Results tagged “harleys” from Andy Best

The Fuck City Weekend show @ Harley's Bar

fcw shot
Pic from Rachel Gouk: click for larger

I warn you right now, this is going to be a long one covering the show, the bands and all the issues: pre-show and post.

There is a good chance that you have come to this post with no idea what it's going on about. So let's start there. City Weekend Shanghai is an English language magazine based in Shanghai. It is a professional glossy rag done by giant corp Ringier and among its listings and full-page ads for serviced apartments there is writing about entertainment and culture. After a number of incidents and issues, some people on the music scene decided to do a kind of protest show and give all the money to charity. 

Here are a couple of related posts:

And the City Weekend SH Uffie review debacle where a staffer posted a generic review without actually going - and got caught after the gig collapsed in controversy.

And on we go ... to the Fuck Cancer, Fuck City Weekend Shanghai show.

Friday 24th show: Fuck Cancer, Fuck City Weekend

There will be a special charity show at Harley's Bar in Xu Jia Hui on Friday May 24th ... called Fuck Cancer Fuck City Weekend.

Here is the show's Tumblr with all the details.

Yes, City Weekend Magazine. It all started with Mike Herd's speech that I talked about a little here. Now it's a small stand for sanity and integrity. Standing up for yourself is important, I wrote about this in detail recently here.

Before you dismiss it as juvenile or sensationalist, the points on their manifesto are very clear and relevant to all the nonsense that goes on with the ad agencies and PR companies too. The main points are: Misappropriation of the music scene - using the scene to lend an air of knowledge or cool or whatever to themselves, that sounds familiar. No journalistic integrity A.K.A. corporate sycophancy - putting brands and revenues above the understood values of writing and reporting while passing it off as honest. Shallow engagement with their subject material bordering on willful ignorance - another one that can be attributed to the ad people who have no actual interest in the ideas and values of artists and musicians, or the world they live in ... while constantly bleating the opposite. Refusal to address feedback from their readership - except with passive-aggressive attacks or flak, of course. 

Whether it be this specific example, concerns with ad agencies like Virtue / Vice, W+K et al or with direct issues on the scene like B.O.s Midi piece. The point is that we don't have to bow to ridiculous concepts like it being 'bad form' to not accept this BS for fear of hurting their feelings. It is bad form to call out or challenge people down the hierarchy, that's bullying and dangerous ground. But calling out people with power is a duty. Especially when they are taking the piss out of you.

Date with the devil metal night @ Harley's

date with the devil
Wow, a blast from the past - Harley's Bar. A great night but one a little bit spoiled by an unwanted aspect of gigs back in 2003-4.

Metal night tonight. The bands:

Broken Promises

First thing - Harley's have a new PA and when we arrived, in the middle of Six Shot's set, the sound was the best I've heard in months at any gig in Shanghai. The unbelievable clarity of the sound at good volumes made Six Shot's set even more awesome than usual. They are the kings of grind. A good turn out considering the 50 kuai ticket. It did include a drink though.

Next up were Lalaying who played the best set they've ever played. This was helped greatly by the sound quality at that point. The bassist was (again) inspiring with her metal get up and face mask. The night was going great ...

... and then out of the blue, at the end of their set, the Lalaying singer addresses the crowd and says (loose wording, but confirmed by native speaker) "remember the crimes against China by the Japanese in World War Two, we are true patriots." Groan.

Again, hello 2003-4. Hello, ugly nationalism/borderline racism/right-wing rock.

But next came Fearless. They wowed the crowd with their tight riffing, fast drums and virtuoso shredding. Then they ripped into their famous cover of The Trooper (if I need to tell you whose song that is, then you should burn in hades for all eternity) ... and ... the PA blew. It took a couple of fits and starts to get it back again and there could be any number of reasons but for me the real reason it blew was obvious - 

- Fearless were so metal and awesome that they blew their speakers with rock and roll -

Chaos Mind closed the night in style. The sound was still good but the perfection of before was lost after the accident. The highlight of the set was definitely frontman Sam Dust's performance. He rules. Harley's is still a great place to see a rock gig, but - and I won't go into details here - the staff and management are still very much themselves. So we'll see.

Note to other styles of music in Shanghai - the metal crowd have got their shit together and the bands are tight and professional. Some catching up may be required.

The History of The Subs

Wu Hao and Kang Mao
Whilst talking to YLK in the comments at Jake's blog I made this comment and realised afterwards what an impact the band has had on me.

Their live shows have been pretty much the highlights of my eight years in Shanghai and though I was a bit distant at first, way back when in Harley's, I have grown to love this band. 

