Results tagged “yuyintang” from Andy Best

Death To Giants / Japandroids live @ Yuyintang

japandroids flyer
Saturday night and off to Yuyintang for the much anticipated Japandroids show, put on by promoters Splitworks. I got advance tickets, which always feels weird for YYT, as there was a big buzz about the show. And yup it was completely sold out by nine.

Japandroids (Canada)

This show started a bit earlier than most, before I had finished work for that day in fact, so I arrived at the very end of HIMDONG's set. Sorry guys.

Well, YYT was sold out and packed with many people who would not normally come down for local bands, people who are often pretty shitty to the non 'name acts.' Good job then, that along came Death to Giants and slayed everyone. They confidently and expertly ripped through the now familiar set, starting on a war footing with Bigongbijing. The duo did their thing, using only drums and a bass guitar but delivering a masterclass on how to fill space and control dynamics. With a full house to play to, there was also a great raw edge to the proceedings. The set ended with a new, kinda novelty song based around the Family Mart jingle. It was funny, and come on ... it's been four years since 2009 brought along a sudden, shocking influx of ex-pats that took it from 'some' to 'omnipresent' in Shanghai - someone had to do a song about convenience store beers at one point.

The blog has had an upturn of readers lately so it's worth pointing out that I don't usually review the visiting international acts. It's outside of the blog's remit. I should start by saying that Japandroids did a professional job and all their fans really liked the show. They sold the place out and it was a success.  But, I personally was a bit disappointed - my own fault. I had spent the week in a weird state that doesn't quite fit the exact definition of either cognitive dissonance or double think. Let me explain. I had checked out their stuff on the page, so I knew what the songs were like, but at the same time knowing they were a two piece drum/guitar combo with the name 'Japandroids' I was expecting to get something experimental or different. In fact their material is very standard North American folk or blues rock type stuff at heart with the lyrics taking us into near Springsteen territory at times. 

The first two lo-fi modern duos that come to mind in the Shanghai scene are Death to Giants and Pairs. As discussed, DtG use time signatures and overlapping runs to control a wide range of dynamics, mixing in sudden bursts of pounding metal and also delicate vocal harmonies. Pairs blast the air around with a wave of fuzzy noise and punk energy, the guitar chops you into pieces while Xiao Zhong shouts at you with a mix of despair and unconcealed contempt. Torturing Nurse take you into the frontiers of extreme noise, The Other jam reverb soaked loops, Twos smooth layer on layer to create an electronic post-rock landscape. I guess, in the USA scene terms I'm more Lightning Bolt and less The Black Keys? 

Videos: Astrofuck live in Yuyintang

Warning: this is my band, lack of objectivity alert.

Some media is coming in from Saturday's show. Here are two and half tracks from Astrofuck's set, available in Tudou (China) or Youtube. I say half, because Love is Shit had a mid way break for computer hijinks, we kept the moment in because it's quite funny. Also, you can hear Chris Ginn at the start, pleading for a shorter song length. Did he use telekinesis to get his wish? 

Dog Fucker's Manual tudou youtube
Love Is Shit tudou youtube
Five Kuai Bullet tudou youtube

Thanks everyone, show non-review

picnic video
Warning: this is about a show that I organised and also played in. Total conflict of interest and you should be aware of this while reading my positive comments.

Thanks to everyone who came down to the Love is Colder than Death show on Saturday night. And thanks to the acts:

The Other
Tzu Sing

To be honest, I was worried that we were putting on an event at the exact quietest time of the scene calendar, in a heat wave and on the same night as several big music events - but also hoped that being different to all those other events would see us right. In the end we got a great turnout with some local fans even getting in before official doors open time so that Tzu Sing just kept playing on from the end of his check. 

Everyone did a great job. Tzu Sing set the atmosphere well and threw in some different stuff, that delighted me but that I'm under loose agreement not to talk about. It's related to one of our favourite 80s movies. The Other built on their last YYT set and added a video projection to the proceedings. I can't really comment on our set, Astrofuck, I guess. We did some new and never played live before tracks, they all seemed to go down fine and I really enjoyed myself. 

The real hit of the night came from Hua Jiao / HIMDONG. Everyone knows that Dong Heimu is a real talent on the scene, but since moving here from Xi'an he has struggled to get a stable line up and is always having to adapt his style. This time he came with a full band and ripped through some amazing post-punk tracks with stylistic hints of China scene post-punk and no wave acts in there such as The Fallacy, 8 Eye Spy and PK14. 

There's some recordings and clips on the way ... and hopefully a follow up night not too far away. 

Astrofuck show "Love is Colder than Death"

laura palmer saturday flyer
Warning ... warning ... full disclosure: this post is talking about a show featuring a band I'm in and a show I organized. Please keep that in mind.

Ok, so our band Astrofuck made its live debut early this year and played five shows that were all a lot of fun and often on weekends at YYT with good audiences. Playing the Woozy night as part of the Jue Festival was really cool and the Nerdcore documentary and performance at 390 was a good time too. 

Then we put out some demos and this music video:

The Funeral youku / youtube / vimeo

Then came the slow summer period in Shanghai and we decided to work on new material, focusing on our more gothy side, and to try to book a show tailored to us. And so on Saturday August 17th at Yuyintang we have ...

"Love is Colder than Death"

It will cost 40 rmb on the door and feature post-punk, experimental, gothy and dark bands. That's probably an inadequate way to describe it. DJ Tzu Sing will open from 9 playing darkwave and industrial styles. Then The Other will play, then us doing a 45 minute plus set including completely new songs we have never played before. We also have HIMDONG closing out with some loop madness. It will be awesome and the perfect antidote to the thrown together, generalized, overpriced SH Summer Sonic night on over at the Stadium. I can say that cos SMG is a multi-billion corporation and we are just some friends putting on a 300 ppl show underground.

Also, we are definitely playing "Dog Fucker's Manual." And for an insight into my upbringing, for the flyer I had to choose one image from pop culture that inspired me. If you recognize it then you found one of my significant formative experiences, when I was about 17. 

Alrighty, enough navel gazing, come on down to the show and here's our probable set list:

Five Kuai Bullet
The Funeral
Love Is Shit
Dog Fucker's Manual
Crystal Heart/Black Heart
Sponsor-friendly Self Harm
I P.M.
I Can't Jump Into The Pool
Sugar Free Coke

And here's a video of The Other playing at YYT not that long ago:

Tudou: The Other

Feima vs. Naohai this Friday: this is a call to arms

I don't do these posts so often so give it a listen.

We all have different music tastes and different motivations and expectations for going to shows, sure. But. It should be in all our interests for younger locals to be breaking through in great bands and pulling in more interest and audiences from Shanghai's population. 

We all know there's little to play for on the underground scene and that bands in Shanghai can be short lived for a variety of reasons. So I now ask you to help provide a reason to two of the city's most promising and exciting bands by turning up to the their big show and making it great. 

Feima and Naohai are co-headlining Yuyintang on Friday and you should go - and you should spread the word and drag people along. Feima in particularly have just put out an album and are putting on emotive shows.

Shanghai band: The Spondees

I am the wrong person to talk about spondees to. Like Edgar Allan Poe, I don't think they actually exist and can't be used in their absolute form without creating something distinct from English usage and pronunciation, to even attempt them for effect would require a pause that then makes the two-foot measurement wrong ...

... wait a minute. Sorry about that.

The Spondees are a Shanghai band made up of three heroic ex-pats. The band has been around for nearly five years with a few line-ups with Matt Saunders keeping things going. They have a good page at Reverb Nation and also a Douban page.

The Spondees are a hardworking, every-week-gigging, bar-band-style-band who play all original material. To be honest, I usually completely exclude what we think of as 'bar bands'. However, Matt Spondee is an awesome guy who has reached out to a lot of people in the, and I love this quote, "local pseudo-bohemian sub-indie anti-scene" ... or as we know it: the music scene. They take themselves seriously enough that we should too. Also the band are playing shows in Yuyintang and Mao and Matt comes out to support other people's shows. So give them a fair listen and look out for their continued presence on the gig circuit. Finally they are consummate musicians and performers, putting just as much into playing the old Fanfare location to twenty people (yup, I was there) as they would to a weekend night at a larger venue. 

Video: xLost in Painx live @ Yuyintang

Here's a ten or so minute set from Shanghai's xLost in Painx taken at Yuyintang on Sunday. They are joined on stage by Before The Daylight's Moli about halfway through.

Pic: Tension Music 2 year anniversary

Saturday was the two year anniversary show for Shanghai collective Tension Music, the brainchild of Wang Tian Tian AKA Wang TT. Here's their page. TT has been supporting and organising on the scene for years and is one of the two people behind the 0093 rehearsal space.

He's in the middle of the shot wearing a dark blue t-shirt. The bands are Da Xifu, Joker, En Route, Moshu Shi and Guts.

Click for larger
tx music group

Some stuff this weekend

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

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

Friday 26th July

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

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

696: Feima EP release show

Saturday 27th July

Yuyintang: Fuzzy Mood (BJ) album release

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

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

696: 小垂直 Xiao Chuizhi 

Sunday 28th July

Yuyintang: Made In Shanghai 6, feat. Prank

696: Guancai

Pics: original YYT mural and 2009 gigs

Here are some pics from summer of 2009 in Yuyintang. They show people who performed there posing with the recently completed mural in its original black and white as painted by Kaine. It's an interesting glance back for me anyway, not too far back though.

People in the pictures: Pupi of Da Bang, Wu Zhuo Ling, Mai Mai of Muscle Snog and AWU, Self Party and Boojii.

yyt bw pupi

yyt bw wzl

yyt bw maimai

yyt bw self party

yyt bw boojii

Made In Shanghai Vol. 5 @ Yuyintang

Pic: Sonnet frontman Zhu Baixi in the festival season

What started as getting out of my house to catch up with the Stego guys ended up being an oddly nostalgic night ... the line up for Made In Shanghai Vol 5:

Despite the on-off heavy rain YYT slowly filled to a respectable amount of punters. Fire Scene are a new band of young local guys. They play slap bass and funk driven pop-rock. They got some good energy going and did a good job but undercut themselves slightly over-explaining things between tracks. The bassist has the skills for the slap riffs. 

Stegosaurus? were playing without guitarist Levi and had a more stripped down feel but Josh's guitar filled the space adequately and the set had some good peaks that won over a lot of local fans. The vocal pairings were on point and I enjoyed hearing some of the older tracks. 

Then two things happened. When Sonnet got on stage I was struck by a wave of nostalgia and then I also bumped into Xiao Bai, former vocalist for Bang Bang Tang and fellow scene goer for many a year. It took me right back. Sonnet have been around on the Shanghai scene for years. I've seen them on and off since 2005 here. They rose and rose until early 2011's release "14." This capped their growing popularity with local fans and they played to full (7-800) crowds at Mao Livehouse, with video screens, lights, the synth lines and samples, the full line up and everyone singing along to the anthem tracks like 了了上海伐老乱哪能立得牢脚. It's the first track at the page, go and listen now. 

The track name is Shanghainese and translates to something like "Shanghai, come and have a go if you think you're hard enough" - with tongue firmly in cheek. Shortly after though, there was a falling out within the band and they went quiet for a while, there haven't been any new demos in two years now. At the show they played as a stripped down rock three piece, with Yang Fu moving to bass. Singer Zhu Baixi has still got it though and the set focused on the older rock tracks like Sexy Model Queen and Rejection. The band have been through a lot, and I was thinking I'd love for them to sit down and produce a new record that reflects on all their history. 

