Animal Patterns Party, Yuyintang

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Black Luna animal.jpgCandy Shop animal.jpgPoppy animal.jpgSecond animal.jpgmortal fools animal.jpgmushrooms.jpg

A brief bit of history: Over a year ago, The Mushrooms (then Crazy Mushroom Brigade) were one of the up and coming Shanghai bands and were tipped for big things by a certain music blogger. After a series of great live performances enhanced their reputation further, the band were signed to Soma and appeared on the Indie Top showcase CD. At the same time, they went through a line-up change with guitarist Li Xing leaving the band. Soma turned their sound pop, an album with the label was delayed (and has still failed to materialise) and the band floundered. But The Mushrooms had been tied into a less than beneficial arrangement before (when they had a lengthy stint at "live music" bar Melting Pot) and they used their experience to break free and organise their own shows. The shows were huge successes and The Mushrooms not only got their sound back, but also re-established themselves as one of the best live acts in the city.


So last night was the third of The Mushroom-organised parties at YYT and this time round the theme was animal patterns, meaning the place was filled with girls wearing leopard skin print dresses. There were five bands in total as well as an extra special guest appearance from another of Shanghai's top live acts.
Black Luna kicked things off with their Evanesence-style pop rock. Like a lot of their stuff, their usual set closer (the eponymous Black Luna) is a little cheesy but also fairly infectious. It's helped a lot by having a guest rap from Tian Pin Dian's YKE and I was wondering if he'd make an appearance last night given that they'd been over at Channel One performing earlier in the evening (something they were less than complimentary about). He did, performing with his usual energy and huge grin.

Then the surprise. When the song finished, Sammy (Black Luna's lead singer, who by the way sure can wail) called on the other boys from Tian Pin Dian to join them on stage as well. Except for Sammy, the Black Luna girls left the stage and we were treated to a special animal party track from Tian Pin Dian and Sammy. It was a good start to the night.

Next up were The Poppy. They play a kind of funk-rock and are a tight outfit. Lead singer Lulu certainly has a strong stage presence and the band's music is pretty good. The only thing is, their shows are always in Shanghainese meaning I can only catch the odd word and this makes it hard for me to get in to. It can also mean that some bits are just plain confusing. Like when The Poppy invited a middle aged man up on stage for one of their songs and he jumped around the stage yelling the chorus (check out the video on the right here). If you speak Shanghainese maybe it made more sense. Then again maybe it didn't. UPDATE: That was no random middle aged man, it was Sun Mengjin! I totally didn't recognise him. That makes slightly more sense now.

All-girl outfit Second came on third and weren't bad, but given what had just gone and what we all knew was coming, it was a little middle of the road. There's nothing wrong with the band, it's just that they didn't seem to quite fit with the rest of the night. Perhaps they should have opened or gone on after Black Luna.

It didn't really matter - Mortal Fools were on next. You could put Mortal Fools on after a funeral and the atmosphere would still be electric. Especially in the form they're in at the moment. When I saw them a couple of weeks ago at the Shanghai Night Fever event, it was the first time I'd seen them in ages. They were excellent and last night was no different. Hopefully this is the start of them gigging regularly again.

And then the headliners. The Mushrooms gave it their all as ever, but it was always going to be hard to top the last theme party they did. That was the show where everything came together - the performance, the sound, the atmosphere - and one member of the band was moved to tears by how good it was. Not that there was anything wrong with what the band did last night. They showed once again why they are such fantastic live performers. But aside from a small hard core of us jumping around at the front and screaming along with Pu Pu, the atmosphere in the crowd didn't seem quite there like it did last time.

Still, you can't cry every time and last night was still a great gig. To round it all off, Andy and I got big sweaty hugs from Pu Pu. Man love - it's a beautiful thing.

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Sweaty Mushroom Man Love... tee hee... you probably won't get that at the mall.

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