sprinkled with distinct vocal stylings and hat tips to a wide variety of influences. You can check it out here:

Like many Shanghai bands they have now arrived at a point where they have a solid show and an album of tunes. I got to thinking. Shanghai bands that put out a decent album and have a decent show developed. Hmmnnn. It seems that bands who just do it true indie style - as in by themselves - are much more productive than bands who have 'deals' with 'real labels' here. 

Off my head, fully active Shanghai based bands with decent recordings that did it themselves, Yuguo, BCR, Pairs, Fever Machine, Moon Tyrant, Stegosaurus, X is Y, Rainbow Danger Club, Duck Fight Goose, Triple Smash (last year) ... i'm sure I'm missing loads. Cold Fairyland probably self financed their stuff. Anyone? More?

What about the output of Shanghai based Labels? You know, the ones whose job is to release music to the public. Pinkberry have their EP and play a lot, although a lot of the shows are brand promotions.

Any thoughts one the situation. Me and Jake always mull over the idea that getting signed here seems to sharply decrease productivity if anything.

Ghost is offline, for a while

andy farm
Oh-oh, announcement time.

After a busy year of music stuff and seeing our blogs reach their highest viewership yet ... I'm taking a large break from it. Well, from all things internet except the odd bit of reading/lurking.

So I'll not be posting or commenting here or anywhere until I get some other things sorted out, and it'll be a matter of months.

So, if you're not interested in the reflective stuff and don't know me personally you can stop reading right here and continue to follow Kungfuology's scene coverage with Jake.

The reason for the blog was simply to fill a gap. To introduce the scene in a concise and non-judgmental way from a community perspective. That is, as a tool to build, not to indulge in abstract criticism or ratings. This year I had accumulated some cash and we oversaw several projects, all successful beyond our expectations. They included:

The PETA benefit show and photo campaign featuring Candy Shop
The Ren Hang/DFG/Boojii avant guard music and photography show
The overseeing of and release of two lo-fi albums: Pairs and Little Punk.

The two shows attracted full houses of mainly local audiences and promoted alternative values and free expression. The two albums came out great and are gaining traction in the local community too. 

Jake will continue although he has a punishing work schedule. Other blogs and writers all come from quite different perspectives like industry news, entertainment/events, music crit and emerging youth culture (exploitation of a fragile scene for larger commercial interests such as advertising). I don't know of any other sites like our own in either English or Chinese. You'd have to have no advertising for a start. What I suspect is that the scene is entering another era. Maybe Sars (2003) to the Expo was a distinct period and we've entered the next? Who will step up and report on community strongholds like the O3 Space (formerly 0093) regardless of what they think of bands and styles coming out of it? Sometimes journalism is just passing on information without too much comment, or introducing issues. 

Anyway, I'll be around and will still answer the blog mail. I leave you with a practical tip.

Duck Fight Goose's EP is out soon and can be heard currently at the Neocha Edge blog. They are the last productive remnants of the Miniless label. Their work is amazing and at one point, Miniless was responsible for a renaissance of great music and shows. Now they are limited by the usual things, busy day jobs, lack of funds, lack of true support except lip service. They have plans and talent ready. Be it money, investment or donations, or just physical help in organizing and promotions - they are a group to support.

This blog has been on holiday

Hello everyone. Sorry. Last weekend, on very short notice, I buggered off to the place you can see in the photo for a week on the beach. 

You should be able to click on the pic for a massive version. I took that one on the trip.

It was great.

That's one of the two beaches with swimming and chair/beach-umbrella rentals on China's famous Putuoshan: an island national park by the Hangzhou Bay. Back to gigging next weekend. See ya all there.

andy temple

evening view

Summer re-runs: playlists

andy farm
Yes, it really is that slow at the moment. I just spent ages trawling individually through near two hundred band pages. Douban still haven't restored the feed filters or made any announcement on it. Nothing doing.

China Music Radar have a new post up confirming what we've all heard already. Festivals this year have been pants and they all lie about their numbers too.

So, I was looking at this Layabozi playlist from Pairs' Xiao Zhong and thought ... oh, I've done that. They called it a journey in rock but it's actually quite diverse. Sort of. I write stuff under the songs too. It's from the start of 2009. 