Girls Like Mystery / Death To Giants live @ YYT

glm kevin
Pic: Kevin Wright of Girls Like Mystery

This gig was a week ago Friday and I am a dirty procrastinator. There you go.

Also, I only caught two full sets out of five bands. This show was the School's Out Part 2 gig with five bands on the line up:

Daydreamer (空想家)

I arrived to catch the very last song of Daydreamer's set. The band have a good local following and promising nihilistic song titles like Fuck The Rest and 玩手机 (play on my cell phone) but the songs tend to be big tracks with classic blues-rock conventions as the base. They had a load of fans/friends in the crowd, who all left the venue within one or two minutes of the last song ending. I always harp on about this, but it reminds me of the 0093 showcase days where a six band bill would start out full then lose like thirty or so people after each set - literally within seconds of the last song - until the last band had about twenty plus staff to play to. Singer Chen Li (陈粒) had a good rapport with the fans and her solo folk page also has a good Douban following. 

Death To Giants, as well documented now, are a great great band and consummate entertainers live. This set featured appearances from Threshold of Forest and Mike Corayer. Bassist Nichols and Corayer did their scat vs trumpet duel (scat as in the vocal style - get your minds out of the toilet) and it really went off. Super.

I haven't really written about Girls Like Mystery here but this show really pressed home to me how they have developed into a good band on the scene. GLM are Kevin Wright (vox, bass), Micheal Herd (guitar), Mike Arone (keyboard), Adam Poole (drums), Mike Corayer (trumpet) and Todd St Amand (cello). The style is big tunes Brit-rock. Kevin is humble and open about the band's beginning, jamming out some covers with himself, Arone and Poole but now they have a live presence and play a good set of cathartic original rock tracks. Wright's look, voice and personality is a perfect fit for the style and he credits Arone's greater involvement with songwriting for the development of the material. 

Tudou: The Other live @ Yuyintang

Here's a video of The Other playing at Yuyintang. Later tracks were even better but I'd got one and wanted to just enjoy the show. So here you go.

Four Great Bands night @ Yuyintang

the other
Friday night and it was the next installment of Scottish Mike's four great bands series at Yuyintang. The original line up:

As the gig drew close, it was announced that two more bands would join the line up, both going on late:

M.O.T.O. are over in China touring and added this as an extra show. I should say right now, they didn't get on until around one, I guess, I never made it. I saw the advertised bands and most of Tinderbox.

Heavenly Hazard, for reasons explained between songs, are now a two piece. It led to an interesting turn. Guitarist Leila used an octaver to double up her semi-acoustic and then played all the slap bass parts on it too. The drummer was tight and inventive also. If they embrace this element more and move away from the old material it'll be really original sounding. 

Next up were Candy Shop who went through their usual high energy power pop set with signature moves and professionalism. There was a new track in there and also their two big Douban hits from the Chinajoy year, Love Song and Dan Lian Sha. Look at those Douban numbers, look at them.

I was really looking forward to The Other and they didn't disappoint. They think of themselves as a work in progress still and have only recently settled on a set and style but they had everything the budding fan of lofi-postpunk-shitgaze-delaychoked-psychedelia could want. The guitar sound was loud and choppy and they displayed a wide range of material. There were really stripped down short repeaters ... but there were also layered, wonderful sounding hypnotic tracks - especially Space Jam in which Adam used an E-bow to create the swooshing backing loop. At times it was loose with a jammed feel, but it added to the material for me. As you can tell, I was quite taken with it and you may have to not trust me. I'll throw up a video shortly. 

Xiao Xin Yi Yi rounded off the main line up with a high energy set of punk/garage rock. The new numbers landed and the track "Titties" was gamely introduced as "(bassist Mike) Bush wrote this ... because he's a misogynist." And then it was on to the extra bands. I saw most of Tinderbox's set before sleep and hunger wore me down. They had a good sound and, like Candy Shop, deliver their guitar pop with enough energy and professionalism to win people over and give a good show, even if sugary pop is not your thing. Singer Renia (小宝) has her act down pat. 

Local bands next Friday

The other
Recently there have been all kinds of high profile shows; Beijing bands, festivals, tours, international acts, provocateurs and DIY promo kings. All of these were top drawer and good at pulling attention.

So we should give some space to something else for the moment, because some local bands have scored a Friday at Yuyintang and there's some interesting stuff in there. 

There's something for everyone there. Candy Shop are a well known power pop group with a lot of live experience and an energetic show. Xiao Xin Yi Yi are a no-nonsense punk / garage rock band, until their Proclaimers cover, when they break out the nonsense in style. Heavenly Hazard is the new band of the former guitarist from Beatrice. Beatrice were a band that was part of the Yang Pu visual rock / cosplay band sub-scene based out of Left Rock and Live Bar. You could even dress up and hang in that scene's rehearsals if necessary. Finally we have The Other. The Other are an experimental, lo-fi, introspective guitar looping type act with dirty sounding shoe-gazing. There is a big scene for that on the net and the original bands called themselves 'shitgaze'. It's the kind of scene that immediately makes you want to give up everything and do only that. Although some acts on Bandcamp sound a bit polished these days. Not The Other. 

Live Beijing Music does Shanghai

dingma sh cover
Pic: from the now classic open gallery of mock up Top Floor Circus Shanghai themed album covers

Live Beijing Music is an excellent blog documenting stuff in the Beijing music scene. And the blog has provided us with a first. That is, someone immersed in the Beijing scene came down to Shanghai for the weekend and totally picked up on all that is amazing here. Especially how great Yuyintang is. 

Some of the points he makes about Shanghai incidentally taught me stuff about Beijing too: some vendors and restaurants won't take bills with unlucky numbers?  For real?

Anyway, LBM put up four posts, with pics and videos galore. There's an overview, two YYT nights and record store day at Uptown.

Pics from our Friday show

On Friday we (Astrofuck) played Yuyintang with Italian touring band Serpenti and local punks Friend or Foe. It was good show all round. As a result we have live recordings of previously unavailable tracks. Also, Rachel Gouk was on hand to take some pics. They came out great too. 

Here is a gallery of the pics. You can go here to listen to our latest track Five Kuai Bullet. And here is Rachel's blog with all her relevant links.

kaine yyt may

Friday: we (Astrofuck) play with Serpenti at YYT

serpenti flyer
OK, here comes the self-promotion. 

This Friday (10th may) Yuyintang will host touring Italian electro rockers Serpenti. That plus Friend or Foe should already be enough to get you in the door. But we, Astrofuck, are playing too.

We're going on first at 9.30, traditionally a bit earlier than people actually show up in significant numbers but - this is the appeal to get on down for us too.

At all of our previous three shows at YYT we've had many people tell us that they like the band and the style and it's been good fun all round. So if you are one of those people who like our stuff then come on down early to see us. Thanks.

We're going to open with a brand new song "Five Kuai Bullet" that we road tested at 390 Bar at the Sunday Drive-in night, if things go well you may get "Dog Fuckers' Manual" too. I can't promise that one though. 

Anyway, 9.30 is a normal time to be at a weekend show. It's not really 'early.' And we're the first band, not someone unknown or whatever:

Our brand new video from Redscale Studios vimeo youku youtube

Finally, we like our songs and are not at all nonchalant about ourselves or whether people show up, despite how we appear. If you show up, we'll be genuinely happy. 

The Complex Relationship @ Yuyintang

second vox
Pic: Second vocalist Taozi performing at an earlier Yuyintang show

The Complex Relationship of the show's title refers to the three main bands who put the show on and the band members they share. It also had a late appearance from an out of hiatus Joker. Another band, Surging Waves, were billed but I never caught them. 

Marquee 7 (Weibo link only no demos)

Xiao Bao sings for Tinderbox and also plays guitar for Second. Xiao Zhu plays bass in Second and also in Marquee 7. Tinderbox bassist KK was in Bang Bang Tang previously and is now in ... and so on. Given my previous post, I guess it's only right that I went along to support these bands who are hanging in there by any means necessary.

I might as well throw this out there now, it's become especially sharp to me since I've been playing there myself. YYT has great equipment and there are 4 or 5 people who may be doing sound on a given night. And there are two distinct levels of quality within that. That's all I'm going to say. 

The bands gave it their all and it was a fun night with a good turn out. Honours definitely went to Second. Everything clicked for them, they played tight, sounded loud enough and put in a decent performance. They even played a track I recognised from the old 2009 line up. 

Slinkrat: Marquee 7 chat / sadness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video: Feima @ Yuyintang

I'm a bit conflicted about putting this out there. Feima were excellent at the Wooozy showcase, all the more so for playing at a venue with decent sound - and this vid comes courtesy of Xiao Zhong with his patented recorded-haphazardly-on-a-piece-of-shit-and-fuck-you-for-being-up-your-own-arse-if-you-cant-take-that style. 

I'm down with that style actually, but in this case the blown out sound quality is at odds with the reason I'm posting it. Anyway, parts of this vid definitely capture frontman Wang Shi Hong's calm  mastery as he switches between indie riffs, noise rock chops, vocal hooks and Chinese post-punk shouts fluidly. Great stuff.

Pics: our show on Saturday

The Wooozy showcase was great and I want to write something about Feima soon. We had a great time. Here's a couple of pics courtesy of a drunken Paul and also Sun Lu. Thanks guys. Also after reading round some Beijing show reviews and discussions, I wanted to point something out. At Yuyintang, on the Shanghai scene, people come out and they enjoy the show honestly, famous bands or not. Having played some shows lately, I really appreciate it even more than before.

astrofuck wooozy one

astrofuck wooozy aftershow

Wooozy showcase on Saturday

The Jue Festival and Splitworks present the Wooozy local bands showcase on Saturday night at Yuyintang. My band Astrofuck are playing and so I'm plugging it. 

Also, 's Jeremy Guo and me have done a podcast at SH247 to preview the night and the bands here it is


Our Saturday show and stuff

Saturday night was the Death To Giants album release show. You can check it out here at bandcamp. The show was great and my band Astrofuck was one of the openers. Can someone on another site or mag review the show, I'm not impartial on this one.

The night before was another release from The Horde.

Show was fun, Ozzie Chris of Hujiahuwei showed me a funny meme of Sponge Bob during the performance of 'Patrick' which cracked me up while I was playing. Mental note, "Chris has ready to hand Sponge Bob pictures on his phone at gigs WTF?"

Pics: us mid-show taken by Qian Jin. Our Logo as designed by Kaine (our singer as seen in first pic)

dtg show astropic

astrofuck blue logo

Death To Giants, Death To Shows!!!

blood pours out flyer
I'm involved in this show now so use discretion when judging this post

Death To Giants are releasing their first full album Blood Pours Out on Saturday night at Yuyintang. The line up also features Spill Your Guts, iAmalam and Astrofuck.

