October 2009 Archives

Coming soon: Haibao - the book

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yyt flyers.jpgNo, not the Expo condom, the Chinese word for flyer or poster (海报 not 海宝). I've been meaning to stick up a photo gallery of the posters for gigs at Yuyintang for ages, but I'm lazy. I've got a bunch of flyers that I've kept and most of them are online too, but do you know how long that stuff takes? Upshot is, I haven't gotten around to it.

Lucky for me then that the lovely ladies from YYT - Kaine and Sophia - are putting together a book of their best flyers. It's still early doors right now - they're choosing which ones to go for - but the plan is for it to be out before the end of the year or early 2010. The posters for the gigs at Yuyintang are consistently cool and a lot are on Kaine's blog here. Check out that link for some fantastic gig/band photos too - they make me rightfully ashamed of the crappy shots taken on my little point and shoot. You might want to check out some older artwork from Kaine here as well.

If you, like me, are quite taken by the poster art for the gigs in Shanghai, take a look at this blog by Greenwall, who designs the posters for shows at Chengdu's Little Bar. Those are well worth a butchers as well.

Incidentally, speaking of things I'm looking forward to seeing (and of the other Haibao), word is that Top Floor Circus' MV for Shanghai Welcomes You could be ready in the next week or so. Let's hope so. A bit of background to that here.
lucy.jpgWhile Andy was over at 696 catching a somewhat haphazard sounding show featuring Second and Lei Ren, I was down at Yuyintang. On the bill were a Violent Femmes cover act, the Violent Phlegms (see what they did there?), The Youth and The Destroyer, Resist Resist and YACHT. I'd seen and met YACHT back in 2007 when it was still just Jona (he's now been joined by Claire L Evans) at Splitworks' excellent Yue Festival in Zhongshan Park. He was so good that I went to see him again the next night at LOgO and he genuinely seemed to remember it, pointing to me in the crowd toward the end of the gig when looking for people who had been at Yue as well. Anyway, that's my fan moment out the way.

This being an STD show, I'd assumed that things would get going a bit later than usual (in fact, by the time YACHT was done it was so late that Kid Koala had already finished up his set over at Shelter, meaning I missed him). When I did get there though, I'd missed the Violent Phlegms. So The Youth and The Destroyer were the first band I saw properly. This is the band of STD promoter Reggie, who plays bass. This is the second time I've seen them (last time they were on the bill for the sell-out Ratatat show at Dream Factory, also an STD night) and they only play sporadically. To be honest, this showed a bit. Putting your own band on the bill when you've got a big international act in town is all well and good, but they didn't really blow me away and I feel like they need more work.

Resist Resist have been gigging more regularly lately. They played the Antidote Festival down in Zhujiajiao a few months back and I thought they were pretty good. They weren't totally satisfied though, so went away for a while and honed their sound. They've now come back with a strong set of songs and are playing more shows. They were all dolled up for Hallowe'en and cracked out a solid set of synthpop that got the crowd going. Lucy has grown in confidence a lot since that first show and this means her vocals really come through now, which is great because she has a good voice. Definitely a band to look out for and they paved the way nicely for YACHT, who were excellent.

Podcast Two: 24 Hours "Your Song"

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Welcome to podcast number two. This week, we talk about coverage of Chinese bands and their politics in the Western media, review the Misandao, Culture Clash and Runaway Snail shows from the weekend and preview what's coming up in the next couple of days including 24 Hours' album release party. Then we realise we've got a bit of time left at the end and go back to talk about Low Wormwood's gig last Sunday, before playing Your Song, a track from 24 Hours' new album.

Here's some links for you while you listen:

Political Articles

Alice Liu's article on Chinese bands being "too pampered for politics"
China Music Radar's post on the Alice Liu piece.
Andy's response and the ensuing comments

Show Reviews
Write-up from the Misandao show
Mortal Fools' MySpace
Misandao's MySpace
Culture Clash write-up
Write-up from the Runaway Snail gig
Video of Runaway Snail

24 Hours' new video
24 Hours on MySpace
Rustic on MySpace
Video of Second live at MAO
Second's Douban page

Low Wormwood show write-up

MTV in China have started a new series called 真有才 (Truly Talented) where they'll be showcasing a different Chinese band every month for the next year. And not cheesy pop nonsense, but proper bands.