Subs new album available in full at NeochaEdge

Thumbnail image for subs at mao album tour 2010
OK, I'm back a day or so early.

Also, I have a huge backlog of posts to get through at Indie Everything over the next few days.

One thing I have been doing is listening to my new Subs CD over and over. I bought it at this show. It rules and marks a turning point for the Subs where they let their more gothic/new wave influences take centre stage.

So now, the art and music blog NeochaEdge have decided to make it available for listening in its entirety. 

So go here now and check it out.

Summer Holiday


This blog is on holiday until July 1st 2010.

In the mean time, follow Jake's blog here.

Drop me an e-mail at the usual place: andy(at)kungfuology(dot)com

Say hi if you see me at a show.

My Ren Hang 任航 prints

There's a certain amount of crossover between the indie music scene in China and more adventurous young artists too. They are in the same boat, environment-wise. Ahem.

It's a natural relationship with lots of high profile examples. Popil doing the PK14 and Hard Queen shirts. Bigger Bang's Pupi is a renowned artist. Kaine Lv's mural at Yuyintang and her work on their flyers, now at Splitworks. You could go on and on, there's so much good stuff. I'm not going to track down and link all this stuff so I'll throw a link this way.

One of my favorites is Beijing based photographer Ren Hang, who does stark urban China images that often feature sterile apartments, naked bodies in odd positions ... I'm not an art critic obviously but he's very good at externalizing the urban experience here and has a streak of surrealism and rebellion in him. I dunno, if you are used to living in Chinese cities and hanging out then I think you see his work and it strikes a chord. So, anyway: I got in touch and bought a couple of prints and here they are (they still have packaging on them):

ren in my room

Two Years: the classic posts

ding ding
So yeah, two years of Kungfuology, the party tonight at Yuyintang from nine.

And here's one of those typical posts revisiting shit and all that. To be honest I find it creepy and borderline offensive when people say what things they did themselves are 'classic', but hey. I'll give it a shot.

The classic posts/stories

Haibao will save us all from dissent (Top Floor Circus story)
The Subs live @ Yuyintang (for the Little Punk corpse surfing picture)
The Best Show of 2009 (That Mushroom's show)

From Jake

Pet Conspiracy in all their Glory (plus the Europe tour vid)

Our two year birthday party - come on over

party blog
That's right, Blimey!

The last week of May marks two years since the start of the blog.

Happy Birthday to us!

So, we are going to hold a birthday party and if you are reading this, then you are invited and so are your friends. First the basic details.

What: Kungfuology 2nd Birthday Party with Jake and Andy.

Date: Tuesday 25th May
Time: 9.00 - 11.00 (evening) (bar remains open till late)
Where: Yuyintang 
(上海 长宁区 凯旋路851号 (近延安西路口) - Kaixuan Road 851, opposite the Yan'an Road West Line 3 Station)
Door: Free entry, no ticket required
Featuring: musical guests Ho-Tom the Conqueror and Miniless' Han Han. 

This will be a chance for all blog readers, scene writers/workers and band members/fans to meet up for a couple of hours and shoot the shit at our favorite venue. It will also feature guest musical performances from:

Miniless Record's Han Han
The legendary Shanghai based producer, label manager and musician extraordinaire; the mind behind Kungfuology's album of 2009 Lava/Ox/Sea's Next Episode; guitarist in Boojii and Duck Fight Goose and all round source of inspiration ----- will perform an exclusive solo set for your listening pleasure. Start time around 10.15

Ho-Tom the Conqueror
Representing the international contingent we have singer-songwriter Tom Mangione. Ho-Tom combines razor sharp lyrics, engaging spoken word/poetry and memorable turns of music into a complete performance. His beat generation style and commanding voice remind us that the simple singer-songwriter can still be creative and relevant - if you have the skills. Be conquered. Opening at 9.30

Andy and Jake will be knocking around the whole time and all attendees are welcome to stalk us talk to us about anything you like. Ask them about the blog or tell them how full of shit they are; tap their scene knowledge or mock their scene ignorance ... or just say hi. It's not a gig, so to speak, it's a chance for us all to hang out and take in some top notch musical guests while we're at it. It officially ends at 11.00 but the bar will go on. 

Indie Everything live

by Wee Ling
Some Kungfuology site news.