Now seriously. Death To Giants are a great band and tons of fun live. Scroll down their Douban page for tracks and two videos. Death To Giants playing Yuyintang, the heart of the scene and a near perfect room for underground bands, on a Saturday night has all the trappings of an epic show. But epic shows have to be made ... so get the word out and throw away all the excuses - come to this show and bring people too. If we can break 300 people in YYT, especially with DtG and Spill Your Guts playing, that's insanity and crowd surfing time. Do it. If you're more of a hipster type you could lose your shit by letting an unplanned, un-ironic left-eyebrow-raise slip by, while leaning strategically against the side wall, during the more electro-oriented opening bands - prompting the others in your group to break down into cries of, "oh, SHIT!!!" ... It's all good.

Just come to the show, that's what I'm saying. Thanks.

Pics: Astrofuck @ YYT

I can't really review the show (Baltic States album release) because it involved my band and we helped promote it too. I just want to put up a couple of the pics and say a couple of words. The pics, by the way, are courtesy of Melissa Helman and the staff of Shanghai247.

So, yeah, amazing turnout and a really fun night. I remain disappointed that I haven't yet received any e-mails from City Weekend but stoked that people sang along for Love Is Shit and a bit for I Can't Jump into the Pool too. There's a bootleg recording of LiS at our page.



Video: Twos If You Want To

Long term local scene veteran Batman Li Xing has a new act which sees him paired with Robin (really) for an adventure in electro-guitar crossover. They are called Twos and I'm not sure how to really describe them. Luckily, they have provided a clear vid for us to check out. Thanks, guys.

We Are Shanghai 2 Live @ Yuyintang

yyt red
Pic: Yuyintang Livehouse

Has it really been a year since We Are Shanghai vol. 1 - yes, it has. We Are Shanghai is an underground compilation project. The kind where a scene puts out tracks from all the bands. 

Here's Vol 2:

Of course, there are way more bands in the scene than are on the comp, that's just maths. Also, there's more acts with ex-pat members than not. But I want to say something about that. As organizer Ivan points out in this interview the call to be on the CD was open and to everyone. The presence of local scene overlords Top Floor Circus on Vol 1 and metal scene organizers Chaos Mind on Vol 2 clearly proves that the call went out deep into the local scene, that people knew about it and that it was answered. 

This Friday was the release show:

Hello Money

First the bands, and then the "50 000 RMB CW Incident" ... oh yes.

Self promotion minute

Just to let you know up front: this is an event I'm involved with, I'm playing in the band Astrofuck and I'm posting up this flyer because I'm playing there.

The event is actually the 2nd album release show for Baltic States and also features the band Xiao Xin Yi Yi. Anyway, the blog is also legitimately a record of stuff I do ... but, you should not take this posting as an endorsement of an event from an independent point of view. You'll have to research and judge for yourselves. Cheers.

Flyer by Kaine.


Still around / We Are Shanghai

Lately I've been busy with my own music stuff to the point of not having time or concentration for writing here. Which is probably a good thing. The world didn't end, so why not.

I'll still be posting here though. One weird thing: during not posting for two or three weeks I get two offers to accept pre-written posts praising various clients' products and interests in return for pretty good money. Of course, none of these would say they are PR material. And of course, I declined. The reason I'm mentioning it at all is cos it made me remember how common it is and that maybe some people take for granted that it's everywhere. Well, it doesn't happen here. And PR/Advertising which is not clearly labelled as such is still immoral. 

Tonight I'm going to the launch show in support of We Are Shanghai vol.2 which you can get here. So that's where I'll be if you want to find me and take me up on the previous remark and talk about how your band, is like, totally PR driven and proud.


Last weekend ... all sorts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brad, this is not the end?

Brad Ferguson has been active on the Shanghai scene for ten years. Now, Brad and Da Men, the accomplished drummer of Duck Fight Goose, will move to the States for a life of married bliss. A show is booked at YYT, it will feature a can't miss Duck Fight Goose show and also a Boys Climbing Ropes re-union of sorts (with G filling in for Jordan.) 

Here's the event page and here's the flyer:

brad the end

Photo: F.A.F. triumphant EP release show

It is important to remember that the shows I go to or blog are not the only shows and the success of some does not diminish the success of others. For me though, it is always satisfying when something you choose to follow through on works out. The F.A.F. show was a highlight and it also gave perspective. The scene is still underground, we are still up against it when it comes to 'da man' and there is still no proper framework or industry to aim for.

Success, for many bands here is when everyone fights and works hard for two or three years to get to the point where we can fill a 200-300 people venue with real fans of a local band and spend a night enjoying a 'real' packed out and emotional rock show. The recently emerged festival silly seasons and the relative success of some international touring acts have not changed that basic reality for young local bands who live here.

click photo for large size

FAF ep wow

F.A.F. EP release @ Yuyintang

The photo is from an earlier show but I'm sure an awesome gallery of tonight's emotional gig is coming soon.

Visitors, ex-pats and some bands often ask where all the younger local fans are ... and the answer has always been the same, at the shows that they like. The thing is, that the more popular Shanghai bands have been in a lull.

But that run came to an end tonight at YYT when high energy emo group Forget and Forgive came back for their EP release.

The show had all the hallmarks of the legendary 2009 Mushrooms show. It was packed out with younger Shanghainese fans who sang every word of all the songs and created energetic yet responsible pogo pits for the favourite songs. Sang-hei-nin pride was a big feature of all three band's banter tonight. Back to the pogo. I lost my phone during 'Parasite' but got all three pieces back shortly after, thanks guys. It still works. 

When the set was about to start I noticed that instead of a single keyboard, 小基 had a more sophisticated set up of midi equipment. The intro electronic music was really well produced and layered ... then the band came out and I realized they'd kinda physically grown up too. As their hard won fans went crazy for them and they went into the first tight emo-metal overture I saw a band that has taken big steps since their last round of gigs. It ended up being an emotional night that finished with one of those sitting down with back to the crowd commemorative photos. 

As with all genre bands, some will be dismissive if they are simply not fans of polished emo, and that's normal. But, this was a landmark gig by a developed local act and the kind of Yuyintang night that has been too sparse of late. So anyway, congratulations guys: you earned that one.

The only thing missing was fellow blog scribe / partner in local emo shows Jake Newby. 

Chui Wan, DFG, Psychic Ills @ YYT

chui wan bass
Wednesday night in Yuyintang and psychedelic stylings all round.

This show had buzz and it was already filling up when I arrived not that long after doors opening time. Also, despite already having the best sound in town for a rock venue, YYT had upgraded their equipment again.

Talking of sound, DFG sounded as clear as they ever have live. The show was amazing. We had all the sounds and layers of the band's eclectic composition together with the immediacy and passion of a live show. The closer, History, sent chills down my spine. Next stop Berlin for a festival appearance.

Chui Wan are a neo-psychedelia band with a different twist. Mixed with the usual tropes of the style are heavy Beijing scene influences. The band put on a good show and surprised the crowd by breaking up the slow instrumentals with vocal-led energetic songs and bright, reverb drenched guitars. Their album is out too, called White Nights. 

New York band Psychic Ills closed out the night. As opposed to the bright layering of the first two acts, they opened with hypnotic drones and riffs, another side of psychedelia. A great show all round. 

Hollow Shadow live @ Yuyintang

xiaoyu hollow
I just got a time-flies-by type shock when I looked up my review of the YYT IDH show and saw it was just short of two years ago now. Shit.

So, it was the weekend before Halloween and Yuyintang had two seasonally appropriate shows on. Saturday was the now traditional dress up tribute band show ... and Sunday was the Hollow Shadow show: a side project of IDH's Xiao Yu that is a detailed tribute to Bauhaus, goth and darkwave (with mostly original material).

There was a strange choice of opener. A Japanese solo performer passing through on her one woman tour called Naoryu. Actually, she was extremely talented, using vocals, taps and looping to create layered beats and backing ... then adding flute and guitar lines, and finally she was an excellent technical singer. The Douban blurb reveals that she has even won competitions hosted by Boss for looped live compositions. Unfortunately she committed the unspeakable act of performing Utada Hikaru's First Love in a rock venue and shall be shortly appearing in the International Criminal Court.

Xiao Yu's Hollow Shadow set was really inspirational although the audience was sparse and people who seemed to know and appreciate it even sparser. He started out with a synth and effects set up that was surprisingly equipment heavy and varied. The opening tracks captured the pace and sounds of darkwave perfectly. Some tracks were instrumental, some had vocals. All were long, methodical and unafraid to slowly build ideas. The vocals, Xiao Yu has got the genre's vocal sound down pat like an expert impressionist. True to his usual form, he played a long set and changed up to guitar and loops at the end. Xiao Yu created a detailed genre world for an hour and half that was heaven for those who like the sound ... all five of us. Hopefully some of those at the venue who heartily and genuinely applauded First Love learned a thing or two about real layering of tone and emotion.

Video: Banana Monkey Double Trouble MV

Shanghai retro-rockers Banana Monkey have been on and off since their 2006 heyday when they momentarily ruled the scene. One of their oldYYT shows was a real highlight of my time here. Now they are on again and have posted up a video for the track Double Trouble. The song is old but the vid is new and cut from a YYT performance. Check it out.

Shanghai Calling live @ Yuyintang

Pic: Girls Like Mystery, the hair demonstrates the genre better than any word can.

Shanghai Calling was put together by Mike from Girls Like Mystery on a Friday night at Yuyintang. I'm trying very hard to be plain and formal and leave the in-jokes/stories until the end. This was a great night and Mike in particular deserves credit for it. Line up:

Girls Like Mystery put themselves on first and played a passionate full length set. They play big emotion, big chorus Brit-rock and had a good crowd full of fans. They were really up for it. There was a great atmosphere and for a moment we were in a rock club in London or Manchester. Exhausted band members thanked the organizers and the other bands and the enthusiastic punters and then we all went home ... the next two hours of the night began. I think I'll start calling this the Shanghai Reverse Line Up (although I'm about three years late). 

Next up was the first guest/supporting act Stegosaurus. I missed their recent release show. The band have done an excellent job of capturing their strengths: layered vocals, humour and an ear for genre tropes. They have also made both albums available for free at Bandcamp here. Even better, the step up in quality also translated to an assured and confident live show. This turned out to be the theme of the night, bands giving committed performances that respect the audience. 

Candy Shop closed out the night. The local pop-rock group have been around the block on the scene and have a deliberate and polished act. This band give a balanced mix of energetic live music produced by a genuine band and Chinese pop. It allows them to play venues like YYT and also to close out Chinajoy. 

And now onto the in-jokes/blather. Rock's very own DJ B.O. was manning the tracks between bands and who should be standing right in front of the table there but DJ Spenny and crew. DJ Spenny is the head DJ and music manager at M1NT Shanghai's premier VIP/rich douche culture venue and the antithesis of rock scene values. Obviously this makes it the target of much ribbing and B.O. had put out a parody pic of Spenny's promo on Facebook. The reason I have to write this is guilt that Spenny actually was unassuming, enjoyed the show and even made a point of saying hi to B.O. and shaking his hand. Shit. Also, he is tall and gym'd out and could clack our heads together like Moe.

Saying that though, it doesn't excuse the existence of M1NT in today's world and we'll keep pushing for culture that inspires bottom-up and not worship of top-down. 

