Results tagged “brad ferguson” from Andy Best

Youtube: Subs in 2008 blast from the past

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Here is Aric's video from the legendary best show ever in Shanghai, when The Subs played at Windows Tembo in 2008. Tembo was such a runaway success as a music venue that they immediately moved to a bigger location, Windows Underground, then the boss came down to see it directly for the first time and complained that 'no one wanted to see Chinese playing rock, westerners do it better' and it came crashing to a halt. The boss is Chinese, by the way.

The video is shitty, constantly going out of focus. The sound is tinny, like a tin can, and doesn't capture what it was like ... and the interview part at the end is so trite. Also, you can't see how insanely packed it was, included a balcony, until at the end of the song you get a brief glimpse of the hands and jumping. 

But it's fine, check it out.



Brad, this is not the end?

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Brad Ferguson has been active on the Shanghai scene for ten years. Now, Brad and Da Men, the accomplished drummer of Duck Fight Goose, will move to the States for a life of married bliss. A show is booked at YYT, it will feature a can't miss Duck Fight Goose show and also a Boys Climbing Ropes re-union of sorts (with G filling in for Jordan.) 

Here's the event page and here's the flyer:

brad the end

Youtube: Duck Fight Goose at SXSW

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Duck Fight Goose manager/fifth member Brad Ferguson has been keeping a blog of the band's SXSW festival trip in Texas. Read it here.

Here is a video he posted of the band performing there. Youtube only right now so turn on your VPNs.


Next Year's Love EP out

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nylEP
Full disclosure: I was directly involved in the making of this EP. I invite all readers to keep your eyes peeled for independent reviews. Mr Fossy and Pangbianr are in the running.

Next Year's Love are a Shanghai all-girl synth punk trio. After gaining many fans through a string of shows last year they have capped things off with this 4-track EP also titled Next Year's Love. It was organised by Qu Records and produced by Brad Ferguson.

The links:


Again, I'm biased but I think the band and Brad really managed to successfully combine all of their influences onto this EP. There's the synth punk, the retro pop, the girl rock and even the drone/discordant elements. And what's more, when me and Brad had to carry YYT's old mixer desk down the 0093 stairs it was possibly the most dangerous / funny-in-hindsight gear carrying adventure ever. 

OK. Go to one of the links and immediately listen to "I Know" as your gateway. It's my favorite. Enjoy.

Death To Giants live album on Bandcamp

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Good news, we're only a day or two into the Year of the Dragon and someone has put out a release already.

It's Shanghai's Death to Giants.

The album is a four track live recording of a show from Yuyintang and it rocks.


Track listing:

1. Children Play Amongst the Graves while Cities Burn and Humans are Enslaved (live)儿童们在坟墓间嬉闹,城市在燃烧,人们带上了镣铐

2.Anyone Can Learn How To Count in Chinese (live) 谁都会学中文数数

3.Sick and Elastic (live) 疾病与伸缩

4.I Just Can't Wait to be King (disney cover)

Death To Giants live tracks up

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Shanghai lo-fi-high-skill duo Death To Giants are on the go again.

I first wrote about them here describing them like this:

Death to Giants combine the punk, playful intensity of modern lo-fi duos with a dose of virtuoso technical playing and vocal harmonies.

Now they have updated their page. They made a higher quality live recording at the most recent show and have posted up the tracks. The results are great.

go there now and listen ... and remember, anyone can learn to count in Chinese.

The Beat: DFG signs with Maybe Mars

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dfgxisy
Photo by G of X is Y via Douban

Here's a story that's been floating around. It's not officially announced anywhere by the label in question but recording has started in a place were tons of scene people hang out.

The breaking news goes to Mr Dan Shapiro at The Beat: Shanghai's Duck Fight Goose have signed for Maybe Mars.

Read the full article/insight here

It's also making its way around the net: The Push Shove

You can check out Duck Fight Goose's Douban page and hear their first EP Flow in its entirety, right there on the front page. The new recording will feature their new set, and style, but band manager Brad tells me there are plans to work in two of the old favorites. 

While were at it, let's check what I wrote about this in 2009: my cogitation. Although by my count, half the bands I mention there are inactive now, including biggest hope Self Party. 8 Eye Spy played a great show last week and their CD is great. DFG rose from the flames of Lava Ox Sea. We'll see.

It's here: Duck Fight Goose EP

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dfg flyer ep rel
Me and Jake write about Duck Fight Goose all the time, so if you're not familiar with them you can read about them here perhaps:


Also, you can check out their page here:


The first two demo tracks are more ambient/electronic driven and the last three are the guitar driven "death-ray rock" tracks.

Anyhow, DFG are one of the most exciting and original bands to come out of the scene lately. They are a kind of Miniless records super group featuring members of both Lava Ox Sea and Boojii. And this is the moment we've all been waiting for - a release date for their debut EP, produced by the band and Brad Ferguson.

The release show is at Yuyintang on December 18th and the 40 RMB ticket gets you an EP and a sticker. Marvelous. See you all there.

Yuyintang Global Times story - Brad's take

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new sign at yuyintang
So, following on from the recent saga at YYT, I linked an article online in the Global Times.

Despite hundreds of you reading no one commented. I wrote that I was surprised it made it in at all with a couple of reservations - and then scene veteran Brad Ferguson came in with the smack down to bring us back down to earth.

He points out the hypocrisy of the claims; Yuyintang dangerous and overcrowded, while the Expo is exactly that at only half capacity. Test days almost led to riots. He also points out the basic falsehood; Yuyintang had 50 people inside when they closed it, and they even quote 100 as the limit in the same article.

Read the article here and now here's Brad's comments:

I know I shouldn't expect actual journalism from that propaganda rag, but that article is terrible. At least they use softer paper than China Daily...and the print doesn't smudge my ass cheeks.

"But now it's more difficult; officials are much stricter about artists, foreign especially, having the proper visas, and all the venues must have the required licenses, too."

Implication: China used to be the Wild West, but now there's Rule of Law.

"Yuyintang was temporarily closed by authorities in 2007 for failing to have the permit needed for a show by the Beijing-based band Brain Failure."