So, checking in at their Douban group I noticed that they have a kind of potted history of the band. It's a kind of convention to list up all your gigs in the description box of your Douban group, but they add in CD release dates and some other stuff too. It starts thus:


Feb 2002 The band formed in Beijing.
In May the current bassist joined and there was a stable line up.

Click into the post to see the full list. Chinese only for now. Maybe people could translate their highlights in the comments? Can we see the early Harley's gig there, where I bought Subs Life?

Bands are back on at Harley's

fealress flyer
A couple of weeks ago I spotted a flyer over at SmartShanghai that seemed to indicate that Harley's was up for putting bands on again.

But was it an indicator that Harley's were coming back to the scene or was it the work of an intrepid new promoter, blissfully unaware of the history there? 

Well, it turned out that the band The Rainbow Danger Club is the new band from once frontman of the now defunct The Living Thin. I heard, from the, ahem, grapevine, that the promoter / DJ didn't turn up until the very end, to collect the door money. The night may now relocate to Logo. But hey, it happened. And ...

Now floating around douban is the pictured flyer. The Yangpu death metal massive is putting on a show there soon. It features Fearless, who are well good. 

They play melodic death metal and their set features an amazing cover of Iron Maiden's The Trooper. I have to admit being a metal fanboy, by the way. You'll notice that this show clashes with 24 Hours over at Yuyintang, the latest Beijing based hot band to be brought down by STD. But. If you are going to see Fearless then you probably think that bands like 24 Hours are only fit to be your eternal slaves in Valhalla. 

Bands back on at Harley's?

No sooner had I put up this Harley's Bar old pic and blabbed about it in my nostalgia post, I came across a flyer online advertising a new rock night with a band there.

Blimey, it must be going on three years since there were any significant gigs on there.

So, the flyer comes courtesy of Smart Shanghai here so Morgan Short must be the man with the lowdown on the show. He's on his hols now though so I won't bother him. Unless he wants to come on the comments that is. Ahem. 

From the site:

New indie rock night, Sticks and Stones, kicks off at Harley's Bar. 00's rock and a performance by new band, The Rainbow Danger Club.
Well, it seems that it's new and not (yet) part of the scene, so to speak. But hey, all are welcome of course and Harley's is a cool little venue to see bands at. Is it still under the same ownership though? Perhaps the Sticks and Stones organisers will soon find out first hand why there have been no shows there for quite some time.


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 ...

I demand a recount


live bar siteI don't often post on websites and venues in the Shanghai music scene as they tend to change quite often. Also, they seem to defy normal category as they cross over in both style and function. However, after reading a couple of things in the rags this week I feel like going through this.

First of all, how many venues do we have in Shanghai for indie, rock and punk etc? A venue purpose designed for such gigs that commits to weekly performances and looks and feels like a live music house ... there's two. Yuyintang is one and Live Bar comes second, but it only just makes it in on account of it being open all the time as bar and is not immune to the odd crossover event. Yup, only the two, and Live bar is miles away from me which explains why I nearly only post about Yuyintang.

Next up are bars. Bars who, as part of their promotions, are commited to putting on live music. They are open general hours and have a mixed clientel who aren't specifically into the music. Gucci-wearing clubbers at rock gigs kill the experience for me, bah humbug. Top of this tree is Windows Underground. Windows is basically a venue that tries to make its money via the bar business model and seems to be between the two groups. But they have a proper stage and sound system. Down on Taikang Lu is Bar 288 (AKA The Melting Pot), their house band is Happy Strings. Forever on the lips of ex-pat hipsters and magazines is Logo Bar. Logo used to be the original Tang Hui music pub and is the same deal. This place is a muscially themed trendy pub with no visible pattern to the acts. Now and again they have a good band in but it's largely coincidence. I am partisan and prefer to see a rock/indie band surrounded by people who follow the sub-culture, it's half the point. 

Last one in the significant bar circuit is Gua'er (AKA Sus2). Actually, they were the first true venue in Shanghai way back when. They originally operated out of an old factory in Yangpu but now they have resurfaced as a half-cafe half-bar in Dingxi Road. No important bands have played there for a while though. 

Finally we have the occaisionals. Bands put on gigs in other places for various reasons but you can't see regular gigs at the locations. Harley's Bar used to be a great place and the gig area is quite good, now it's very on and off. Dream Factory is a proper theatre which gets used sometimes if Yuyintang wants a larger space. A band once played at The Shelter but that's a DJ place.  

This week I'm going to see a Beijing indie band called Gala.


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