Results tagged “live bar” from Andy Best

Some stuff this weekend

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feima flyer 696
I have a bit of a holiday this week, about ten days or so. But, due to many factors I won't be going out much. So here's some stuff going on this week across four of the venues in town - and I'll have to live vicariously through your reports and stories the week after that.

I don't want to endorse one show over another, and we all have different tastes anyway. But there's a glaring clue to the right of which show I'll go to if I can choose only one.

Friday 26th July

Yuyintang: Girl Rock, feat. Must Be Red (SH)

Live Bar: 聚光下的少年 Youth in the spotlight

696: Feima EP release show

Saturday 27th July

Yuyintang: Fuzzy Mood (BJ) album release

Mao Livehouse: Genohmang 19 free show (Mao's only mainstage evening show all weekend.)

Live Bar: Shake Your Body feat. heavy bands + En Route

696: 小垂直 Xiao Chuizhi 

Sunday 28th July

Yuyintang: Made In Shanghai 6, feat. Prank

696: Guancai

Slinkrat: Marquee 7 chat / sadness

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xz2009
Pic: Xiao Zhu playing with Second at Mao Livehouse Shanghai in 2009

This post is going to come across as an old person whining. So before that: I'm basically reposting a mini-interview with the singer from Shanghai rock band Marquee 7 over at the Slinkrat blog:


One part of the interview really got me thinking. I saw Marquee 7 playing their first open mic show in YYT and singer Sharon is good, and yet she mentions the first six months of trying to get a band being so hard she almost fucked it all off. But she also mentioned that bassist Xiao Zhu nearly gave up and sold her bass at one point recently.

It's brought something about the scene into relief for me. Xiao Zhu has been a local music  community mainstay since 2008 and I first saw her playing in the original Second (重结晶 zhong jie jing) line up in early 2009. Pertinent to my upcoming point is that they first played at the Rock 0093 showcase night, Number 8, February 2009 to be exact. The idea that she, or anyone local, would have trouble hooking up a band is troubling to me. 2009 was the year that local bands could get 3-400 ppl into YYT and sometimes even more into the soon to be opened 'old' Mao and that the YYT and 0093 Douban groups were a swirling centre of activity. 0093 had enough bands through their doors to throw out 6-8 at every showcase of which half would go on to self-organise and play regular shows. 

It seems to be clearer than ever that the effects of the Expo year have still not been fully recovered from. 0093 was forcibly evicted to make way for Expo events' wine storage, I shit you not, and didn't get a decent new location back until over a year later. Top Floor Circus got in trouble with Da' Man. Both these events saw a huge winding down of local band activity for the period of the Expo and even Yuyintang, after a couple of warning raids that saw its sound desk impounded for a while, focused on the Expo international acts and influx of ex-pats for a while. Then a new boom of ex-pat run bands started becoming super active (there was only one or two active ex-pat bands of note for the whole ten years before that) and this has caused an unfortunate displacement of sorts, in a way. Finally, there has been a coincidental exodus to use Weibo that saw the Douban groups die. It has led to less communication and organisation than before - those are the facts. People should definitely admit this to themselves and go back to more Douban use for online organising. Basically the centres of community and organisation that had peaked by mid 2009 all took hits around the same time and are shadows of their former selves when it comes to grassroots local activity.

We can't control the gov stuff, but other points there make you think, and here's a controversial idea which I'm not that sure of myself ... if something is discovered like Live Bar, where there's suddenly regular gigs by student bands practicing at Left Rock, that has sprung up organically, should a bunch of experienced bands and or promoters, of any background, descend on the place, so to speak? I guess what I'm thinking over right now is when is helping actually helping and when is it not - in the context of sustainability. That's just one example.

I know this: buying a ticket and seeing a show as a punter is always helping. So go and see Marquee 7 play.

Last weekend ... all sorts

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Thumbnail image for by Wee Ling
Last weekend was eventful but extremely fragmented for me as I skipped between shows, late shifts at work, early mornings ... and beer showers, tired out of my mind the whole time.

Instead of full reviews I'll have to piece some stuff together ...

... I saw Gou Shen at 390 Bar. They are the new incarnation of Androsace following the old guitar-bass combo leaving. Smoothly played grunge rock has been replaced by a mix of hardcore punk and Sabbath style 70s metal. Providing this are the new guitar-bass combo - Lao B and Mian Mian from Bi Gong Bi Jing ...

