Results tagged “rogue transmission” from Andy Best

Video: SPIN Earth report on Get in the Van Three

SPIN Earth have just posted up a video about the Get In The Van Three show at Dream Factory and YYT.  It has live footage from all the bands involved and some talking too. It also has a bit of a Reeb fixation. The bands are The Dropkicks, The Gar, 24 hours, The Rogue Transmission and Boys Climbing Ropes. Check it out now.

See full report...

Magazines: more Midi, Hard Queen and other releases

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.

Youtube channel roundup for March 2009

It's that time of the month again. And it's time for the obligatory notice for newbies. Most of the live videos I post here are taken by myself and stored at the blog's Youtube Channel. You can see a link in the sidebar.

Or you can click here to visit.

So, we have a new number one, discounting my Sick Sunday parody vid which is at almost 2000 views. Hard Queen have just opened their new website in anticipation of the CD launch next month. They posted up some vids there and included one of mine. The new views have pushed them all the way.

Here we go then. if these are all old news to you, be sure to check my movers and shakers below that:

1) Hard Queen live @ YYT (August): 444 views watch
2) The Rogue Transmission live @ Dream Factory: 378 views watch
3) Bang Bang Tang live @ Yuyintang (Oct): 338 views watch
4) Bang Bang Tang (Lollipop) older vid: 324 views watch
5) Boys Climbing Ropes live @ Dream factory: 319 views watch
6) Bang Bang Tang live @ Yuyintang (Nov 2008): 299 views watch

Among hot new vids are Reflector @ YYT and Momo @ Gua'er

The Rogue Transmission live @ Yuyintang (Mar 2009)

The Return of Rogue Transmission
It seems that a lot of Shanghai bands are getting what they deserve lately. The Rogue Transmission have had a small break during which they lost a guitarist, replaced him and wrote new material. Tonight was the return, Jedi style (check the flyer). Here was the original line up:

The Dropkicks
Monroe Stahr

I'd seen Monroe Stahr briefly on Thursday night and was impressed with the catchy songs and style. They were added to the bill late only to cancel on the night due to illness. Pity that, as there was a great turn out and singer/songwriter Nicky was keen to play to a regular weekend night crowd.

The Dropkicks went on early and proceeded to play for almost one hour, which I personally feel is a faux pas for a support act in a smaller club gig. They played well enough although the sound over the PA was middling. Then, there was a huge break between them and the band everyone was waiting for. But when Dan Shapiro took the stage it was all worth the wait.

I was worried by the high percentage of party scene ex-pats in the crowd and there were bad shirts and shiny bags everywhere. Luckily there were some cheeky instigators at the front, including yours truly, who were determined to get some action. Rogue Transmission returned tighter, louder and improved. The sound was clear and the material rocked. With a case of the flu creeping in, I had to retire from the front four songs in but it was worth it. Chalk up one more Shanghai band who can headline a Saturday night and rock it.

Red Banana live @ Yuyintang

new sign at yuyintang
As recently reported, Hefei based rockers Red Banana came to Shanghai last night. Here was the full line up:

The Snot Rockets

I have to admit straight off the bat that I was barely conscious at this gig. I worked all day right up until 8.30 then got there at 9.15. By the time Red Banana went into their set I was lost-in-the-desert hungry and starting to flip out.

Every time I see Loudspeaker they seem to get heavier. They are a skatepunk band who play fast and simple tunes with leanings towards hardcore punk. They were on stage as I entered the venue and it sounded like a metal gig. It didn't help that the sound was muddy over the PA.

The Snot Rockets were next and this was the first time I'd given them a proper listen. They have capable players in the line up, including Mizusu from Banana Monkey. They play garage rock-ish material a la Libertines and all wear shirts and ties on stage. It's a hipster's wet dream. I like t-shirt rock myself but with the talent in the band something is definitely going to come out of the project if they keep it up and make it a priority.

Lastly, Red Banana got on and the sound quality jumped up another level (equipment, not the players). They opened with the signature track Hello and played a solid set. I'd love to write more but I was drifting by three songs in due to hunger and had to bail. They are tight performers with great hooks in the songs. I got the CD and it's worth it. See ya'll at The Return of the Rogue Transmission tonight!