PK14 kicked things off last month, but, as I don't have cable I've only just come across the clips online now. The MTV China website is kind of a mess and there's not much information on the shows, but according to the ridiculously quickfire ad linked to in the characters above, Carsick Cars, Pet Conspiracy, Queen Sea Big Shark and Reflector are amongst those coming up. The clip embedded here is PK14 introducing themselves and talking a bit about the history of the band. Here's one of them talking about being, err, true.

It's all part of their MTV True series, which will also feature profiles of "True Heroes" such as Cui Jian and "True Live" - a weekly face-off between two acts performing live. Unfortunately, the True campaign has seen the bands bundled up with a bunch of pop stars as well and its the more mainstream acts who are the focus it seems.

It'd be interesting to see what being the Truly Talented band of the month actually means - how much airtime they get and when they get it. Does anyone out there have Chinese MTV on their telly and want to invite me over to watch it? Or if you don't want a drifter messing up your furniture, maybe you can say something about it in the comments below.

MTV doesn't have the same mass appeal here that it does in the West, but its audience is growing and they have been upping their coverage of underground bands recently. According to this article in Variety, the new keeping it real series is part of attempts from MTV China's new President to, in her words, "bring underground people above ground." Of course, this ties in nicely with MTV's attempts to be seen as edgy and ahead of the curve - an image it purveys here just as much as anywhere else in the world - but it'll be interesting to see how far it goes.

Low Wormwood, Yuyintang

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lowwormwood.jpgSo the story goes that when the guys over at Maybe Mars saw Lanzhou folk-rockers Low Wormwood perform live, they immediately started the Maybe Wood spin off label to sign them up and record their latest album, We Can't Help Kissing Each Other. Fair enough. If I had a record label I'd probably start a folk section just to sign them up as well. They were back in town on Sunday at Yuyintang promoting their new record and were fantastic. The title track is available for free download here so hit that link and check it out - it's a great song, especially once the drums kick in properly about half way through.

They don't have the avant-garde oddness of someone like Glamorous Pharmacy (although Xiao He did produce their debut EP), but there's plenty to like about them all the same. There was a honesty and down to earth nature of the band that was hard not to like. The band members seemed a bit awkward at being the centre of attention, as if they didn't quite understand why everyone kept cheering and clapping for them. When the lead singer first spoke to the crowd it was merely to say "this is our second or third time in Shanghai... err... I don't really have anything to say."

But there was no real need for banter with the audience - populated mostly with dedicated fans by the looks of things, with a few fellow Lanzhou people amongst them as well. The music and the songs were enough to get people captivated and the shyness of the band only made their performance more absorbing.

It was a low key night, but it worked perfectly in a venue like Yuyintang - especially for a Sunday night. Definitely check out that track linked to above and listen to some more of their stuff here. If that makes you regret having missed this gig, then make sure you don't miss Mongolian folksters Hanggai on November 7th at the Dream Factory. It's a slightly different style of music, but if you dig the folkness then you'll love them. They're supposed to be pretty damn entertaining live and even come recommended by Pitchfork and The Guardian.

Culture Clash, Yuyintang

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Picture 1.pngIn the absence of a review on their own website, I thought I'd give you a quick word-of-mouth-rundown on Layabozi's event at Yuyintang last Friday. Before you get into that, you can check out a few photos from the night here, courtesy of Graeme Nicol - including this one of Little Punk on the right. You can also read about how I thought it was going to be an interesting face off against the ultimately poorly attended punk night at MAO by going here and, finally, you can hear the whole thing discussed in Andy and I's dulcet tones by listening to the podcast here.

So anyway, I saw one of the organisers on Sunday and they said that the night pulled in about 250 people. They mentioned that it was a mainly foreign crowd and that quite a few of the punters said that they'd never been to Yuyintang before. Hopefully they'll come back for more then.

By all accounts they were given a good taste of what the Shanghai live music scene has to offer besides dodgy cover bands in dodgier bars. From what we've heard over here at Kungfuology towers, all the bands - Duck Fight Goose, The Dovetail Joints, Weyghur (still not sure how I should be spelling that one, sorry) and Boys Climbing Ropes - put in strong performances. Crucially, there's been praise for how the event was organised and run, even though BCR didn't get on until 2:20am. Get on the comments if you went along by the way.