I recently posted some updates and mentioned I was thinking of doing a blog called Indie Everything. Here's what I said:

I'm thinking of adding to Kungfuology with a new blog called Indie Everything where i'll document all projects i'm involved in from blogging to the Pod to music to whatever and just drop all secrecy or whatever and list all the costs or equipment or facilities or methods we use ... or whatever. Then people who read it can have a real and practical stepping off point to do the same themselves. It's sort of our endowment as humans to be aware and express ourselves. The idea that we shouldn't do it if it doesn't lead to financial gain needs to be swept away for a while. Well, forever.
Well it's up and running now,

It's still in it's formative stages but I'm happy with how it's starting off. I have a massive backlog of posts and ideas for it so it's going to come out all random at first, sorry. There will eventually be a disproportionate amount of music and band related posts as that's what I do the most. 

If anyone has ideas or requests for issues covered/discussed in the indie thought posts, do drop me a line or a comment.

Where's Jake / Indie Everything

Thumbnail image for by Wee Ling
About time for some general updates. 

So where's Jake. Poor Jake works very very hard for the nice people at Time Out magazine, of which he represents 25% But, he still blogs because that's how much he loves us all. Currently he's having a bit of a holiday with his dear old mum. Seriously. 

So, once he's back we'll start planning the next series of Podcasts and blog posts will flow again. Just remember we have the two blogs and one will always have something each week. 

Also, the stuff we've been doing has made me think a lot. There's the blogs and the pod, there was some events and some music and, as yet behind the scenes, there's long form writing too and even IF games. There was even a video about the 3 Million RMB Douchebag at one point.

I was also re-reading No Media Kings lately.

Why not watch Jim's slideshow Time management For Anarchists

So, I'm often reflecting on being at the edges of the global arts industry which itself is crumbling and being redefined by the net. I moan about how it's becoming a wild west for Ad People and PR but also heap praise on those who build communities and succeed on their own terms. 

We've reflected a bit on how much we've been able to do in our spare time with very little effort and funding and how it's based on helping each other and just doing it without expectation and letting momentum build naturally. It would only take a small step up to start putting out some really good stuff. Blah blah blah ...

... jump cut to ...

I'm thinking of adding to Kungfuology with a new blog called Indie Everything where i'll document all projects i'm involved in from blogging to the Pod to music to whatever and just drop all secrecy or whatever and list all the costs or equipment or facilities or methods we use ... or whatever. Then people who read it can have a real and practical stepping off point to do the same themselves. It's sort of our endowment as humans to be aware and express ourselves. The idea that we shouldn't do it if it doesn't lead to financial gain needs to be swept away for a while. Well, forever.

Why am I telling you all about this? I just wanted a chat. And, I think the blog should be open for everyone to share/post. 

More to come.

Geek stuff: clickthrough on my site

Photo: Andy and Cam at Kungfuology HQ prior to hiring Jake Newby and beefing up our image a bit.

Here's something of interest to the geeks among our readers. But first, in the interests of scientific method and disclosure: the stats quoted here come from the Google Webmaster Tools tool. In order to know the method, parameters and limitations of these stats, you should first go there and check. 

So, obviously, more people search the net for Brad Pitt than they do for stuff like Shanghai rock or bands like Little Nature. So, if you have a tag or high incidence of something like Brad Pitt, you are going to come up in more searches.

However, you may be way down in that search and you might not even be seen let alone clicked on. So, using Webmaster Tools I had a look at clickthrough. That is, what searches I came up in where people saw it and then clicked in.

Most of the results are low incidence and featuring obvious stuff like Yuyintang, but the top three separate themselves.

1: Query: low shoulder  %: 17  Position: 43
2: Query: simon pegg  %: 15  Position: 63
3: Query: low shoulder band  %: 10  Position: 7

Low Shoulder is the fictional indie band from the movie Jennifer's Body. If you combine one and three then that's 27%, assuming it's proportional, of all Google searches that threw up my blog and were then clicked into. 

This is the post that would have been thrown up: Thoughts on Indie Rock

Position 43 potentially puts it onto the third page too. All the other clickthrough stats represent about 2% of queries each. 

