Results tagged “mao shanghai” from Andy Best

Photo from the Douban photo event/meme 普通青年VS文艺青年VS二逼青年 where a three part vert aligned photo shows 普通青年 (normal youth) 文艺青年 (creative youth) and 二逼青年 (lit. stupid c*nt youth, my scouse translation: dickhead youth) from top to bottom. See whole gallery here (1000s of them) 

This is a long one, please follow after the jump.

A couple of months back a one line update quietly made its way onto the Douban page of Shanghai pop-punk band Little Nature (小自然)

小自然(Little Nature)于2011年6月4日暂时停止活动
From 4th July 2011 Little Nature will cease activities
So, they split up. Which doesn't come as a surprise as two of the original three members had already turned up in other bands lately. 

Little Nature started out at the beginning of 2008 as a young student three piece playing pop-punk tunes of their own making with the traditional power trio line up of bass, guitar and drums. They were A-bao (阿爆) on Bass and lead vocals, San Gui (叁鬼) on guitar and Xiao Zhong (小钟) on drums.

The Mushrooms all we need is u @ Mao

This was not just any show. The Mushrooms are a huge deal to Shanghai fans.

They got signed by David Tao's new label and then all but disappeared for a year and half. Then suddenly, they are back asking people via Douban to sell out Mao and that if they get 1000 people then the new album will come out. 

This with no mainstream media backing from their label - the show was only promoted through Mao and Douban as usual. The brought up many questions, including:

After the long lay off do people still care about the band or the songs?
Could they really just ask like that then sell out Mao?
Are there enough active Shanghainese fans on the scene these days to fill Mao at all?

Would this gig flop and make me look like a total fuck-up for insisting in recent interviews that, personal tastes aside, this band were still the biggest deal to many local fans on the scene? 

Manbanpai @ Mao live (and nothing anywhere else)

hama mannequin
Friday night and all was not well in the world of music. I was heading over to the metal show at Yuyintang when it transpired that the man had decided to check out all venues on the rock scene as part of a report they are doing. Others noted it here and here.

By coincidence, Mao Live were doing the latest installment of Genohmang that same night. It's a drinks promotion and doesn't have any cover charge or ticket sales. So despite getting the visit, they were not required to cancel the show. I made it there in time to catch one band in full:

Kind of an average turnout considering it was free and nothing else was on, but enough to make the place seem lively. I caught the last song of space rock band Ann. Manbanpai play straight up pop in the folk style. The songs are driven by wandering finger-picked guitar and they kind of meander along. The lead guitarist fills in with light jazz riffs and solos and the whole act is very nice. It seemed odd to see young, cool looking people on stage with guitars playing easy-listening, but if it's your sort of thing, they play it well. Singer Hama has developed a good vocal range since her previous days in J-rock act Second and seems to have found her style. 

I went out to see Chaos Mind, though. Not really the same thing.

Boojii, DFG, Pairs, The Fever Machine @ Mao

pairs live
First up. 8 Eye Spy dropped out of the show and Pairs stepped in. So here was the line up:

Next up an explanation. I had a busy week and had resigned myself to a night on the sofa. I'm knackered. However, I know people involved with all the bands and they are all great and do wonders for the scene, without exception. So I dragged myself along hoping to get through most of the bands.

Of course, the first band got on a full hour after the advertised start time so I only got to see the first two acts before bailing.

I dunno, it's a huge venue for the scene, it's summer, it's a hot stormy night, there are other big shows and the World Cup. And yet what looked like eighty or so people still came out to support ... and the venue can't even get within an hour of the advertised time for them.

I know it wasn't the band's fault but what I'm thinking now is that scene venues have to admit that, for whatever the reason, they generally can not start on time if there are more than two bands. They cannot organize it and should pare down the line ups.