Implication: This raid was superficially similar to the shutdown of the previous incarnation (Longcao Lu) of Yuyintang three years ago, so they are likely at fault this time, too.

Does Yuyintang currently have the "required licenses" and "proper permits"? I guess the "relevant department" couldn't be reached for comment.

"officials told the roughly 50 patrons that they were pulling the plug on the music due to capacity issues."

"They told me that the bar could not hold more than 100 people during the Expo because it's too small."

There were roughly 50 patrons, which is about half the 100 people the officials say the place can hold. Did the reporter think to ask why, if both statements are true, did the they actually shut the place down?

"They just said they were concerned that the venue would become overcrowded and unsafe."

That doesn't sound like a very good reason.

Putting aside the irony that on the same day, the Expo grounds were overcrowded and chaotic, and that the subways are dangerously overcrowded every morning and evening, and that every tourist attraction in Shanghai is overcrowded...the commerce officials didn't say, "Don't let any more people in," or "Ten people have to leave for this place to be safe." They went in, demanded identification from patrons of the bar, and confiscated equipment essential to the operation of the bar.

If Yuyintang didn't have the correct permits, why weren't they cited?
If the place was overcrowded, why did the officials confiscate equipment?

Do officials from the Shanghai Administration of Industry and Commerce have the authority to demand identification?

Do officials from the Shanghai Administration of Industry and Commerce have the authority to confiscate private property?

I'm not a scholar of Chinese law (if there is such a thing), and I don't know all the facts of this case (how could I, given such shoddy reporting?) but it seems that the Shanghai Administration of Industry and Commerce acted illegally. If the government is now requiring businesses to obtain proper permits and licenses and adhere to the law, then at the very least, the government branch in charge of enforcing those laws should be held to the same standard.

Brad Ferguson's Workshop in Shanghai

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Adam at Luwan Rock has just blogged about the latest online meeting of rock and geekdom Brad's Lab.


I think it's only fair for me to plug Brad's new site as I'm constantly harassing him about all kinds of stuff. 

Brad Ferguson has been around the Shanghai music scene for years and is known to most as a promoter. But, he has a secret weapon - he can build all kinds of things from scratch including effects pedals, amps and whole guitars.

Brad has a workshop in the same place as Juju Studios, in the F-Ghetto, and is now doing his custom design and repair work professionally. I've had guitars fixed up there and Brad is building me a delay pedal as we speak. He's fast becoming the go-to guy for all things custom in the music scene. So go.

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.

Relentless blogging on BCR

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BCRflyer
As I type I'm sitting in the Kungfuology studio mixing down our latest podcast. That's right, I'm hanging out in my bedroom.

So, one of the things we're going to talk about is the upcoming show on Saturday at Yuyintang. Boys Climbing Ropes are releasing their new CD. You should, of course, go and click on the flyer there for a larger version and details.

Now. I just finished receiving a promo track to use on the pod from bassist Morgan Short. It's Whale Song. If you go to the shows, you'll know it. The CD has been engineered and produced by Brad Ferguson on the usual zero budget ... but ... blimey ... drops scone and tea cup .... I can't believe how good it sounds. 

This is both BCR and Brad at their best. I'm blown away and listening to the track over and over. I just had to blog this moment. Check the podcast later tonight at Jake's place.

Where we've been ...

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Thumbnail image for by Wee Ling
It was a slow week on the blogs here at Kungfuology with one reader even suggesting we check Jake wasn't dead. Nice. Well the ravages of the real world caught up with us, but it was mainly good stuff.

There was a convergence of personal projects that all came through within a hectic three days of each other.

My band's new single, Paris 68, went live. It's produced by Brad Ferguson who works miracles on zero budget and a bedroom.

We had the first ever mainland China PETA shoot. It was shot by Tim Franco and is for this free show at YYT next month featuring Candy Shop and Forget and Forgive. It's to promote the pics and 81fur.com

Splitworks provided the studio.

The photos are not officially out but there are two previews. Oh oh, who's that in this one

Jake was also at FrFrFrFr studio in 696 Weihai Lu covering the shoot for Time Out Shanghai as part of their article on Candy Shop. We were made up when the event listing went live at the end of the week along with the previews but that didn't free Jake from his workload at the mag. Luckily we both made it to Yuyintang last night to catch the good jive show ... which I'll leave Jake to review.

Finally. Yes, the podcast is coming soon, it would have been this week, so stay tuned for that.

The F-visa Ghetto: redux

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I used to blog a bit about the area I live in and how it was turning into a hipster paradise, also named the F-visa ghetto. The gist was that I noticed it was becoming a destination for music  and music people. I predicted it would grow as it was both downtown and had plenty of cheaper rents (within the context of Shanghai prices). 

Now, I was having a play with this site E-dushi Shanghai and I've made some little maps for y'all to check out. These are by no means comprehensive but the give you a quick idea at how much it has developed, despite development. If you see what I mean. There are plenty of other attractions there such as The Loft and Cotton's Xinhua etc. 

Click on all pics for the large, ledgible, versions.

Postcard overview showing the boundaries and main streets

postcard large

Xingfu Road strip and JuJu

juju detail postcard

Dingxi Road

dingxi road postcard

Mao and Redtown

Mao Detail Postcard

Yuyintang

Yuyintang e city

Reminders and bamboo guitars

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Update: Brad documented the whole bamboo guitar project on his site Sinolectro

So, yeah, now me and Jake have a podcast. It's me and him talking a bit but people seem to find it bearable and we even play you a Chinese indie song at the end.

So, don't forget, Jake's blog is good and it's the main one.

Go there now to hear the pod and see what's going on:


Now that's Brad Ferguson pictured with the logo for the Control show a while back, which I mentioned in the podcast. So, we're currently doing a bit of work together on the upcoming Expendable release. Today, I finally popped over to see Brad's workshop.

Brad custom builds both guitars and guitar equipment from scratch. Today I got to have a look at a prototype bamboo Telecaster and play through his Tonerider analogue effects. Brad is currently working with some prominent scene figures to develop some new custom effects pedals. I can't say too much as it's all in development now but it features genuine stars of the scene and some great ideas. So, if you're looking for a unique custom sound for your band, you'll know where to go.