Red Banana and other stuff

red banana
Big weekend coming up at YYT. The Rogue Transmission returns on Saturday night, which should be a good party night, but the Friday gig has not really been promoted much so I did a bit of snooping.

Musically, this has the potential to be another nuts show like Reflector, although I'm not sure Red Banana has the same fan base. Red Banana are from Hefei, the capital of Anhui province. They play pop-punk as well as listing brit-pop among their influences. I went to their Douban page and found they have ten full tracks there for listening starting with the excellent Hello.

So go to the show on Friday and we can make it like this. Don't worry if you can't read Chinese, scroll down and you'll see the MP3 player. If you ever go to my China links and see a bunch of code, just pop in your system disc and install Simplified Chinese into your net browser, then all will be revealed.

On another note, you may have noticed that I took out the recent comments sidebar a while back. This was because it showed up spam before I could add it into my list and annoyed me greatly. However, this means that if you comment on older posts, like more than six back and off the front page, I'm not likely to notice. By the way, this site's archives are in a title only list format and very easy to troll through.

So, while trolling through older posts recently I found a bunch of comments I'd never seen. These included a long answer from Cold Fairlyland's Lin Di on the Melting Pot post and a comment from the film makers about Chinese Rock'n'roll!!!

So here's the etiquette. If a post is not very active then people won't go back to it once it's off the front page. On a blog that posts often you just comment on the latest post and make an anchored link (no full addies please) or a brief reference to what you're talking about. So there you go. If you check any of those two links, for example, and want to comment on them ... use this post. Ok.

Youtube channel roundup for Feb 2009

It's that time of the month again. And it's time for the obligatory notice for newbies. Most of the live videos I post here are taken by myself and stored at the blog's Youtube Channel. You can see a link in the sidebar.

Or you can click here to visit.

The top six is ranked by all time views, not month by month. So, after the regulars, I'll be linking a couple of newer vids that are moving up fast. The major story of this post is indie pop band Bang Bang Tang (singer Xiao Bai pictured) who have taken three of the top six places.

Also, a quick note for those who read the posts as they come out. There's something going on with the net here and it's playing with my ability to access my server at normal speeds, hence the quiet few days. 

Right then:

1) The Rogue Transmission live @ Dream Factory: 360 views watch
2) Boys Climbing Ropes live @ Dream factory: 291 views watch
3) Bang Bang Tang live @ Yuyintang (Oct): 287 views watch
4) Bang Bang Tang (Lollipop) older vid: 280 views watch
5) Bang Bang Tang live @ Yuyintang (Nov 2008): 265 views watch
6) Self Party live @ Yuyintang: 260 views watch

And now, the two fastest risers from recent times. One is the DIY music video I made with Pinkberry for Runaway. The others are red hot Shaoxing Brit-poppers The Way. Enjoy.

Youtube Channel: Best of 2008

It's about this time in the month where I write up the top six viewed videos on the blog's channel. If you're not familiar then you can check this out, as it's a bit different today.

This time around is the best videos of 2008. Cue fanfare ...

There will be three videos and I will choose them myself, for my own reasons. Usually, it's all decided on views. In keeping with the usual spirit of things, you might want to revisit the most popular video of 2008. Also, since that's a special case, you should also check out the most viewed underground gig video of 2008 here. Right, so let's get going.

In reverse order:

Number Three: Casino Demon (BJ) play Yuyintang. This song is amazing, it's called Wa Ha Ha. Typical blinking lights from short staffed Yuyintang but the song's energy and clarity in my sh*tty video is a reflection of how good they are. Casino Demon - as good as any pro-band back West in this style but with none of the pretension.

Number Two: Pinkberry blast off. The fastest riser on the Shanghai local scene play in the middle of a multi act show to a half empty room, but they don't care. They have no idea how not to play with energy and commitment. Sorry about the lights again, but all the energy and hook writing is in there.

Number One: The Subs finish the year at Dream Factory. Coincidentally also a non-blinking video. The Subs are the best live act in China and what's more their songs are diverse and engaging. What More is one of the best, check it out.

