Results tagged “jake newby” from Andy Best

Hiatus: April 2012

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glowscreen
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.

The 500th post

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Top Floor Circus' Shanghai represent gallery

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Jake has already written about this here. Top Floor Circus are letting people upload covers for their new album and all that.

For those new to the blog or scene, Top Floor Circus are Shanghai's most famous and respected punk band. They sing in Shanghainese, deal with local issues, are excellent performers who got fame following in G.G. Allin's footsteps - Aric will never forget the bottle up the a** show. They even got banned by the government during the Expo for making joke songs about it all.

The full gallery is here.

Shanghai represent!

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What to look out for at the festivals this holiday

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For all those heading off to Chinese music festivals for the first time. Beware these kinds of dodgy characters.

Pics from Zhangbei Inmusic festival 2009

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zb two

Pairs, Duck Fight Goose and Handsome Furs @ YYT

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Image of DFG at Beijing's D22

Friday night was the big Splitworks' gig at Yuyintang featuring the following bands:


You can read Jake's regular review here.

There's not really a lot more to say apart from some thoughts I was having. The show was both amazing and yet disappointing at the same time. Hear me out.

It was a great turnout, a wonderful atmosphere and show and we were watching three top bands. Pairs and Duck Fight Goose are the breakout bands of the Shanghai scene this year, for differing reasons, and Handsome Furs are a quality international act. All three were excellent and the show was a resounding stamp of quality for the scene. I felt so proud. 

On the other hand, a combination of prohibitive pricing and clique behavior in the scene meant that a ton of people who should have been there weren't. So a huge section of the local scene, bands and fans alike, will be unaware and dismissive of this major event. The various collectives and groups within the scene could have taken so much away from the show ... but it's like the tree falling in the forest thing, innit?

If no one saw it happen, it's like it never existed. Or heard it. Err. Wait a minute ...

Slow Summer, B-side Lovers

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As regular readers may have noticed, it's the slow time of year. Also, I've been a bit busy with my own stuff.

Here's something to keep you going though.

Beijing band Hedgehog changed their bassist not so long back. Bo Xuan was a founding member and driving force in the band and the appearance of a new band, B-side Lovers, featuring the other two Hedgehog members sparked stories that it was all over.

It wasn't. Hedgehog found a new bassist with a Douban ad that clearly stated their intentions to work on a fourth album and tour again. They have since played Yuyintang here in Shanghai with the new line up.

Meanwhile, Atom and Zo's side project continued. They have played shows and now they have four complete tracks up at their page.

So go there now and have a listen

Summer Holiday

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avatarneochaReminder:


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.

Subs, bitches! (yes, me too) - and an announcement

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This show has already been adequately reviewed by Jake here and by Luwan Rock here.

The photo comes from Adam and the blog post title from Jake.

Including this show and other events before and after, this was pretty much one of the best days in my existence. So this review is probably not going to be very objective. The Subs are my favorite band in China too. 

For the first time, in my opinion, everything went right at Mao Livehouse. The main bands were spot on and could properly play to the bigger venue and on that stage. The sound was loud and rousing, but all the music and instruments were clear. The lights weren't overdone. And everyone was dancing. Everything started on time too. 

And it was the Subs!

Quick props, Pinkberry sounded amazing and they played tight, but at nine o'clock people had only just started to arrive. Boys Climbing Ropes were also immense and Little Punk gave her best performance to date.

The Subs came down to promote their new CD, their first full length, The Queen of Fucking Everything. By the way, it's immense. They are still the band it seems. They have nearly eight years and four CDs of material. The new album includes more laid back and atmospheric tracks than we usually hear from the relentlessly aggressive Kang Mao and at the start people held back a touch as they tuned into the new songs. Then they ripped into Red Hair and that was that, it went off. So much so that I even had to take a half time break.

I even got to talk to Kang Mao afterwards who is a vegan and shares my general world view. Another big part of why I love the band so much. Wu Hao wore a PETA shirt for the show, in fact. Yes, I'm a fanboy.

The fact is, that The Subs always raise the bar. On this occasion they have showed that a band in China can stay independent, can stay away from gimmicks and ads - and still develop into something mature and great. They are a force and coming away from this show I can't believe they were originally going to play the tiny 021 Bar in Yangpu until Jake stepped in. 

Anyway, for me that was the show of the year. Summer is here now and a lull is on the way. Venues are struggling to fill weekends for July at the moment and here an announcement: I'm taking a summer holiday myself.

I'll still be doing a bunch of stuff but just not writing about it.So there'll be no posts until July 1st.

Don't stop mailing me though, it makes me happy. 

Two Years: the classic posts

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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)

City Weekend/Lisa Movius ... sigh

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This statement is on behalf of both blogs, mine and Jake's.

Here we go again (see comments there).

A short while ago Jake posted this story on Cassette's gig at Logo which also talked about a police visit there which affected the show.


In the latest issue of City Weekend, 2010 May 20- June 2 The Volunteer Issue, music writer Lisa Movius has decided to weigh in on the matter. 

It should be made clear that Movius and all staff at CW involved with writing or editing articles on music/nightlife know our blogs and are perfectly aware that we reported the Logo story there.

Here's what Lisa wrote in the article in the Shanghaiology section (interesting cool name for the section) - which deals with the music scene raids in general.

The saga started the weekend of April 16th with word that police had raided music dive Logo and shut down a performance there, ostensibly stating the reason as "the Expo". However, according to the Logo owner Tai Bei, no such drama unfolded. I've had a lot of people asking about it," Tai Laughed. "It's strange, it wasn't us, just Yuyintang."
Tai laughed, nice touch, Lisa. 

Here's what happened leading up to the posting of the story by Jake. The gig was scheduled to start at 10 at Logo with three bands, Pinkberry, Stegosaurus and Cassette. I had talked to Stegosaurus about covering the show and Jake (independently of me) was in touch with Cassette as he had encouraged them to come down from Beijing to play here.