... went to Brad Ferguson's leaving show on Saturday at YYT. Noted that Battle Cattle now have Fabi on drums and have levelled-up their ambition, equipment and professionalism. They have 80's guitar post-punk, a touch of modern production and perfect new-wave sounding vocals ...

... and birthday boy Ho-Tom the Conqueror gave me and Newby a beer shower ...

... was talking to some Jiao Da students down 0093 on the Friday daytime, seems like there are more and more bands down there now at the university's Minhang campus. Also I should point out that loads of newer and younger bands play Live Bar and 696 these days but I rarely go there, so someone will have to write about that ...

... also noticed 21 Grams rehearsing there and saw that girl rock band Second have reformed after a long break around original bassist Xiao Zhu and drummer SEI. 

Pic: Livebar 7 year anniversary party

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Shanghai's Live Bar had its seventh birthday party on Saturday night. Xiao Zhong from Pairs took this photo from the stage for posterity.



Live Bar crowd

March madness (in music) - starting tomorrow

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tn in hk
Pictured: Torturing Nurse in Hong Kong.

This blog doesn't do previews and is not a guide, so to speak. However, I can't help but notice that the next three weeks, helped partially by the Jue Festival, are packed full of interesting shows. Some weekend nights have four happening at the same time.

It kicks off tomorrow with the most exciting Wednesday night in recent memory. You have two shows:

Duck Fight Goose @ YYT playing a free farewell show before they head to SXSW

And then it doesn't let up until Sunday 25th. There's Skipskip Benben on Thursday and Old Doll on Friday. Also on Friday, a Chinese Folk Roadshow @ Mao and New Vector @ Live Bar. So there's three choices in one night. 

Saturday has four: Chaos Mind, Steely Heart, Beatrice (student Cosplay band) and more Folk roadshow. And it goes on. This is the time to be paying attention ... to other blogs and mags with listings, and Douban.

Left Rock and Yangpu

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leftrock
Note: The hand drawn map done by the Leftrock people puts North on the left (regular East on a map) so you'd have to rotate it 90 degrees counter-clockwise to make it line up with any other map you may use.

Recently I went up to Dclub to see Bigong Bijing play. In the post I mentioned something of the Yangpu scene. So I thought I might do a quick recap for readers who are new or whatever.

Click on the images for larger. Yang Pu rough map below.

Yangpu is a district of Shanghai to the North-east of downtown / People's Square. Its commercial centre is called Wu Jiao Chang and is home to many big university campuses (Line 10 - Wujiaochang). It used to be a surreal affair with a stacked car sculpture in the middle, now it's all modernized. To the North of Wujiaochang is the New Jiangwan Town development which has trees, space and SMP - the largest skate park in the world (line 10 Xin Jiangwan Zhen).

The scene used to be centred there pre-SARS and has made a bit of a comeback lately. It has its very own 0093 type cheap rehearsal space where all the equipment is provided - Left Rock (靖宇东路280号 - 280 Jingyu Road East - Line 8 Middle Yanji Road). And, just across the park from Left Rock is Live Bar, the venue at the centre of Yangpu (国顺东路800号 - 800 Guoshun Road East). I used Wujiaochang Station last time I went there.

Then, down by where Live Bar used to be, way back when, you have Dclub (长阳路738号 - 738 Changyang Road - Line 4 Dalian Road). 696 Livehouse is across the border in Hong Kou district and sits next to the football stadium (东江湾路188号 - 188 East Jiang Wan Road - Line 3 Hongkou Football Stadium). 

- end report -


yangpu new map

Bi Gong Bi Jing live @ Dclub

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bigongbijing
Friday night and it was time to make a return to the city's North-East, where the North-East scene is itself making a return. The venue was D-club and here was the line up:


Both bands play Rock with a big R. Androsace play quiet-loud grunge with subtle infusions of Chinese trad music. Guitarist Sasha and vocalist Lenz both come from minority areas. Bi Gong Bi Jing play punk with a hardcore element that is taken from metal style riffing into full out thrash metal sections. Both bands played great and the sound was excellent.