Bonus moment: It was also a good year for newcomers Candy Shop. And for anyone who doubts their abilities with their regular songs check this out first. They rocked the multi act showcases with their short but energetic sets and improved at record speed. What surprised the most, though, was their ability to connect with the local audiences. I was at two shows where after just four songs at a low key show, the fans wouldn't let them go. Both times the band pulled out a previously unheard practice room bonus track to jam on and had the crowd going like old hands rolling out the hits for the faithful. So watch on, Candy Shop joking around an yet ruling over other new band's best efforts:

Youtube channel top views for December

It's that time of the month again where I round up the blog's Youtube channel. So, for all those who just check the featured posts and have not surfed the back catalogue, I now have 63 videos there to look at. 

Now, the top six has been a little bit skewed because of this: douchebag scandal and video. In the name of science it's safe to discard it as it's clearly not one of the band's live vids. However, the Sunday Morning video does give us some more interesting insights into the world of blogs and Shanghai. 

Youtube views count only individual IPs and thus give us a direct figure on how many different people watched it. So, the Douchegate scandal was a big blog story here and then my video on it got featured posts on Shanghaiist and I Love China. We must be wary of the link at Danwei as it was a small link added to the main post when the article had long been buried on the page. Moving on, all that attention and posting translated into around 1 500 views. So there you have it.

And now - the current top six at my channel:

1) The Rogue Transmission live @ Dream Factory: 302 views watch
2) Bang Bang Tang (Lollipop): 222 views watch
3) Boys Climbing Ropes live @ Dream Factory: 220 views watch
4) Self Party live @ Yuyintang: 218 views watch
5) Hard Queen live @ Yuyintang: 182 views watch
6) Crazy Mushroom Brigade live @ Yuyintang: 168 views watch

Self Party are still holding out for post-rock and experimental while the Mushrooms bump Modern Cheese out for the first time. Watch the Mushroom's vid and sigh - the altered line up I saw at the Indietop showcase has a long way to go in recapturing the level you see in the vid. 

Casino Demon live @ Yuyintang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Subs live @ Yuyintang (Halloween 2008)

little punkPromoters S.T.D. had a great success last year with their Halloween rock party and decided to repeat the formula this year by bringing the Subs to Yuyintang. Fair play. From the start it was clear this was going to be a huge event. It was also clear from the Regurgitator show at Logo that they would oversell the venue if necessary. Not very responsible of them, but luckily a bunch of the people there seemed to filter away before the last band or stay out in the park. Yuyintang is packed at 250 people. A friend, George, came at twenty minutes after the official start and had ticket number 280. And it went on from there.

Really, the place was rammed at the start and on came Yellow Riot, the one off Clash tribute band formed by members of The Rogue Transmission and Mortal Fools. I have to say, as cheesy as it sounds, they kicked ass. All the numbers were dead on and the sound was great. The bursting venue loved it and people were dancing and going for it from the first chord of the first number. At that point though half the people there couldn't have got into the hall if they wanted to. Luckily most were too drunk to care at that point.

Next up, out the back for some down time. Never has having a park out the back door been so useful at Yuyintang. It was quite a sight with most people in costume. I finally had a conversation with Ben Hogue and Jutta. Great people. Ben is taking time out to work full time on his art and sound installations. You can follow his events at his new blog here. In no time at all, the sounds of Boys Climbing Ropes warming up came floating out. Again, the place was rammed with people just up for anything. The first song went off without a hitch and the audience went nuts again. Then, the BCR tech curse struck. Jordan's guitar went completely off and once back on, the overall sound needed another track to get re-balanced. However, after heroically recovering the rest went well and the crowd barely seemed to notice anyway. Special props to their costumes too. Nice.

Before we get onto the Subs - a special announcement regarding photographers. At small underground gigs there's no special place for you, that's true. Also, taking some photos is fine. What is not fine is this ... getting near centre front with a big camera and separate pro flash and staying there for every single song, blocking the view and frequently blinding me with said flash. So, yeah, that was me in the mosh constantly nailing you on purpose.