Boys Climbing Ropes live @ Yuyintang

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wedding book
Friday night at Yuyintang was a wedding themed free party that was, in fact, part of Brad Ferguson and Da Men's wedding party. The flyer on the YYT site was the Chinese wedding papers (pictured).

So, yeah, congratulations guys.

The original line up included Hard Queen and Duck Fight Goose but after a few pieces of bad luck only Boys Climbing Ropes remained. 

So, it was now up to the happy couple to step up and play the support slot at their own party. Brad and Damen took the stage and played some country hits. Sheena from Hard Queen got up there too at one point and they went through Hotel Yorba, which is a regular Hard Queen cover.

This was my first time catching Boys Climbing Ropes since their summer break, having missed out on the Handsome Furs show. The played mainly newer material with only Calculate making an appearance from the Pleasure To Be Here CD. The mics and vocal mix were good today and the combination of Little Punk and Jordan's singing came through really well. They have the material and the presence to step up to be a headliner now. All they need is to push themselves a bit online like the Mushrooms do with flyers and regular activity in the groups on Douban or whatever.

What I mean is, I'd like to be at a sold out BCR show because I like 'em. Selfish me.

Good times: Subs flyer gallery

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Over at The Subs Douban page they have a gallery with a ton of their flyers. It's really cool. And what's more, looking through I found the flyer for the Shuffle Bar gig. Shuffle Bar is now Anar Bar (via Pirates Bar) and the gig was put on by Brad Ferguson. It was a good night but both support acts are no longer with us - The Living Thin and Slit. 

Flyer says it was 3.11 but what year was that? 2007? 06? It seems like ages ago but can't be that long.

Check it out:

shuffle bar subs

Retros live @ Yuyintang

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retros promo
The title of this post is slightly misleading. I went to the show. well in time for the usual headliner's starting time ... alas ... Yuyintang was packed beyond any inkling of safety and/or half the people there being able to even see the band. 

What's more, Retros went on quite early. So, I can tell you, they sounded great and people were into them, but I was standing out in the park with Brad Ferguson, Jake Newby and Archie Hamilton having a natter for most of my time there. Shout out to Michael too.

We all had a chat about recent events and at how packed the past few weekends had been at all venues. By coincidence, the basic thread of the discussion is summed up quite nicely in an earlier post over at CW by Dan Shapiro. It also quotes three out of four of the above mentioned people. 

Go there now and read Dan's superbly laid out summary:


While you're at it, here's another Dan post on Queen Sea Big Shark: read it

Hedgehog live @ Yuyintang (Blue Daydreaming tour)

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Tonight was a bit of a blur. No pics or vids, strictly selfish enjoyment only.

Hedgehog are one of China's best live acts on the underground scene and were touring to promote their third CD, Blue Daydreaming. The other two are Happy Idle Kid and Noise Hit World. Everyone knows about their shows and this was to be one of the don't miss nights of the year.

So, I was working late today and arrived to an already over filled YYT having missed the first two bands, Pinkberry and Wildcat. Sorry guys.

Then came the bomb (in a good way). I already wrote how my fav Shanghai group The Mushrooms got back to form lately and now they were playing before Hedgehog to a packed hall of fans. Now they are back to their best. The room went off and yours truly was lost in the mosh. Can we have the Mushroom's CD soon please, Soma? It seems like quite a while since they signed. Come on.

After some air it was back into the fray for Hedgehog. Part of their live mojo is that they are in complete control of the tempo and dynamics. It's never really fast or running away, but always just up-beat enough to get everyone moving. I was a bit miffed that they didn't play my favourite live track Wink last time around but this time they played it right up front. Great. The only casualty of the night was my favourite T which got soaked and stretched out of all proportion. Not only that, Brad's new Dig Dug T-shirt shits all over mine anyway. The night was made even better by recent improvements to YYT's sound system which made a big difference.

Hard Queen CD realease @ Yuyintang

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hard queen cd release
This weekend your regular blogger Andy was ill. Boo hoo. Luckily Jake Newby was there and here's his guest write up:

Rammed. That was YYT tonight. If this was a call to arms, then it was fully answered. The renovations at YYT may have given them more room but it still didn't seem enough last night as people were forced to queue in the pouring rain to get in. Once in, there was barely room to move. Or, as Brad Ferguson put it, "great."

You know the story by now about Hard Queen's struggle to reach this point and they fully deserved such a huge turn out. I got in not long after 9pm, thinking I was early, yet still had to push my way through the crowds. Boys Climbing Ropes opened with a typically energetic and tight set. They seem to get better every show and were on top form, but this was Hard Queen's night.

Despite Zero donning big sunglasses and playing it very cool, the band looked a touch nervy during the opening couple of songs. They soon settled down however and by the third or fourth track in seemed to be really enjoying themselves. DaMen in particular played the entire set with a huge grin on her face. The band gave a great show, delivering the tracks from their Holiday EP as well as cementing their Mod credentials with a cover of The Kingsmen's Louie Louie. They also added a fantastic cover of Michael Jackson's Beat It before closing out the night in traditional fashion with their version of White Stripes' Hotel Yorba.

Hard Queen CD release: this is another call to arms

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hardqueenflyer
This is another call to arms. 

All bands, shows and underground CDs deserve your support. But, every now and again there is an event which I believe is a potential turning point for the scene. This is only the second time I've done this and it must be stressed that there are no 'deals' with the bands/promoters and the giveaways are paid for in full, from my own pocket. This is me putting my money where my mouth is - figuratively and literally.

Hard Queen are one of Shanghai's great underground acts trying to do something different or personal. Here is their new site and you can listen to some tracks here.

Hard Queen have arrived at this day - their 4th April EP release - through many knocks. This included being famously fired from Windows Underground for being Chinese and also having to scrap eight months in the studio last year. All the time they seemed to receive little support from the scene in general who tended not to understand the music. 

However, with the help of producer/promoter Brad Ferguson, they went back to the ethic that Sheena started the band with - do it yourself and be true to yourself. Now the EP is ready. It has been done without a label or any kind of industry support and on a minimum personal budget. All the artwork, design and promotions have been done by friends of the band and the band themselves.

