Andy first started writing about Pinkberry around this time last year when he saw them play what by my reckoning was their third ever gig. There were a few sound problems that night, but here's what he said at the time: "if they stick at it they are going to be a great act on the Shanghai circuit soon." So Mr Best picked another turkey. Just kidding - he was bang on of course.
After reading the glowing reviews on his blog, checking out a few MP3s on Neocha and catching a couple of their shows I saw the attraction: they played no-nonsense pop punk and had a firecracker of a frontwoman in Xiao You. For me, the first time I met them was in November when I did a feature for SH magazine on some of the more prominent female figures on the Shanghai underground scene and invited Xiao You along to be interviewed. This was my first time talking to her properly in person and I was completely charmed by her - she was smart, funny and great to interview. You can read the resulting feature here.
In the meantime, Andy continued to follow the band's progress and even produced a music video with them for the song Run Away. You can check it out here, as long as you're not behind the Great Firewall or have a VPN or something for getting over it.
I don't think it was particularly related, but the band did stop playing quite so many gigs shortly after that and, following triumphant shows supporting Reflector and Hedgehog, little was heard from them for a couple of months. In April the band replaced their bassist and spent the subsequent two months rehearsing with the new line-up and experimenting with a new sound, which resulted in tracks like Live in Live.
When Pinkberry did finally return to the scene, it was in a controversial fashion. When Pepsi launched their Battle of the Bands contest, the initial heats were roundly criticised by participating bands for being poorly organised and condescending. Pinkberry joined the chorus of protest but, as every other serious band on the scene boycotted the contest, they remained involved on the quiet. Lacking any real competition, Pinkberry cruised to the finals and won the Shanghai round causing some less than complimentary comments from some locals.
Since then the band have been working more closely with Soma, playing a couple of shows at the Zhijiang Dream Factory when it was under their management (unfortunately to sparse crowds on at least one occasion), a couple in a shopping mall and one in a clothes store to people sat on the floor. They've also been working on a music video for Pinkberry Song, but it's yet to see the light of day.
So all in all, it's been an interesting year for Pinkberry and given how the last twelve months have gone, it's hard to predict what will come next for them, but I wouldn't be surprised if they rack up a fair bit more coverage in the coming months given their story so far.