The Subs have not let up. They are super-pros and Kang Mao never drops her performance level for even a second. I was going to watch from the back but as the third song kicked in I couldn't help myself, it was in for the rest of the show. I was caught by Abe who snapped me, proof that even hipster douche bags like me can't resist the lure of the Subs show mosh. Any music fan that has a chance to see this band live should never pass that chance up. This is the China underground show to miss your best friend's wedding for. They played a selection of songs from all three of their CDs and delivered on every track. 

Special mention to BCR singer Little Punk who was the first into the pit for every Subs track and looked so rad in her costume 'corpse surfing' the crowd. Nice.

Corpse surfing pic courtesy of Christian

Youtube channel: Shanghaiist vs Douban

Newer readers to the blog may have noticed that I post videos here but may not have been to the channel and checked out the back log. So, before we get going:

Now, a happy coincidence last week has led to an interesting experiment. This involves two sites. I give you ...


Douban (Chinese)

So, a bit of background. My Youtube channel's most popular video last month was at around 150 views and my poor little blog has about 2000 individual IPs (individual readers) across a month. Oh, writing that has made me realise that most of my readers don't pay much attention to the vids. Poor me, I know they are bootlegged vids but isn't that part of the romance of the underground? Ahem ... anyway.

When I was posting at Shanghaiist around March of this year, they got 200 000 IPs in a bad month and as much as 800 000 when Kenneth Tan ran the Edison Chen photo scandal stories. Their readership is English speaking Shanghai ex-pats and then overseas readers looking for Shanghai info via the Gothamist network. It's thousands of readers every day. Douban is a Chinese community site for people reviewing and sharing info on movies, music and books. It's very popular and hosts the net groups of choice for Shanghai music fans. A popular site in China like Douban has sky high traffic. Douban has over two million registered members for a start (so it says here). Also, Douban is the site of choice of the local music scene. 

So. After getting a reasonable video of Tianping Dian's great show last Friday, I decided to try something out. I joined Douban and posted the video there in a couple of relevant groups. At the same time on Saturday afternoon, Abe Deyo posted up a preview of The Rogue Transmission's Saturday show on Shanghaiist. He used my video of their Control show in the post. What a nice coincidence, now I could use the viewing figures at the Youtube channel to track how many people at those sites watched the video.

So, at the time of the videos being cross posted, TRS had 121 views and Tianping Dian had 6 views.

Then time passed until now. So there was Saturday night then all day Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Of course, not everyone who reads a post at those sites is a rock fan. I'm sure there are all kinds of factors at play but it's certainly interesting to see what kind of traffic gets generated. At least, just for fun.

As I write it has gone midnight on Tuesday and I'm checking the stats right now.

The Rogue Transmission video: 248 views (up 127)
Tianping Dian video: 28 views (up 22 and no significant difference to a regular video)

A certain net meme comes to mind here: Fail!

The Rogue Transmission EP release party

Dan Shapiro
It was another sold out night in Yuyintang. Shanghai band The Rogue Transmission were following up their breakthrough show at Dream Factory with the timely release of their first CD.

Check out their page here.

The full line up was altered at the last minute when Nanjing psychobilly act Angry Jerks had to cancel. Luckily, goth-metal-ish new band Wang Yuezhe were on hand to fill in. I also found out that they have an official English name, Moongazer. Rounding out the bill were Mortal Fools and the headliners.

I did plan to get a bunch of videos for the Youtube channel but I was thwarted by the curse of the random flashing lights at YYT again. I uploaded one track from Mortal Fools and if you check it out you may agree with me that better bands playing there should not settle for the default flash setting. Talking of videos, Abe Deyo used one of the blog's videos in a post over at Shanghaiist - thanks Abe - which should highlight the difference in the lighting area.

Onto the bands. Wang Yuezhe have improved their set and have quite distinctive songs. But, like most new bands they lack a defined image. The singer has a hippy/goth look down but the rest of the band are 'at ease'. Tianping Dian had a similar problem. They really rocked last night with hard and heavy crossover metal but, for example, the keyboardist had on a polo shirt that wouldn't have looked out of place on a golf course. But all in good time. It's just great that a bunch of the newer bands are all starting to come through and the turnouts are back up as a result.

