Results tagged “wang xiaokun” from Andy Best

Marathon New Year weekend and Jue Festival


flyer jue soundtoyThe shows are still not slowing down. A lot to see in January with ample back up from traveling bands. Well, to be fair, when people write/say that the scene has quiet moments they are talking about bigger shows by name bands but there's always something on.

Before we go on, let me ask: what's with the talent show rejects forming bands and invading the scene? I already noted my surprise when Wang Xiaokun, of Wo Xing Wo Shou fame, turned up at Indietop with a guitar band and a bunch of rock/indie songs. Next I thought we saw Wang while shooting the Pinkberry MV at Yuyintang but actually it was Yu Siyuan, another graduate from the same show. Now I see he's playing a 100 RMB per ticket show at YYT in January. Who's next ... f*cking Shi Yang (师洋) ? 

Ok, so here's what's going down near me this week (all at Yuyintang):

12/31 New Years Eve Party, 6 bands including Chaos Mind
1/1 Kongzhong Huayuan Cd single release party (jangly Coldplay-esque indie)
1/2 Soundtoy (highly rated post-rock band from Chengdu)
1/3 The Queers come to Shanghai with Pinkberry in support

It's a four day holiday marathon and I'll go to all of them. 

And also this month, Splitworks are putting on an urban festival of music and art that is split across several venues. I should start with the official link to the full schedule so check it out: Jue Festival. The reason I'm mentioning it here is that part of that festival is a Chinese bands punk show at Dream Factory featuring Demerit and Pinkberry on the 16th of January. Now, I know for a fact that Splitworks are bringing in international quality sound people and extra equipment for this. I'm not sure if the festival will attract punk people per se, but with those two bands, a good rig and a good crowd, it should be a wild show. As always, supporting shows like that equals more shows like that in the future. You know it makes sense. 

Pinkberry shoot wrapped

pinkberry shoot
I have lately been working with Gemnil from Yuyintang and the band Pinkberry to produce a music video. It's a zero budget type thing shot over two two-hour shoots but we wrapped today and I must say the results are quite good.

We had a lot fun with it, shooting a classroom scene and then a 'live' scene at YYT (where we also bumped into singer Wang Xiaokun and promoter Abe Deyo). Gemnil released some of her photos today so I thought I'd throw a couple on the blog. Special note to Micah, we shot the class scene in Zhangjiang Gaoke then ate lunch in the mini mall next to the station. Oh yes, that mall is one happening place at 11.30 on a Sunday morning.

pink two

pink eight

pink one

Indie Top One showcase at Dream Factory

Well, it finally came around, the Indie Top show. So much to talk about that this may be the first post where I have to split it and have the main body 'after the jump'. Let's get the formalities out of the way first.

This was an important show and you should read why here: A call to arms

Next, here are the bands who played, along with links to their sites:

Zhong Chi 钟茌
Momo MOMO乐团
Little Nature 小自然 
Sonnet 十四行诗
Wang Xiaokun 王啸坤

There were so many people I bumped into and so many shout outs that I can't possibly list them all. I usually include mainly other English language writers when I do this because to mention everyone at, say, a YYT show who's part of the scene or a band would be to make the whole post a fifty name list each time. Met Lisa Movius for the first time and then Shanghaiist blogger Wee Ling Soh who I got to take one of her famous eyes closed photos of me and Jake. Yes! Talking of Shanghaiist writers, me and Archie bumped into Cameron Wilson at a restaurant later that night and ate with Detroit techno guru Bone (so that conversation went right over my head). 

Quick special mention to my three ticket winners who all came. Thanks guys and I hope you enjoyed it. Lost Mimi at one point but I'm sure I saw you meet up with a friend. 

So, here we go. First of all, this was a well organized pro-event that got a great turnout and a bunch of support. Plenty of CDs and merchandise on the scene and they even had custom made Indie Top ads to play between acts and an MC for the night. Great atmosphere and definitely a success for Indie Top. The buzz at the event lived up to all the hype I was giving it ... phew. So, onto the bands.

Pre-amble. I previously listened to the CD samples and worried that the production had pushed the bands in the pop direction a lot. And here's the thing - I came thinking "Little Nature, Momo and Mushrooms" and left thinking "Zhong Chi and Sonnet". Weird stuff. While the theme for the night appeared to be rock acts getting signed and then lightening up, the lighter acts actually rocked it. Weird weird weird.

Out came Sarah Zhong Chi whose CD is full of dreamy tracks about environmental disaster. The first thing I noticed was the decidedly straight rock backing band that included Jerry Li, formerly of the Mushrooms, and David from Moongazer on guitar and bass respectively. The songs were good and the band gave it some bite live. Zhong Chi doesn't really appear on the regular live circuit in town and I had no idea what to expect but she's cool and the songs worked fine live. Good start. 

Next up were Sonnet. Sonnet are not on the label and were filling out the show. They played a straight set of their regular material and were kind of separate in feel from the rest of the night. They didn't benefit from the sound, which was loud enough to give the show atmosphere but a bit muddy and way short of truly professional. Sonnet have recently reformed and seem to be just about getting it back now. The last two songs they played really came together and seemed to win the approval of the crowd. They play modern indie rock in the vein of post-Strokes stuff like Casino Demon here. 