Streets Kill Strange Animals live @ Yuyintang

Streets Kill Strange Animals are exactly the kind of band in the China scene I really like. It's hard to get an exact description. Dark-noise-indie / China scene post-punk? PK14 are the obvious front runner. I like 8 Eyespy, Mr Ray, Birdstriking, Streets Kill, Residence A (non-pop half of the set), Carsick Cars, Marrow, Boys Climbing Ropes / Little Punk, Retros ... and there's a lot more. I'm just going off the top of my head. These are the bands that sound 'Chinese' to me ..or at least 'China scene' away from the odd view that bands must include some form of ethnic folk to be 'Chinese.' I guess Oasis aren't really British or Rock - no Celtic folk or morris dancing! Anyway, SKSA feel like an expression of the experience of living in Chinese cities, if that makes sense.

Of course, metal fans don't give a fuck for such non-metal musings.


Not much room for the review now. First thing you notice if you've been away from YYT - oh, it sounds and feels great, in a league of its own in Shanghai. X is Y performed as a two piece. As usual, it was a master class in dynamic control. Good energy tonight. Rainbow Danger Club have been touring the USA and just came back. They added a cellist and played all the hits. Check the Bandcamp for a full album.

Streets Kill Strange Animals were dead on. They showed the full range within that style while always keeping up enough energy to make a good live show. Eleven years in China, along with being really into those bands meant it was heaven for me. That's just me though. Great night at YYT all round.

Friday, will be a good day.

Pic: top: Streets Kill (the best photo from their own album on their page). Bottom: Friend or Foe

Sorry about the post title, it's a barely logical mash up of things to do with Ice Cube. All last week was a blur of wisdom tooth induced suffering / pills and I'm over it but in hangover mode.

This Friday has a bunch of shows but two that I'm especially interested in. Coincidentally, the people behind them sent me some info too. So:

Friday 14th September 2012

@Beedees Bar
Friend or Foe are back.
433 Dagu Lu, 10pm kick off


Friend or Foe have found a new bass player and are kicking off the next round. You can still hear their full album on Bandcamp here. They will have all kinds of goodies at the show and a remix album is on the way. They play modern punk rock with a great energetic show.

Streets Kill Strange Animals are an excellent Beijing based indie band in the mould of PK14. Listen to the first demo track on their page, linked via their name above, to see what I mean. They are a bit more eccentric than their other China-scene-dark indie-post-punk band contemporaries. Support from X is Y and Rainbow Danger Club.

Both shows will be a good time, choose one and go. Don't be that guy/gal sitting in their hometown the next year telling people you sang bullshit pop hits at KTV and drank at home all your time in Shanghai. Support people who do interesting/personal stuff and take part in sub-culture.

Chaos Mind full album on their Douban page

Picture: The band onstage with fans at Yuyintang earlier this year.

Shanghai metal mainstay Chaos Mind recently released their first full length album called This Is Our Moment.

They call it an EP so a more accurate description may be a nine-track EP. If you go to the band page link above and scroll down the page, you will find the whole thing available for listening. Here is the track listing:

01.Roll Out
02.The Chaos
04.Let's Fight
05.This is Our Moment
06.I'm Sorry,You Are Not Mine
07.Fk Me Hard
08.Just Waiting For
09.My First Shanghaihua HC Song【COVER】

Last Call for Friday night

I already blogged about the opening of new bar Shanghai 390 here. Shanghai band Next Year's Love will release their vinyl at the show.

Meanwhile, across the way at Yuyintang, Stegosaurus? are releasing their album Purple Pachyderm.

Both shows are tomorrow, Friday 17th. Here are the flyers:

Here's what they say:

The time has come once again for a crazy, fun filled, stomach filled CD release show from Stegosaurus?! Named after Les Claypool's famous wine, Purple Pachyderm will see the light of YYT after two painful years of delivery and labor. Come for the FREE CD, FREE New York Style pizza and maybe a hint of Purple Pachyderm wine. Come early for the refreshments. Wine and Pizza will go quick! Support from Dragon Pizza. 40 Yuan.
So make your choice and head on out.

Fen Ran Punk Festival interview (600th post)

Thumbnail image for Xu Qi
Pic: Xu Qi of Dragon Pizza

Pop! Bang! Whizz! Ooohhh .. ahhhh. It's the 600th post in shanghai music scene

Anyway ...

I recently posted on the upcoming Shanghai Punk Festival show here:

Now, SH247 have run a supporting interview with Frank Fen Ran, the organiser. Frank used to have the premier old school punk act in town, The Mortal Fools, and spends most of his time out in the suburb of Zhu Jia Jiao. As well as being a tip-tip bloke, he's always up to something in the world of punk. 

So, support the show on Sunday and check out the interview here:

Youtube: Early Androsace video

Continuing with the theme of regular bands in Shanghai that are breaking up or changing, here's an older but cool looking video of Androsace. This is from when they supported White Eyes in 2010. 

They have recently had to stop all activities and refit after first losing the original bass player and then their Guitar player / songwriter Sasha. 

YYT punk fest will be Dragon Pizza's last ever show

Xu Qi
Yuki, the bassist for Shanghai punk-metal-core band Dragon Pizza, just reminded me that their show on the 19th will be their last one ever.

That sucks. Dragon Pizza are one of the best live acts in town. They are great musicians, play a tight set and entertain too.

I bought my Shanghai guitar, the black Ibanez, from Xu Qi (pictured) when he worked at Blue Hand seven years ago, maybe more. 

The show is the Shanghai Punk Festival on Sunday 19th August at Yuyintang. Full details here. It features bands all day including the legends Top Floor Circus and Nanjing's Angry Jerks.

Video: Residence A live set

Here is a video of the complete Residence A set from Yuyintang last weekend. The sound quality is good too. At the least, check out the first track. Enjoy.


Residence A live @ Yuyintang (Jue Festival)

Saturday night in Shanghai and the Jue Festival was in Yuyintang Livehouse for the show of the week headlined by Beijing's Residence A. Here was the full line up for the night.

I hadn't seen Boys Climbing Ropes for a while and they were excellent. The new material from Summer and Winter Warfare is now at the same level live as the older favorites were last year. I really liked Grow Up and they closed with Two Dogs. There was a new song in there too, one that sounded quite Punk. 

The Mushrooms back in Yuyintang on a Saturday night? This band get a lifetime pass from me for the summer of 2009. It's all in the blog have a look. But, as frontman Pupu said in a recent Timeout interview, the style has changed after working with their new label. They played well, sounded great and are definitely still Rock with a big R. But the raw energy and screamo stylings have been replaced with slick blues/pop rock and more polished vocals. 

Residence A blew me away right there in the first track. They were loud, clear and tight ... and they could perform too. The music was a faster paced version of the China scene noise-indie and post-punk that most defines it - suck it, haters. This band were worthy headliners and a clear cut above most other bands. But something quite odd happened. I suppose there were a few musical hints earlier on that I let pass ... by the end of the set, the material transformed into straight guitar pop that reminded me of Beijing band Gala. Weird. Most people there didn't seem to be bothered by it, probably because the night as a whole had been so good. 

That was the theme of the night, setting aside your personal tastes we had three bands who all sounded loud and clear and gave big performances: Splitworks can bring it with the local talent. 

Video: Hedgehog new album and tour

This video is a track from Hedgehog's new album Sun Fun Gun called Heart On Fire (燃烧的心).

Hedgehog are a Beijing power trio who started playing catchy grunge tunes in 2005 and have now matured into their own sound and style. They broke through with a (still) endless run of great live performances and Sun Fun Gun will be their 5th studio album. 

Happy Idle Kid
Noise Hit World
Blue Daydreaming
Honeyed and Killed
Sun Fun Gun

There are tracks from all four of the previous albums here on their page, under the music tab.
And they will stop at Yuyintang on the tour - Friday April 13th

Video: Skip Skip Ben Ben @ Yuyintang

The band have already put up a video on Youku from the Thursday night show. And it's a pretty good representation of the show, I feel. This is the song Kaze. It's a build up type affair so stick with it. Great China style noise indie.

And props to J.C. (the Shanghai based musician, not the fictional character) for finding out what guitar Ban Ban was playing. It was an Italia Mondial.

Video: Shanghai's Must Be Red

Readers of the blog, or people here who know me, often hear me talk about the Shanghai metal scene. Most of the bands are younger or students but they have Chaos Mind's Sam Dust (Lao Gao) holding things together through his Playful Warrior promoter. The shows are fun and well attended and usually have a good mix of an experienced band to go with the newer bands.

So here's a video just posted by Shanghai band Must Be Red. They are playing at YYT with Chaos Mind on Saturday afternoon.

Skip Skip Ben Ben live @ YYT

Thursday night at Yuyintang was part of the Splitworks' Jue Festival program and also the fifth installment of the ongoing series of shows hosted by Wooozy. The idea is to bring in Chinese acts from other cities who the Wooozy staff think are interesting. Tonight it was the latest project from Taipei musician Ban Ban (斑斑) who is now permanently based in Beijing.

Shanghai's Next Year's Love opened to a decent enough crowd and the high points of the set were the up-tempo tracks like I Know.

Skip Skip Ben Ben used to be a stripped down side project to Ban Ban's old band BOYZ&GIRL, who gave us one of the best shows YYT has seen. Now it's her main concern and they have a full, electric line up. They play dirty Beijing indie and they played loud. Ban Ban, an experienced player whose first band Freckles had a seven year run, is in command of her guitar and playing and she channeled her energy through it the whole set. 

If you go to the Douban page and scroll right down below the events, you can find live recording of Yeah Yeah Yeah, La'lasta and Parking from their most recent material. 

March madness (in music) - starting tomorrow

tn in hk
Pictured: Torturing Nurse in Hong Kong.

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

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

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

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

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

Local Music Fest at YYT on Sunday: great timing.

This is awesome on so many levels. For weeks, the ex-pat realm has been alive with talk of the scene, the locals, the internationals and what everyone thinks the other should be doing.

And now, a collaboration between five local labels/collectives/management agencies bring us the wonderfully titled Sunday show:


That's Shanghainese and is basically asking if you are Loh Lu (老乱) enough. And of course, the timing is not really a coincidence.

It will run from 3.30 in the afternoon till 10.30 at night and feature ten bands. It's going to be packed and a great opportunity to meet local people from the scene. So if you have any interest in the scene as a community, as a place to make music for fun or to hang out  - then support this event.

The bands:

15:30 - 16:00 JASEY
16:10 - 16:40 吴维纯
16:40 - 17:00 安来宁
17:00 - 17:30 格子团
17:50 - 18:20 暴走蜗牛
18:40 - 19:10 Prank
19:30 - 20:00 大囍福
20:20 - 20:50 New Vector
21:10 - 21:40 Pink Berry
22:00 - 22:30 Broken Promises

The organizers: 
竹露荷风音乐社 (Zhu Lu He Feng)
天线音乐 (Tension Music)
Playful Warrior
青春伙伴 (Youthus)
楽空唱片 (Ako)
感冒音乐 (Music Fever)

Video: whole live set from 21 Grams

Shanghai post-rock group 21 Grams recently played Yuyintang. Here is a video of their whole set that night. The sound quality is really good. Check it out.

Senlin Mu live @ Yuyintang

Friday night was the second Kai Chun show (育音堂开春), marking the end of the holiday period at Yuyintang. Headliners were Brit-pop stylers Senlinmu.


Orange are a local Oasis tribute band who ended up going on last. 