The EP is included in the price of entry on the night and there are T-shirts available too. So here's what I'm going to do - the first four commenters on this post who state they want one and provide a size will get a t-shirt on me. They will be able to collect it when they go to the show.

If this event is packed out and the merchandise is sold out - it sends a message that a local band with limited funds can make original music D.I.Y. style and succeed. So go. And tell everyone you know to go too. 

Hard Queen site goes live

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hardqueenflyer
The return of Hard Queen is almost upon us. Hard Queen are one of Shanghai's most original bands with a dressed down alt-pop sound that stands out from the rock crowd. 

Why not start by checking out their show at Eno for Popil's art show. Watch the video.

Hard Queen had developed a great set of new material and played a string of shows that ended in the now legendary Windows Underground last show where the boss banned Brad Ferguson from hiring Chinese bands and Hard Queen trashed the kit and denounced the management to the punters. The band then went into the studio but couldn't agree with the producer and months went by with no results.

So, Brad came to the rescue as the new producer and now we finally have a release date. The new website is now live here and you'll note that the CD will be released at Yuyintang on the 4th April. You pay the usual 30 rmb cover then get the CD included. Good news to international fans of the band Brad is making the CD available on Itunes a little after the release. The CD can also be physically bought overseas through CDbaby.com. Just one month to go.

Hedgehog live @ Yuyintang (Dec 2008)

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hedgehog flyerI made it to the third show in two days. Also, this is Hedgehog and it was a packed show. I made the decision to enjoy this one to the max so no photos, sorry. Or videos. Just to round off this preface, monopod guy was absent and photographers don't get much of a look in when you have over 300 people in YYT.

Amazing turn out as usual at STD promotions. Hedgehog's last visits were packed out mosh fests and they are a genuinely good live act. The only annoyance was that STD DJs decided to play Dance music before and in between the bands. Err ... don't, thanks. I for one come to YYT to watch rock because I am consciously avoiding that sort of music. After the bands is fine, I can go home.

Both tonight's bands have good pages with several quality tracks for listening to:

Boys Climbing Ropes
Hedgehog

BCR came on to a packed room and did not dissapoint. Great sound and for once you could clearly hear both the singers. Little Punk now has a distinct stage persona and all the songs went off great including the new material. It was great to hear a band with an original sound playing intelligent music with a soul in Jordan's lyrics. Especially after almost an hour of techno over the speakers while we were waiting. In what was to be a pattern for the night, though, they didn't play my fave track Dirty Bots. Hedgehog didn't play Wink either, you see. 

Hedgehog have evolved a lot since they last came. They have a lot of material and are very self-aware. They knew exactly which tracks were the favourites and seemed to have planned their set carefully to build and build as the night went on. Toy61 Festival sent the room into action and it remained that way for the rest of the set.  It's becoming a cliche to say this now ... but ... the drummer, Atom, is surely one of the best around. She is both imaginative and in perfect control of the dynamics. That fact that she looks like a elementary school student (she really can't be anything over 4'10") still elicits a ton of superlatives from newcomers to the band.

So many interesting people down tonight I have no idea who to mention. Frank Fen of Mortal Fools was down plugging this show like crazy. Sean Leow of Neocha was there as was fellow Web 2.0 guru George Godula. Brad Ferguson was down with Hard Queen drummer Da Men (Shanghai's own female drum powerhouse). It was Super Sophia Wang and Jake Newby's birthdays, so, yeah ..happy birthday again. Actually, it must be said that over the three shows this weekend I met a lot of people from distinctly different groups and heard quite a few not-for-the-blog stories - so you'll all have to say hi in person next time to hear them. 

The Subs live @ Dream Factory

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dream factory nov
The Subs have now played three shows here this year and, based on the previous turnouts, promoter Abe Deyo moved them up to the Zhijiang Dream Factory this time. The full line up was as follows:


I arrived pretty much on time only to find that the Molds were still sound checking. And so they did for another half an hour or so. It turned out that both Beijing bands needed ninety minutes each to sound check as they were not happy with the venue sound guy. Usually it's not a huge concern at smaller underground shows but Dream Factory is a more professional theatre and the ticket price is double that of the music bars too. Note to the Indietop show next Friday: bring your own sound people.

Once down in the hall it was an hour or so past door opening time and while there was eventually enough people to make the Subs fun and the usual mosh-fest, it was obvious it wasn't going to be the big turnout I hoped for. I met a bunch of people at the show. Aside from the usual suspects were Shanghai blogging duo Swiss James and Dingle. So, on to the bands.

Pinkberry took the stage and went into their set with confidence. The guitar was quiet and the drums sounded like they had a blanket over them but they didn't seem to care. I'm always impressed with how professional they are for a newer/younger band. Vocalist Xiao You really looked the part and, and as always, gave a good performance. My favourite song by Pinkberry is Mei You Shenme Da Bu Liao but lately they have taken to playing it double-time at gigs. But what do I know, Brad Ferguson commented that he quite liked the double-time style. Here's the original but it's only half the track, sorry. 

By the time The Molds appeared there was enough people there to fill a Yuyintang. The Molds are a very interesting band. They claim the Cramps as their main influence but play it very straight. Their sound is like Eddie Cochrane or The Shadows with purposefully morose vocals. I was looking forward to it after hearing the demos on Myspace. Unfortunately the vocal sound was so drowned in echo and up in the mix that basically the whole of the band was masked by a kind of wet ghostly moan. The audience couldn't really latch onto the music and as the set went on, for quite some time, it sent the 'young uns' scampering down the street for convenience store beers. The Molds are a cool band, though, and quite distinct from the Nanjing psychobilly acts. 

Right after I was explaining to someone how The Subs never play Drew The Line at shows anymore but play it's outro as the show lead in music - The Subs took the stage and went directly into Drew The Line. The sound seemed to get sorted a couple of songs in and a mosh ensued. Monopod guy was back and I spent a few songs unable to see singer Kang Mao past his huge rig. I think once the ticket price and venues get above a certain level someone is going to have to step in and say no unofficial huge vid cameras in the centre or flash photography at the shows. I was mellow all show as I'm just coming off four weeks or cough and cold. I went up the back to make the video of the encore track What More and you can see some crowd surfing action therein. 