Further down the top 20 we also have Low Shoulder pictures and Low Shoulder Adam Brody. The next significant group, taking up a 10% chunk between them is Misandao, Skinheads, skinheads england and division skinheads. Misandao are the Beijing based skinhead band. Rounding out the list of top clickthroughs are more obvious terms like Brad Ferguson, Boys Climbing Ropes, Yuyintang live and Jackson Guitars

To end on a triumphant note, a Google search of Shanghai music scene throws up me and Jake at number one.

Douban Dou-book & around the blogs

Huanyin, Andybest. Indeed.

So. Poor Jake has no life right now for various reasons and I'm going to start up some extra posts like I used to do. This is the reporting on other music writing around the Shanghai scene blogs type thing.

Firstly Douban. We've been talking a lot about Douban lately and how it's like Facebook or Kaixin but with no annoying apps and has feeds for your bands and books and movies etc. 

So logged in just now to see it has adopted a Facebook style combined feed frontpage. That's it on the picture. It's good. It will always be good because all the items are related to music, bands, books and films. They have added something new though, a kind of status update like on regular social sites. The new look is fine - but I hope it's not a precursor to it adding happy lobotomy Happy Farm games and stuff like that.


Dan Shapiro is still flying the flag at City Weekend, trying to keep some kind of interest going there. Lately on his blog we've had an informative post on the city's recording studios, a review of the BCR CD and a preview of the upcoming Jue Festival.

Zack Smith is still plugging away in a lonely room at Layabozi. Lately he's written something about us, thanks. Check his weekend picks too. 

China Music Radar are still wound up about festival organizers just plain lying about their line ups at official press conferences. I would be too, read it, it's outrageous. Now the CMR people are aware of this they find it happening all over the shop. Check out the latest installment

Finally, Adam over at Luwan Rock notes that post-rockers Hualun are in town to do some recording. Read about that here

That's Interview sort-of out now

Thumbnail image for Andy Best That's
I mentioned before that Nicky Almasy had interviewed me for an upcoming That's Shanghai feature on music in 2010.

So the feature has two versions, a less cut, rambling version which is most of the conversation and a punchy Q and A version that will appear in the print mag soon.

So, the longer version is now online ... right here.

It's always interesting to see all ends of the process. Anyone who has written for a mag or paper before, one that thinks of itself as professional and all that, will have notice the huge amount of butchering editing that goes on. In some cases errors need correcting and some adjustments are good, but I mean the wholesale cutting and all too obvious bursts of we're not going to talk about that.

Which is why I'm surprised that the bulk of the Expo comments are in, and some of them into the print edition too. Although Top Floor Circus had not had the song banned at that point.

Here's the odd thing. The Expo stuff is in but a mention of Soma is out. In the long version which you can go to at that link, I mention the Mushrooms. In this one it talks about them going back to their roots, without having gone anywhere else yet. That's because originally there was a few lines saying how they signed with Soma/Indietop and then stagnated etc, you all know the story by now. Then they go back to their roots.

So yeah, you never know. 

Photo: Narcissism


So we recently had some year end articles and lists, but after that comes the predictions for the New Year. Oh, it never ends.

So, when you pick up That's Shanghai at the end of the month, the January issue will include a special music scene preview featuring 2010 predictions from me, Super Sophia (Yuyintang) and Alec Haavic (Jazz scene). Surprisingly, I saw that some Expo talk was kept in. Except that certain people's views on it, like their music, seem to be confined to an elevator-like space. Zing!

Ok, so there was a photo shoot too. Freud says that some narcissism is healthy. Honest.


Andy Best That's

Photo and upcoming article courtesy of Nicky Almasy.

Where's Waldo Andy? More Mushrooms photos

So, another gallery has gone up of the Mao grand opening night from the Mushroom's set. You can see it here. Also. Jake wrote up the night here and the night and some of it's surrounding articles have inspired him to write this

Long term readers of the blog will know who the Mushrooms are and should not be surprised that they have come through. Never mind the genre (they have long since moved on from genre rap-metal to ...err ..modern emo/commercial metal?), their shows are great and they have buckets of that magical appeal that all these analyst types are clawing around for. 

This is it, your moment is in:

mushrooms live mao crowd me

Youtube Tudou: A look in Mao Shanghai

Warning: yes, this is a look in Mao Shanghai. However, it is a hastily shot vid done on a point and shoot variety digital camera's video mode. 