So, the bands made me happy again. The Fever Machine play well executed desert/psychedelic rock with great riffs and muscianship. The drumming was especially tight and frontman Dan Shapiro has definitely found his niche. This was my first time to see them and fans of Rock should not miss their shows.

Pairs are not really suited to cavernous venues like Mao, well, so you'd think, but this band have spirit and they are good where-ever they play. After a brief intro track, Xiao Zhong got things started in true Pairs style. Their opening track is I spent my birthday with a bunch of cunts but he announced it as "this song is called, my girlfriend had to pay to get in" and then, "I spent my soundcheck with a bunch of cunts."

With the ice broken and smiles on the fans faces, they played their four most recognizable tracks, finishing with Yang Pu Qu. After Xiao Zhong joked about the smoke machine, the mischievous tech lads got joke revenge by disappearing guitarist F two or three times. However those guys have a band of their own, one that could learn a thing or two from Pairs.

Back home on my couch, Holland knocked Brazil out the world cup. I really wish I'd had the energy to catch Boojii too. Lately I've been listening to their excellent CD Reserved at home a lot. It's great and you need to have it.

Revitalization of Shanghai Rock pt2 @ Mao

manbanpai mao
Update: here's a photo gallery of the night from Linnea at Era. It includes a shot of me and one of the best people in the scene, Xiao Bai of Bang Bang Tang.

Following on from the previous revitalization show, the second leg stepped up from Yuyintang to Mao. Here was the line up:

Manbanpai (慢半拍) 
Candy Shop (甜品店)
Little Nature(小自然)

It was quite a bold move to go for the bigger space so soon after the first show and with mainly younger/newer bands. All the usual local faces were there too. I started off the night with a kick-flip on FAF's Ding Ding's skateboard out front of the gig. Which gives you a good indication of my priorities in life. 

Manbanpai started things off with their laid back indie pop. They sounded great and played very well, it's just a question of if you like the style. Singer Hama is popular and the band got a good reception. 

Next was Momo. The band came out with matching short sleeved school shirts and dyed red hair. Ironically, their band uniforms (designed to be cute), and Ding Jia's cheerleader skirt, ended up revealing the member's tattoos - having a quite different effect (cool). The sound was dead on and the performance very upbeat. My mate Steve joked that they seemed like metal compared with Manbanpai. Maya's lead guitar, in particular had a great sound and great energy. Good show.

Alas, an error of judgement seriously took down the remaining bands performances. From Candy Shop on, the staff decided to seriously up the volume (not a bad idea in itself). However, we saw this with the Maybe Mars showcase. The PA couldn't take it and most of the following music was an indistinct roar. Strangely enough, by the time FAF came on, they were still turning it up. I really want to see FAF on a big stage again, the show ran late and I had to leave before the very end.

Pity, because my overall feeling from the night was,yes, these bands are stepping it up more and they seemed at home in the larger venue. 

Subs back on tour and coming here

The Subs are my favorite band in China. I love them. That is all. Anything else I write will just be gushing and useless.

You can hear a couple of tracks at their Douban page: right here

But here's the thing, they are widely known as the best live act in China and singer Kang Mao the best rock/punk performer the modern scene has ever produced. So, the date has arrived: 

Friday 11th of June at Mao Livehouse

Note to Mao: this band is legendary, put on a proper bar, don't flash all the lights like a pop show and have someone on the sound desk who is out of school. The norm at Mao gigs is for the audience to be lit up like a football game and then photographed like a fashion show. This is the Subs, please cut all that out, if only for this one show.

subs newtour

Great Videos: Carsick Cars live @ Mao Shanghai

This was a good moment. That's all I have to say. This band are worth the hype. I was there up front, as should you have been.

That Mao Shanghai Story

andy at mao shanghai
That Mao Shanghai story. Well, that could be referring to all kinds of things. But this time around I mean this:

China Music Radar - Mao Live to be knocked down

So, the biggest open secret in the scene has gone on record for the first time over at CMR. For a few weeks now the story has been going about, Mao Shanghai will be bulldozed to make way for a new development. Well, I've got a statement from the Mao folks, but first, the basic idea.