Casino Demon live @ Yuyintang

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casino demon
I have to start by apologizing for the photo for this post. It is a classic in the genre of nondescript afterthought pictures that Andy puts on his blog. Believe me, I'm actually very into photography but my main priority at shows is ... shock ... watching them. We're coming back to that later. Besides, don't the pictures and bootleg style vids add to the underground atmosphere? 

So. Tonight's headliners were being talked up big time by scene people who are up in Beijing a lot (Dan). They did not disappoint so fair play. Let's start with the line up:

Casino Demon (Beijing): myspace - music video (like, a real one)
The Rogue Transmission: myspace
Fire Balloon (Beijing): myspace

This show was another S.T.D. production which meant a later start. But that also means a good opportunity for me to chat and find out what's going on. Not much to be honest, although I did witness a funny scene where by someone related to one of the bands just decided to take advantage of the free guest entry and bring about twenty people in unannounced. Certain managers were obviously a bit miffed at having the p*ss taken out of them and must have asked for a list to be made. Someone in the back must have then found that request a slight on their grandeur amusing as the list came back with names like Jesus, Barack Obama and Mao Zedong on it. It was funny. Really though, free guests, at a (poor and small) YYT show? Where's the Brad-inator when you need him?

So, on came Fire Balloon. Fire Balloon are a modern rock three piece in the mold of The Libertines. Well, you know, the style that the Libertines made popular again. They had some good songs and the singer/guitarist had a definite artist feel about him as he rambled off into some excellent guitar work and often seemed to be in another place (in the good sense). That got them through a clear but very support act sound and a broken bass string. There was another excellent turn out and the crowd seemed pleased. Behind me, Sam the sound guy was constantly face down on his lap top due to illness, but this didn't seem to cause any major problems either. 

Next up are local favourites The Rogue Transmission. Since the summer break this band have played a lot of shows and put out their first CD. They have been working hard and the result is clear to see. People know the songs and come ready to have a good time. Prior to the show I was reading over at Layabozi that A.B.T. had become the anthem track for the Rogues. They were right. By the time they played the song, second from last in the set, people were dancing and going for it and there was a definite reaction there. The only drawback was the curse of the photographer who has no respect for the audience. I have moaned about this so many times before. This time, some girl who I haven't really seen there with a camera before was taking it to the next level. For the second and third track of The Rogue's Set she got up behind them on stage, pointed her powerful pro-flash at the crowd and proceeded to blind me over and over again.

When Casino Demon took the stage I wasn't entirely convinced. It's not like when The Subs take the stage and there's an air of expectation. They don't have a strong image and are very humble, unassuming guys. However, this doesn't matter when you have excellent tight, punchy songs with great hooks and a room chock full of people who are up for it. The dancing, jumping and moshing got under full swing and the band were very good at keeping the energy up and getting into next tracks without delay. Again, this band lists The Libertines among their influences and it shows. Zhang Haisheng tells me that this is very popular in the Beijing scene at the moment. 

People who are not physically in the scene here might wonder why I have to make special mention every time a show has a lot of people and goes of well. That's because in this small scene, a show could equally be twenty people loitering in a near empty room. Good shows here are the result of hard work from everyone involved and are to be celebrated. The band were called out for an encore but had played all their material. They left us with a Joyside cover - always a popular move in China. Err ... should I say this? Despite the star factor of the real Joyside I felt that Casino Demon performed this much better than the real guys (who are always completely wasted).

Defy live @ Yuyintang

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defy
This post has been slightly delayed due to whatever it is that goes wrong with Shanghai Online's dns that makes access pop on and off at times. Of course, once this post is no longer the latest one then the previous statement becomes meaningless. And so begins the triple preface. Oh yes.

This second preface is a preface to the third and final preface to the post. Let me say that again ... preface. So, this post's preface mentions 'kung fu'. Kung fu is the only thing in my life that takes up even more time than music, but I almost never mention it in this blog because of the standard responses to mention of kung fu. The most common being a variation on either "I'm a black belt in Karate" or "Let me tell you why martial art X is superior to martial art Y". In the latter, Y is equal to whatever art you said you do. If you're really lucky you might get the bonus response, a lengthy explanation of mystical Qi powers or any standard variation on "I know a really really old weak looking guy who can blow you across the room with two fingers using magic." I've heard them all, if any one puts any of these in the comments on this post then they get the answer to fourth and final standard response to mention of kung fu, "Show me a move." The answer being "no".

And now the preface. This review may not be entirely accurate. Prior to attending the show I had been on a public holiday during which our kung fu class met every day. During the show I felt like I had hot pins stuck between my shoulder blades and also in my knees. I was so tired physically that I found it almost impossible to concentrate long enough to link up simple pairs of events. Like a question and its answer. I spoke to several people there, but have little memory of what it was about and tried to get by with use of the repeating the question in the form of an answer dodge. 

So, Yuyintang was strangely quiet around the advertised starting time of nine. And by that I mean it was the staff ... and me. What could it mean? Yuyintang gigs are usually full of locals who are early birds. As people started to trickle in it became apparent that it was going to be one of those pretty much all ex-pats shows. Party going ex-pats tend to come late, you see. Don't ask why, I have no idea. Anyway, no big problems there. Well done everyone for supporting local music.

First up was Sonnet. This band have been split for a while and have just got back together. They are a choppy guitar sound indie-rock band, not far away in style from TooKoo, who are well good. Here's the link for TooKoo's last show I went too, here. Sonnet do things a little bit differently, during one song they alternated between live drums and a drum machine. They seemed to have some early problems with the sound mix and when I turned around to look at the desk - there was no one there. Here's what happens in a resource-light underground scene with average equipment when someone isn't right there really taking care of the sound ... it sucks incredibly and sabotages the show. 