I give a brief intro. But after the "40 seconds" are up and we can clearly see the stage, I change my mind and stay on it for two Momo tracks. So maybe this should be called Momo live @ Mao Shanghai.

Rock Shanghai Anniversary @ Mao Shanghai

rock shanghai one year
Rock Shanghai website has reached one year old and to celebrate they have revamped their front page and put on a promotional gig. The revamp is just a nice front page, the site is still solely comprised of a BBS. It will be interesting to see how they plan to topple Douban.

So, here was the lineup for the 0093 organised show:

小巫师 (Little Witch)
胶壳乐队 (Joker)
甜品店 (Candy Shop)
重结晶 (Second)
伍角星 (Five Pointed Star)

First up, good turn out. Over three hundred tickets sold as we got there early. By the end of the second band it was as full as The Mushrooms show the night before. Perhaps the best attended 0093 show to date.

Little Witch did not play and an unannounced band were to start. Just like the good old 0093 shows. The replacement band, whose name I didn't get, assuming they were Little Witch, played a mix of riff-tastic old school metal and ... err ..pop ballads. Props to the bassist who looked killer in her thrash wrist guards and low slung bass. Looking the part makes a big difference. Joker followed up with their blues-rock show. Good band but maybe a Mao Livehouse full of people mainly here to see Momo and Candy Shop is not the best place to do a rambling eight minute blues impro. 

Momo were next. As usual they were tight and professional. All the bands played short sets but Momo still managed to throw in an oldie from the Happy Strings days. Tonight's crowd seemed more up for their bubblegum indie pop material. 

Candy Shop hit the stage and ripped it up. They have a ton of new material and play a full set well now. New singer Sammi, in for Melody Li, is a great performer and held her own with the manic and always funny MC YKE. They were the first band to get people moving and jumping.    Highlight of the night. The older songs mixed thrashy riff with the catchy choruses, they now seem to be leaning more towards skate-punk style in the heavier sections. Again two great performers up front who really know how to work up the crowd. 

Now we were at the two and half hour mark. And two more bands to go. Following the Mushrooms gig I was already wasted and couldn't last the marathon. As we were getting our stuff together, Second came on and we caught the first two songs. Second grab attention immediately for their, err, natural advantages in the looks department, but that's not a concern for them. They were the first band of the night to play honest straight rock. Everyone else mixed a variety of genres with heavy dollops of pop in the mix. Second just rocked. Great.

On the way out we heard that Pinkberry were hiding backstage and were going to play a surprise headline appearance to round off the night. I'm not sure how wise an idea that was considering the regular show must have run well over three hours by the end. Anyone care to review in the comments?

andy at mao shanghai

Mushrooms farewell gig?

I mentioned last post that this could be the last Mushrooms gig in Shanghai for a while. What better time to check out the new Mao venue and see why The Mushrooms are such a big deal to local fans?

This is not a promo - this is my favourite Shanghai band to see live. Blog fans and YYT regulars all know this - spot the Andy ... and the Jake if you're good.



Once upon a time, not that long ago to be honest, SARS was 'over' and the Yuyintang collective were yet to open their own venue. Various people were hovering, looking to get some shows started downtown, away from the Yangpu micro-scene. We're talking the turn of '03 - '04. For a time, they tried Harley's Bar in Xu Jia Hui. In case people get confused, shows there did cling on until, for a time, 'old Yuyintang' and Harley's ran simultaneously.

Sometime or other, a new mag called 8 Days sent an event photographer down (perhaps the very first time) and my love affair with Shanghai ex-pat paparazzi began. It hard to pin down the time, but it had to be around a full year before the last show there. This was taken from their website at the time.

Andy Best and Evans at Harley's


And here's an even earlier pic of Evans Zhang, pianist and rock singer extraordinare. 

Evans and her hand painted shirt, painted by Lin Lin now of YYT

evans on the railing

Every one or two months a gig in the underground scene just goes exactly right. The band kicks ass, the sound is great and the venue is packed. It breaks out into crowd surfing, jumping and good natured moshing. Anyone who has been at these shows knows how special they are. Unsigned bands playing small bars back home are just that. It's a unique experience here when it goes off right.