I received a call from Josh (Stegosaurus) and, separately, Jake received a call from Cassette singer Tearpixy. They told us the same story. Police had been to Logo saying they had to check "for the Expo". The posters and flyers for the Sunday show had been confiscated and the gig was not supposed to go on.

After talking further with the staff at Logo, they decided to put the show on anyway, but postpone the time in case the police popped their heads in. The show finally started around 11. Pinkberry manager and drummer Lezi also confirmed he had this same story and the band pulled out of the show because of the later start time.

Finally, me and Jake both went to the show and confirmed all this in person. 

The only way it was somehow untrue is if the staff at Logo conspired to play some bizarre prank on the bands. If anyone wants to re-check our sources they can contact the bands through their douban pages.

But really, I wish City Weekend would stop and think before publishing thinly veiled smug judgments on other writers. And, come on, you know where that story appeared in the public domain, right here. Movius's article basically implies we are liars. Unfortunately for them, it is the CW article that has not done the proper checking. And also, the whole laughed thing? Implying that the writer and the interviewee are sitting there shaking their heads at these silly bloggers. Go fuck yourself, CW.

Our two year birthday party - come on over

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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. 

Festival Weekend, but not here

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So May holiday weekend is now music festival weekend in China. But not in Shanghai, we have the Expo.

So, the festivals are not really the remit of this blog and what's more - I didn't go to any of them.

I have a confession to make. Even back in the UK while surrounded by great festivals, I didn't go much. I hate watching bands in large outdoor venues, it sucks. There are so many festivals these days, because they offer the opportunity to make a ton of cash.

I'm in the extreme minority on this point though so here are three excellent write ups of the festivals from:

our very own Jake Newby

Enjoy. And yes, that photo is from the Modern Sky organised Strawberry Festival. Just in case you mistook it for a VW ad shoot or mall display.

Torturing Nurse in the Guardian UK

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I was just reading the Shanghai art blog Shanghai Eye for other reasons when I saw a music related link there. So H/T to Chris at Shanghai Eye and


The Guardian Unlimited music blog posted about the NoiShanghai collective and band Torturing Nurse. They refer to the infamous torturing Torturing Nurse show and even go as far to quote an interview conducted for SH magazine by our very own Jake Newby

Yet perhaps the best proof that the Chinese underground is still keeping it weird is Junkyy's rejection of alt-god Thurston Moore in 2008. Moore's still the go-to man for the "indie rock seal of approval", yet when he sang Torturing Nurse's praises following Sonic Youth's trip to China, this one-man whirlwind wasn't impressed. "I don't like him or his band. They are too rock'n'roll. I don't care if he's a fan. What we do is totally different," Junkky said in an interview with SH Magazine. Which pretty much sums up the project's entire ethos: "We don't care if you like us." Listen at your peril.
Here's the full article at the Guardian Unlimited music blog.

Yuyintang story makes it to the Global Times

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As you've been following already ...


... and now, the story makes the Global Times, China's international English language paper.


While it may seem tempered compared to our posts or whatever, it's a massive step for them to print this at all. Thanks must go to Mike for the spark and to writers Jon DeHart and Mao Jiayu for the piece.

The city's most iconic spot for live underground music in Changning district remained shut last night for the fourth day after officials barged in suddenly on Friday evening, shutting down the popular entertainment venue that has been giving artists a voice in the city for the past six years.
Yes. In the Global Times. So come on. Let's have some more.

Where's Jake / Indie Everything

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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.

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

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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.

Geek stuff: clickthrough on my site

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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

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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.

Elsewhere.

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

Pics and Douban: Second, Ourself Beside Me, BCR and more

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So, we've just finished recording the 3rd Podcast of the second season, look out for that at Jake's blog soon. 

We mentioned a couple of things. We talked about Douban and 'following' your bands there to create a feed for them. Also, we mentioned Schwarzenegger's viral phrase girlie men and how in the China rock scene the girls were often way cooler and more badass than the guys.

No sooner had I finished that, I logged into Douban and caught some new pics by bands that feature girls. 

Shanghai all-girl rock band Second have just uploaded this 'backstage' gallery. Despite a brief break to find a new guitarist, they still appear to be active. That's bassist Xiao Zhu pictured to your right. 

Boys Climbing Ropes have finished adjusting their Douban page. As well as the CD liner bed shot they have settled on songs Whale Song, Dirty Bots and Night Boy. They are all available for download, if you are signed into the site.

And while we're on the subject of cool gals on the scene why not throw in these ones. It's Xie Han from Ourself Beside Me and then the undisputed queen of China rock Kang Mao of the Subs. So what's wrong with that, Arnie?


xie han


zz kang mao

Weekend bits and bobs

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new sign at yuyintang
I've been home all day nursing a sore head, more on that later, and just wanted to blog some bits and bobs.

Jake's piece on Candy Shop and the PETA show at Yuyintang came out in Time Out this weekend. We were not going to do any off-Douban promotion until after the show, to stay off the man's radar until it was in the bag. But, we did. So yeah, shameless self-promotion there.

Over the weekend I met some blog readers at the shows, all nice people. And I think some of them didn't know Jake's blog. So. Yeah, there are two blogs. We kind of cover each other.


I'll leave it up to Jake to review the BCR show fully. Although the head, yeah ...

I was so happy to see a good crowd going off for BCR but it was a bit spoiled by some a**holes. Some complete w*nkers were just standing around doing random two handed pushes on people with a run up, but not really dancing or joining in themselves. Others, like the tall guy with beard and beret, were throwing their elbows into bystanders heads. A mosh is a mosh, but people at the fringes could barely dance. At one point said tall guy and some other guy I never saw before just floored poor Super Sophia in what could only be described as an attack. 

No matter what kind of mosh, indie-show jumping or metal windmilling, there is a kind of code where everyone is in it together and knows the limits. Right at the end, I randomly caught that c**t's elbow in my face and then backed into a clash of heads. Ouch. Josh, how's your head?

