Results tagged “zack smith” from Andy Best

Around Douban in May

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wozhouling
Sorry to start off the post with an insider muso joke but I have to put this somewhere. Last night at our blog party, Zack Smith said, "The wah-wah pedal is a gateway drug to jam-band-ism."

The picture you can see to the right is Chinese folk singer extraordinaire Wu Zhuo Ling (吴卓玲), also a member of A_Z

Listen to her latest tracks at her always active Douban page

Dan Shapiro's new band The Fever Machine also have a new demo out at their page. Check out their excellent brand of desert rock that reminds me of the current new wave of technical-meets-stoner-rock, like Them Crooked Vultures. 


Suzhou based melodic death metal band Mo Xie (莫邪/Mo ye) have a new demo and photo gallery at their page. I saw these a while back and was blown away. Believe it or not, death metal is always popular with the university students here and you get to meet a whole different crowd at the shows. 


Another feature of Douban is individual members of various bands who keep Douban pages of their own as a kind of notebook for their ideas. They are usually just full of rough demos recorded at home and various thoughts and pictures. One such page is 小宝大宝宝迪瑞尼亚 (Xiao bao, Da bao, Bao di, Reina) ... or more simply, Reina.

Go here and check out the bottom track, minimalist (really) pop track Biu Biu

Finally. Despite being officially defunct for over a year or more, underground pop sensation Gala have put up their old tracks at Douban. I saw them here. So why not revisit their classic track Young For You which was a viral hit with students nationwide. Go on, re-live a golden time when English language songs could be sung completely in the ... err ... reverse Chinese character romanized method. You know, like the way footballer's names are done on the TV. 

It's a catchy track and was genuinely popular at the time.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Would anyone like to comment on the bar at Mao?

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

Douban Dou-book & around the blogs

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douban.jpg
Huanyin, Andybest. Indeed.

So. Poor Jake has no life right now for various reasons and I'm going to start up some extra posts like I used to do. This is the reporting on other music writing around the Shanghai scene blogs type thing.

Firstly Douban. We've been talking a lot about Douban lately and how it's like Facebook or Kaixin but with no annoying apps and has feeds for your bands and books and movies etc. 

So logged in just now to see it has adopted a Facebook style combined feed frontpage. That's it on the picture. It's good. It will always be good because all the items are related to music, bands, books and films. They have added something new though, a kind of status update like on regular social sites. The new look is fine - but I hope it's not a precursor to it adding happy lobotomy Happy Farm games and stuff like that.

Elsewhere.

Dan Shapiro is still flying the flag at City Weekend, trying to keep some kind of interest going there. Lately on his blog we've had an informative post on the city's recording studios, a review of the BCR CD and a preview of the upcoming Jue Festival.


Zack Smith is still plugging away in a lonely room at Layabozi. Lately he's written something about us, thanks. Check his weekend picks too. 

China Music Radar are still wound up about festival organizers just plain lying about their line ups at official press conferences. I would be too, read it, it's outrageous. Now the CMR people are aware of this they find it happening all over the shop. Check out the latest installment

Finally, Adam over at Luwan Rock notes that post-rockers Hualun are in town to do some recording. Read about that here

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