Anyway, the first half of the Reflector set at YYT was like a religious experience. Every time I watch this vid or hear the song I get genuine pangs. The vid lights up a bit after 45 seconds to show the extent of the fun and how packed it was that night. Wish I had a similar vid of that Mushroom's gig ... or even knocking about with Jordan and Devin of BCR at the Carsick Cars Show.

Reflector at YYT

And finally, one for the Brits and people back home ... also from a while back. It's two scousers in a rowing boat on Hangzhou's West Lake ...

What's up in Hipster Paradise?

by Wee Ling
So what's up?

Just thought I'd shoot out a post to see who still has me in their RSS by accident.

This is Andy reporting from the hipster paradise/ F-visa Ghetto. Talking of which, we have now added Dada Bar to Xingfu Lu, creating a little strip of music bars run by people who have a clue about music. Good job, Michael O-zone. We are also adding Mao Shanghai live house this weekend. Some more key local musicians have moved in, like Levi from Mortal Fools, Yuki from Dragon Pizza and Bafang of Zhi Wang. Also, Brad Ferguson now has the makings of a custom guitar workshop in the basement where Ju-Ju studio is. 

We also had Cotton's Bar put a second location in on Xinhua Road, right opposite the lane where I live now ... well, you can't win them all.

So, talking of Mao Live House. I went there on Sunday with Jake for a kind of press tour thing. You can read all about that at Jake's blog on this site - right here. There are some photos too. 

This weekend just gone signalled the return of the gig season after a quiet late summer. The gig was Bigger Bang at Yuyintang and you can read a write up here

You can also check out all their songs here at Douban.

Here's a random link for movie lovers: get a hold of Crank 2: High Voltage and watch it using the AV Club's MP3 fan commentry track by Zodiac Motherf*cker. Now that's funny. Although it's probably another case of a parody of extreme violent/sexist/racist movies just ending up being violent/sexist and racist. But as ZMF says on the track ... where else can you see shit like this? Indeed. Ownage.

Finally, the original blog on was a vidcast about Kung Fu. It got sunk by the Olymp*c visa crisis and then the financial crash that sent me and my partner in web stuff into a tailspin. But, I have time again now, and I still have the equipment too. So if anyone wants to make some vids about underground music, biking, kung fu or anything else cool ... I have the gear and it's all free. Get in touch. 

And leave a comment on this post, you don;t have to register and it'll cheer me up. Laters!

Uh-oh ....


by Wee LingI'll get right to the point. Due to constant aggravation of a long standing health problem I have to bite the bullet and cut out all non essential computer use for at least three months.

So it's bye bye blog for the immediate future and ... perhaps for longer.

The site mail will still be active for anyone who wants to get in touch and tour the scene or go to a gig or get advice ... or whatever.




Andy B.


小K and ... errr ... someone who's name begins with A, do a DIY comic based on some Sartre. There are some hard copies of this floating around on nice coloured paper someplace or another.

It's not promoting anything or for anything. It just is.

In Chinese only:

a+k comic smaller.jpg

My Interview at China Travel

me doing kung fu training
Ah, the ups and downs of blog stardom. Blog stardom is perhaps somewhere between B-list stardom and reality TV (in terms of respect). Anyhow, I get a bit of it behind the scenes and lately I decided to agree to some.

So, I have an interview up at China Travel Net. It's mainly about China and Kung Fu, but its a little bit funny too. Well, I like to think so. 

And here's a quote:

And speaking of kung fu comedy: Kung Fu Panda. Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Thumbs down. One big long sentimental stereotype. Just like what Disney does to traditional world stories. Disneyland should be carpet bombed with the worst kind of banned weapons mankind has to offer. Then we have to find Walt's cryogenically frozen head and thaw it.

Pinkberry, BCR and me on the radio


Update: It works now

Louis Yu is a PhD student in Canada who has a college radio show about indie music. He recently spent some time in Shanghai interviewing as many scene people as possible and collecting a bunch of CDs to play.

Here is a half-hour section from his University of Victoria show yesterday in which he discusses my blog article and then plays Pinkberry and Boys Climbing Ropes. There's 8 minutes or so of discussion, then some songs then a bit more on BCR. All in English. 