Finally, we were having a laugh at/with Time Out over lunch today. We're all happy that Time Out ran the music feature and it's definitely the best of the ex-pat mags already. It's just that the editor has called the lifestyle (buying guide) section consume. Steve joked that the fashion section should be called conform and the news obey.

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.

Quote of the new year, bits and bobs

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joe chou
Hi all.

Firstly, Jake is back from his hols and blogging like a mad diarist sweating out his opium binge in a candle lit Victorian study.

Don't ask.

Anyway, I'm supposed to take it easy on the ole PC in general so be sure to check Jake's blog and add the feed for the main flow of posts at Kungfuology. Prolific as ever, his feature in the first edition of Shanghai Time Out on BCR's Little Punk is outstanding too.

So, over at Smart Shanghai, all round good guy Tom Mangione has writtten an excellent piece on local blues guitarist Joe Chou. Read it in full here.

Here's the part where he explains why he made the shift to a full time music lifestyle.

He told me that Joe had played music all of his life, but it was only after a serious car accident that almost killed him that he became serious about it.

Before then, it was just a hobby that he dabbled in while working in Beijing real estate. However, after the car wreck, Joe decided that he'd do nothing but play music, and music alone. As Joe himself put it when I asked him about it later, "I was sick. I was diseased, and I didn't even realize it. Every day I would go to work and talk to people who I didn't like and do things I didn't want to do just so that I could make money. It was all I cared about. So many people are like this, especially here in China. But now I've found a solution."

Photos: Bang Bang Tang live @ Mao

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Bang Bang Tang are a Shanghai indie pop band who have strong folk and ballad influences. Their music is defined, in my opinion, by the formidable musical skill of the band and the strength of singer Xiao Bai's voice. 

Here's their Douban page.
And here's Jake talking about their video, and here's the video itself.

Photos by Kyle Fong and Rock Shanghai.


bbt xiao bai

bbt chen gong

Photos: Boojii

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Shanghai experimental band Boojii have recently released their first album on Modern Sky. Here's what Jake said. You can hear the track Detective M at their page here. I'm a big fan of 猫酱 too.

boojii two

boojii one

Double Control Where: new demo, the next big thing?

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double control where
Update: Hmmn, "Some just want everything" may be the newer demo. Doesn't change my take on them and the hits on the other track are good. But it may be an indicator that my brain is ageing like wine (turning to vinegar).

Ah, I'm am positively beaming at the thought of the looks on 80% of reader's faces when they listen to this demo. You see, it's normal for me. One of the defining moments of my late teens was seeing Kreator live.

So, me and Jake talked a bit on the podcast about a new trend among Shanghai bands. Young bands are taking emo and screamo and stretching it. The verses are thrashy to the point of speed metal and Carcass like gargling while the choruses bounce to the hooks of Chinese pop. Jake calls it extremo. It's a welcome one in the face for those who label Shanghai's scene too commercial.

Double Control Where are one of two of these bands that are about to breakthrough. Forget and Forgive are the other.

Please go to DCW's page and immediately play their new demo called Say Goodbye

Double Control Where have been playing a round of shows lately and this new demo tops it off. They supported the Mushrooms at Mao but seemed a little out of place, despite the Mushrooms being fans. They came into their own recently at the Emo Band Party 2. At that show they conceded the headlining slot to F.A.F. but the new demo shows me clearly who is out ahead now. Within the first few hours of being on their previously quiet Douban page, it has racked up nearly one thousand listens.

Douban band pages (音乐人) are still very much used only within the scene and its diehard audiences. It's important to understand that. It's only very recently that some bands have broken through a bit and lifted the indicators. Carsick Cars and PK14 have listens in the thousands. The Mushrooms are the first Shanghai indie band to break similar numbers. But for a completely new band with no release, label or history to get nearly a thousand listens off the bat is a strong indicator of buzz within the (small) scene. 

Did I tell you to listen to Say Goodbye?

Sonnet and friends live @ Yuyintang

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sorry pinkberry
Tonight gig was called 谁没有一个SORRY的昨天 which translates on the flyer to We all have a SORRY yesterday

The flyer features Edison Chen and some references to his scandal. Have a look.

So, yeah, better get this out of the way. You see "Sorry" the English word used in a Chinese sentence is a new slang word, apparently hot in Beijing now meaning some wild thing you did. It is also the name of Sonnet's new song which they debuted on the night - getting all this?

So, line up:

Venus

Apart from newcomers Venus this gig features all the bands signed to Lezi's new label. So let Jake tell you about that here

First on 21 Grams. Smooth and passive instrumental tracks that start quiet and layered, build to a crescendo and then come slowly down again. Textbook post-rock and if you like that sort of thing, you'd have loved their performance tonight. After that came Venus. Venus are an all girl band with attitude, joining Second and Black Luna. They came on all in matching styles, all black, tight and with a tinge of dominatrix. They are brand new but the crowd warmed up to them by the end. Despite the look and the guitar riff based songs, they were very pop. However, with the thought and effort they are putting in to being a band I'm sure they are going to do well down the line.

Next up was Pinkberry, the first band with a kind of air of expectation around them. I love the band and have followed them closely on the blog. But since changing their bassist and drummer they have not got the mojo back. Toni's Gibson Les Paul and ripping power chords should be bouncing you around the hall, but he was barely audible tonight. With a better sound live and with band members that live up to Xiao You's performance, they will be back strong. 

Joker are traditional blues and they stayed true to the tradition of asking the audience to stand through ten minute long jams that don't appear to go anywhere. And then Sonnet. Sonnet are a big band on the scene, the flagship band of Lezi's label and of this show. And this was a show after a smallish break to debut a new song. But it all felt very indifferent. Sonnet at their best are a punchy modern indie-pop band with tight dance beats and wit to match their slicing guitar chops. But the whole show tonight was on the quiet side (as in the actual volume of the PA).

Nothing to be SORRY about tomorrow.

Haibao will save us all from dissent

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lu chen tee
Updates: Shanghaiist runs the story and points out that even Ex-pat mags can't make a joke about Haibao.
 
