Results tagged “barfly” from Andy Best

bar 288
The story I'm about to comment on was first broke at China Music Radar here and then reported at Shanghaiist here

University radio presenter Louis Yu decided to spend part of his China trip seeing a local band and chose the Melting Pot. How unfortunate. His review of the terrible experience is now posted at the CMR link above. That's the Taikang Road branch pictured, this story is about the newer Hengshan Road branch. But, believe me, the story goes for both. 

I definitely do don't want to come across as all I told you so but let's also revisit some blog posts on the same subject first:


Here's a quote from the last of my three posts. Does it sound familiar (to anyone who's been there)?

The warm up act was in fact a crooning KTV guy singing pop hits to a backing track. Why? Whhyyyyy!!?? Because it was someone's birthday party. Yes, they let someone have their birthday do at the bar on a gig night and put they show back to 11.45 to accomodate a round of KTV crooning and some announcements etc. This is totally normal in the local stylee bar environment and dice shakers continued unabated.

So, here's a quote from when Louis went to see Cold Fairyland on New Year's Eve:

I went into the melting pot and asked the waiter" is cold fairyland playing?" "uh?" "band, is there a band?" "yeah, yeah band..." "what band is playing" "I don't know, new, new band" "do I have to pay for a ticket?" "no, no free". I sat down and it took me a while to clue in that cold fairyland was just some bar band that night ...

...Then he tried to continuously participate in the band's game, until Lin Di (the Pipa player and the leader of the band) said "no you had enough", and he proceeded to tell his friends to go on stage and participate in the game.For one of the games he was asked to give his fav number, in which he said "oh my fav number, beside cold fairyland's promotional number (WTF) is the number 69″, and then he looked around the room and laughed proudly. At that point I wanted to throw my glass at him. Another game he was asked what his fav animal was by which he said "pussy...", and another one, he finally won the game, and the band member gave him a gift, in which he pulled out a condom from his pocket and gave it back to the band member...

What more can one say? There are places like Live Bar and Yuyintang that get it. There are people like 0093 who live in windowless basement rooms in order to push new local bands. There are people like Frank from Mortal Fools and Splitworks pushing for larger events. There are even Indie Labels popping up. Louis adds that some famous bands he has spoken with lately said that they started out in places like that. The debate is, is mismanaged bad exposure better than none? I say - with places like YYT to play at and an established community of locals who know how to present their music, it will hurt you. This is because the choice is not between bad and nothing, it's between bad and something. 

More Barfly, pictures and chat

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hanging garden
Another update on the New Pants thing: I decided to follow up this story by contacting Kenneth Tan of Shanghaiist for a comment. He declined to answer at all so it's snubs all round. Hooray.

End update

I'm all excited. My cold is clearing and the worst is behind me. This weekend - shows! Great. So, before normal service is resumed let's clean up some odds and ends.

I recently spotted a small-ish column in Enjoy Classifieds talking about the scene. Check it here. So, Barfly continued to have a look at the music scene this week too.

I'm glad he did. I don't like to be negative and Barfly had a very similar experience to me in a certain area, so I can quote him instead of posting it as my own.

What the f*ck am I on about? Check this out first: adventures in cabaret

So, Bar 288 (Melting Pot) has recently opened a new location right on Hengshan Lu in the main bar area. I have been avoiding this for the same reasons I laid out in the linked post. At the bottom of this post you can see how it turned out. Barfly went there last week and here's what he had to say about it.

Barfly was going to be about the Melting Pot's new Hengshan Lu location and it's live music potential. I had it completed, and then decided it could be summed up in one sentence - the new Melting Pot has little potential aside from the funny sensation you get when walking into a Chinese club laced with purple velvet walls and disco lights, with Irish fiddles playing in the background.

That about sums up what everyone is saying except for the odd stage placement in there. The column is joking about Chinese mainstream clubs. This is not a cultural thing. YYT and Live Bar don't seem to have any problems. I personally just think the owners are just more club than venue, that's all. Also, Bar 288 on Taikang Lu is a pretty cool place to hang out, they just don't have any idea how to put on a rock show beyond letting a band play inside the building.

So, talking of YYT. Gemnil, a performance manager there, is starting to dip into some band promotion and photo shoots. YYT owner Zhang Haisheng only officially manages one band, Yu Guo. But now, together with 0093 studios, they will start to get more into developing talent. With 0093 releasing their first EP for the band Joker and Indie Top recording for 13 acts at the moment we may be able to double the amount of true albums from Shanghai based new generation bands by New Year. So above and below are some shots of Hanging Garden (Kongzhong Huayuan). See a video of these mellow indie balladeers at Yuyintang here.

Update: A sample of Gemnil's Pinkberry shoot added below

hanging garden

xiao you

Barfly goes to Yuyintang

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new sign at yuyintang
I'm sick and it's raining again. However I did manage to pop to a cafe this morning and come across a copy of Enjoy Classifieds which I was then surprised to find a scene reference inside. I've decided to squeeze that and a couple of other tidbits into a post.

First of all, let me assure you that Enjoy Classifieds is a regular type classifieds paper and is not adult in nature. It's just a bad choice of name. Inside there is a column called Barfly written by one Trevor Postma. Hi, Trevor. This week he admits never having been to a true local gig despite being a music fan and nobly decides to get on down to Yuyintang.

After the first real show comes the immediate scene fixing analysis. Credit to Trevor though as he comes out of that potential pitfall saying much the same as everyone else in the scene. In short, that the bands and fans are there but we're lacking a couple more decent venues. Barfly found YYT itself to be suitably grungy and rock style but a little on the small side. Alas, no mention of which show he was at or which bands were playing.

In other news, I got contacted by a certain Beijing scene guy who runs the site Rock In China. This is a wiki site that hopes to cover and document the whole China scene, so you can find a bunch of Shanghai info there too. Talking to Max, he reminded me of the other blog Chaile. There's a lot of posts there too, but it has been defunct since August 2006. Advance apologies to Max, and by implication Archie, but I have to mention that if you surf into Rock In China, it's done in one of those white text on black background with red trimming themes that burns my eyes out of my head like snow-blindness. It may just be me.

Coming up this weekend. Metal Night! 

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