DerWish are a student band from one of the international schools. They came out first and played a competent set of metal songs including some classic covers such as Metallica's Seek and Destroy. Good job guys. Full disclosure, I also covered Seek and Destroy at jams in my late teens. Yes, Kill 'Em All was released in 1983.

Senlinmu (森林木) were the main band of the night. This three piece played a full set of Brit-pop / rock style songs, which used to be really really popular with Shanghai bands a couple of years ago. These guys have honed their skills and stuck around and are worth checking out. The set leaned towards the slower 'jangly indie' tracks but the uptempo songs were good and would have gone over great with a larger crowd. They threw in an interesting cover of Michael Jackson's Beat It near the end of the set. The Van Halen riff and breaks were replaced with chorus pedal laden Brit-rock arpeggios. Good job the metal kids weren't around to hear that. Ha. 

Death To Giants live album on Bandcamp

Good news, we're only a day or two into the Year of the Dragon and someone has put out a release already.

It's Shanghai's Death to Giants.

The album is a four track live recording of a show from Yuyintang and it rocks.

Track listing:

1. Children Play Amongst the Graves while Cities Burn and Humans are Enslaved (live)儿童们在坟墓间嬉闹,城市在燃烧,人们带上了镣铐

2.Anyone Can Learn How To Count in Chinese (live) 谁都会学中文数数

3.Sick and Elastic (live) 疾病与伸缩

4.I Just Can't Wait to be King (disney cover)

We Are Shanghai @ Yuyintang

Thumbnail image for weareshanghaismall.JPG
We Are Shanghai is a compilation CD of 20 tracks from Shanghai bands. Hear it all here. This Friday I went to the Yuyintang release show. Line up:

It was nice to step into Yuyintang's black box rock venue out of the cold and drizzle. The pit floor, the flyers on the walls, CDs on a merch table, rock people and great music by DJ Eurotrash Atheism. Stand and Deliver basically made my night.

Naohai are a new-ish Shanghai college band who play jangly indie rock. They were apt openers and did a fine job. Noise punks Pairs took a couple of songs to get going and played some new material. People warmed to Xiao Zhong's live presence and the set gelled as it went on.

Dragon Pizza were the band of the night for me. They play a hectic mash up of punk, funk and metal and have a great stage presence. Bassist Yuki and Guitarist Xu Qi share vocals and antics and have a great rapport between songs. They are also super tight and drummer Wang Lei, who has been around for over ten years with Loudspeaker, keeps it all together with a steady hand. You can check out a recorded song at the We Are Shanghai bandcamp linked above - Bomb Cola. 

Duck Fight Goose rounded out the night with a set based on their recent release Sports. Good event, nice night. The diversity of styles in the bands made a good representation of the project as a whole.

Bing Bong Electro-pop @ Yuyintang

NYL G shotPhoto by G

Friday night and time to break out the drum machines for a night of electro-pop, synth-punk and such delights. Here was the line up:

Portmanteau (炸脖龙)

The night was pretty good. The sound was tip-top and the three acts had diverse takes on the synth-punk model. 

Portmanteau is an awesome one-man band wielding an awesome guitar-synth-kaoss pad combo instrument. His electro beats were augmented by surprisingly bluesy rock guitar and vocal turns. It worked best when the loops and layers built up and became really dreamy. Next Year's Love have been covered a lot on the blogs. They debuted some new songs tonight, had a clear sound and have the ability to vary their set. Kaobang are a duo more in the mould of modern synth pop. Their beats have an 8-bit sound to them, the guitar is indie and the female vocals shouty and punk.

A good show that really built an atmosphere as the night went on. More importantly, we seem to have enough bands in this genre to put on a decent full night at YYT. Fans of this sort of thing should probably go to Kaobang's page and listen to the demo 'Dead of the Night.'

Mushrooms album out. Yes, you read that.

pupu studio
The Mushrooms have their first full length album out, six years after forming in the dark recesses of Shanghai's 0093 rehearsal rooms.

Two tracks are available for listening on their Douban page.

They have decided on a mainland release through Tencent Music (QQ people) at first. Here it is.

The whole story is on the blog but here's a quick recap. The Mushrooms are a local band who came through the 0093/Yuyintang set up then got signed by a Taiwan/HK industry label owned by David Tao. A first and a remarkable achievement. Of course, this has seen them go from plucky rap-metal to beloved Shanghai style commercial emo-metal outfit to ... well, a band you'd expect to hear on a Taiwan/HK industry label. A couple of the old favorites survived to the album. I was at the recent pre-release show and their fans loved every minute of the new look band.

Congratulations, guys.

Duck Fight Goose album release party @ Yuyintang

dgf one
It felt like Friday the 16th had been coming a long time. Duck Fight Goose's first full length recording was me and Jake's most anticipated release of the year. 

Then it came. Here was the full line-up:

Next Year's Love and BCR did their thing, I want to make a special mention of something though. And I mention it because it's rare. When BCR play a show as an opener, especially when it's an important show for the last band, they always have their shit together and play a tight reasonable length set, doing their best not to delay or upstage the following band. 

So, I got my copy of the album and watched the show. Songs that are now familiar to me like White Highway and Glass Walls stood out and were great. Tracks that are new to me were still a bit lost in the wall of sound and loops at times. But that's DFG, their music is ambitious and layered and you need to spend time on it - the the rewards are big. The night was packed and the atmosphere was great. I got home and listened to the full album. It's great. Go to the page and hear Glass Walls. Or ask yourself why you didn't come out and get the full album. 

Video: Rank Moist Vegetation @ YYT student band showcase

So, this Sunday, Pairs organised an afternoon show for bands whose members are still students in school or college. There was a time when all student age bands here played metal. Now it seems to have changed to discordant noise rock. 

Here are Rank Moist Vegetation playing their song Osteosarcoma (demo on the Douban page), then Tudou should serve you up Pt. 2 after that, an awesome Flipper cover. Show some love for the emerging talent, especially when they take risks like this. Awesome.

Duck Fight Goose release (reminder)

dfg flyer rel
It's here.

I know, I go on about them a lot on. But this Friday, December 16th, Duck Fight Goose are releasing their album at Yuyintang. And you should go.

Look at that line up. 

And it's Friday night too.

To top it off, DFG have an official preview track from the album at the page. Just follow the link above and play Glass Walls, right at the top there. This should be one of the shows of the year on the music scene. Be there.

Battle Cattle are on the go

battle cattle rel
This one has crept up on me to be honest, but it's time to give a band some deserved attention.

Battle Cattle are a Shanghai band who have been gigging around, not taking themselves too seriously and just enjoying their favorite styles of ska/80's rock/post punk. But now they have racked up a bunch of stage time and material and recorded a CD, with P.K. 14's Yang Haisong mixing. 

Go here to their bandcamp page and listen to the excellent preview tracks starting with Modern Mother.

Success! It's quality and they've managed to realize their vision for the sound and style. I love it.

What's more - look right - the CD is being released at Logo in just a week, on Friday 9th. The line up includes much underrated band Yan Tiao as a bonus. 

The Shanghai bands' album releases just keep coming. 

X is Y split album tracks on Bandcamp/Douban

Photo note: the photo is from the band's site, I have not edited it. I am not a 'rice king.'

Second photo note: knitted crowns by LP

I was just at the Yuyintang release show for Summer and Winter Warfare, the new split album from Boys Climbing Ropes and X is Y. Both bands are from Shanghai and the album was produced by Brad Ferguson.

I want to take this post to give X is Y some deserved credit. First links:

The band have been working hard this year. X is Y play intelligent indie rock that makes detailed use of time signatures and dynamics. Since settling on a line up they have been adding an impressive catalogue of material. The Douban page now has the complete LP Shoulder, the tracks from the split album and a recording of Never Sever. On top of that, the band were kind enough to send me an unreleased track from the upcoming Miniless records release. It's great.

On the show - the band have also greatly improved their live chemistry and found a new level of energy on stage. X is Y is yet another win this year for the Shanghai DIY and collaborative model.

Wooozy presents Xiao Huoche Xin @ Yuyintang

xiao huoche xin
Thursday night and oddly three decent shows on. A rock opera at Mao - I shit you not, an annoying glorified advert at Shanhai and the Wooozy night at Yuyintang.

I love both the Beijing bands appearing at said advert too. Retros and White+. Coincidentally, I saw them at Uptown buying vinyl earlier in the evening. Vinyl is crack for Beijing musos I'm told. Uptown is full of it, and also affordable players too. 

So, this was the third night at Yuyintang. The aim is to have a monthly show that brings in a new and upcoming Chinese band from another city. This time:

Shanghai's Next Year's Love

There was just about enough people in as things got going. Next Year's Love now have a decent set and some good new tunes. They seem to have kept an equal balance between the retro-shouty uptempo tunes and the dis-chordant experimental tracks. Xiao Huo Che Xin were really interesting. I don't think they had the best night for sound or performance but every song had a completely different stylistic approach. They had everything from retro electronica to Gish era Smashing Pumpkins style moody plodding. It was linked together by humorous Chinese samples and recorded clip conversations. By the end of the set you felt you'd been on a journey with the band.

The team behind this night are doing a good job and this is fast becoming my go to night for something different and surprising.

Death To Giants live tracks up

Thumbnail image for deathtogiants
Shanghai lo-fi-high-skill duo Death To Giants are on the go again.

I first wrote about them here describing them like this:

Death to Giants combine the punk, playful intensity of modern lo-fi duos with a dose of virtuoso technical playing and vocal harmonies.

Now they have updated their page. They made a higher quality live recording at the most recent show and have posted up the tracks. The results are great.

go there now and listen ... and remember, anyone can learn to count in Chinese.

Bone, DFG, X is Y live @ Yuyintang

bone flyer
Saturday night in YYT and it's time for the Bone China tour. Here was the line up:

I was in for a surprise. I hadn't taken time to check out Bone online and only glanced at the other bands in the line up and a brief bracketed description on X is Y's page that said Bone were an Australian math rock group.

Duck Fight Goose went on first. Which means I only caught the last two songs of the set. Sorry guys.

X is Y had a drummer change and then a summer without the new drummer. They have been playing as a duo and also experimenting with the songs and some new sounds. Tonight they were back with the full line up and usual style. Moody, punchy math rock that is a delight for musicians and genre fans. Nothing has been lost in the change, the new drummer slotted right in. Lots of tracks on their page.

Bone were awesome. They actually describe themselves as a punk band. They played loud and brutal with most of the songs having a grinding off-pace beat. They were really professional too, with great stage presence, really worth the ticket money. Their music is somewhere between punk and darker post-punk, I dunno, again - loads of tracks at their page. Great night all round, finishing off three shows in three nights for me. 

Pairs Summer Sweat album launch

Thumbnail image for pairscandid
Due to the recently discussed technical difficulties on the blog, these posts are coming out in a random order. And hastily.

Last Friday was the Pairs Summer Sweat album release at Yuyintang. Lets get the important link done first:

Here is the entire new album at bandcamp

Start listening as you read. Two bands there on the night:

Great night and great turnout. Pairs put up an excellent by-donation merch table with an array of goodies that included both their albums. It was a big hit and very well done. Take note, everyone else. 