Most people know that plot as Redtown, but Redtown is one of a few developments inside a piece of land called 新十刚, an abbreviation for New Number Ten Steel Works. For a while it was mainly abandoned and the only functioning part was the Hong Qiao Flower Market. However, bit by bit it has been renovated or rebuilt until the small strip with Mao Live on it was the only untouched part, stranded in the middle. Mao moved in to that strip on a sub-letting type deal but recently the rumour has been knocking around that the obvious was going to happen.

Think of it as one of those downtown islands of old houses. You could open a business there on the cheap, but everyone knows it's going to go.

So, I've spoke directly with Lisa Movius (English PR) and Lezi (manager) from Mao. The story got started when the landlord mentioned that ideas for renovation were on the move and recently he has given them "an eight month advance "maybe" warning". 

SOMA/Mao boss Li Pang says that Mao will continue as a Live House either way and that the result of this would be a move, not a closure, with eight months giving them plenty of time to find a new location. Here's the quote:

Mao is a concept and a commitment as much as a physical venue, and physical venues are replaceable. Mao might eventually move, but it's not going anywhere.
So there you have it. There are many other issues and stories around this, of course. You can find them all linked at the CMR post. As usual, pay attention to the actual events as they happen.

Photos: Local King 3 @ Mao

The last time I did this someone called me out in the comments. Keep in mind, the debate was always about the behaviour/ethics of photographers in live shows, not photographs themselves. But by all means bring it up in the comments if you have something to say on the subject. I'm all for keeping it alive.

And on to the Local King gig. Caught some snaps up on Douban, here are a couple. As before, note the to the side position and no use of flash.

local king candy shop

local king jordan

local king kk

little punk at mao

Local King 3 "Genohmang" @ Mao Livehouse

local king
A lot to get through tonight. Local King 3 went down at Mao - for free - and featured five bands:

Bomb Shelter

Bomb Shelter are an AC-DC cover band and went on last so I wasn't around for them, sorry guys.

So, free. Yes, the place was full and jumping. Great. Although everyone's patience was tested when the doors didn't open until 20 minutes after the first band was supposed to be playing.

First on was Pinkberry. I wrote about them at the recent Yuyintang show and said they were coming back to their best. They were better again tonight and the song 'Live in Live' is becoming their signature song. They sounded good from down front and Xiao You is performing well, although she was sick tonight.

Candy Shop came on with their usual energy and were well received. Unfortunately, their set was broken up. They had to run an on stage promotion for the drink you see in the flyer there. Basically, couples had to get on stage and play charades to win free drinks. Alas, it all came apart when they brought up a couple and a non-Chinese girl had to guess the word 'Ge Noh Mang' from her friend's mime. That's Shanghainese slang for the people who crowd round accidents and fights. So that's like asking me and Jake to take Lebron James and Kevin Garnett in 2 on 2 b-ball. It dragged on and poor Candy Shop's set suffered. They made a good come back with their track 'Wo Men'.

Sonnet were next. They had complex video intros to their songs and all kinds of bridges and gimmicks. They presented themselves like super stars and even did their latest single We all have a sorry yesterday acapella with all the members up front. They had the bassist back in the line up, which was good and to be fair, the crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves. Personally, I like Sonnet when they play tight snappy tunes with dance rock beats. They closed out with their old show closer, a cover of YMCA.

At that point I'd been keeping my eye on the crowd. At free gigs that feature bands who attract young locals you see a lot of new people. I felt they were having a good time, but were apprehensive as they maybe didn't know what the standard was or what it was supposed to be like.

And then BCR came on and told them with authority.