That's brings me to D-club. It's in Yangpu, 15 mins walk from line 4 Dalian Road Station. It's a basement rock bar with a stage, in the mold of a Logo, but everything is slightly better. The stage is a little better organised, the equipment is a little better, the bar is a little bigger and nicer. The guy doing sound actually cared and made good adjustments. It seems like a great place to put on a bar show. But the surrounding area is a bit sparse and weird. It's tobacco central, pay attention to the buildings as you walk there and see what I mean. 

The scene used to be in Yangpu, before the move downtown and when most students were up there. It dipped but there were always bands who'd make a point of saying they were Yangpu bands or something. Now they have new Live Bar, 696 and D-club ... and the Left Rock rehearsal space. And it follows that the number of bands is starting to go up. Bi Gong Bi Jing met while hanging out at Live Bar, as usual, and were part of a definite sub-scene / crowd there. The emphasis is on playing and having fun. They are keeping that torch alive for sure.

Pinkberry EP release nothing live @ Yuyintang

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yoi yoi
OK. So by now you should have read the news that Yuyintang was visited by the man on Friday. 

Read Jake's full posts here and here

Summary: it's Expo time. They took the desk and tills. We'll know what's happening on Monday (gov office hours begin).

Me and Jake have pushed this story about the Expo and the history of scene closures, and the Top Floor Circus thing, in the hope it would be properly picked up and get enough attention to maybe make a difference. But how many people, writers and outlets from local to international really went for it and gave it a go or pushed it on their contacts even ... err .... yup, no one. We'll just have to hope for good news this week.

So, I went over to YYT anyway, having heard they'd be open as bar and that Pinkberry would be around to meet people who showed up unaware that all shows were off for the weekend. That atmosphere was subdued but relaxed, even when the police - surprisingly the kind of city federal/special cops with proper gear and in shape etc - did another swing-by to check. The place was sufficiently dead at that point to satisfy them.

Pinkberry later took the stage for a quick cheeky four songs using the old desk and gave out their new EP. This was greatly appreciated by the few people who had made it over. The EP, by the way, is well made and at time of writing is available for listen in its entirety on their page here.

In other news, Alpine Decline's Live Bar show the same night went really well. 

I was going to do a whole ranty post about the Expo thing but I've had my last word and what's the point. If something like the Top Floor Circus thing happened in our home countries, it would be an outrage and yet most people we sent it to didn't even reply to mails.

Alpine Decline coming to 696

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alpine decline
Lately, a bunch of overseas acts have been readying the cannons and sailing over to attack Shanghai. A few have been in touch via the blog too, all nice people. Puressence are at Mao and appear to be a very big deal. Exile Parade, also from the UK's north-west (like me) will do Yuyintang on May 5th.

The act that most appeals to my tastes though is L.A. two piece Alpine Decline. They are Pauline Mu and Jonathan Zeitlin, both formerly of Mezzanine Owls.

Here is their demos for China page

They have gone commando and will play Live Bar and 696, contacting both venues directly themselves. They will also turn up and just use available equipment. They hail from the L.A. scene, their previous band was described as having "A haunting Jesus and the Mary Chain rattle" and they are playing in 696. AND ... it's the same night as Peaches at Mao.

So clearly this is the time to check out the new 696. Friday 23rd of this month. Here are the gig details at Douban.

Saturday night four-way

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fearless mao mao
Please keep in mind that whenever we recommend a gig or talk about a show face off or whatever, there are always other shows on too. Yang Pu/Hong Kou (North East) has several bars/venues and a collective or two. Like Live Bar, 021 and ... err ... Live Bar.

So, this week is almost as action packed as the last but with no podcast to sum it up for you.

Yuguo play YYT on Friday but Saturday night, the 27th, has the big clash. Here it is:

Yuyintang: Caffeine (J-rock style) supported notably by Dragon Pizza. 

Mao Livehouse: Jue Festival presents Olafur Arnalds

Dream Factory: Rock Shanghai night including Joker, 5 Pointed Star and French band Inofis.

Harley's: Metal night with Chaos Mind, Six Shot and Fearless (pictured)

It's all a matter of taste of course with quite different styles on display at the different venues. But, well, errr ... Fearless at Harleys. Harley's is a cool basement bar with a proper area for rock bands to play, but there are reasons it's not used often both in front of and behind the scenes. I just like speed metal in the old school style.