Congratulations to the folks over at Layabozi for pulling off a successful night. They've said their focus is still the site obviously, but the plan is for more events bearing their name in the future so keep an eye out for those. Now they just need to update the site a bit more regularly.

Video: 24 Hours - Mr Stevenson

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Never mind that Vimeo and Youtube are blocked here, Maybe Mars have released a new video for 24 Hours via their Youku channel. It's for the song Mr Stevenson from their new album No Party People, produced by Martin Atkins who has worked with bands such as Nine Inch Nails. 24 Hours are in town this Saturday at YYT for their album release party and it's a gig I'm really looking forward to.

The band are originally from Xi'an and used to be known as 24 Hour Party People (hence the album name joke) before they moved to Beijing to further their careers and signed to Maybe Mars. According to a source in Xi'an, the band played an "awesome" set last weekend for the homecoming leg of their album tour. I've been impressed with them the last few times I've seen them too - they were part of the Xi'an Takeover event at the Bund lighthouse here in Shanghai a couple of years ago, they've been back since as part of a Get in the Van night and I caught them up at Zhangbei as well.

Rustic, who won the Beijing GBOB recently, are supporting on Saturday together with The Snots. It kicks off at 9pm and will set you back just 40 kuai. Without wanting to spoil anything, apparently 24 Hours' opening song will feature audience participation and whistles, so be punctual.

Midi Heroes results announced

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miserablefaith.jpgIf you listened to last week's podcast, you'll have heard Andy and I discussing a story on China Music Radar about how Midi had decided to launch a Chinese rock awards thingy. Well, now CMR has revealed that the results are out. And here's the really shocking thing: Miserable Faith, nominated in pretty much every category, won nearly everything.

Once you've picked your jaw up from off the floor, you can click here to see the full list of results, including one or two awards that Miserable Faith, controversially, failed to win. Of course, the awards were kind of meaningless to begin with, but it still would have been nice to see a broader section of the Chinese rock community included. Again, I think we made our feelings clear on the podcast about where Best Album deserved to go. Apparently Andy Best failed to do a Kanye when that one was announced. Disappointing.

If the awards can help garner more publicity and bring more people in to shows then great. If they can get a bit of coverage and people go out and listen to these bands more, that's a good thing. If it's just Midi passing out some trophies to their mates, it becomes even more pointless.

The judges, incidentally, were Zhang Fan (Principal and founder of Midi), Dai Fang (music critic with the Beijing Evening News), Hao Fang (writer and music critic), Li Hong Jie (Editor of InMusic), Lu Bo (founder of Howl Records), Shen Lihui (founder of Modern Sky), musician Wang Di and Wang Xiaofeng from Sanlian Shenghuo magazine.

Video: Runaway Snail at Live Bar

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Here's a track from Runaway Snail for you. Something I've realised since I wrote about them at 0093 is that the guitarist, also the guitarist in New Vector, is Sunny, formerly of short-lived goth metal band Moongazer. So there you go. Anyway, check out this track from his and Fanqie Chaodan's new band, it starts a bit slow and the sound quality isn't the greatest, but stick with it. It's called "Roll, Leo", is the one that references Top Floor Circus as I mentioned before and as we discussed on the podcast and it also features Fanqie Chaodan reading from his Lei Feng covered notebook.
caramelmint.jpgIt's been so long since I was last at Live Bar up in Yangpu district that I can't even remember what the last show I saw there was. The space inside has changed a bit and seemed smaller than it used to be, though that might just be because I'd been in MAO the night before and most gig venues here seem small by comparison with that place. Still, it was fairly busy, although mostly with the bands themselves and their friends. There were a few randoms like me as well and a healthy foreigner contingent that I hadn't expected. Hello to the two Hungarian biologists that I met by the way.

Anyway, I was there to see Runaway Snail and New Vector again after Sunday's 0093 showcase. Unfortunately, New Vector didn't play in the end so the (culinary-themed) line-up was Honey Roast Pork, Caramel Mint and Runaway Snail led by Fanqie Chaodan.

Honey Roast Pork is one guy and his guitar and he played a few stripped down ballads to give the night a low-key start. Something I've found from listening to the tracks he has on his Douban is that his voice actually sounds better live. On a couple of the tracks at his artist page it doesn't sound all that strong, but seeing him live it really came across.