Little Nature were next. These are a pop punk trio that I have followed from the start at this blog. The sound reminds me of a mid-career Green Day and they were instantly popular with Shanghai rock fans. It's really quite amazing that they were about to come on as a signed act at a big show less than one year later in a small scene like Shanghai. Alas, being signed has changed them a lot it seems. They came out with an extra guitarist and some pop star hair-dos. When I watched these guys at Yuyintang a couple of times they were full of energy with deceptive songs that seemed like three chord rock but had some great hooks and breaks that made them stand out. They were flat here and the label is obviously pushing the pop/idol side of things.

Momo next. Same story, The label has really got these girls to push the cute appeal. But, for Momo, that side has always been a part of them, even when the music was very garage rock still. It's not my thing, but they seemed to suit the new style and performed well. Singer Ding Jia was made to play guitar the whole show too, which is not the norm at their shows. I suppose the label were pushing for a more filled out sound or something. It never seemed to be a problem before. I wonder if these bands are going to keep playing the smaller places now?

Then came the biggest shock of the night. Wang Xiaokun was a mainstream pop star with vids on the telly and everything. I knew he wrote his own stuff and had gone indie, but I was planning to skip him if he went on last. He came on now. And WTF, his backing band were rock and he wasn't half bad. He had a Manchester thing going on. Bowl cut, psychedelic sweater, singing his indie rock vocal upwards into the mike while swaying and breaking into falsetto. He was quite good. It was a total headfuck as his previous incarnation was a talent show idol. He had the good sense to not play any of those 'hits'.

Anyway, on came the Mushrooms one of my favourite bands and an amazing live act. They lost the original guitarist and got two replacements. I don't want to talk about it much. What can I say. This was a kind of coming out party for Momo, Little Nature and the Mushrooms to showcase their new looks and styles. LN lost their punch, Momo's Ding Jia usually has a bit of power and depth behind her voice but it's all cutesy now and the Mushrooms have lost their mojo too (they should get Jerry back). It's part of a planned move by the label to sell these bands. The weird thing is the sudden change, I have seen some of these bands live between getting signed to Indie Top and tonight's show and there was no indication of the change then at all. Who's the Shanghai Mick Jones and when can he start producing? 

Indie Top show: this is a call to arms

Update: Still two free tickets up for grabs, don't be fooled by the number of comments. I should say a free ticket to the first three commenters who explicitly state they want the free ticket. Don't give up without actually reading the comments!

This blog's contents are dictated solely by where I go and what I read/hear about. I'm not in the habit of doing specific previews or listings. However, sometimes you have to break the rules in special cases.

This post is about the upcoming Indie Top showcase gig. Read about it again here. And my message is simple: you must go to this show and force everyone you know to go too.

And here's what I'm going to do: I will buy advance tickets this week and the first three commenters on this blog get a free ticket. Just leave any comment under a nickname. If you fill in the E-mail section I will see that and contact you privately.

Before I explain why, let me list the details again:

The Indie Top showcase and CD release
Friday 5th December at 19.30

Address: Zhijiang Dream Factory, The New Factories, 28 Yuyao Road, Shanghai
地点:同乐坊 芷江梦工场 上海市静安区余姚路28号

Tickets: 50 rmb, 40 rmb in advance
Ticket Hotline: 021 6227 7332

Zhong Chi 钟茌
Momo MOMO乐团
Little Nature 小自然 
Crazy Mushroom Brigade 蘑菇团 
Sonnet 十四行诗
Wang Xiaokun 王啸坤

Now. I think all venues and bands deserve equal support and on principal we should go to as many shows as possible. What we have here though is the possible start of a genuine and regular indie label in Shanghai. Beijing has Modern Sky and Maybe Mars. An amazing turnout at this show along with everyone picking up the CD there, will really make the difference. It will give extra confidence to the newer bands and push them on and will also show the label that they are doing the right thing. We have the power to help make this a turning point.

The Shanghai scene has been booming after the summer break, yes. But the hard truth is that it is still small enough that leaving things to chance can sometimes result in great bands playing to near empty rooms. Another stark fact is that - whatever the reasons and excuses - some promoters and event groups always fill their shows, while others toss the coin. So here's the thing - we the fans should become promoters and plug this show in every way we know how. Create your own events on Facebook or Xiaoneiwang. Mass E-mail. Write about this show for sites and mags. Buy your ticket in advance too. Let's sell this one out.

If this works then do this for every band and venue you like in the future - this scene needs you. 

P.S. See you in the mosh pit during Crazy Mushrooms.
P.P.S. If you are hard-core old school punk/not from Shanghai and sh*t on both indie poseurs and our fine city then The Shy Tall Mighty are back in town that day.
P.P.P.S. But really, go to Indie Top.

Indietop showcase coming to Dream Factory

Well, Dan Shapiro was not wrong when he said we were hitting peak season at the moment. The shows are stacking up at an alarming rate.
Lisa Movius just sent me a flyer/tip off relating to Soma Record's new stable of bands. Soma are a new indie label in Shanghai and you can read previous posts on them here and here.

So, the label has an all new brand now Indie Top and is having a large showcase to promote it's upcoming first releases. The materials say that they now represent thirteen acts and are committed to young/new talent.

The show is going down at Dream Factory on December 5th and there's even a discount for buying tickets in advance. You may need to do this as they have Wang Xiaokun playing and he's well known in the mainstream.

Here's the line-up in full:

Zhong Chi
Crazy Mushroom Brigade
Little Nature
Wang Xiaokun
Qing Ma Dao

I have videos at the channel for most of these. Have a look here, here, here and here. If you troll around the blog you can find dedicated posts and links for all of them too. Feed my web stats. 

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.


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