Bored? Watch Torturing Nurse

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I find the new year here to be boring. There's no real, decent festival action, traditional kung fu, temple fairs or anything like that. You'd have to be in the exclaves for that. Anyway, I'm bored.

Enter an e-mail, from a newly arrived blog fan looking for noise gigs. I direct him to the Torturing Nurse page and the info for the next NoiShanghai meet. I check the page and think it would make a good post to show some of their highly entertaining live show gallery

Then I find the real gem. The vids there are mainly recent but right at the back is a classic 2008 gig featuring, in my mind, the classic line up when Jia Die gave them the extra visual/psychological dimension. It's the one with the hot wax SM and the primal screaming.

Really, never mind the obvious stuff like the candle lit SM/nudity (ruined mainly by the flash photographers who would blatantly wet their pants if they saw merely an ankle anyway) - the real high point of this performance is three or so minutes in when Junky smashes the guitar and they go into sustained primal screaming.



Avant Garde-off: Torturing Nurse revisited

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pet conspiracyHave you seen the Pet Conspiracy post over at Jake's blog yet? Go there now. And watch the video - they're in town on Friday night at Mao - watch the video

So, Pet Conspiracy started out as an art project and this kind of thing (pictured) is fairly normal in other arts scenes around the world. But in case you were getting all excited about the potential provocateur action hitting the shores of China - let's have a look back to a show in Live Bar last year.

Before we kick things off - it all started with a chat with Ben Hogue out back of Yuyintang, then went on to his blog and ended up on my blog here.

Feel free to catch up in your own time.

noishanghai 20
So, here's the simple explanation. Shanghai's avant garde scene has it's bar set by noise artists Torturing Nurse. A little over a year ago, with pictured artist Jia Die soon on her way off to study in Sweden, they threw on a special performance with Beijing noise-ist Yan Jun called torturing Torturing Nurse.

You can guess what happened ... or can you. This is ultra conservative China after all. 

Here's the video - Youtube only - find a way, it's mind blowing.

It's in that gallery that you'll find these and more. In your face, everybody who is not Torturing Nurse. And did I mention, watch that video and go to the show on Friday - Pet Conspiracy are going to be awesome.

that show one
that show two
that show three
that show four

Second / Leiren live @ Live Sound Garage

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second bass
Friday night and it was time to check out the downtown Live Bar location for the first time. The official name is Live Sound Garage and it's situated inside the Weihai Road 696 centre, a cluster of old buildings for art studios. 

The show was advertised as a 9 o'clock start and here was the line up:

Small Man
塑料拖鞋 (Plastic Slippers)雷人 (Lei Ren)

I mentioned that Lei Ren translates roughty to Lightning People in the podcast but then noted in the comments that it usually means to shock someone. Well, I looked into it and the band have the official English name 'Lightninger'. So make of it what you will.

Firstly, the venue. I was quite impressed, despite being a smaller space it was nice. Good stage, lots of brand new equipment including a huge speaker set for the PA that seemed way over the top and a good standing area that could probably get 150 people in. Someone who knows how could put on some cool shows there. It's basically like a rectangular version of the main room at YYT, but with nothing else around it. Only odd thing is how big they made the stage, the drummer seems miles away.

So, Small Man didn't play finally, just three bands tonight. We got there at 9.00, the advertised start time, and they were still sound checking. Long story short, gig started at 9.45. Plastic Slippers are clearly a brand new band but were well received by the audience of the bands, their friends and me and the wife. I should say that some other true punters did trickle in a bit later. The band shared a member with Lei Ren (their drummer) too.

Up next, Lei Ren. Lei Ren seem to live the Lei Ren life and were behaving off stage much like on. Anyway, they got up and went into their set of 80's Japanese TV theme covers and parody songs. In between songs, the front man and band members went through several lengthy stand up routines. Most of this revolved around the joy of saying rude stuff or slang in Shanghainese. Example joke, keyboardist starts using his head to play, singer exclaims 'Lou lu'. Lou Lu means old cock and means literally cocky, which can be good or bad. This typically reduces the whole band to tears of laughter. 