Jake links this blog about the Vancouver Olympics, where all performing artists have to sign a deal forbidding them from saying anything negative about any of the sponsors or related issues.
 
Shanghai artist/outlet The Thing, made the T-shirt you can see in the pic. It's gone too.
 
So, Monday today and another 'chat over tea' with The Man for Top Floor Circus.

If you're not following this, here's the first post.

So, following on from Jake's post today, Shanghai Welcomes You is now off their page and the video has been harmonized from Youku. Not only is it banned from being performed but it must be removed from history too, yes, just like in Orwell's 1984.

In it's place is now an ironic saccharine pop song called Let me sing you a Top Floor Circus song.

There are further complications. As Jake wrote, the incident has led to Mao management being called up too. And, oh dear, guess what ... Mao don't have their own proper license. They basically sub-let the space from it's previous (and current) owner who used to have WTF Club in there. So we're waiting on that too.

This is just the start. Really, shame on anyone who continues to write complimentary/promotional stuff about the Expo and claims to support local culture.

End note, 0093 have now closed their doors as the management refit to cater to it's Expo friendly location. When it reopens, the 0093 crew fully expect raised rent and the search for a new place is on. Once this is confirmed, that's a major blow to the scene at the hands of gentrification.

Tookoo and Bigger Bang coming back to Shanghai

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bigger bang bw
Two of the best bands I have seen at Yuyintang are coming back for a joint show in January (9th) that should not be missed.

They are TooKoo and Bigger Bang. The gig is officially a TooKoo tour with Bigger Bang, who they share a member with, in support.

Here's the review of the TooKoo show from September 2008. And here's Jake's review of the more recent Bigger Bang show from September 2009.

TooKoo have recently uploaded some more songs to their Douban page which already has a good selection. Check it out here, Take Me Home is their hit. 

You can listen to Bigger Bang right here. Cry For Young and Down!Down!Down! are the anthems and all are available for free DL.


Pepsi fiasco: Shanghai scene story of 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Helen:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Where's Waldo Andy? More Mushrooms photos

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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

Reminders and bamboo guitars

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control
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.

Right, Spoonie, you're on point

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"Bruce, no heroics" ...
"Right, Newby, you're on point"

So Jake is back from his travels. Check out the soon-to-be legendary picture on his post. This means that i'll be winding down again. Not completely, mind you. But Jake will be the lead blog on Kungfuology. 

In the meantime, Second  (重结晶乐队) have posted a lot of pics on their Douban page from the show at Mao. Also, they are playing at Live Bar's newish space at the 696 Weihai Lu art studios on Friday 30th. Here's the flyer. And here are a couple of the pics ...

second play mao

Youtube Youku: New BBT video out

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Just a month ago, Jake told us of a video shoot for Shanghai indie-pop act Bang Bang Tang (Lollipop). The Yuyintang footage plays a very small part but if you watch carefully you will see Jake's blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo. 

But never mind that. Check out the band and video. This is 我最爱缺陷男 (I Love Flawed Men Best)



Duck Fight Goose live @ Yuyintang

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I have to start this post by apologising. Usually I make a point of linking up the bands so you can click into their pages and music. However, all the following local bands have their main pages on Douban. Douban has been temporarily blocked for cleaning following several rumoured online events exploiting the vast comedy potential in a certain parade.

So. Last night's show at Yuyintang was supposed to be The (International) Noise Conspiracy, a major band who's latest release was produced by Rick Rubin. The Mushrooms were making up the local support along with The Offset: Spectacles. However, it was decimated at short notice and changed into an impromptu Miniless night with Boojii and Duck Fight Goose coming in. So the line up was:

Duck Fight Goose
The Offset: Spectacles
Boojii

I don't write up performances that I didn't see fully and/or give proper consideration so I'm only going to talk about DFG, sorry again.

Duck Fight Goose is a kind of experimental scene super group that includes Da Men and San San from Boojii and Han Han from LOS, who is also the founder of Miniless Records. They gave their tightest performance yet, channelling early Pink Floyd and Rush while using loops and modern effects to create sophisticated layers. The music is mainly instrumental but the dynamics were tightly executed making it very engaging.  Both Boojii and DFG will now head up to Beijing for the Modern Sky Festival.

The other feature of the night was the audience itself. While sparse due to the last minute cancellations, it was full of band members and scene people. The most prominent was Yang Haisong, legendary frontman of PK-14 and recent producer of the outstanding Lava | Ox | Sea album. What's more, he was sporting the LOS tee that Jake's wearing in the photo. Nice. I could go on all night name dropping like Perez Hilton. But I won't. 

Surfing the scene

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andy at jue
Well, Jake's away and it's an eight day holiday for me too. I thought I'd share some surfing with you. It's a familiar recent genre: Mainstream English language journos on the emerging China music scene. It did throw up a good quote though.

Firstly, I noticed that a Google search of Shanghai rock scene throws up my blog as the first result. Yay. So then I changed to Beijing rock scene and surfed into this 2008 Guardian article:


It's ... errr ... true to the norms of the genre, but I was interested in one particular observation. Lately there has been a lot of blog discussion and local Douban discussion on ad agencys and corporate sponsorship and the related issues. 

Dan Shapiro has been throwing up both sides of the coin at his blog lately.

Here's the paragraph from Petridis that interested me:

If you really want to splash out, you can hire a table and play dice using a Chivas Regal-branded cup. In fact, it's hard to find anything in the club that isn't Chivas Regal-branded, evidence of Chinese youth's attitude to corporate sponsorship. Almost everywhere else in the world, it's seen as (at best) a necessary evil, a pollutant of artistic integrity; here it is actively welcomed, and not just by superclubs.
Exactly. At best, evil and a pollutant of integrity. He is wrong in attributing it to the Chinese youth at large though. But what worries me is it's general acceptance here among the foreign contingent who are supposedly more aware of this. Of course, as I've pointed out before, a lot of 'ex-pat' writers and players on the scene here willfully and happily work in PR, Advertising and probably think there's nothing wrong with it. In fact, they are being paid to actively promote it.