Next up were Caramel Mint. That link above is just to their Douban group I'm afraid - I haven't been able to find a page where you can listen to their stuff. Hopefully they'll set one up soon though and record some tracks because they've got a really accessible rock sound and are a band to keep an eye on. Nini, the lead singer, has a cracking voice and she seems to really enjoy performing - she hardly stopped grinning the whole set. The crowd loved it and kept calling for an encore until the band obliged.

Mortal Fools support Misandao, MAO

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mortalfoolsatmao.jpgWell what do I know eh? I built this up as a big one, a clash between two big nights at Yuyintang and MAO. I plumped for the latter in the end - I hadn't been to a gig there yet, I'd never seen Misandao before and this was the last show for Mortal Fools with the current line-up. I got there about half 9, the advertised kick off time, and the place was dead. There were a few people sat at the candlelit tables near the bar listening to the soul and jazz music being played (this is a punk night remember), the members of the various bands were milling around and there was a handful of punters there. The start had to be delayed in the hope more people would show up. Check out the photos after the jump for more of an idea of how things looked.

I'm not sure how things went down over at Yuyintang, I haven't spoken to anyone who went yet. I hope it got a better turn out than the MAO night though. Did anyone go? How was it? Let us know.

The real tragedy was that the bands were excellent. The Mortal Fools were on top form and the three Bejing punk/ska bands - Hell City, Early Bus and Misandao - all turned in good performances. Misandao in particular played a great set and, in a week when it's been questioned whether Chinese bands are "political enough", it took them all of five minutes to curse the government and the Expo. Their set was one massive "fuck you" to the authorities, with songs about those in power and the police. The singer had his middle finger raised for pretty much the entire set.

But they didn't have the audience they deserved. I'm not really sure why. It wasn't particlarly well promoted, but then there are quite a few shows where the venue just sticks it up on Douban and enough people turn up. Actually, about half way through the night, there probably were enough people in the place to make Yuyintang look ok if not busy - especially if you've got a bunch of people jumping around at the front. But MAO, of course, is much bigger than that and needs a bigger crowd. Plenty of people last night were just sat around the edges as well. Everyone I spoke to - band members and punters - were bemoaning the lack of people.

What made it worse was that this was Tim Anderson's last gig as drummer for The Mortal Fools. And they were brilliant. The Mortal Fools are one of those bands who don't really know how to play a lacklustre set. Nevermind if they've got a packed venue or a sparse crowd, they're always top draw performers. Though I really enjoyed their set, I couldn't help but feel a bit gutted at the same time because of Tim's departure. They're such a tight unit and there's such a great understanding there. The band is planning to continue, which is good news, but Tim, you'll be missed.
crystal butterfly.jpgSpeaking of websites promoting events, the 0093 compilation CD release will be held under the banner of BBS forum Rock Shanghai. You can read about the CD itself here and the night should feature several (if not all) of the bands on the record. Top Floor Circus, Pinkberry and Bang Bang Tang are all confirmed at least, which makes it a great line-up already. The gig will be taking place at MAO, not at Yuyintang as I stated previously, on November 28th.

The week before, on November 20th, MAO will be holding their opening party. I know, I know, they're already open, but that was just their soft opening period, as is often the way here in China. They're now ready to harden up, as it were, and that night will feature Jason Falkner, The Mushrooms, BIZ and, interestingly, a return for Crystal Butterfly.

Crystal Butterfly, who have also just set up a Douban page, are part of the older generation of bands who were formed in the late '90s. They emerged following the split of Lunar Eclipse, other members of whom went on to form The Honeys (playing tomorrow with Yuguo at YYT incidentally). Crystal Butterfly are fronted by Pang Pang - one of the main guys behind Soma and consequently MAO itself.

Since 2005, when they released their Magical Mystery Tour album, the band's appearances have been a bit sporadic (they've had a bunch of trouble with their former record company too) but I imagine being in a band and seeing what the MAO stage is capable of is a hard mix to ignore for Pang Pang. Maybe this is the start of a comeback?