Finally Second took the stage and were uncharacteristically sloppy and out. Before long it became aparent that they couldn't hear themselves or each other ... and then the drum kit fell apart. They asked for the previous drummers to come up and help. The previous drummers didn't come up, they stood around being very Lei Ren. So, it took a good ten minutes or so for the sound guy, and I use that in the broadest possible sense of the term, to sort everything out and finally Second managed to play some quality tracks. I look forward to catching them at the next 0093 showcase at Yuyintang.

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

Bits and bobs / music by the Fuck'ndrolls

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ba fang
As you read this post, please open up the link to Neocha and listen to a song by the Fuck'ndrolls.


The Fuck'ndrolls were a short lived but legendary three piece fronted by singer Ba Fang (pictured). Also in the band were guitarist T-bluse and drummer Tim Anderson, who plays for The Mortal Fools. The reason I bring this up is because me and the wife were chatting to Ba Fang and Lu Chen at the Subs gig. Having disappeared for a while, Ba Fang will return with a new band that will also feature Lu Chen. More info as it becomes available.

Meanwhile, as Yuyintang gets all organised we see the start of a regular New Faces Underground night on Wednesdays. This is an interesting turn of events. The regular 0093 shows were basically just that. Then the YYT schedule filled up with established bands and 0093 got squeezed out a bit. Now the schedule has been organised but the prolific 0093 have already opened their own performance space and held shows at Live Bar too. 

A quick glance at the 0093 Douban group (Chinese language only) shows several O3 Space shows on the way. 0093 will return to Yuyintang with 0093 Rock Party 11 on the 12th of June. The line up features: Blunt, Bloody Mary, 大新鲜乐团 (Da Fresh), My Chilly Hurt, Conterspell and 8MG. 

8MG are currently the subject of a ridiculous personal vendetta gossip thread that is racking up the comments. It's called 8mg are the most ignorant band I've met. While we're on the subject there was an even funnier naive post attempting to denounce scenester/indie folk artist Fanqie Chaodan for wanting to have ... sex ... with a girl. The horror! Unfortunately, the poster was completely unaware that everyone knows each other and that all the commenters are taking the piss. 

Finally, it's a holiday on Thursday, Dragon Boat Festival. See you all at Yuyintang for the Mushrooms/Sonnet gig. 

Yuyintang revamp website

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yyt newsite
Yuyintang have finally gotten round to revamping their site.


It now appears in a visual calendar format that fits onto one page/your screen. Calendar boxes will display thumbnails of the flyers for shows on those nights. It's still in progress though, so be gentle. You will note that this blog has a featured link there. Just to be clear, I have no business arrangement or deal with YYT, I just go there a lot. We are all just music lovers.

Also, over at Douban, a couple of locals rumbled the English blogosphere and posted links to China Music Radar and my blog regarding the Pepsi contest. Of course, it's a bit silly cos the poster is unaware that me, CMR and the people reported on in the posts all know each other. But you can see one of my posts translated there. There are also some quite complimentary comments, but have to be honest again, those are friends and people I met IRL


Finally. With Sun Lu now up at Live Bar we are seeing an active Facebook group spring up and more info coming out there. Expect more quality shows too. 

Youtube Youku: Mutant (突变乐队)

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We have a had a huge string of packed out, quality gigs by bands who have emerged as finished products lately. We've had labels, festivals and international acts. And what I can't help thinking is: what's going on with Tu Bian (Mutant), the student nu-death-metal band with the cool singer. The girl who went so effortlessly between death-grunting, singing and some rapping.

So, I had a poke around and found exactly what I was looking for. A poor quality video of a sketchy early show by Tu Bian up in Live Bar. Plus, its on Youku so the upload drops so many frames that the song always goes out with the picture. Bonus.



xiao youRegular readers may have noticed that when I link reviews and articles by other English language writers that it's the same small group of people. That'll be because there's only a small group of writers covering it in English. You may also notice that I am supportive and diplomatic in the main. Sometimes, though, another writer will just say what they think and it happens to sum up what I was thinking too. Then I can quote them and they get all the blame if someone objects. Yes!

Jake Newby was at the Subs show with me and threw out some observations in his SH Magazine blog. He starts by mentioning Sub's singer Kang mao's hilarious opening line, referring to the other Beijing act in town that night (indie pop act Milk @ Coffee):

"We're the beer band," joked Kang Mao as she took the stage at Zhijiang Dream Factory.