Also, did you catch this review in the same paper that mentions Boys Climbing Ropes?

Anyway, got time on your hands this week? Comments are free and available without registering. What do you think about that article?

Mushrooms farewell gig?

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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.


mushroommaoflyer.jpg

What's up in Hipster Paradise?

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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 Kungfuology.com 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!

One more for the road

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Just a quickie to say that even though I am out of the game ...

... the adventure continues at Jake Newby's new blog, which is basically the same as mine was but better written. get on that immediately.

Andy.

New Momo demos out on Douban

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ding jia somalive
Before I write this I should make something very clear:

I like Momo and fans of indie pop/cutesy should catch their show which is excellent. 

Despite the big change of direction with Soma, I followed them since they were the Happy Strings and they put on a very professional live show these days. Not my usual music taste but in the old days they were very DIY and an integral part of the struggling scene so I'm happy to support.

So first the point of the post: 

There are two new demo tracks up at their Douban page. That'll be the two at the bottom of the player marked demo.

While we're at it why not see a recent video of them performing one of those tracks:


Or look back at their Soma debut as Momo. Or check out their Gua'er mini show. Or read a feature on Shanghai girls in rock by Jake Newby that includes singer Ding Jia.

Alas, one of the two demos has disappointed me a bit. At a recent show Momo played two of their older tracks and they rocked. It was a reminder of something. In the Happy Strings days I was always impressed by Ding Jia's voice. During the chorus of Start you could hear depth and colour in the singing. If only we could have Momo's original style but with the new professionalism live. When you listen to the vocals at the start of the new demo of Qingtian Wawa 晴天娃娃 the producer has destroyed her voice and turned it into a helium cartoon voice. 

Momo are now a band with experience, style and a good live show. I hope the producers can keep their soul too.

Jake Newby interviews Miniless Records

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los Not so long ago in a galaxy not very far away, I linked some of LOS's stuff on Neocha and mentioned the upcoming Miniless showcase at Yuyintang.


With the gig almost upon us, Jake Newby has done an amazing interview with label founder Han Han over at Shanghaiist.

The interview is long and in-depth and provides an excellent insight into a more DIY philosophy. The interview and the show are the perfect antidote to all that horrible ideology and jargon being thrown around at certain recent conferences (and cropping up mercilessly in my Facebook feeds).


And here's an excerpt:

There seems to be quite a commitment to the music and the artist side of things - is that more important than being a successful business?

Actually in today's society or music industry, the power of promotion are far beyond music itself, and I think every people with a healthy-normal brain should understand that. But, well, maybe we all had a failed-brain so we think, at least at this period of miniless, we'll focus more on music. And if the music could inspire the others and ourselves, that's a successful business to us.

Pinkberry video shoot photos

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Busted! 

Pinkberry have been recording music and making videos up at Soma recently. And when I was checking out some of the photos on Douban I spotted Shanghaiist music writer Jake Newby. That's him in the blue T-shirt.

Actually that sounds a bit different to the reality. I knew Jake was going to be there, in fact we were going to go together but I had la duzi. I didn't know the idea was to be actually in the video though. So ... anyway ... Pinkberry are not really on Soma's label so what's up with all this free studio time and development? Sonnet drummer and Soma employee Lezi tells me that he will start his own label to promote Sonnet, Pinkberry and 21G. It's all early days now but the resources are there for him to use.



jakeinPBvideo

Casino Demon CD unrelease release @ Yuyintang

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casinodemon cd release
Following on from Carsick Cars on the Friday night was another Beijing band on Saturday, Casino Demon. Before reading on, be sure to go their Douban page and listen to their songs. I recommend Wa Ha Ha.


Casino Demon were here towards the end of November last year. Read about that here. It was a good show, and I was won over by the band. Now they return to Shanghai for a 'debut album release party'. Well, yes, let's get to that before we go into the show itself.

There was not a CD in sight all night long. Also, the show seemed to be badly organised. The band had an indifferent sound and there was no support act on the bill. The Snot Rockets did their usual rent-a-support emergency service. When we talked to the band after the gig, they said they had a manager and they called him to see when he was bringing the CDs over. It turned out that the manager was drunk at a house party in another part of town, and after initially promising to get down in half an hour (after the band had already finished) he finally never showed. 

The show itself was solid but not sparkling. Casino Demon are good enough, and have enough presence and song quality that they will never be bad. We bobbed about to the punchy Libertines style rock and tried to spot people who might be there for the Free The Robots after party later on. That is, people who look out of place in a rock venue. I dunno, they were probably all, mercifully, at Free The Robots at that point. The band didn't come back out for an encore and Jake Newby grabbed the set list and confirmed that we were thus robbed of hearing the best track, Wa Ha Ha. 

Photo: Ourself Beside Me setlist

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I mentioned how I bartered with Xiehan of Ourself Beside Me for their set list after the show. Well Jake Newby just stole his one ... and he got the cooler one too. Curses! 

Here it is:


ourself set list

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

More sickness and links/top tracks

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new sign at yuyintangYou may have noticed that the blog has slowed down lately and that the last post was a guest post. That's because yours truly has been up and down with the flu for five weeks now. And, Youtube has been out in China for two weeks.

Well, I'm back in action this weekend and will use a different host for videos for now. That means more videos will come up at this blog but not on the Youtube channel. So watch this space.

Here's two links:

Jake Newby on the upcoming weekend's shows in Shanghai

Jake again, rounding up the announced line up for the Midi Festival

And now, here are some classic recent tracks from the China rock scene that I have been listening to over and over again.

Reflector: Wu Fan Nao

Casino Demon: Wa ha ha

For Casino Demon you'll have to look down the player and select Wa Ha Ha as it's a few songs down. I also recommend the one after it, Teenage.

 

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.

Magazines: more Midi, Hard Queen and other releases

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hard queen
Haven't done a magazine round up for a bit and want to start with a belated link to Jake Newby's Hard Queen article in That's Shanghai.