Finally, the gun-toting Dan Shapiro has started doing regular previews of forthcoming gigs over on CW, giving you a more in-depth overview of where to spend your weekend, but while I'm mentioning some upcoming shows, here's a few others I'm looking forward to in the next couple of months:

Oct 31 - 24 Hours release their new album at YYT
Nov 6 - Pet Conspiracy (craziness from the capital) at MAO
Nov 7 - Hanggai (Mongolian folk outfit) at the Dream Factory
Nov 21 - Boojii, Duck Fight Goose, Boys Climbing Ropes, Resist Resist, Triple Smash rock for Roots & Shoots at YYT
Nov 29 - Zhi Wang and Xian (Shanxi duo) at 696 Live Bar
Dec 5 - ReTROS promise some new songs at MAO

Culture Clash vs Three Represents

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culture clash.jpgLayabozi, "a web magazine about music in Shanghai today, with a sprinkle of the extra-mural and a tart sassiness--without ever being cloying", are going into events promotion. They put on this Mushroom Jazz event last weekend and tonight they're promoting an event called Culture Clash.

They're not the first website/events link in on the local music scene obviously. Rock Shanghai (more on them in a minute) have done the same - read the review of their one year anniversary here - IndieChina.com did one back in July and Indie Heart Attack have their weekly DJ nights at Not Me. Hmm, maybe we should start doing a Kungfuology night. Just kidding. Hopefully these nights help drive more traffic to the sites in question and, as a consequence, this helps those sites develop and post more regular content. We'll see.

I'm not sure why they've called it Culture Clash to be honest. But what I do know is that it clashes with a big gig at MAO. Misandao, the skinhead punk band, are down from Beijing for a gig with two other punk bands that they're calling The Three Represents (in a nod to a famous speech by Hu Jintao). Not only that, but they've got Mortal Fools on the bill as well. That's a pretty fearsome line-up at any time, but throw in the news that it'll be drummer Tim Anderson's last gig with The Mo'Fo's and you've got yourself a potentially explosive night.

This is the first time since MAO opened where there are two fairly big gigs going on at both Yuyintang and MAO at the same time. I'm seriously not sure which one I'm going to go to at the moment - it's the first night where it's not been a no-brainer. That makes it interesting on two fronts: one, how many people will turn out at the respective gigs? Two, who will turn out?

MAO needs around 400 I'd say to have a decent atmosphere. It can pack in more of course, but any less and thing might start to look a little sparse. The reason Shanghai needs a mid-sized venue like MAO is because Yuyintang starts to get cramped at anything over 300. So how will it go? In a city of 19 million, it seems ridiculous that we should wonder whether both venues can be supported, but it'll be interesting to see what numbers both places get.

Podcast One: Lava Ox Sea "Home Hell"

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Welcome to the first ever Kungfuology podcast featuring Jake Newby and Andy Best. This is our pilot show/demo. We are aware of some technical teething problems, but go ahead and comment on them all the same. We like comments, there's a lot of material to comment on ... and you don't have to register.

On the agenda this week:

Midi celebrate ten years with ... an awards show. Thanks, Chinamusicradar.
And where were Lava Ox Sea in the nominations!

This weekend was the 12th 0093 showcase at Yuyintang.
We liked New Vector and Fanqie Chaodan with his new band.

Gigs are back on at Harley's bar it seems.

Layabozi.com promote their first show in the world of indie rock, but go head to head with the old school punk night at Mao Shanghai.

Finally, listen to "Home Hell" by Lava Ox Sea.

Shanghai vs Beijing rap battles

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I don't normally post on hip hop here, but I just came across these rap battle videos and thought I'd share them. For a proper overview of hip hop in Shanghai, have a read of Sean Leow's article from last year that starts here.

I love Shanghai and it's hard not to buy into the city rivalry with Beijing some times. I'll certainly defend the city if people compare it unfavourably to the capital. But, well, in these rap battles you've got to say that those northern monkeys have the edge. The Beijingers here (on the left in these videos) are from 阴三儿/Yin San'er who are one of my favourite Chinese hip hop acts along with 唐人踢/Tang Renti and Young Kin.

I'm guessing, although the battles seem to take place in Shanghai, that these videos have come from a northerner (one is entitled Yin San'er Kill a Shanghai MC) and as such they don't name the guy on the mic for Shanghai. I can't tell you who he is either I'm afraid. Still, give them a click and check out how rap battles go down in these parts.