This was a great night for Mortal Fools. Despite the singer Frank's voice slipping a little at times, they have never sounded this good or loud. The place was packed out and eager to get moving. They puled out one of their newer ska tracks with Frank using a harmonica to double for a horn section and it worked. They got an encore and went out with a popular Ramones cover. Great set. The Rogue Transmission got on straight after and professionally made sure they got started dead on midnight. Yuyintang was at capacity and people were here to see this band. Makes you think though. With Shanghai underground bands starting to break through to the point where they can fill YYT - 250 people or more makes it bursting - it's a pity that Dream Factory is so upscale and expensive to rent. It really would be an achievement for the scene to start doing regular mid-scale shows: all without any mainstream advertising or ticketing or service structure. 

Another main feature of the night was the wide range of people there. I finally met one of the Layabozi people in the flesh. It was the founder, Mache. I have just put together a playlist for their site so keep your eyes peeled over there. I think there might be someone else going on before me so it might not be for a couple of weeks. Also, I met a couple of great guys from Tasmania of all places. One of them John, admittedly very very drunk, was just the funniest guy. His huge sprawling monologue on blogs and the blogosphere convinced me that he himself must get himself one soon and make a kind of anti-blog. Anyway, he really made my night and I just have to stick his photo up. Hi, John.


In the papers: Chinese Rock Power

The Shanghai Daily English edition ran a cover story on rock today. That's the cover of the culture and entertainment insert. Before I discuss it a bit, you can find an abbreviated version of the article online here.

All over the world, the mainstream press does not move in mysterious ways. The feature is in to promote a weekend outdoor concert in Zhabei district called Chinese Rock Power. The big pull is the 90s period first generation rock band Tang Dynasty which is what the article focuses on. 

Both the print and online articles are devoid of any real information on the event with no full line-ups or links/contacts to the organisers. I flipped the page to the What's On listings and there's no mention of it at all there. The article itself says that fellow veteran Cui Jian will headline a night. Other clues to the line-ups are not good. The show will apparently feature Wang Xiaokun - a reality TV show winner and pop idol who has that please kick me aura about him. 

Anyway, the article is full of the usual annoying stuff that mainstream/nationalist minds produce. Tang Dynasty pioneered 'east meets west', they use rock but stay true to Chinese culture, they broke the Japanese market, Chinese rock fans have long hair because of them. The guitarist is the best in China and even in the top three in Asia. Luckily the writer throws in a quote from the band itself right at the end, a brief moment of truth.

Ding also wants the media and critics to be more open minded regarding Chinese rock singers because "many rock bands are just surviving in small pubs. It's a difficult and long road and we all need some support."

I hope that writer takes the advice and next time doesn't wait for a large event promoter to give them a story. There's plenty of rock stories out there if they actually have a look.

Busy weekend coming up. The latest 0093 Rock Party is on Friday and will give me a chance to see how Kongzhong Huayuan are progressing. The very next day is Rogue Transmission's EP release party. The EP is called Illicit Intercepts and you can try to win a free copy over at Layabozi. All you have to do is guess what the cover art means or is. Maybe I should have run a similar competition about the name? Seriously though, it should be a good night out and you can get excited about it by watching this video of the Transmission's kick ass appearance at the Control show: check it out.

Youtube channel top views and more

It's almost a month since the last round up of the blog's Youtube channel so let's have another look. 

I appealed to people to promote their favourite videos by getting their friends to watch and sending it up the charts. This seems to have worked a bit in some cases, although Miniless Record's Self Party is still at the top. Darn it. We still haven't had a vid break out into the Youtube mainstream and pile up a ton of views yet either. Curses! Why aren't people queuing up to watch unclear, bootleg videos of amateur bands they've never heard of in a distant country they know nothing about? Beats me!