Ho-Tom played his urban folk (that's what I'm calling it now) with a full line up that included a box player. He rules. Then, the action moved to the floor. Pairs played in the middle of the pit and a lot of the audience went up on the stage. It was cool and worked well, although it ultimately cut out a bunch of people who couldn't see and went back out into the park. There were enough people to fill the floor using the normal set up. So in the end it felt like a private party for friends, with good feelings and extended thank yous between the final tracks. 

Next - world domination!

Seriously though, never mind my write up, go to Bandcamp immediately.

Glow Curve live @ Yuyintang

glow curve
Note: due to technical problems this post is way behind and lacking in meaningful details sorry

Glow Curve played Yuyintang on a Thursday night with Shanghai's own Duck Fight Goose. Check the pages to hear the tunes:

So this was a night of progressive sounds and post-rock stylings. And before hopelessly pedantic, borderline OCD, people have meltdowns ... I use the accepted definition of post-rock, that is, music played with a rock line up that doesn't follow the traditional patterns of rock music. 

Duck Fight Goose were up first with their new set of songs that are now becoming familiar to me through the shows. It was a Thursday combined with the recent late starts and Douban limitations. So the room was pretty empty. And then the sound really ballsed up. Synths went missing and carefully constructed layers blurred. I still enjoyed History, which will achieve legendary status once the CD is out. In case you've never seen them, they have moved away from the sound on the Flow EP (and the Douban page) and added elements of post-punk, synth punk and that German 70's experimental that all the kids dig right now. They still, however, remain distinctly individual and Han Han's fingerprints are on everything.

Glow Curve, formerly Maze, are from Beijing.  They played a set of more standard post-rock that builds and builds. They played it well and had two tracks with normal rock vocals too, claiming a bit of personal style in the genre. Their performance was a bit like a rehearsal though, debating with each other between tracks then starting again without looking at us. If you are up in Beijing you should check out the singer's digs ... the awesome venue/workspace Raying Temple. 

Youtube Tudou: Loudspeaker @ Yuyintang

loudspeakersatNote: Tudou is now doing an auto play thing and I can't figure it out just yet so the video will be after the jump. If it doesn't resolve I'll just go to Youku. Sorry.

Shanghai metal-core trio Loudspeaker have been around for years and they are punk in the true sense of the concept. They love to play, have their own private room at Ju Ju and just keep going and going because they love it. 

Here's the track I Will Be Back from YYT on Friday. Hear the recorded version on this page. Scroll down to see the MP3 player.

Moon Tyrant, Loudspeaker live @ Yuyintang

Friday night was this show featuring bands that play loud and only charge 25 RMB for the show also. Great.

In order of appearance:

Fearless are still missing a drummer and played their set acoustically. What was interesting is that they really played the exact same songs and notes (usually melodic death metal) but instrumental with no drums and on acoustics. 

Loudspeaker have been playing for over ten years in Shanghai and have modified their style a couple of times. Right now they are metal-core and play hard and fast. They have an EP knocking around you can get called "I will be back". Drummer Wang Lei has a high reputation on the scene and he showed up tonight driving the set with his frenetic and yet effortless looking beats. An interesting aside, Brad Ferguson is currently working at Yuyintang and the first time I saw Loudspeaker was when he put them on at Harley's Bar a few years ago. Deja Vu.

Moon Tyrant were the organisers of the event and got on a little late as Loudspeaker did a full set. They play modern metal sprinkled with some diverse interests that individual members bring to the music. All the familiar songs from Future Superhuman were on display but I was really taken with a newer track "Galactus, My Heart." Not only did it have a memorable bass intro and good dynamics ... it's about Galactus. Did I mention it's about Galactus? You don't know Galactus? Sliver Surfer? Galactus? No? Then, seriously, f**k you. That is all.

Trash Sauces feat. Duck Fight Goose @ Yuyintang

trash sauce dfg
Due to the rigors of being legal in China, Yuyintang's shows are starting later and are advertised less on Douban. This is clearly having an effect on the audiences with younger locals taking the hit. But still we push on ...

This Trash-a-Go-Go show had two talking points - The Beat Bandits are calling it a day after this weekend, and Duck Fight Goose were playing. As it happened:

Phantom Five

What a pity about The Beat Bandits. This was the third time I'd seen them but by far the best performance. The sound was good and all the shuffling and chugging that is so essential to Surf Rock was tight and energetic. Well, go out on top, I guess.

Phantom Five were new to me. They are a pub-rock type band headed by Jeff of BeeDees Bar. And that's what they did. Solid, professional pub rock. A bit out of place I thought but that's just me.

Much has been said of Duck Fight Goose. They came out as a Miniless Records supergroup and wowed music fans with their experimental stylings on the Flow EP. They combined the band's avant-garde leanings with solid tracks that rocked live ... and then ... abandoned all of it for a completely new set. The new material, soon to be released through Maybe Mars, combines the band's previous style with the current fetish for all things cool in the late 70's and early 80's. You could apply any number of subjective applied-in-hindsight terms ... post-punk, synth rock, German experimental and so on. The results were amazing.

Some of the new tracks are obviously more restrained than the older material. Once the CD is out, Glass Walls, the set opener, will become a huge underground hit here. But as the set went on we were treated to a wide range of sounds, beats and concepts that left most of us in a trance-like state of awe. Behind the tables of effects and mixers, the subtly simple and crystal clear rhythm section held it all together perfectly. They have developed a distinct sound and there's no easy comparisons to be made. At the show, I think I witnessed it all come together.

Then I went home, sorry, Battle Cattle.

More news, shows and blog stuff

smokingcat flyer
The end of this post has a blog policy announcement so go read all the way please.

First up, check that flyer. That's right Moon Tyrant, fresh off the Mongolia tour, are heading up a show at Yuyintang, where you will be able to hear them clearly. Shanghai hardcore/metalcore stalwarts Loudspeaker provide the support and Fearless will do an acoustic set. 

And at 25 RMB that's a huge bowl of awesome.

Talking of shows, I'll be at the Trash-a-go-go feat. Duck Fight Goose show tonight ... which comes with the news that it will be The Beat Bandit's last show. Check out the full story here at SH24-7. With the Instigation's future in doubt too, and newer bands just getting off the blocks, the Trash people are in trouble. They don't just promote shows, they specifically want to foster garage style music in Shanghai. 

So - if you play and want to get a garage band together, get on that and go see those guys.

And finally. The blog stuff. I just had to make an edit to a post by request - something I'm always happy to do - but it was ridiculous and I want to clear up a few things. Let's start with the facts so far.

*In over three years of the blog I have never posted up stuff against anyone's will, have always honoured requests for secrecy/non-reporting and have always dealt with accidents promptly and with minimum fuss.

*In case of concern, there is a blog e-mail (in the about page) where anyone can drop me a quick mail or request - themselves. I answer all of them promptly.

It's easy. And the implication of this:

*There is absolutely no need or justification for anyone, in general, to make dick-ish comments to me on this subject. 

*There is absolutely NO REASON why anyone should be making emergency calls to me at hours where I may be sleeping about it.

*Drop me a mail and,  AS USUAL, any requests will be honoured with minimum fuss.

And finally. If the problem comes from a third party and you yourself don't see a problem - then perhaps you should talk to them, not me. 

Black Rabbit Festival and recording news

Pictured: The Curry Soap

Not many posts this week, except gig reviews. Don't forget, the reviews are basically organic ways to introduce readers to active bands they may not have heard of. So click those links.

Splitworks' Black Rabbit Festival is drawing near check out the dates and line up at Smart Shanghai

Vivien of Muscle Snog has recently been updating her solo project The Curry Soap. If you like ambient and experimental music go there.

Duck Fight Goose have finished principle recording for their upcoming album and are heading into post-production. They will play a show at Yuyintang this Friday night. I'll be there for sure.

Shanghai grunge rockers Androsace are back in action after the summer break. They hope to replace the current demos with full quality tracks and some new material in the future so watch the page. They will play Live Bar on Saturday as part of the 6 year party for the venue.

This post has been edited by request - Aug 26th 2011 - mail for details

Youtube Tudou: Broken Promises live @ Yuyintang

I took a few videos this time around, at the Summer Screaming show, but there were all kinds of glitches for some reason. Ah well. This shorter clip of Shanghai's Broken Promises came out pretty good. So in the review I mentioned they had a cool singer who really looked the part and led the charge. So here you are ...

Summer Screaming live @ Yuyintang

dragon pizza summer
The latest event from promoters Playful Warrior brought us a mixture of styles, but all in the -core / heavy music category. The line up:

Murder Party (Nanjing)
From The Red (Nanjing)

I liked all the bands but objectively speaking, Dragon Pizza are the ones to watch there.

I saw three of the bands with full attention. From The Red were a 50-50 mix of grinding metal / screaming ... and big Emo choruses with riffing. It worked though. Plenty of people in and up for some moshing. Next were Dragon Pizza. They are still playing mainly the same songs from last year. They play metalcore and have their trademarked frenetic changes of style and pace. Two bars of double time hardcore jumps into a skate punk chorus back into a spacious funk riff with slap bass and back to hardcore. The guys play well and Yuki's bass always grabs the attention. They know how to work the crowd too. 

Broken Promises are a newer metal band from Shanghai who have now racked up a lot of shows with this collective. Their biggest weapon is the vocalist Nv Wang. She is 100% metal, tattooed and has the look to front a metal band. Metal fans here like them and they did well. 

Xiao He & Jeffery Lewis live @ Yuyintang

xiao he yyt
Pictured: Xiao He

Saturday night at Yuyintang and promoter Abe Deyo had brought Jeffery Lewis to China with Beijing's Xiao He in tow. That's 'she-ow her' for non pinyin readers.

This show started late at ten, but even then people trickled in and the place really filled up just in time for Jeffery Lewis to start his set. There are, of course, reasons for the later starts, the same reasons that YYT had to take down all flyers from Douban earlier in the week. It's more trouble to be fully licensed and legal than not apparently. 

Xiao He used to front the band Mei Hao Yaodian (translated usually as Glorious Pharmacy by the band in those days). They were a virtuoso ensemble playing a mix of styles that leaned into jazz, blues and funk. Now Xiao He plays experimental folk. He took the stage with a guitar and his laptop/effects. The songs were long and often based on vocal loops. He wandered from the audience at times, as he is wont to do, but the reception was good. His combination of throaty folk vocals/chants, folk guitar and noise loops, with a dose of Chinese indigenous sounds, seems to create a unique blend.

Jeffery Lewis suits Yuyintang. He brought the merch, including his own comic books. He played with a bassist and drummer mixing his anti-folk and also straight rock and punk. Some tracks used YYT's screen to show visuals that he'd drawn himself. All in all a kind of underground/independent buffet. 

Youtube Tudou: Puppets of Distortion

Here is a video of the Shanghai band Puppets of Distortion taken at the All In Black night on Friday. I'm jostling at first but the video/sound gets clearer at about a minute in where the atmospheric break ends and the heavy riffs kick back in.

If you like heavy music, it's just awesome either way.

All In Black metal night @ Yuyintang

Friday night and another packed out metal show organised by the guys from Fearless and friends.

The theme of this one was All In Black. There was a line up change that included one band not playing and Fearless themselves having to round out the night with an acoustic unplugged set due to drummer issues. So here are the bands that I saw in full:

By the way, while reading this you should go to Puppets of Distortion's page and listen to this demo there:商品 the others are rehearsal tapes so don't be lazy, find that track.