Mylaowai responds over 'Bus Dialogues'

I recently called out over his racist poem page 'Bus Dialogues', the whole blog is much the same. 

Better start off by reading why again if you're not sure:

And now he has responded, and so has blogger Sinosceptic in the comments. This is great as healthy debate from differing points of view is what makes the world go round. Sorry about the he, Mylaowai, your blog doesn't indicate your real name.

Seriously, this is what it's all about. So let's begin. And in case any of you tried to read 'The Bus Dialogues' to see what the fuss was about and found it gone or edited for phrases such as 'slit-eyes', I have a stored and dated version you can request. Here's an example:

A Prayer:
Our Father who art in Heaven,
Chinese be thy shame!
Those filthy scum,
Cowards that run,
What the Hell were you thinking?
Give them this day
In any possible way
A toothbrush and knowledge to use it.
This Celstial Kingdom,
Some power, no glory
Not clever for ever

And another:

A Haiku:
If you had no balls,
And your slit-eyes saw laowai,
How would you feel lah?

Here's  part of what I said:

This is Chinalyst's top blog of 2008. A continuous stream of hate and insults with zero analysis on the subjects it claims to care about. The owners of Chinalyst seem to have no problem with this and don't even add a disclaimer to the announcement congratulating Mylaowai on the win.You've got to assume that's because they have no personal problem with the content. But even if they pull the we-just-collect-the-feeds or free-speech defense - it was voted the best by a large margin: Shame on us.

Here's the counterpoint from Sinosceptic:

Dear all, I seem to have lost my bowling ball. Could you please insert a (dry) finger and check up your assholes to see if it's up there? It might be hiding just inside your sphincter, somewhere close to your sense of humour that you lost a long fkn time ago.
Best regards, Fkn NOT,

And here's part of the response from Mylaowai, please read his full statement here, in which he likens calling out racism to a decline of hard fought Western values affected by failed artists:

In Hong Kong, there is a name for people like him: FILTH. Failed In London, Try Hong Kong. China has more of these losers than one can shake a stick at, and they love it here. They love it because here they can pretend they are important, here they don't have to be productive, here they can sit with their friends late at night in dimly lit apartments smoking weed and congratulating each other on not taking orders from The Man, and complaining about how the West is so bad. In a previous age, these people would have attempted to defect to the Soviet Union, although to be fair, the Russians were smart enough to see these useless idiots for what they were.
If this is what your average Chinese sees when he sees a foreigner, it's no wonder they hate us so much.

Actually, the rights and freedoms issue is a good one to bring up, why not? So, I rejoin and allow me to quote the hard fought for but vastly ignored Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, which was linked in the comments over at Mylaowai's post by Justrecently.

    Article One.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Perhaps Mylaowai, or Sinosceptic, would like to explain the connection between the perceived decline of Western values, the speculations about my lifestyle and him referring to all ethnic Chinese as dirty and 'slit-eyed' ... not to mention saying that god made a mistake creating them and it wouldn't bother him if all of them were killed?

Exit Songs: Shanghaiist publishes lost SH issue

I previously mentioned that SH Magazine folded and how it was a shame because the staff there were really improving it. Jake Newby was really leading the music coverage there too. I also mentioned that I had contributed to the final issue, a death themed satire of the mag itself - which was then pulled.

Well, Shanghaiist have got hold of the pre-print PDFs and published them at their site. I have to say, it's well funny, even in it's slightly edited form. 

Read the story at Shanghaiist here.

I contributed a song to the music feature Exit Songs along with a group of music scene people. They include Archie Hamilton of Splitworks, Sean Leow of Neocha, promoter Abe Deyo and even Yuyintang owner Zhang Haisheng.

Click into the full post below for the whole issue if you didn't already at Shanghaiist. The feature is on page 20.

Photo Special: This one is for you, James

Dear James

dear james
From Andy.

Pinkberry shoot wrapped

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

It's a Wee Ling

I met Shanghaiist blogger Wee Ling Soh at Indietop One on Saturday and there was one thing on my mind from the get go. Wee Ling posted some event photos there a while back and everyone's eyes were closed. I was told it was a "Wee Ling thing" and thought it very cool. So now I'm proud to present, just for fun ... from the Indietop show on Saturday night ... Andy Best (hood) and Jake Newby (blue) by Wee Ling Soh:

by Wee Ling

Shanghai's F-Visa Ghetto (In history)


Update: many places have moved now, including Logo and Mao. Time goes on. It's still an amazing place to live here with venues, bars, late food and rehearsal rooms though so mail for details.