This is no disrespect to the other bands, I like them all, but ... from the first strike of the guitar, Boys Climbing Ropes owned that stage and filled up the venue with their sounds and presence. They got everyone's attention and were a true headlining act. They rocked the place. They were loud, fast and tight, everyone knows the songs and those who didn't were all impressed. Little Punk's vocals were properly mic-ed up and crystal clear, it made so much difference. It reminded me of the Pet Conspiracy gig in that here was a band who properly owned that larger space. 

Can we now have a BCR headlining show at Mao please? Properly promoted, full up and on before midnight, preferably.

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

andy at mao shanghai
Jake wrote up the Maybe Mars gig at Mao this weekend and we also shared some thoughts about the scene on the podcast. As far I was concerned the subjects were done for a while.

And then Zack wrote up the show at Layabozi and got everything going again in my mind.

After noticing/being annoyed by the same stuff as us, Zack makes a good point at the end about expectations:

Finally, on to the continuing problems with MAO. I think they are suffering from an expectation problem, for which they are at least partially responsible. However, it must be said that we, as in Shanghai underground music fans, are also to blame. I for one know that I expected a lot from this venue when it was getting off the ground. We wanted it to be like Yuyintang with better sound and more capacity. Well, we got those things. We really did.
Well, it's true that you can't have expectations that are too high in an underground scene and this blog for one was happy in old YYT with a single room and a small fridge. But the fact of the matter is that the show on Saturday charged three times over the going rate for a show on the scene and Mao opened with lofty proclamations of a livehouse revolution.The sound has not been any better than Yuyintang, it is often worse. There's more but let's get on.

So, on the pod we talked about the scene punching over it's weight. Where did the demand for a larger venue come from? What's the history. The history, that includes ventures such as 4Live, came to a point when a combination of independent promoters started to get regular shows going at the Dream Factory. This included Yuyintang and Splitworks, also people like Abe Deyo, Brad Ferguson and Frank Fen. 

They had just started to creep over the break even line despite many problems and challenges when this happened: 

So, they pulled out again three months later having fucked it all up decided they weren't satisfied with the deal. And then, barely eight weeks after that, SOMA announced they were teaming up with Japanese investors to open an even bigger venue in Shanghai - Mao. This was highly questionable. The progress made at the Dream Factory had still not answered the question of whether the scene could sustain a larger venue at this point, and in this political climate. Even that progress had been set back by the actions of SOMA taking it over then pulling out again.

Soma then came out with re-assuring statements. This would be a livehouse revolution for Shanghai. They would move in their studio and focus on scene development and long term planning. They were aware of the issues and history and wanted us to know that it was not simply a vanity project or an elaborate face-saving plot. But then, after the initial oversight from the partners left them to it, everything has been run on a shoestring and skeleton staff. 

Here's the thing: everyone, me included, wants the venue to succeed, that's why we go there and buy tickets. So why are we so worked up about the shortcomings, especially in the opening stages?

Exactly because we DO want it to succeed and all the signs are pointing towards failure. We have just over three short weeks before the six month point, which is usually a make or break point one way or another. Talk to anyone who worked on 4live: the venue is not big enough to survive on one sell-out show a month. Talk to anyone who worked on 4live again: how do neither-big-nor-small venues with one big event a month get by during the middling/average attendance days - the bar. 

Would anyone like to comment on the bar at Mao?

On the opening day, an extremely nice guy from Mao Beijing told me that they floated the place on investment for two years until numbers went up. Let's hope the same support will be on display here.

Photos: Maybe Mars @ Mao

Saturday night was the third Maybe Mars showcase in Shanghai. The first one was a year ago in the Dream Factory, the second was just last month and you can read about the third right here courtesy of Jake.