First of all, again, the venue was packed out and the bands got a full mosh pit of dedicated headbangers. It was awesome. Puppets of Distortion were a real surprise, they mixed metal, noise, modern rock and goth stylings. The set was heavy and energetic but there were interesting breaks and dynamics in there. Their frontwoman was really versatile too. Of course, you'd know this if you were listening to the demo like I told you to. Do it. 

RIP also brought their own spin on the genre. They had a large line up that included a flautist. They made good use of the flute and synth with epic sounding instrumental passages in the black metal - folk metal hybrid style. The crowd were loving all the bands and the pit energy did not let up.

In fact it got more intense for Screaming Christ. They play straight black metal and I found them a little plain in the past. But I'll judge by the audience. The band came out and played their tightest performance to date and they really fed off the crowd energy. Also, the vocalist came on in full hooded robe and spiked gauntlets - and drew shouts of Niu Bi throughout the whole set. The mosh went on unabated to the last note of the last track. Metal fans just need their metal.

So, there was something for everyone and it was a good night in general. Another win for the metallers. 

Pairs album release party set for Sep 30th

pairs in xian
Photo by Jessica from Douban

I recently blogged about Shanghai super-duo Pairs having recorded a new album up in Beijing.

Well, now the band have released details of the release show. Other bands take note, Pairs will have an extensive merch table which you pay for by donation (you choose the price) and will include, new CD, the older CD, the HK 7", buttons and all kinds of stuff. Nice. Here's the English announcement.

Pairs are releasing their 14 track CD 'Summer Sweat' on Friday, September the 30th, in Shanghai at Yuyintang.

Doors open at 9pm, and our friends the Horde have kindly accepted our email and drunken toilet invitation to play - on the condition they do a Creedance Clearwater cover - will start at 10.10pm. On the dot. None of this we'll wait for me people trash.

Pairs will play at 11pm, and may do a Creedence cover. It's not in our contract though, so don't hold your breath.

'Summer Sweat' was recording in Beijing with Yang Haisong mid June in around 4 hours. Each copy has been hand folded, hand stamped, hand numbered and hand stickered and each copy will come with our home made DVD 'Shanghai Sweat'. It will be available by donation on the night, meaning, if you want to drop 1 kuai in the bucket you can, if you want to drop more, you can.

We'll also have a bunch of other stuff on the table available for donation, like our 7"s, badges, self titled CD, unreleased Pairs demos and some other odds and ends.

Entry will be 20yuan, with the four groups involved getting an even share. There will be a low rent DJ spinning some tracks to keep the night kicking on.

If you want to get involved in someway, or put something on the merch table or something, let us know at
So here's a hint: Pairs are awesome and have consistently made their stuff available dirt cheap or completely free. So if you claim to support the scene come to this show and come ready to show some cash-love. They deserve it.

0093 Four Year Anniversary @ Yuyintang

0093 four years
Has it really been four years since 0093 started putting on its showcase gigs? Let me see, when did I review the fourth show at Shanghaiist? ... yup, early 2008.

Another anniversary: it's August 2011 I've been in Shanghai for ten years.

Strangely, this show was pretty much exactly like the early show I reviewed back there - many bands, mainly newer or playing covers, with two experienced bands in to round things out (Joker and Runaway Snails)

胶壳乐队 Joker
暴走蜗牛 Runaway Snails
大囍福乐团 Bigger Xifu
布莱梅乐团 Bremen
Forsaken Autumn

I like Forsaken Autumn. They are newer and clearly still on the journey, but they have their original songs, all in a consistent shoegaze style and there are moments in their set where you get that dreamlike atmosphere. Keep it up.

Joker were solid although it's always odd to hear a traditional blues band in the middle of a bunch of indie rock. Most people were here to see the Runaway Snails. Despite the late start for them, they had die-hard fans who stuck around, even waving a big felt tomato at singer tomato. He (Fanqie) started off as a folk singer-songwriter and ran the older collective Folk 0093.

They have a slightly altered line up that includes Top Floor Circus' Mei Er. For newer readers, this band play a mix of folk-rock, spoken word, cabaret and TV theme tune music with an emphasis on humor and banter. In fact, listening to them at the show I realised they've arrived at a style that makes them like a more populist version of Shanghai's Lei Ren. I should take back some stuff I've said about those guys.

The main difference from four years ago until now? Back then it was 20 paying customers and all the other band's members ... now Music Fever and 0093 fill a venue on a Friday night with real fans.

Youtube Tudou: Forsaken Autumn live @ Yuyintang

Here's a video of new Shanghai shoegaze band Forsaken Autumn.

They were on second on Friday for the 0093 four year anniversary (of 0093 YYT shows). This vid came out really well showing the band's wall of noise sound, measured pace and dreamy vocals.

Check it out. I hope they stay together and put in the work as Shanghai doesn't have many bands of this style at the moment.

Tiger Beer Battle/Yuguo live @ Yuyintang

kaine frank art
Friday just gone at Yuyintang was the Tiger Beer Battle of the Bands with guest performance by Yugou. Including the battle bands the main show went like this:

Magic (Moshu Shi)

Also playing out the night were Nanjing's 谜库 (Miku) but I didn't see them, sorry guys. 

Music Fever's Fanchie Chaodan and Sunny were brought in to run this event artistically and they killed it. Check the photo, an interesting offshoot was that Frank Fen and Kaine were doing the live art out back in the park so it ended up being punk. Loved how the real lights at the top were incorporated into the painting. 

The bands did fine but when Yuguo came on it was clear that they were the biggest draw and they played a decent set. The room was full up and the fans knew the words and chanted their names. For those who may be new to the scene, Yuguo came to Shanghai from Jiangxi to be a full time band and are one of those most professional acts around. They play a kind of brit-pop style that has infused parts of their Chinese influences and lyrics and are very popular with local fans.

Most of all, it was a unique opportunity to catch up with a whole slew of people from the scene. All the O3/0093 crew were there, the Music Fever people and even some old faces like Frank Fen, once of punk act Mortal Fools. Most of YYT's extended family was in tow too, and even Brad Ferguson was there, managing the bar.

Now I've done my Perez Hilton thing, I just want to say that's 2 for 2 for music promotion collectives and their summer events. Both Playful Warrior/the metal crowd and Music Fever have killed their summer event bringing YYT up to and over the 400 mark. No pressure, whoever is next.

Frosty Eve & Fearless live @ Yuyintang

faction.jpgPhoto from 41shoots on Douban.

Saturday night was the 17-live Summer Metal Festival show at Yuyintang. It featured these three bands:

Frosty Eve (Beijing)

I almost didn't go. I got off work late, was pretty sick and tired. But then I got texts from three separate friends already there saying that there was already over 400 people through the door and it was all going off. So I promptly got my ass there.

This hasn't happened for ages it seems. All local bands and packed to the rafters with mainly local fans too. I was surprised I could get in at all and haven't seen that many people in there since Reflector last came down. It seems that Beijing's Frosty Eve are a big draw as 90% of the audience were Chinese metal fans in full gear.

I arrived as Shanghai's Fearless were a couple of songs into their set and they were killing. The floor was crammed and heaving with headbangers and fans crowded along the stairs and sides. Fearless give the full metal/axe hero performance and the fans ate it up. At the end of their set there were cries for their The Trooper cover, it came and much moshing was done, again. This was an all time best performance from the guys.

By the time Frosty Eve got on, the park out back was full of sweaty shirtless bodies and also an equal amount of rock ladies too. It's metal all round in Shanghai. I thought people would be too tired and hot to go again but obviously a lot of people were here for the Beijing band. The majority of the crowd were able to sing along for pretty much every song they played. I felt they lacked the energy and presence that Fearless showed but they were good and they were playing to fans. 

The festival continued with an after party at the new metal bar on Yongjia Road, Inferno.

Youtube Tudou: Color 4 and Monkey Shines

Here are two live videos of new Shanghainese bands Color 4 and Monkey Shines, both featuring members of Little Nature strangely. One ex and one current.

Color 4 are seen here at Mao and play pop-punk. Monkey Shines play emo and are seen here at Yuyintang. Interestingly, they are both not far off members' other projects musically. Xiao Ding who sings for Monkey Shines also sings for Forget and Forgive. 

Note: the sound quality for the Monkey Shines video is bad and goes in and out: but it still gives a good impression of their energy and how they rocked YYT that night.

Youtube Tudou: 8 Eye Spy live @ Yuyintang

Here's the song I recorded from the 8 Eye Spy show last night. As always, remember I use a small compact and condensed mic, I also only vid the one song ... you know, cos I'm enjoying the show the rest of the time. So it's limited quality.

Anyway, here's the band. Great show.

8 Eye Spy/Good Jive live @ Yuyintang

8 eye spy logo
We made it to the third gig in four days of our mini-marathon. Congratulations.

So, I chose Good Jive over Raybans, going for an honest gig with risk-taking music, organised by people I respect, over shallow promotion and hipster appeal. 

And walked into a giant video set/photo shoot for Dell/Intel and their Noisey project. And I paid for the privilege and it was not declared on the flyer or anywhere else. Seriously WTF! To top it off, it seems that Dell X Vice = assholes. Their multiple camera vid set up and stills photographer took the front row, and all the energy, for the entire headliner set. And yes, the stills camera had a powerful flash and shot continuously from start to finish mostly front center and often back into our faces. No respect for the community, the paying fans or the general culture of the scene and venue. It was really like being on an ad set and stuff like, oh I don't know, being able to see the singer past the held-up cam and continuous flash, was apparently of no concern to these dicks. 

So the show basically existed to give Dell some soft ad material. Nice.

The bands were:

X is Y have a member on holiday right now and they gamely stepped in at the last minute as a duo. Credit to them, they took creative advantage of this and did something different with the songs. It worked and was a good opener for the show. They also played tracks with female lead vocals, which is new for them and also worked.

Next Year's Love played their fullest set yet, in their short career. The sound was really good in YYT and we could hear the guitar better than usual. The song Xiao Ge Ge went off particularly well and there was some good energy in the songs. Their retro synth riffs and experimental edge were a good fit for a Good Jive show too.

8 Eye Spy were awesome despite the continuous distractions, which also prevented the crowd from properly letting loose. They really came across like a weekend headliner. Loud, experienced and assured on stage, they crashed through a great set that mixed the no-wave sound and the Chinese scene post-punk sound. I was surprised at how many songs had up tempo regular rock beats in them too. Great band. 

Mr Graceless live @ Yuyintang

Thursday night and Splitworks blog Wooozy kicked off its first monthly showcase of Chinese bands at Yuyintang. The line up:

The show was run earlier from 8 to accommodate a younger local crowd, which it got, but almost didn't start due to the man showing up. But start it did with Forsaken Autumn.

The Shanghai based shoegazers did a solid job helped on by great sound. They describe themselves as slowcore dreampop at their page. There was a good helping of noise and fuzz in their wall of sound at times too. 

Mr Graceless are a Beijing based indie rock group. They are a finished product and have signed to label Maybe Mars. They ripped into an upbeat set of typical Beijing style rock with good dual vocal harmonies and Beatles-esque chorus melodies. The audience loved them and they played with energy. The set was interrupted at one point by the return of the man, who even took the stage at one point - always a popular move. But the show eventually resumed and the band finished their set.  Good night all round, job well done.