I do have a couple of other things to post about today so I'll get the short one out: Banana Monkey have split. Not only were they a good band who had stuck together and 'got good', they also did a lot of organising on the scene. Some of my favourite shows were the movie themed gigs down at the old Yuyintang. I first saw them and Happy Strings (now Momo) at Wolfman Attacks Yuyintang. Follow the link to have a listen and a nostalgic moment - here.

And now ... the current top six of my blog's mainly insignificant video channel:

1) Self Party play the Miniless Records showcase at Yuyintang: 168 views watch
2) Bang Bang Tang play Yuyintang: 158 views watch
3) Boys Climbing Ropes live at Control: 131 views watch
4) Hard Queen's August Yuyintang show: 108 views watch
5) Modern Cheese at Yuyintang: 101 views watch
6) The Rogue Transmission live at Control: 99 views watch

BCR and the Rogue Transmission blow the top six apart! Good show. Next step, one of the top six bands simply has to persuade some high traffic site like Shanghaiist to post their video and it will skyrocket into an utterly untouchable position. Or, if you want a real promo video, just ask. I have a flashy camera (Canon XL2) and a light and will do it for free/a laugh. 

Lastly, I saw that a piece mentioning Chinese rock music appeared in the Guardian's famous Comment Is Free section. So firstly:

The article in question - here
The nice guys at Danwei who broke the story - here

The piece is actually about fetish-ising things cos they're Chinese and judging them unfairly. It makes some interesting points (unintentionally). Namely, that even being 'positive' is bad if it's a stereotype. Anyway, the article is all over the place and I've no idea why it's in CiF. The main thrust is not really what I cover on the blog here either. She does mention Carsick Cars and The Subs. Apparently, the song Zhong Nanhai is not only about the brand of ciggie but referring to the Zhong Nanhai building in Beijing. Shows how much I know. I wonder if Alice also thinks it refers to the actual Zhong Nanhai, the South China Sea? Do we have a CSC lyrics expert on hand?

Avril will ... ahem ... 'rock' you

It's the end of the month and new magazine time. Well, that sounds like there are some English language music mags to cover. It may also imply that I translate articles from Chinese music mags covering the local scene. They'd all have to exist first. Yes, it's ex-pat mags time. Luckily for us, a lot of these mags employ writers who are trying hard to sneak decent stuff in there, between the ads and listings. 

Obviously though, I'm going to have a crack at Avril and horribly naive/mercenary perceptions of what 'rock' or 'punk' is. That said I'd better preface this:

This post is mainly inspired by City Weekend running a cover story on local rock and the music scene here. So before the Avril related sarcasm begins, good job! I should also point out that this came about due to the good influence of Abe Deyo who is responsible for the 'local' parts of the feature and is obviously excluded from the following jibes.

The feature is called Rock is Back but is unfortunately based around a big advert for Avril Lavigne's upcoming China tour. So the feature is basically saying one of two things. Either, "Hey, we are clueless about music in general" or "we put shallow marketing above any kind of personal standards." Luckily, the inner reaches of the feature showcase three Shanghai bands:

Did I mention that featuring and interviewing Avril for a 'rock' feature is dumb? Oh, I did. Then, I'll go on. Hard Queen we know all about at this blog. They now have a new Friday night regular spot at a bar called Bee Dee's on Dagu Lu. Correct me if I'm wrong, Brad, and feel free to post the proper address in the comments. Rogue Transmission have done a CD and are currently touring around doing a bunch of release parties for it. They will eventually swing by Yuyintang so I'll catch them there. The big news in the Sonnet section is that they are reforming. I last saw members of Sonnet moonlighting in Top Floor Circus. So did you, if you watched the TFC vid post I made a couple of days back.

That reminds me, the Rogue Transmission and Boys Climbing Ropes videos have stormed up my Youtube channel and into the top six. if people are linking the blog or the vids on other pages, please let me know. Just because it's interesting and a kind of blogging etiquette. 