Anyway, a mate of mine just put some of his show pics up on Douban so I thought i'd repost a couple here. They are of Guai Li and Carsick Cars.

guai li mao one

guai li mao two

guai li mao three

shou wang mao

shou wang mao two

Maybe Mars Showcase @ Mao

pk14 usa timfranco
Photo of PK14 in the USA by Tim Franco

So, Friday night and Maybe Mars rolled into town with four of their bands:

Apart from newcomers Rustic, these bands are the finished product. Each one with one, or more, albums of top quality songs and a polished sound and performance. This being at Mao Livehouse Shanghai, with all their fancy lights and top quality equipment, I was so excited to hear a loud show that still kept the individual sounds of the bands. 

But it was not to be. The sound was all over the place with each act getting about two tracks that really hit the mark. Only PK14 had the audience so pumped up by their mere presence that it simply didn't matter. The guitars were especially bad with sounds ranging from bone dry to a wall of mid-range whine. Only Yang Fan of OBM reproduced her trademark sound. The lights were all over the place too with no hint of a master setting that defined the space. Just a bunch of flashing in a cavern. 

But it was still a good night. It's Maybe Mars.

The audience seemed baffled by Rustic at first and the hall was still filling up but they ended with a flourish. With two more tracks to go, Rikki Sixx spat his beer up into the light stream creating a mist fountain, the guitars were pointed into the crowd and a dance broke out for the first time of the night. I was there to rock out to 24 Hours after their amazing Yuyintang show but they were hampered by poor sound and what seemed like poor monitors too. But still, buy that CD, it's so f*cking good.

Ourself Beside Me played a good set. The sound was the most intact of the four acts and they did a solid job after a few months off the gig circuit. The audience seemed into them too despite their experimental sound not usually being for everyone. Good for the audience. PK14 are just legends so none of the above really mattered. Everyone started to go nuts as soon as they saw singer Yang Haisong, me included, and they enjoyed the reception that their status deserves. Half way in to the set I spotted Maybe Mars' Michael Pettis and decided to stalk him. We spent some time backstage chatting, with Nevin Domer too. I was a bit star struck the whole time though, as Yang Fan was right there by me the whole time. Swoon. She's just so badass/cool and a great guitarist. 

The whole crew are back next month with Carsick Cars. Watch the blog for details.

Top Floor Circus gig banned cancelled

OK. So if you've surfed in to this post or are here for the first time, here's how you can catch up on the story of Top Floor Circus, the Expo and The Man.

The final concern of the story was Top Floor Circus's Christmas show at Mao Live Shanghai. Check out the flyer.

The Man had also contacted Mao Livehouse and everyone was waiting to know one of two options. One, that the multi band show went ahead but with the post-Bjork large show regulations. That is, all the songs must be checked by The Man and Shanghai Welcomes You not be played. Two, the show be outright cancelled, i.e. censored/banned by The Man.

And the answer is ... drum roll please ... number two, cancelled.

Haibao will save us all from dissent

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.

Where's Waldo Andy? More Mushrooms photos

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

Photos: Mushrooms live @ Mao Shanghai

On Friday we were at the Mao grand opening where we saw a great Mushrooms performance and had much fun throwing ourselves about. Photos have started filtering through. These are from this gallery here.

mushrooms mao one

mushrooms mao two

Mao lay out guidelines for photographers

monopod guy in action
Over at the last post on photographers - following the Pet Conspiracy gig at Mao - we had a great mini debate on the matter in the comments.

There were comments from both sides of the debate including some of the snappers in question. 

Finally, Lisa Movius, official English language PR person for the venue, has finished the debate by announcing some trial guidelines that reflect both sides. 

Here is what she has posted:

For Mao we've drafted a basic photo guilelines list - for the audience. It's a double standard, but we have to give professional photographers shooting for press, for the venue and for the bands greater leeway - but we'll keep their ranks limited. So here's what we're trying out, and we welcome further input:

"Audience photography rules
1. No flash photography
2. Please only take photographs during the first three songs of each set
3. No tripods in the front section
4. Be respectful of your fellow audience members
Professional media photographers and videographers please register with the front desk to obtain a press pass. Be advised we have a limited number of free press tickets available each show for journalists and photographers who reserve them in advance - please inquire at the desk for details."