Duck Fight Goose out of Good Jive on Saturday

8 eye spy
Breaking news for our Saturday showdown and marathon that you may or may not be on.

Duck Fight Goose are not playing Saturday's Good Jive 3 show at Yuyintang.

But have no fear, fans of risk-taking music. 8 Eye Spy now become the big draw of the night. 

The Nanjing based no-wave band are excellent and have an album out on Maybe Mars' sister label, Maybe Noise. It was produced by PK14's Yang Haisong.

8 Eye Spy Douban Page

Also adding to the bill are Shanghai's own X is Y whose math rock is a perfect fit for the Good Jive spirit. 

So the Saturday choice is still not an easy one. Comments are open now, where are you planning on going?

July blogathon begins tonight

next years love
Alright then. Before I get into the this, don't forget there's a full article on the Saturday shows and bands here and a full article on the Thursday Wooozy showcase here.

Ok, so I'm blogging again. It's the summer and I've been to the doc's and anti-Shanghai summer meds have been acquired. Andy 2.0 is ready for a three shows in four days blogathon.

That's not quite up to Kungfuology's previous record. And I can't find the post on that one, arse.

Join me if you will:

Tonight (Wed): Swedish band Kite & Next Year's Love @ Logo
Thursday:  Mr Graceless at YYT
Friday: rest or perhaps folk night at Mao if you don't need a rest
Saturday: Mushrooms/Snapline @ mao or Duck Fight Goose/8 Eye Spy @ YYT

It begins. Seriously, Logo is small, if you're in on this, do say hi.

July 9th a big one, decisions

mushrooms at yyt
Saturday July 9th is going to be a tough one. The two main venues both have potentially amazing nights lined up. That's not to say there's nothing else on, by the way.

In the red corner:


In the blue corner:

Mao Livehouse

The Good Jive show is focused on music that takes more risks and a glance at the line up throws up words like Krautrock, Synth Punk, No Wave and Experimental. 8 Eye Spy are from Nanjing and have a great CD on Maybe Noise, they don't come around here so often. The Mao show has The Mushrooms, Shanghai's breakout band that were signed to David Tao's indie label. The show is an odd mix of genres though. Commercial emo-rock, retro synth pop/rock, noise rock and straight emo. Plus it's branded, ugh.

Never Hide, unless it's behind a pair of Ray-bans of course.

But the line up.

FoF, Death To Giants live @ Yuyintang

I spent all Monday night believing it was Friday and feeling anxious about work the next day. Because I was at Yuyintang listening to bands.

Why? New Zealand band Die Die Die have been touring China and seem to have got on with everyone so well that they threw an extra free show on the Monday. Bonus.

Death to Giants

Friend or Foe were strong as usual and you still have one more chance to see them before the original line up splits as bassist Fish leaves these shores. I'm talking about this gig on Saturday. Also playing Logo on Saturday are new Shanghai duo Death to Giants.

This was their second ever gig and the first time I have caught them. They were awesome. And they are pictured above setting up for the show. Death to Giants combine the punk, playful intensity of modern lo-fi duos with a dose of virtuoso technical playing and vocal harmonies. They've got it all. The real highlight of this was when they asked the audience to shout out two random numbers, from which they made a time signature, and a topic. Then they improvised an entire song called 'Monkeys and Popcorn.' 

So, Saturday then.

Knife Party live @ Yuyintang

Friday night at Yuyintang and time for promoter Playful Warrior's latest hard rock/metal night. This time they opted to let newer and lesser known bands fill the bill.

The line up:

Good turn out for semi-unknown bands on a rainy night and The Knife Party stood out for me. They are young guys, they introduced one of their guitarists as being 15, and played solid metal with speed and good technique. They list their style as metalcore officially. Where they don't yet have the mature presence of performers in bands like Chaos Mind or Rakasasa, they have power in the music. Frontman Dennis really got the fans going and I hope to see them at bigger events soon. 

And the back of Dennis's shirt said "Christians to the lions." Nice.

It's here: Duck Fight Goose EP

dfg flyer ep rel
Me and Jake write about Duck Fight Goose all the time, so if you're not familiar with them you can read about them here perhaps:

Also, you can check out their page here:

The first two demo tracks are more ambient/electronic driven and the last three are the guitar driven "death-ray rock" tracks.

Anyhow, DFG are one of the most exciting and original bands to come out of the scene lately. They are a kind of Miniless records super group featuring members of both Lava Ox Sea and Boojii. And this is the moment we've all been waiting for - a release date for their debut EP, produced by the band and Brad Ferguson.

The release show is at Yuyintang on December 18th and the 40 RMB ticket gets you an EP and a sticker. Marvelous. See you all there.

I.D.H and Boys Climbing Ropes live @ Yuyintang

There was all kinds of madness happening over the weekend. The big draw was the Dead Elvis show on Saturday. But poor me ... I have been a bit out for the count with some cold or other so I rested up on my sofa and went for the Sunday show.

This night was all about the post-punk and related styles.The turn up was how you'd expect for a Sunday night at ten o'clock but a good group of people none the less, including some hung-over refugees of the previous two nights who genuinely felt they had to catch these bands.

BCR kicked things off. We've already said enough about this band and they are currently touring all over China on weekends. This time we got to hear some of the new material, which has developed well. The song Two Dogs with its infectious synth-punk opening, is going to be up there with the hits like Life Knife and Whale Song for sure. This band just keep going.

IDH wore their influences on their sleeve - literally. No, really. Front-man Xiaoyu had a prominent Bauhaus tattoo on his left forearm that the punters kept commenting on to each other. The band played a long professional set and went through the whole run of late-70s early-80s sounds by switching the line up. They had three members, one always on drums. The other two cycled between different combinations of bass, guitar or synth. To be objective about it, I felt the band really kicked it out when they used the synth and bass sound. Anyway, it was a delight for fans of the genre. A kind of connoisseur's satisfying conclusion to a weekend of gig madness.

Youtube Youku: Fearless Lords of Twilight

Here's an older video, well, from the end of June, showing Shanghai metal band Fearless playing their newest track Lords of Twilight. The song has replaced their cover of The Trooper by Maiden as their strongest live song and the band have come along way. I love the chorus, especially when they transition to it from the dual guitar hook at around the 4.00 mark.

White Eyes live @ Yuyintang

white eyes gao
There were a bunch of shows on this weekend, including this one, but there was only one for me. Yuyintang were hosting Taipei punk/garage band White Eyes for the first time giving us the chance to attend one of those old timee YYT shows where it was packed and with proper crowd action.

It did end up being rammed and raucous. It was a testament to both the two support acts and the crowd that both openers got sizable mosh pits and great reception. Friend or Foe gave us a set of playful punk with the best song being about "household chemicals - cheap and good." Androsace played a great sounding mix of classic rock and quiet/loud grunge that kept up the pace and allowed people to get down for long periods.

I think White Eyes surprised everyone. Despite being known mainly for being punk and for singer Gao Xiaogao's wild stage presence, what we got was actually a very polished and professional modern rock act with a varied/measured set. They were great and the packed room was jumping and dancing right to the back. They reminded me of bands like Bigger Bang but without lame synth songs and no drop in energy. Keeping the punk side prominent within the more mixed modern style. Anyway it rocked.

Yuyintang during Expo - the actual stats

Panda plane

Before we get going on this. I urge you to read this preface carefully, especially if you are going to comment.

The following stats are related to this post on the Expo.

The stats do not relate to all of it. Some may read the results and think it a normal or positive result, others not. I just want to throw them in. They don't relate to my point on attendances, for example.

In the comments on the linked post, our good friend Bren came in and said that he thought only a small amount of shows were, in fact, priced over 40 rmb. He gave some numbers to back this up. It was a strong point with evidence and I thought it worthy of follow up. 

So, I have been through the entire back catalogue of events at Yuyintang and tabulated every single one for name, date, price and international or domestic. Really, I did. If you want to see this first hand I will be happy to e-mail it to you - my mail is in the about page at the side there. I used the Yuyintang Douban host page which has not only the details but all the dated flyers too.

This is only for YYT, it's a kind of controlled sample. Please please, think before interpreting, whatever shortfall you think these numbers have, I probably agree with you.


All gigs named for headliners/billed acts.
All prices taken from standard/door price.
Some shows were cancelled.
Free shows and shows with no data are not included in the ticket price stats.
Some of these shows, for example that cost 40 or less, were odd ones like World Music or Jazz - but I kept them in anyway. 
Minor adjustments can be made by getting the grid from me and going through it yourself.

OK, some observations:

For the period of the Expo May 1st - October 31st

Total booked shows at Yuyintang: 124
International acts: 57 (57/124)
China based acts: 67 (67/124)

Of the China based acts - Shanghainese/Shanghai based: 38 (38/124 total shows)
Of those 38 - acts whose members are all or mostly Chinese 25 (25/124 total shows)

Ticket Prices:

of 124 shows:

under 40 RMB: 22
40 RMB: 42
(so 40 or less combined = 64)

over 40 RMB: 42
Free/spoiled data: 18

So 42 out of 106 ticketed shows were over 40 RMB or around 40% of shows.

To put that in context, prior to the Expo run up, the average indie scene ticket was 20-30 and 40 was the limit and considered pushing it but acceptable. Someone please put me right if they can, but prior to the start of Expo fever and the event itself, a show at YYT or previous incarnations/venues would almost never go over 40. So statistically we have 39% more high priced shows than before - a massive jump.

They think it's all over ... it is now

p368471622Update: fixing broken links

Last Friday I got the metro back from buying some winter stuff and sat down in front of the entrance to Zhongshan Park to have a quick drink. The air was crisp and chilly. My girlfriend turned to me and said, "Hey, where's Haibao?" Yes, the near omnipresent statue of Haibao had gone, and by Sunday night the Expo would be over.  

Here's what I wrote before it all started in full:

So, welcome to the piece where I give my take on the scene and how it has been affected by the Expo. Now, both the Expo and the scene mean different things to different people. So welcome to the defining of the terms.

The scene
The music scene can sometimes be thought of as the sum of all events related to music available in the city at any given point and can include industry built around it. Not here though. I write about the underground indie scene in Shanghai. It is characterized by a lack of functioning industry and a suspicious and authoritarian approach from government. I write about local youths who work to create their own culture outside of the mainstream using genres like punk, rock and indie music. I write about subculture. I write about identity and expression. You will find reviews of Chaos Mind playing Yuyintang. You will not find a DJ playing DKD, a promoter whose primary goal is 'a party' or a Jazz band playing a function. 

Talking of Yuyintang, the scene I speak of most commonly manifests itself in shows at Yuyintang and Mao, which I always use as case studies.

White Eyes coming to YYT, rejoice!

We've been following Taiwan Chinese Punk band The White Eyes at Kungfuology Towers for a while now. Beijing were lucky enough to get at show at Mao but no Shanghai, until now. The band are trying to play a bunch of mainland dates to promote their new album Kiss Ur Eyes. This band are superb and should not be missed. The show is promoted by STD so there's a mild chance of dance music DJs, obnoxious behavior, electrics blowing, fights and well, the tickets are reasonable at 50.

It's at YYT on Saturday, November 6th. 

Seriously though, great band, support this show, YYT ... and STD. Here's a preview: 


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