So back to Abe Deyo. I felt vindicated when I saw Abe complaining on Facebook about something that was bothering me too. Now, everyone in this day and age takes pics and short vids at local gigs with their camera phones and compact cameras. For example, me. I keep it quick, do it from the back or side and limit it to one song. If for anything, this is because I want to pay attention to the gig. Often though, half the peeps in YYT are holding up their cameras for 50% of the set. This still doesn't bother me that much though. What does bother me is that this one guy is now turning up to 80% of shows at YYT with a large HD pro camera and bulky mono-pod and standing dead centre-front filming for the entire set. He seems utterly oblivious to the fact that some people might want to enjoy the show and that they do not pay to see him. Let's hope the novelty wears of soon. If someone is going to film an entire set with a large rig, then make an agreement with the band and venue then get a special position on stage or something. Blah blah rant rant.

'Control' PK14 live @ Dream factory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Magazines: Aug-Sep City Weekend


city weekend onlineThey are not keeping up with That's Shanghai's amount of scene coverage from last month, but the latest issue of City Weekend features three columns on the music scene.

First up, all these articles should now be available in the magazine section of CW's website: here

The Shanghaiology Small Talk feature is an interview with Brad Ferguson that mainly covers this old news. Having it in print will definitely help stick it to his old boss more, which is actually causing some regrets as a new overseas manager has been brought in who is innocent in all this. Then again, the new guy is doing dance music. The interview throws in the usual scene analysis questions to which Brad remains calm and measured:

The scene will develop at it's own pace.

Next up is a small feature in the nightlife section called Size Matters. In it, Abe Deyo goes over some issues with venues, or lack of them, in the city. This one is definitely up at the website now if you follow the link. And why not leave a comment? There's some good columnists hanging around the site and a bit of love will surely encourage them to write more posts on top of the print versions.

Finally, following Aric Queen's departure, The Beat column has been taken over by Dan Shapiro. Here's Dan's band The Rogue Transmission. When the column was first started with DJ Michael Ozone of Antidote writing, it was clearly a music scene column. When Aric took over it shifted away from electronic music and DJs and focused more on rock and indie. By the time Aric left it was mainly about bars in general. Dan had been presenting Aric's The Beat vidcasts and doing some writing at the site so in someways there's continuity. I hope that Dan's direct involvement in the scene as an artist as well as an organiser and commenter will turn the column back into a true music scene column. Of course, we just had August and something needs to happen again before anyone can write about it. 

Brad Ferguson already back on his hoss


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

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

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

Boys Climbing Ropes
The Rogue Transmission
Hard Queen

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

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

Joyside live @ Windows Underground


rogue transmission warm upI went down to the recently moved Windows Underground bar last night to see the famous Beijing punk band, Joyside. This was part of a special event called Get in the Van and features a three band bill then a free minibus over to another bar for dancing and DJs. This was the second van event, both organised by Dan Shapiro who fronts the band, Rogue Transmission. As well as Joyside and Rogue Transmission the line up featured folk-punk act Boys Climbing Ropes.

Joyside are huge here and the venue filled up. However, my night was basically ruined by the curse of the 'bar gig'. It's a strange affliction that affects normal 'venue' gigs in the underground scene too. They seem to operate by different rules that may suit some people but just not me.

Why can't shows start on time? Coming late to a show and missing some of the support act is normal and not a big deal. This one was door at 9 then start at 10, but they waited until 10.45 presumably until it filled up more. So, i'm fine with multi act bills, especially in a smaller local scene - but - it drives me nuts when they become triple headliners or sometimes quadruple and more. Have a bunch of support acts but don't hold back the whole show for them to get more people in and, for god's sake, don't let them play full sets.

So Rogue Transmission plays a solid traditional rock set but it was basically 12.00 midnight, Euro 2008 about to start on TV and me starving to death. Yes, 12.00 at a show where the door opened at 9 and the second support act was just warming up. So I missed half of Boys Climbing Ropes getting something to eat then came back in time for Joyside.

And ... the sound was awful, I couldn't hear the lead vocals or the guitar, and Joyside were wasted and all over the place. Let down. Not to mention that half the people there were from the 'party crowd' who looked ready to hit the bund clubs after the show. Joyside are huge, like I said, and their real fans still loved every minute of the show.


andy dan xiao punk

Me, Dan Shapiro and Little Punk of Boys Climbing Ropes.


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