And on that point, it took Defy three aborted attempts to get their show started. The main vocal mic had either a dodgy cable or socket and was cutting out all show. It had to be continually moved just a little bit to that position where it didn't cut out. And this continued with no moves to try and replace it or anything sensible like that - that would be too easy. When they finally got going, the band weren't half bad. Defy traded in their punk style for rockabilly, with a double bass and everything. However, this was not psychobilly it was just straight up 50s rock. Once they had gotten through a song without tech problems, they got things going with a straight cover of Elvis' Hound Dog

It was at this point that I looked around. I was standing in a room full of assorted ex-pats who were mainly non-rock/indie people - and they were dancing to Elvis. I left. I must admit the fatigue played a large part. 

A quick mention. That night was also the first show put on by Brad Ferguson over at Anar Bar. The band was reggae act Wang Lei, who I'll see at Yuyintang in the near future. I'm a bit skeptical about the venue as it's kind of a back room in a restaurant. But, I will endeavor to check it out firsthand as soon as possible. 

'Control' PK14 live @ Dream factory

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rogue transmission
So, ladies and germs, may I now bring your attention to the main event. Well, something like that. It's been a while since Brad Ferguson had The Subs and PK14 down to Windows Tembo and tonight was the first 'big show' since then. I had a personal mission to finally get a BCR song on video for the site. This is my third show in three days and I'm coming down with something or other. I almost didn't make it. However, I was determined not miss a patented 'big show'. Can I say that just one more time ... 'big show'.

There were four bands playing tonight so without further ado, lets have the contenders:


I arrived an hour after the door time and completely missed Hard Queen. Luckily for me I saw them last night. I went down into the stage area and was happy to see the place filling up nicely. Now was my chance to see these bands play with a better sound to a decent crowd who were ready to mosh, dance and go nuts. 

I last saw Rogue Transmission play at Windows Underground. From where I was standing that night, the sound was terrible and I didn't come away with much. It was a different story tonight. While not perfect, the sound was clear and loud. The melodies and colour in the material came out and the energy was certainly there. Front man Dan Shapiro is a real rocker and the crowd were really up for it as the band put on a good old rock show. The 'big show' was all going to plan. 

To be honest, I was not sure how Boys Climbing Ropes were going to go down. The crowd were warmed up and had just flipped out to rock. PK14, the headliners are also punk rock. BCR are more experimental and nuanced. Looking around the hall I saw mainly international students and ex-pats, most of which had probably never seen or heard BCR before. The band also have a hard time getting their sound across at times, due to the shit heaps equipment in smaller Shanghai clubs. The audience stuck with the first couple of tracks while they figured it all out and then got the payoff for tracks like Dirty Bots and Pleasure To Be Here at the end. The sound was ok and people around me were getting into it with dancing up front. Good stuff.   

So, finally PK14. They were solid. People didn't go as nuts I thought they would at first. Again, with a crowd of mainly ex-pats, a lot of who haven't followed the band, there wasn't much awe/excitement as there normally would be with these veterans of the scene. It all got going a couple of songs in though. The sound was percussive and full of middle most of the night, but that just seemed to suit PK14's choppy guitar style. I didn't make it through to the bitter end as the thing I'm coming down with started to sap my energy. I almost accidentally blanked Archie from Splitworks on the way out as he'd shaved off his trademark beard. Archie has just come off a national tour with PK14.

So, readers, were you at the show last night? What did you think? Who did you like? The comments section is open and does not require a log in. 

Spicy duck and spicy prose

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layabozi
I'm going to start this post with an excuse a preface - just for Aric. I really just like to focus on the shows and bands here and it's just my personal blog. I have previously mentioned that covering other sites is futile as they disappear quickly and blah blah blah ... but, I have become a post whore.

Let me define that. 

Post Whore: Someone that posts something only vaguely related to the usual content, or perhaps something they previous swore off on principal, in order to obsessively maintain a high monthly post count on their blog.

Okay. So, this month I surfed into a brand new Shanghai Music Scene website while googling TooKoo. It's called Layabozi (spicy duck neck) and you can find it here:


It's thoroughly modern and combines elements of traditonal web layouts and blog/2.0 features. I was just reading their post on tonight's PK-14 show when I thought to make a post of my own. The first thing I noticed about it is that mysterio thing a lot of netizens do. Someone who makes a site like this is obviously a regular on the scene but declines to give away their real identity anywhere on the site. I do suppose though, that to anyone who knows them "Chilean amateur flautist" probably makes it pretty obvious. In fact now I already have an idea that I met them at TooKoo last night. The real drawback is that you may write something they don't like, having no idea who they are, and be heading to your doom at the next show.

The site itself is more into the China Music Radar territory and wanders into several scenes and genres, also the 'biz' in general. It covers Jazz and has a review of a Joy Division CD along side reports on underground rock shows. Another sign that the site aspires to 'magazine standards' is the writing style. Here's an excerpt from the latest post:

This is the pagan celebration of music, the dancers around the fires of creation celebrating the force of live music, turning on the inspiration, the hearts and the engines. For all of those about to say there's no rock in Shanghai, we recommend extreme care before pronouncing these words, you may be slapped by one of the dark wings of the demons flying over Shanghai. It's as simple as if you don't feel it, it's just not for you. And for those chosen to participate, join the lines and spread the word: Rock is striking out Shanghai. Hell Yeah!!!!

Here is a description of Brad Ferguson:

Ferguson is one of the demons of Rock, who as many custodial demons, has been called to protect and feed the fires of Rock&Roll and during this present age Shanghai is the proud designated zone under his dark wings. 

So, if you're into this style, perhaps Layabozi is the music mag you have been missing, check it out.

Gossip Week: Brad's back (again), who is Emma?

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anar bar
I saw a couple of posts on the City Weekend blogs just today that constitute a post. Surprisingly though, they came not from 'Punknotjunk' or Dan Shapiro but from their general nightlife editor, Jessy.

The first post is about Emma and China West. They are both large scale ticketers and promoters that put on shows in Shanghai and all over the country. The article is about one poaching management staff from the other.

Original post here.