It's a full feature with some good backstory and you can read it online here:


Next up some material from Dan Shapiro over at City Weekend. First Dan reveals that there has in fact been an official release from the Beijing Midi Music School pertaining to the festival being held in Shanghai. Here are the two previous posts and here is Dan's blog:


Also, in the print edition Dan draws attention to four CD releases happening in April. We have Hard Queen, Hedgehog, Retros and The Gar. Let's throw some attention back at Dan too, the recent Rogue Transmission gig was kick-ass and they have a CD of their own you might want to inquire about.

I have been gearing up for the Hedgehog show by listening to tracks from their upcoming third CD, Blue Daydreaming. And you can too: right here.

Midi Festival rumours and a video

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by Wee Ling
There's currently a bunch of info flying around about the Midi Festival that includes a possible date in Shanghai. Some of it is public and some of it is private (sorry, can't publish that).

First of all, for non-China readers: Midi is a music college in Beijing. They started a festival and put it on in their own campus. Then it grew and grew and moved into Beijing's Haidan Park, eventually looking like a real festival with international acts and multiple stages. Alas, it came a cropper of the Ol*mp*cs and tried to reschedule into a different holiday, clashing with the Modern Sky festival.

Before I link up the rumours, better point out that previous attempts at a 'Shanghai Midi' were just local promoters bringing the bands down who were also playing Midi before it was canceled. New rumours talk about people directly involved in the Beijing Midi - starting with the fact that they are having difficulty getting permission for this year.

So first of all we have the post at China Music Radar saying it will definitely happen in Shanghai Sculpture Space (Redtown) on May 1st & 2nd.


Then we have the Jake Newby (pictured with me) write up for Shanghaiist which is a bit more skeptical.


Personally I'm with the skeptical side ... read the blurb, multiple stages at Redtown? Has anyone reading this actually stepped onto the lawn there recently? I have, I lived opposite for 18 months. Multiple stages and big festival stuff? I don't think so. If it does happen there, it will be minimal. Well, lets wait and see. I leave you with Subs footage from a previous Midi. It's rough as fuck buts that's the best way to hear the Subs.



Magazine special: head to head

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xiao youUpdate: the MP3 player for Pinkberry is now 'after the jump' so click into the post to hear the song.

Following the demise of SH Magazine, the up and down form of newly revamped That's Shanghai and well the usual from CW and Talk, the Shanghai mags have been a bit sparse on new information or interesting stories about the music scene. But lucky for us, February has thrown up the first true head-to-head since I've been doing this.

Here's the low down: Two professional writers have covered the same band around the same time with completely opposite takes. And now it's time for you to decide. The band in question is Pinkberry, so before we get going you should check out their music yourselves on the player below and have a gander at singer Xiao You (right).

Personally, I like them. I'm a fan of three cord power pop or punk and their DIY attitude. They are a new band, barely together six months and singer Xiao You is one of the few Shanghainese new artists with true ambition and the potential to realise it. But that's just me. I made a DIY video with them too.

So, ahead of their appearance at the New Year show recently, Dan Shapiro of Rogue Transmission and City Weekend magazine wrote about them at his CW blog:

This show is a great way start to the Chinese New Year Holiday, although, unfortunately, you'll be forced to endure yet another Pink Berry set (seriously, this band has already played like 42 gigs in 2009), but atleast it gives you 30 minutes to run to Kedi for some cheap beer.

Also, in the title of the blog he calls Pinkberry Shanghai's worst band. Ouch. You can read the full post here: Tonight @ Yuyintang: Shanghai's best (and worst).

Over at That's Shanghai meanwhile: Jake Newby filed a feature on Pinkberry titled "The best unsigned band in Shanghai". In the article he documents their success in high profile competitions, their endorsement from The Queers after their show together and Xiao You's voice and quality. Not only did Joe Queer dedicate "She's a firecracker" to Xiao You but also invited them to record at his studio in the states. 

The band themselves are modest about their brief career so far. Time to make your own minds up. Hint: like them or not, they're obviously not the worst band in Shanghai.

Exit Songs: Shanghaiist publishes lost SH issue

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exitsongs
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.

January Magazines, more Jue Festival

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urbanatomy maybemars
A quick word to the uninitiated. I'm here in Shanghai. Sure loads of people can speak some English and they make most of the signs and services in English too but there's no obligation to go beyond that. Hence, the only English language magazines we have are the ex-pat listings type. That's just in case anyone was wondering why I never seem to review actual music magazines. We have the net anyway, so it's no big deal.

So, SH Magazine and their intrepid reporter Jake Newby were really picking up the slack with scene coverage ... and then the publisher decided to axe the whole operation. The soon to be legendary final edition - The Funeral Edition - was also vetoed at the last minute. Shame that because I popped up in a great feature. That's another Andy Best bit done but then consigned to limbo ... hello, Layabozi.

Speaking of Layabozi, they have a review up of the Xmas Day show that I missed: Luke Leighfield. Also, before I get stuck into the features for this month, despite what looks like a drop off in coverage at City Weekend their website is much more active. Be sure to check into Dan Shapiro's blog there as he often posts up show previews that you won't see in the print edition.

After a change of editor and a documented shift away from the live scene, That's Shanghai are back with two features this month. The first one is about the Jue Festival and confirms the line-up for the Maybe Mars showcase. Maybe Mars are a Beijing based indie label and the showcase will feature Ourself Beside Me, Carsick Cars and Snapline. Nice first feature on the scene from writer Berwin Song ... but Berwin couldn't quite hold back on the patronising asides: 

why-oh-why do so many bands have to go for a Chinglish moniker? QueenSeaBigShark, I'm pointing the finger at you, too
Queen Sea Big Shark are actually called 后海大鲨鱼Houhai Dashayu and their English name sounds pretty cool to me. You can read the whole feature online here: Beijing bands attack Shanghai.

The second feature is an article introducing Shanghai indie group Kongzhong Huayuan written by regular Lisa Movius. You can find that online here. If you want a quick pick of the bunch go to the Ourself Beside Me Myspace page and listen to Sunday Girl ... then go and get a ticket for the showcase.