But it's his observations of the support acts that really hit the mark: 

Before them, The Molds had disappointed with their Lou Reed-like post-rock and out of tune, echo-laden vocals. Having delayed the start of the gig due to an hour and 45 minute soundcheck, they were completely upstaged and made to look amateurish by opening act Pinkberry. "All four of us have got colds today," declared Pinkberry lead singer Xiao You, but it didn't seem to affect their performance. It's not often the crowd demand an encore from an opening act, but Pinkberry are no ordinary band.

Jake also lays down a tip that might see this blog do it's first report from Live Bar. Upcoming act Tianping Dian (Candy Shop) are headlining there on Sat 6th which gives me an alternative to Hua Lun who are post-rock. Laziness may well win out so don't despair, shoegazers.

Finally. Yuyintang have just announced a 'Winter Madness' all day show on the same day that Hedgehog play in the evening. So, on the 13th there'll be a bunch of bands playing from 1.30 in the afternoon (including Candy Shop) and then the Hedgehog show in the evening. Football in the park behind anyone? Jumpers for goalposts?

Tianping Dian demo and a nuts weekend

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tianping dian promo.jpg
Upcoming Shanghai band Tianping Dian are getting it together lately. I've been catching them at gigs for a while now and was really happy to see them rip out a great show in front of a decent crowd at YYT recently. 

I first saw them here. Then I saw them again at Gua'er here. Finally they rocked the house at YYT. 

Video of Tianping Dian at YYT: watch

So now I'm happy to see that Tianping Dian have now recorded a quality demo track and opened up a Neocha page. The song Wo Men (we) is their show stopper right now and I have to admit a soft spot for the style. Although I must admit, if you come to this track knowing they are called Candy Shop, you're in for a shock when you hear it. 

Here is the demo at neocha and here are some pictures.

In other news, this is the so-called peak weekend of the peak month this year. Over at his City Weekend blog, Dan Shapiro has posted up a summary. Read it. I just want to add to that though. Those three shows are the three big shows. At the same time as New Pants there is an indie night at Yuyintang that features Nanjing's V-day and Hard Queen. There's always stuff going on in the 'old' music district at places like Live Bar and 021. So yeah, this is a super packed weekend with choices. Talking of big shows we have The Subs and the Indie Top showcase to come at Dream factory.

As an end note, there may be yet another addition to the hipster paradise. It's too early to make any map edits yet, but the bar on Fahuazhen Road to the east of Dingxi Road has been bought out and is going to put bands on. They have installed J-rockers Slappie Toy as their house band. And since there is a lot of confusion about this in the Shanghai mags I want to say: good venues put on original music. No one with half a brain would count a pub that puts on a cover band on Tuesdays as part of a scene. So lets wait and see.

Update: I just noticed that this is music scene post number 108 (hugely significant in Chinese numerology). Did Tianping Dian just get heaven's mandate to become the ruling band on the scene? You know, if you're into that sort of thing. Er mi tuo fo.

Other people's Youtube: that Torturing Nurse show

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Just two posts back I blogged about the "torturing Torturing Nurse" show at Live Bar and linked Ben Hogue's write up. The band members are bagged, tied to a table in a plastic bag and even stripped naked and taped to the mic stand. Yan Jun keeps this going until their contact mics are  giving out a sound show to rival the most disturbing horror flick you've seen.

I swung by their Douban page and saw that they posted video footage of the show. Here's part two which is when the sound gets going. Welcome to the far end of the scale. 



Experimental heaven and 0093 Party 6

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0093 studio

Update: Jake has interviewed Torturing Nurse's Cao Jianjun here.

So many of my posts start with excuses disclaimers. I'm not going to get in the habit of doing listings and this blog is not about that. However, there's relevance to recent posts in some upcoming events so here goes.

So, in the interview with Lin Lin of Yuyintang, she mentioned two bands. Crazy Mushroom Brigade as a newer band that had 'arrived' and Bang Bang Tang (Lollipop) as the promising new comer. A couple of conversations later I discovered this to be quite divisive, especially the idea of them being 'rock'. Intriguing. Lucky for me - Bang Bang Tang are playing Yuyintang's Rock 0093 Party 6 on Saturday night. So not only will I be able to see what it's all about, I'll be able to video them for the blog.