Who knows how it will or won't work in practice but this is a good step and will hopefully spread a bit of awareness at least. I have to add that my own views are way past what is represented here but Lisa has joined in the debate taken all sides into account and actually organised something at the venue - so fair play there.

Photos: Fearless live @ Mao Shanghai

So, well, errr .... I wasn't at this show. I wasn't at the Sunday Yuyintang show either. I'm sure this has happened to other people. Saturday, got back from work late at 9, felt very tired and fell asleep early - only to then wake up at 2 am feeling wide awake. Next, I thought "at least I can catch the Sunday gig". Of course, having been awake since 2 AM I got home from work on Sunday at 6.30 PM and promptly fell asleep for the entire night again. Weak.

So, anyway, here are some photos of Fearless playing Mao on the Hell United metal night. They come from here.

fearless mao mao

fearless at mao live

Alright, that's enough now

jeremy you arsehole

I was going to leave this as an aside for the pod, and since the last time(s) I had decided to drop this and leave for the venues/other punters/bands to sort out, if they cared.

If you've ever been to a gig in Shanghai you'll have noticed that event photographers and overenthusiastic hobbyists with expensive toys often use them as their personal studios. They generally break several rules that are accepted, and even enforced everywhere else. For example:

* No flash photography at shows.
* No taking pictures of bands or punters without permission first.
* Don't annoy or block people who paid money to see the show.

The Pet Conspiracy show was particularly bad for this. It pretty much killed my enjoyment of the first two bands as I was constantly looking at them as they buzzed around in front of me and tried to directly take my picture continuously. Despite my best attempts to keep out of their shots and concentrate on the show - there I f*cking am, in a gallery posted at Shanghaiist. 

The douchey photog in the black Antidote shirt was on fine form, boogie-ing away as he worked and running around like hyperactive kindergarten kid. At one point free t-shirts were thrown into the crowd and as Jake bent down to pick one up, that guy literally ran across to jump in front and whip it out of his reach, before throwing it back to the DJs to be thrown out to someone else. It's like he had a one man mission against the paying audience. I see from this gallery that the guy strutting around the crowd using a flash next to people's faces must have been Kosuke Sato. 

Perhaps I'm getting everyone mixed up. I know, why don't you all post your headshots and resumes at one site so we can all know who the top party photographers are.

But really, that's enough guys, please. I saw photographer web2asia of Flickr at the show with his camera and he somehow managed to not get in the way at all. It can be done.

Picture: Frank Fen @ Mao

Lot that long ago we went to a show featuring Mortal Fools at Mao Shanghai. MoFo guitarist Toni, also of Pinkberry, has put a gallery of newer pics from the show and reminds us that although it was the last show with that line up, it was not a goodbye show.

frank at mao

The F-visa Ghetto: redux

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

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

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

Postcard overview showing the boundaries and main streets

postcard large

Xingfu Road strip and JuJu

juju detail postcard

Dingxi Road

dingxi road postcard

Mao and Redtown

Mao Detail Postcard


Yuyintang e city

Youtube Tudou: Second live @ Mao Shanghai

A little while back I reported on the Rock Shanghai anniversary party at the newly opened Mao Livehouse Shanghai. This show was organised by 0093 rehearsal studios and was basically a re-run of their regular showcase nights at Yuyintang.

Now, before you watch this video we need to add some context. Well, firstly the quality is not good and it seems to have been done on a phone. But ...

Imagine you are back in your home town. Imagine that a local bar or hall is letting completely amateur unsigned bands play that night. The band is made up of mainly younger students and they've barely been playing together six months and part-time. They are playing their first original material. What would that be like? Well, on the Shanghai scene it's like this. This is Second (重结晶乐队) with their song 《如果可以 》 If I Could. 

Hint: They were good and the venue is great. 