Here is an interactive Google map of my neighbourhood in Shanghai. It includes Yuyintang Live House, Logo bar (hipster fave) and C's Bar the most famous dive bar in Shanghai. It's also includes my house. I will add to it from time to time.

Zoom in a level and click on the pins for photographs. Or click the link below the map for a larger version. Enjoy.



View Larger Map

My Youtube channel

Youtube has been blocked in China for a while so I use other sites for vids. This channel is now a kind of snapshot of a certain time. Enjoy.

Shanghai Music Scene


Thumbnail image for mushrooms at yytAs you may have noticed, most of the posts here fall into the category Shanghai Music Scene. Here's a brief explanation.

I live in Shanghai. I have lived here since 2001. That's about the same time as the scene in its current incarnation has been around. I like music.

We have a cool small scene where people are in it for the love and not the money (there's no choice). This blog is a journal of what I'm doing or reading. It doesn't represent the scene as a whole but I feel it gives readers a good look into what's going on and which bands are around.

When I say music scene I mean people who are forming bands and writing their own songs doing stuff like rock, indie pop, punk ... you get the picture. You won't find DJs or Jazz or whatever here. 

Kai's birthday


kai's birthday twoToday was Kai's birthday. Kai Uwe Pel is my Kung Fu teacher and every year on his birthday we go to Paulaner Brahaus, a German brewery and restaurant. Kai is German, you see and it's his yearly treat.

We usually go to the Fen Yang Road branch near my house but this year we went out the 'Bin Jiang'. Bin Jiang Da Dao is the tourist riverfront strip on the Pudong side of the river. It has a riverside park, walking area and a selection of bars and restaurants with river views. I actually liked it. The Puxi side of the river where the older buildings are is packed with touts, vendors and assorted annoyances. The Pudong side was quite relaxing.

All the usual crowd were there and afterwards me and Phillipe, my couchsurfing guest, went back across by ferry.

    kai's birthday

Above: Diana, Vanessa, Mel, Helen, Kai, Cameron and Nathan.

Left: Bo, Kai, me, Phillipe and Helen. 

Zhongshan Park Kung Fu


parkoneMe and Cam went down to Zhongshan Park at 7.30 this morning to follow up a lead for our first Kungfuology vidcast. My friend Sharon Tan tipped us off about a traditional teacher there called Pu Laoshi.

Pu Laoshi is 70 years old and teaches among the racket of radios and millions of Taichi and dance groups that fill out Shanghai parks in the mornings. His style 'cha quan' was traditional and he showed us weapons, hand forms and even a two man set.

Of course, you can't just demand a teacher to perform for you as strangers then make videos so we had to oblidge with performances and a bit of training ourselves first. No worries, it was a beautiful morning and the locals largely left us to it. We took turns in between his other students, Sharon trained some straight sword too.

Next week his overseas student comes back and we will film for our first vidcast.


parktwoMe and Sharon











Me, Cam and Pu LaoshiCam, Pu Laoshi and me



andy bw 2001My name is Andy Best. I was born in the early seventies in the U.K. I spent most of my life (everything after 4 years old) in the city of Liverpool. I liked books, Dungeons and Dragons and music. I ended up in university where I studied drama.

I was originally focused on music completely. I played in bands and practised guitar five hours a day. Me and my friends voraciously devoured the trade, building crossovers and custom PA's, recording demos in studios and at home, playing shows, collecting music, putting out flyers ... all of it. I stepped out of that world to do university, in theatre, and then went off travelling. It's only since I came to Shanghai in 2001 that I found a music scene I liked again, one based around DIY culture and not sending tapes to A&R men. 

My fourteen year long working life has been in writing and in education. I get up to all kinds of stuff and I'm currently still in Shanghai, China.

Douban (Chinese language)

Mail me: andy(at)kungfuology(dot)com 
Twitter: @andybest72

response to xkcd 435

This cartoon style may look familiar, this is why.


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