Jessy is reporting on an article first published at China Music Radar here. I must explain something to fans of the rock-indie scene in Shanghai. Emma and China West are the companies responsible for bringing Celine Dion here, and soon Avril Lavigne. So here's a question: what does a Celine Dion stadium gig have to do with the underground rock scene? Nothing ... and so on to the next item.

Brad Ferguson's latest comeback is actually a show he had booked while at Windows Underground. There was no plan beyond the one show -which is this weekend. However, stop the press, here comes a real comeback. CW blogs reveal that Brad is getting back to together with former boss Zooma. Brad and Zooma worked together putting on shows at the ill-fated venue 4-live. Now they will be reunited at Anar Bar. Anar Bar used to be Shuffle bar a while ago, where Brad also worked putting on shows. I myself saw a Subs gig that he put on there.

This makes me crack a smile as the latest venue to join the scene is in fact in my newly defined area for hipsters ... i.e. where I live. Check it out. If things go well, i'll add it in to the Google map soon.

Lets finish with a listen to PK-14, the biggest show coming up this weekend. Here they are.

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. 

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. 

Brad Ferguson already back on his hoss

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controlI have open commenting now, does that mean I might end up with those people who comment on spelling errors? Err, I can spell horse, Brad is from Texas ... it's one of those really really funny jokes ... really funny.

I recently posted on Brad Ferguson's split with Windows Underground right here. Just two weeks later he's already back and promoting a new series of rock shows in Shanghai. This time Brad is branding himself with a catchy name Control. Not literally of course, oh thoseTexans.

The first show is going to be at Dream Factory on the 13th September and Brad's doing it by himself and out of pocket so Shanghai based readers should get along and support the show. Here's the line-up:

Boys Climbing Ropes
The Rogue Transmission
Hard Queen
PK-14

The release of their excellent CD City Weather Sailing has established PK-14 as pretty much the top punk/rock act in China now. The CD quality, production and conception is right up there and you can even get the CD details via I-tunes - oooooh. That's rather flash for the China underground scene. They are worthy headliners.

I should also mention that when I was following up with Brad on the details for this post he was careful to say that nothing's planned beyond the first show. PK-14 had already been booked for Windows Underground. So, let's have a repeat of the Tembo Subs show - get to the show make it a success and a good time ... and maybe it'll lead to more shows. Also, if you don't go, those spelling-nazi commenters are going to hunt you down.

So this is farewell, Aric Queen

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anthony and aricThe same time I was reading City Weekend music scene columnist Aric Queen's official last column in the new print edition - takes breath - there was also an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond playing in the same room. It was an episode where Ray, a writer, gets caught writing an obituary for his still living father for practice. So, I'm going to blog Aric's official departure from the scene as if he was dead/gone for good.

Aric Queen was recently known as a scene pundit of sorts through his column The Beat. Despite it being on the English speaking periphery of an already small scene, the column still managed to provoke debate and a few storms in teacups along the way. A notable example of this was the column following up on strong shows at Tembo that asked if Brad Ferguson was the saviour of the Shanghai music scene. A lack of experience with English expressions and journo-hyperbole led folks at Yuyintang to take it as a slight on their own efforts.

After taking over the column from the DJ-centric Michael Ozone of Antidote, Aric brought his local live music agenda with him. Recently, though, burnout settled in and the column increasingly fell back to generic posts on the ex-pat bar scene. With only one print column a month, most of this year was spent wondering why girls kiss each other at parties and other related topics. A column wondering if it was "gay" to cry at a Black Eyed Peas show caused a predictable (and justified) ruckus. Around this time, Aric also broke onto Current TV with his Shanghai Diaries v-log. This was not music related. This month's final column announces his departure into greener pastures. 

Now for what a lot of newer arrivals to the scene don't know about Aric. Aric Queen was an extremely talented, and professional, voice artist/presenter whose Gig Shanghai project is the sole largest missed opportunity the scene ever had. I still miss it. It's easy to start a website or blog and write about the scene, just ask me. It's not easy to maintain a good one. You need the time and resources to create a strong lead feature and publish it often. Gig Shanghai had it all.

Aric was working for Ken Carroll at Chinese Pod as an English presenter for some of their podcasts. Gig Shanghai was then started within this professional environment. They had their own studio and employees at the company to do research and bookings. The site was simple and effective with good branding and a simple clear style. They had a single strong feature, the podcast, and produced it every week. And it was good. After a few weeks it hit it's stride and expanded to include a Chinese language program too. The future looked bright and it all hinged around Aric's considerable skills in the host's seat.

It all collapsed as quickly as it had taken off. The process of expanding into a fully fledged video show in effect killed the podcast. The new show Giglive didn't pan out and had been funded through a venue as a promotion, a move away from the Carroll stable. Everyone walked away and the greatest web project on the scene died a quick death.

When Aric resurfaced with the CW column and a freelance producer mantle, he was already jaded. But, the skills on show during Gig Shanghai stuck in my mind and we (me and Cameron Hirst) approached him to present a demo project of our own - FNU. We made it to use as a demo and involved Aric in all parts of the process. We had a good time and got to see the Aric skills in action, reminding me again of what could have been. It was a joy to work with a pro and I finished the project wondering what had happened to this guy who was now mainly know as "The Columnist You Love to Hate - Mostly Hate". Attempts at a low rent revival of the pod/vid cast in the CW blog of the column just seemed to underline the transformation.

Of course, Aric is not dead and I for one hope his trip brings him back to us refreshed and recharged. It takes all types to make a vibrant scene even people you love to hate.

Windows Underground goes down in spectacular fashion

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Windows UndergroundBreaking news over at Shanghaiist that I'm going to rehash here as some of my blog peeps don't go there.

Here's the original article.

So, here's how the story of Friday night went - that's last night. Brad Ferguson, the manager of Windows Underground turned up to work to have his boss tell him that he was now forbidden from booking Chinese bands.

Some background, the Windows family has three popular bars in Shanghai. One of them, Tembo, was not doing much so the boss, a local Shanghai woman, hired Brad to manage in the general sense and to turn it into a live music place. After a great start they moved the whole bar to a bigger location and fitted it out with a good sound system, finally re-naming it Windows Underground.