Right, Spoonie, you're on point

"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 Tudou: A look in Mao Shanghai

Warning: yes, this is a look in Mao Shanghai. However, it is a hastily shot vid done on a point and shoot variety digital camera's video mode. 

I give a brief intro. But after the "40 seconds" are up and we can clearly see the stage, I change my mind and stay on it for two Momo tracks. So maybe this should be called Momo live @ Mao Shanghai.

Rock Shanghai Anniversary @ Mao Shanghai

rock shanghai one year
Rock Shanghai website has reached one year old and to celebrate they have revamped their front page and put on a promotional gig. The revamp is just a nice front page, the site is still solely comprised of a BBS. It will be interesting to see how they plan to topple Douban.

So, here was the lineup for the 0093 organised show:

小巫师 (Little Witch)
胶壳乐队 (Joker)
甜品店 (Candy Shop)
重结晶 (Second)
伍角星 (Five Pointed Star)

First up, good turn out. Over three hundred tickets sold as we got there early. By the end of the second band it was as full as The Mushrooms show the night before. Perhaps the best attended 0093 show to date.

Little Witch did not play and an unannounced band were to start. Just like the good old 0093 shows. The replacement band, whose name I didn't get, assuming they were Little Witch, played a mix of riff-tastic old school metal and ... err ..pop ballads. Props to the bassist who looked killer in her thrash wrist guards and low slung bass. Looking the part makes a big difference. Joker followed up with their blues-rock show. Good band but maybe a Mao Livehouse full of people mainly here to see Momo and Candy Shop is not the best place to do a rambling eight minute blues impro. 

Momo were next. As usual they were tight and professional. All the bands played short sets but Momo still managed to throw in an oldie from the Happy Strings days. Tonight's crowd seemed more up for their bubblegum indie pop material. 

Candy Shop hit the stage and ripped it up. They have a ton of new material and play a full set well now. New singer Sammi, in for Melody Li, is a great performer and held her own with the manic and always funny MC YKE. They were the first band to get people moving and jumping.    Highlight of the night. The older songs mixed thrashy riff with the catchy choruses, they now seem to be leaning more towards skate-punk style in the heavier sections. Again two great performers up front who really know how to work up the crowd. 

Now we were at the two and half hour mark. And two more bands to go. Following the Mushrooms gig I was already wasted and couldn't last the marathon. As we were getting our stuff together, Second came on and we caught the first two songs. Second grab attention immediately for their, err, natural advantages in the looks department, but that's not a concern for them. They were the first band of the night to play honest straight rock. Everyone else mixed a variety of genres with heavy dollops of pop in the mix. Second just rocked. Great.

On the way out we heard that Pinkberry were hiding backstage and were going to play a surprise headline appearance to round off the night. I'm not sure how wise an idea that was considering the regular show must have run well over three hours by the end. Anyone care to review in the comments?

andy at mao shanghai

The Mushrooms live @ Mao Shanghai

mushrooms polaroid
I wrote that the opening night of Mao Shanghai, a new 800 capacity venue, was not a true indicator of how the venue may work. Well, this time was the first show that was a ticketed rock show headlined by a local band.

The Mushrooms are especially good at cultivating their online community groups and front man Pupu is a major personality on Douban. All indicators said that they could add to their usual 3-400 YYT crowd.

One funny incident on the way in. In front of us at the ticket desk were a group of two local couples. They didn't know it wasn't free, they'd obviously been last week. So they asked who was playing. When explained to them they gave a group sarcastic laugh and even broke into English to say "Chinese band?". Then they left. Echoes of the Windows Underground manager/incident.You could see last week though, that a free promotion give-away crowd is not the same as the rock crowd.

Anyway, fuck them, because there were 500-600 true local rock fans there on the night. Support act Double Control Where played a mixture of thrash with screaming and very Mushrooms-esque slow parts. I was told they are Emo, maybe Screamo? The stage seemed a bit big for a newer band (you know, metaphorically) but the crowd liked them. 