Sound Toy live @ Yuyintang

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zhengongfu restaurant
This happens to me a lot. Last week I got to the show at the advertised start time of 8 only to find it actually wasn't on till 9 and the bands were still sound checking. So, this week I went 20-30 minutes after the advertised door time only to walk into the busiest night to date in Yuyintang.

This was even busier than Subs at Halloween. By ticket 350 they had to tell people coming in to reconsider buying as they wouldn't be able to see the band. They kept selling though and passed the 400 mark soon after. YYT gets full at around 250. 

So, why not start by checking out the very popular Sound & TOY at their official page.

And, where was I. Oh, that's right, completely unable to get anywhere remotely near the hall to look at the band. Really. I skulked into the seating off to the side of the front door which had been overlooked by most people inside and found Sheena, Da Men and Zero from Hard Queen sitting there. We were shortly joined by Jake Newby and the whole night became hanging out. We could hear the band in the background though.

Sound Toy (from Chengdu) are post-rock but I was surprised at how normal/traditional they were at the show. The Shanghai post-rock and shoegazing scene is much more avant garde and experimental. The band's sound was somewhere in between more pop sounding prog rock acts like Marillion and laid back modern guitar blues like John Meyer. There were no other bands on that night. This was apparently because the crowd were not really rock/YYT regulars and "wouldn't like" either other bands or (referring to Hard Queen) bands that sung in English. That was probably about right. Sitting opposite us at one point was some student's mom who was chaperoning them. 

Other news ... check the photo! Zhen Gongfu Cafe has opened a branch opposite Yuyintang in the station. Pity that it only stays open until 10. 

It's a Wee Ling

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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

Magazines: Rock Dolls in Shanghai

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rock dolls
I previously blogged about a feature I was helping Jake Newby with for SH magazine. Read the original posts here and here. The article is not online just yet so links are going to be added in later.

So the magazine is out, along with the news that the magazine only has one more issue after this before folding. That's shame as Jake was really fighting the good fight there and putting in a bunch of music writing and other good stuff that appealed to people who don't live in gated communities in Jin Qiao.

So the article asks six female artists in the music scene about their experiences. They are:

Melody Li from Tianping Dian (Candy Shop)
Xiao You from Pinkberry
Ding Jia from Momo
Xiao Bai from Bang Bang Tang
Vivian Chiang from Moongazer
Jia Die from Torturing Nurse

There's a bunch of insightful and intelligent stuff in the feature but I'll quote Vivian who seems to have a similar life experience to me:

"A lot of my friends don't even know where Yuyintang is," says Chiang, "but I practically live there!"

At the back of the magazine is a First Person interview with Jiang Shaoqing, the co-founder of 0093 rehearsal studios. After wailing on bands for leaving his studio a mess and for being mediocre he leaves us with this nugget:

To me, Rock'n'roll means being independent. And being independent means setting one's spirit free.


Youtube: The Subs live @ Dream Factory

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Oh-oh. This is perhaps the worst video clip I have ever produced for the blog in terms of quality. That is saying something when you take into account that they are bootlegs made with a compact cybershot and not an actual video camera. 

Now here's the thing: despite this and the poor sound at the gig, the clip manages to capture a Subs show very well. Watch around the 2.27 mark when they go into the mosh-out chorus the second time and the diving and surfing breaks out. Also, if you know who you're are looking at then you can see Jake Newby getting stuck in there as clear as day. 



Babydoll SH Mag interviews continued

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xiao you and jia die
Today was the second part of  the discussion/interview with female artists in the music scene set up by Jake Newby.  Here is the first part.

Again, the feature is for SH Magazine and I was participating but can't undercut the feature by reproducing the interview. Sorry. 

Today we had the following participants:

Xiao You from Pinkberry
Jia Die from Torturing Nurse
Vivian from Moongazer
Li Yefeng from Candy Shop

It was a fun time and there was a lot of talk to be had about both the woman's situation within the music scene and other stuff like who sucks and who rocks. There wasn't much to do on the interviewer side as all four girls are intelligent and articulate. The break time small talk was just as challenging and wandered into stuff like imagery in the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe. I came away feeling justified in having pushed these bands on the blog lately. Take Pinkberry for example. Their music is fairly straightforward pop-punk but when you listen to Xiao You's level of awareness and conscious choice behind the music, you know that they are going to stand out. 

I will pinch one 'soundbite' as it happened after the end of the interview. Jia Die said:

When you perform noise it seems to be violent but when you are listening to it you can be taken to a calm place. I feel very calm and I used to listen to noise before going to sleep.

jake vivian xiao you li yefeng

More peak season, interviews and photographs

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maya dingjia xiaobai
At the beginning of the month I wrote this blog post that was reporting on Dan Shapiro's City Weekend article. The gist of it was that November was shaping up to be the peak month in the Shanghai music year. Dan was dead right, it has been great. What's more, this boom seems to be breaking right through December too. Over the next four weekends you can see the following bands/events all on different days, that is, you can see all of them:

Hua Lun (post rock)
0093 showcase featuring Moongazer, Bang Bang Tang and more
Banana Monkey's new line up
Muscle Snog, Booji and The Los (post rock/experimental)

And that's just my schedule. There are same day choices and other venues too.

Today I took part in a round-table type interview/discussion for an upcoming magazine feature on local bands. It is being put together by Jake Newby at SH magazine. After talking at recent shows about some newer bands and some bands on my blog, Jake saw a possibility for a feature on girl bands and female singers. He quite graciously had me along for the sessions too and it was a good time. Today was Momo and Bang Bang Tang, later in the week we'll see Torturing Nurse's Jia Die, Pinkberry's Xiao You and possibly Candy Shop also. Obviously I can't undercut the interview before it comes out but I can mention that in a light hearted part of the talk Xiao Bai from Bang Bang Tang let out that she had, in fact, had a semi-stalker at one point. Nothing serious, thankfully, but creepy all the same, especially if you're not a big star with security and lawyers. That's Momo guitarist Maya, singer Ding Jia and Xiao Bai in the photo above.