Here's Brad telling the story from the Sha-ist interview:

My boss forbade me from hiring Chinese bands, saying that Chinese people only want to see foreigners, and that rock is a western thing so westerners do it better. She said she herself would rather see a bad foreigner band than a good Chinese one. We argued about it for a while last night, but didn't make any progress. So, I let Hard Queen, our regular Friday night (Chinese) band, do their final show. The accountant warned me that they wouldn't pay for Chinese bands, but I agreed to pay out of my own pocket. The band are friends of mine, so I also told them why they were being replaced. At the end of their set they said some stuff about the bar and my boss -- all true -- then kicked the drum kit over. The crowd cheered and people seemed to be having a good time. I finished out the night, but when I got home my boss called me from downstairs. She yelled at me for a while, then she called the police. I politely explained the events of the night, and the cops agreed that as there were no damages, no one was injured, and no one broke the law, there was nothing they could do. So, I only got fired.

So, Windows Underground is out of the scene. I'm sorry, but cover bands and cabaret don't count. As Brad says in the article. 

Also, this is not that suprising in some aspects. Windows bars are notorious for barring locals from ticketed events for allegedly not drinking enough. And coincidentally, a few years back when Windows Too was still in Jing An Plaza, I popped in on a New Year's eve and saw the very same owner turning away locals herself at the ticket table in the hall. Bar owners. Again, not surprising. 

Hard Queen @ Eno

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hard queen at enoHad a terrible night's sleep and knew I had no chance of lasting out tonight's gig at Yuyintang (Miniless Calling). It's one thing to go to a show tired and grab a coffee, it's another if the show is a showcase of 'shoe-gazing', experimental and long instrumentals. Lucky for me, there was an early option.

Eno is a clothing shop/cafe that promotes local artists and designers. They have a big space and put on local bands at events. Today was a demo for artist Popil and playing the event was Hard Queen. It was a cozy set up and one side of the shop, that you can't see in the photos, has a wide bank of large steps going up to the juice bar. That kind of forms mini stadium seating up one side of the floor space.

I'm used to dingy rock venues and darkness so I was disorientated at first. There was a good turn out and I spotted a bunch of people I knew and ... err, I dunno ... scene people. I don't want to say 'biz' because no one makes money. The great thing about Shanghai is that it's a small scene and all the active members are cool, open people who are happy to talk and are doing really interesting stuff. Hard Queen played the first half of their set and then I went down to say hellos.

The artist, Popil, has a Hard Queen T-shirt out and is also doing the artwork for their soon to be finished CD. One of the CD's producers, Scott, was there as was Brad Ferguson of Window's Underground. I bumped into Nial Ferguson, a super talented Australian artist who I first bumped into via the skatboarding scene ages ago. I also saw Sean Leow again. He is one of the brains behind Neocha.com which you'll see if you followed the Popil and Hard Queen links. Another Neocha guy, Adam Schokora, was there. It's worth checking out his vids over at Danwei.org as he often includes China scene bands.

I should just tag this post celebrity gossip and throw myself under a bus already.

Hard Queen played a couple of new songs and had a great sound. The second half of the set was tight and everyone liked the show. I even left with a signed Popil print although the famed PK-14 shirt was sold out in men's style. Next time.

 

eno interior

Eno, Popil, Hard Queen and a sparse August

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hard queenWell I don't want to jump on certain bandwagons, no matter how true they may be but there's a certain large sporting event looming near in China. Notice how I yet again started a post with a disclaimer. Anyway, the news is ... Sophia of Yuyintang told me straight out that there's only three shows booked for the whole of August at this time. Also, I asked Brad Ferguson of Windows Underground what was going on there and the answer was much the same - very little over summer. Live Bar have yet to update their webpage at time of writing.

There's still going to be some stuff going on. Frozen Street are yet to play YYT this month and Hard Queen will continue their regular slot on Fridays at Windows Underground. Talking of Hard Queen, they are playing at an art event in Eno this weekend. Eno is a large shop/studio/cafe that supports local artists, the launch is for Popil. Popil crossed-over into the music world with her famous T-shirt design for PK-14. Anyway, that's on Saturday at 3.00pm. I'll be there in case anyone wants to stab me stalk me say hello.

Talking of PK-14. I have been listening to their new CD, City Weather Sailing, this week. They have been abroad recording it. The scope/production of the CD is right up there, as good as anything produced by the scene as it's been for the past few years. Ironically though, it takes them away from the raw punk/indie feel that I like. Is that ironic? I think we're heading for an Alanis Paradox here. You know, it starts with noticing that there's no irony in the situations presented in the song ironic and it ends with finding no acceptable definition of Ironic except the traditional literature one - the reader knows something the character doesn't. Wait, is that a paradox?

Battle of the bands @ the Blues Room

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flyerTonight I went over to the Blues Room to watch this Battle of the Bands show. I must admit very low expectations. Blues Room is basically an ex-pat bar on Tong Ren Lu with a token 'stage' area in the corner for cabaret circuit light jazz and blues acts. It has no sound system and no sound guy and is basically unsuited to rock or indie acts. Never the less, some good bands were going to play and Tonerider came in as the sponsor.

Aside from bands formed just to play the show one off, the line up was Hard Queen, Mortal Fools and Crazy Mushroom Brigade. I made a point of going to catch up with Hard Queen as I've seen the others several times already.

Well, there was a sub-standard drum kit, two free standing amps and a dark corner of a bar dominated by tables and non-rock people - but actually, it turned out quite well. Brad Ferguson of Window's Underground was on hand to tweak the sound and it exceeded everyone's expectations.

So, Hard Queen. They have a neocha page with earlier demos and pics right here. They went on first and made the best out of the set up. They have a good set of original material including great songs like We Don't Care and Fat Girl Slim Boy. They have a new CD in the works and me and Cameron are looking at shooting a video for them so after their performance I went upstairs to City Diner and talked to both Sheena Du, the singer, and Scott Mitchell who is producing the tracks. So, it turned out to be an interesting night, but I left before the 'winner' was announced. Anyone want to reveal that in the comments?

Here is a video from the Blues Room, but like I said, it was underlit, be warned. Not my fault. Honest.

hard queen blues room 

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