The Mushrooms came on to high expectations and played a proper headlining set of well over an hour. They played a lot of new songs and tried to organise the set with changes of pace. Pupu doesn't need to do much to please his fans these days, but he doesn't know any other way except all-out. Good. I was a bit disappointed that the crowd was a bit too much poser and not enough pogo but we all had fun anyway. Our little contingent of crazy fans got an unexpected boost when a group of girls also turned up in matching tees and joined in the jump/mosh action. Nice.

But could it be last time? Stay tuned to our blogs to see what happens. 

Mushrooms farewell gig?

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.


Mao Shanghai opening night

mao shanghai
OK, it's the one we've all been waiting for. 

Soma art management, followed up their disastrous and controversial stint at the Dream Factory by signing up to try again. This time they have joined forces with the Japanese investors behind Mao Beijing to open up their own venue. 

It's round two of the fight to perform a great leap forward to the age of middle size music venues.

Ladies and gentlemen, here are the rules. Mid-size venues usually clock in at about 1500-2000 people. Mao makes the minimum requirement at a formidable 800. You need bands who meet the Brad Ferguson Standard, one hour of quality original material with which to headline such a venue. You need a promoter who knows which bands will do that for you. You can no longer rely on hacking a dodgy PA or inadequate acoustics. To counter your visibility you need clear and consistent laws and procedures regarding operations and a g*v*rnm*nt who are happy to let you work within those guidelines. 

And we're into the preliminaries. 

Jake and I were invited to pop our heads into the venue, which was heavily under construction, a week ago. Soma peeps were very nice to us and left us with the genuine impression of wanting to do it right and do it well. The space looked amazing and there was no hint of PR gloss in the after-talks, it was all fully open and friendly. The manager of Mao Beijing and rep for the Japan side of the operation explained to me how they invested and stuck with Mao Beijing for over two years until it became successful on a weekly basis. Good start.

It was however, still very much under construction and it didn't surprise me when the official opening featuring My Little Airport was dropped. So now we had the "low-key soft opening", so it was pitched to me the Sunday before. Saturday night was to be a free show featuring Momo, Sonnet and Life Journey.

When checking to see what was happening on my way over it turned out that "low-key soft opening" meant "actively promoted sponsored event with 1000 pre-bookings taken". Thanks for the heads up guys. So, yeah, it was packed.

OK ... so, the space is amazing. A perfectly sized pit in front of a properly raised stage and the square venue being raised around that so that pretty much every one of the 800 people can get a view of the band. Really good sound. I came in to the middle of Sonnet's set and it was loud and clear from every vantage point. It really is Shanghai's first proper mid-sized venue that meets the standards. So credit where it's due.

But ... that where it ends. The show, as much as it went off fine, was not any indicator on how  it will work in the future. This was a very SOMA night much in the vein of these previous two I was at. This was a free promotion crowd, not a die-hard show going crowd. They shunned the bar and filed out en-masse around their early bed-times/ last train times - despite a tight crowd pleasing performance from Life Journey still being in full swing. As I entered, some non-plussed looking punters walked past me with fingers in their ears. Ooohh, it's so loud at gigs. Also, after Momo and Sonnet did their on-time and short sets, leaving the place warmed up and ready, there was an onstage promotion for Casio before the main band. It went on a bit and involved audience games and Lezi hosting (again) in his panda suit. 

The night was simply not an indicator of how things will go for ticketed rock shows when a particular month has to be held down by local acts. So we'll have to wait and see. 

... and here's something else. The Mushrooms are in the closing stages of negotiating a record deal that might take them off to Ta*wan . So the 3rd October may be the last time they'll play an affordable gig in Shanghai for a long long time. So come down to Mao for that one if you're yet to check the place out.

What's up in Hipster Paradise?

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 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!


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