0093 is a rehearsal studio and the 0093 parties are for new bands who practise there to get a chance to play live and get some experience. This is a very good idea that should be supported, but it obviously makes for mixed shows. Here's the line up, I don't have any links for these at the moment (they're new).

Six Shot, Red Brick, Black Romance, Brunch, Lollipop, 5-pointed Star, Dessert Store.

So, Lollipop are the one's to watch.

I also decided to throw in a post about the noise/experimental scene lately and I then ended up at a post-rock gig not long after that. The noise post even saw blogger Micah Sittig sign up and comment. So, by single response popular demand, here's more on the noise scene. There are in fact two major shows coming up. Over at Live Bar this Saturday is the latest from NOIshanghai. This event is billed as Torturing Nurse vs Vario Air.

Torturing Nurse's page is here.
Vario Air's link is to the Kunt page.
And here is the flyer.

Then, the following week at Yuyintang is the Miniless Records Shanghai Calling show. This is another noise/experimental show. The line up has Muscle Snog, Grace Latecomer, Monkey Power and The Los. So, all those of you who like to go out at night to an exciting venue and do some really deep listening all night - there you go.  

Zhuo Danting hangs at Live Bar

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zhuodantingShanghai Talk magazine ran an interview with tattoo artist/alternative icon Zhuo Danting this month. Well, even rags aimed at people living in serviced apartments or gated communities need to fill that pesky space not taken up with high-end advertising. Also, it probably comes off the back of this video about her from Current TV: Shanghai Tattoo.

Here's the link to Zhuo Danting's studio.

In the interview Zhuo plugs rock scene venue Live Bar and later cites metal as her favourite style:

I like listening to bands at Live Bar. Second Hand Rose are great and I like older Chinese bands. Most of them are too commerical these days though. P.K.14's lyrics are so obvious - times are changing, people are getting richer, all that shit. 

Live bar is on the other side of town to me and this interview made me think. There are two proper venues with a real culture of rock people who hang there: Yuyintang and Live Bar. So I think I basically only know one half the scene and it's people . All the bands that play Live Bar also play YYT and I simply have no reason to drag myself out there when YYT is round the corner from my house. There a metro stop now but the metro infamously stops running at 10.30.

More from the interview:

I like pretty much all heavy metal. Metallica, Pantera oh, and Carcass are tebie hao.

Carcass! Hooray. Carcass is Bill from Napalm Death's second band and both come from my home area of Wirral, UK. They are from the exact same town as my best mate James - Heswall. For those of you not familiar with Carcass you must immediately rush out and find their CD "Symphonies of the Sick". 

Ark live house and photo books

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stickerSome news that I read on Shanghaiist lately that made me think a bit. It comes from Abe Deyo in this post. There are two main points: Ark Live House is closing and a new photo book called Shanghai Soundbites is being released.

First of all Ark Live House. I didn't metion this in my last post called I Demand A Recount. This is because it hasn't been doing anything for so long that it hardly counts. Also, it is in Xin Tian Di. That's an upscale restaurant area made by Shui On with the highest prices in town. I went to Ark once and got charged 70 RMB for a can of coke (usually 3 RMB in a shop).  There is one possible repurcussion though. Zhang Haisheng who runs Yuyintang gets a lot of his income from working at Ark as a DJ.

I haven't seen the photobook yet but it made me think of how useless the scene is at communicating, so much is left to chance. Abe Deyo promotes gigs and meets the bands every week and I go to his Shanghaist post for the gig dates. Yuyingtang has a facebook page and Live Bar have just got a new website. In fact there's more in English than in Chinese. But anyway, I have been to the shows here for a few years and know a bunch of people in the scene and try to keep up with it - but the annoucement on Shanghaiist of the book launch on the same day it was happening was the first I'd heard of it in any way, ever.

As for the book itself. I read the blurb on the website. It suggests that people who have made the scene lately are leaving now. Hmmn, is that a reference to the VISA issues and transient nature of the ex-pat population? There's a lot of that opinion around but I don't think the bands have VISA issues, they are Chinese. If all foreigners were repatriated last week, the only difference to the Gala show on Saturday would have been 6 or 7 less people in the audience of 200+ I'm sure the photos are nice, though.

I demand a recount

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

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

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

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

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

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

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