Finally, Lin Lin from Yuyintang has been busy with more photography down at 0093 this week. here are two great portraits of Vivian and David from Moongazer (Wang Yue Zhe).


moongazer vivian
moongazer david

Magazines: New Pants continued

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's a sample from the interview:

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

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

Lu Chen and Xiao He live @ Yuyintang

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luchenacoustic
If anything, Lu Chen, formerly of Top Floor Circus, and Xiao He, formerly of Glorious Pharmacy, are not predictable. Tonight was no exception. 

Xiao He is touring his solo show which is a multi-discipline avant-garde show that he developed from his many musical and visual influences. Lu Chen has also been striking out on his own with a show that is largely based in dramatic/comedy performance as much as it is music. The previous Lu Chen show at Yuyintang had been a hilarious routine featuring a showdown between the Ol*mp*c mascots and Haibao, mascot of the upcoming W*r*d Exp*. Check out the write up and the video.

So, the poster for the show featured Astro Boy and talk was of another dramatic extravaganza. But like I said, these guys are a touch unpredictable.

Arriving at the show I was surprised to see Ben Hogue who had blogged about going to see 10 play at Logo Bar. It turned out they made a last minute appearance at YYT which I came into right in the last minute. The billed show got going straight away with a short film. I heard they made a short film especially for the show. What I didn't realise was it that it was an actual film. That is, they projected a 40 minute indie short film where Lu Chen played a blind man visiting Shanghai. It was almost painfully slow and detailed in a near neo-realist sense but clearly intended to be Absurd. Without any kind of introduction or context at all, the audience didn't really get it until over half way through when Lu Chen's character was strumming a guitar and chanting without skill but it came out like a Buddhist mantra prompting another seemingly detached character to take him to Jing'an Temple.

After this, Lu Chen and Xiao He separately played straight forward music sets of regular songs. Lu Chen sat with his guitar and was backed by drums and bass. During his first track he used a lot of samples and effects too. I got close to the front and saw that the bassist had a Midi set up beside him that he was operating via some kind of Monome knock off. It was a great set. Xiao He just sang with guitar and no other back up at all. It was perhaps the most sober performance the two have ever put on - but a relief of sorts as these guys are among the top talents in China and you rarely get to hear a solid set of the music itself.

Me and the wife bumped into Lu Chen about half way through the Xiao He set and he told us that indeed they were not making any joint show and that once Xiao He was done his acoustic set, that was it. I left a little before the end to eat. I then got bored waiting for my food and was going through my camera pics, deleting old ones. Joy of joys, I lost concentration and deleted the excellent video I got of Lu Chen and the sole clear photo too. My bad. All in all a great night and a great atmosphere at YYT which seems to attract a good turnout and a quality event every weekend these days. Great to see Jake Newby there too, as well as brief meets with Dan from The Rogue Transmission and Morgan from BCR.

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

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

Confused? Here's the full story.

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

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

Here is Archie's post on the story: Handbags

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

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

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

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

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

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



Other people's Youtube: 5 MinS @ Yuyintang

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Update: The video here is 5 Minutes' support act 2 Oranges. They went on last it seems. You can still see a 5 Minutes official video in the previous post. Check that out too.

Following up on the post below. I'm on a sicky this week and didn't go to any shows. There was the metal night at YYT and the festival up at the SMP skatepark too. I opted to preview the 5 MinS show, to keep it fair to the non-punk community.

Jake Newby who writes for SH Magazine, has come through for the team. Not only did he interview 5 MinS singer/composer Joy Island for the magazine, he went to the show and got the footage. You can read the interview here. And now without further ado ... the vid.



Long weekend blather

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two cool
It's the mooncake-tastic mid-autumn festival which means a public holiday long weekend. I'd love to throw in the words wish and happy in there somewhere but it's a miserable grey day with intermittent rain and thunder. I did get a chance to read around the English language sites and mags and find some stuff on the scene. I've recently put up a lot of reviews and vids so why not throw in a chat? Warning: it's inane and uninformative, you might want to bail now.

First, I was reading SH magazine which has a big feature on live shows and festivals this month. The feature is written by Jake Newby whom I met via a brief stint at Shanghaiist. Jake is a good guy. So before I start the blather, who not read it online:


So the article is saying how that after a quiet summer, now everything's back with a bang - so to speak. First up - the JZ festival. Oh, wait a minute, Jazz. 

... flips ahead ...

Avril ... something happening in Beijing ...

...flips back to correct feature ...

World Music ... Nordic experimental DJs playing in a greenhouse ...

Well, there were a couple of bands in there somewhere that I liked. China Now is not too bad, I suppose. What was the other thing I was looking at today? Ah yes, that new website I mentioned here. Spicy Duck Neck (dot com). Today I saw they posted a review of both TooKoo and Control. Well, they also cover Jazz and anything remotely musical but now I have the first evidence of crossover. This is good - now readers have a chance to see a contrasting viewpoint. And, as usual, read what I'm talking about in full first:


Yes! We have a discrepancy. Where I felt that people 'got' BCR by the end of the set and there was a good response from the audience. Layabozi doesn't share my view. So is this an indication that I see the scene through rose-tinted glasses? Will you ever really ... care. I'll tell you who won't care: BCR. I recently bumped into them at shows a bit and have a confession to make. Bassist Morgan's appreciation of Iron Maiden makes me a convert. In fact, if anyone ever wants anything from me in the future, start by mentioning your belief in the far reaching influence of the Dave Murray/Adrian Smith partnership.

Finally something a bit more serious. Yan Shuai, the singer from TooKoo, was interviewed for SH magazine's 60 Seconds feature. I'm sure it will come online shortly. Here's a quick sample featuring his picks for mainland China bands:

Banana Monkey are good. Their style is more indie than us, but I like to listen to indie too. ReTROS are really good live too. They are really professional, on an international level almost, and I like their attitudes towards music and life - they're very low key.

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