Video: New Vector at Yuyintang

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So as promised, here's the video of New Vector performing Run Just Run from last night's 0093 Showcase. Can you see the headphones?

0093 Showcase 12, Yuyintang

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fanqiechaodan.jpgUpdate: Sloppiness, plain sloppiness. I muddled the line-up there a bit for the 0093 showcase - an observant commenter has set me straight. I spent the weekend over in Century Park for JZ Festival and all that jazz (ba-doom-tish). It was good fun, but it's a bit different to the kind of thing that I cover on this blog, so I won't be doing a write up on it - instead, keep an eye out for a report on China Music Radar soon or, if you read Chinese, you can check out Vivien from Muscle Snog's blog on the first day here complete with photo of "白杰同学". On Sunday night, Cui Jian (the Godfather of Chinese rock 'n' roll) stated that he felt that jazz and rock were "one family and can't be divided". Maybe so, but after his set (which disappointingly failed to include 一无所有 or 新长征路上的摇滚) I was faced with a choice between Us3 and 0093. I went with the latter.

The line up was as follows: 膨胀螺丝 (who I keep translating to Anchor, but may also be known as PZ64)、New Vector布莱梅乐团 (Bremen)、被告乐队、暴走蜗牛舞指乐队 (Fingers Dancing).

Having darted over on the metro to Yuyintang, I turned up just before half 9 to find I'd missed 被告 and Fingers Dancing. Someone else caught the latter's songs on video so you can watch them here if you're interested.

The first band I did catch was New Vector who I'd been listening to a bit in the week. They started with an instrumental track before being joined by their lead singer in a hood with little animal ears on it. This meant she looked a but like the short one out of Gorillaz (thanks Steve for that observation). According to the other bald English guy I was with, they also sounded a lot like the bands who used to play in the cafe on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm afraid I've never really watched it so didn't get the reference, but if you did then you'll know what he meant. Regardless, I liked them.

One slightly odd thing to note was that both the drummer and the bassist played with headphones in. Not that I haven't seen drummers headphoned up at gigs before, but this guy had his hooked into his PSP which he would then fiddle with in between songs. Not sure what the bassist had on his, but it struck me as a little weird. Anyway, they only have a few songs at the moment, but gave a good performance for a new band and are one to keep an eye on I reckon. Have a listen for yourself here or wait a couple of minutes until I post the video I took of their song Run Just Run. They would have been the highlight of the night for me if it hadn't been for the band who came on after.

Videos: Second and Pinkberry

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A couple of days after they stuck up some excellent photos of their recent performance at Mao Shanghai, Second have put up a couple of videos of their live collaborations with Pinkberry. They're both Pinkberry songs, but feature the Second girls as well - Live In Live and 小白兔 (Little White Rabbit), the latter of which is after the jump here.

A couple of new tracks for you to check out as well. First one is from the Curry Soap and is fantastic. It's called Boxer, Get Out!, is inspired by Animal Farm and, though it clocks in at just one and a half minutes, I've had it on repeat all week. Listen to it here. the Curry Soap is in the process of recording a few new songs, hopefully with a view to an EP early next year, so keep an eye on her Douban page for more new tracks and re-recordings of the existing ones.

The other new track is a live recording of Sleeping Sheep from New Vector and you can check it out here. I'm planning to catch New Vector on Sunday at the latest 0093 showcase so, assuming I make it, I'll write a bit more about them then.

And while you're off clicking around the interwebs, make sure you check out this post on CMR about the forthcoming Chinese Rock Awards and make some predictions in the comments.

A little bit about Boojii

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boojii.jpg"It's a bit of a freak," says Boojii's SanSan of their forthcoming album Reserved. "It's extremely sweet and extremely cold and bitter at the same time." Maybe so, but together with Muscle Snog's release of Mind Shop, the record is another important milestone for Shanghai's experimental indie scene.

Boojii have been around for a number of years, gigging sporadically, but with more consistency in the last 12 months. The band's name, says SanSan, doesn't really have any meaning. "There's no link to the band or the music or sexy films stars or anything like that - I just like it because it sounds cute. If I could choose another name it'd be 少女呕吐物 [Girl Vomit]." 

SanSan was formerly in 33Island and Boojii's other members - Sun Ye, Damen and Jiang Zhendong (also formerly of 33Island) - have all been, or are currently, involved in other prominent bands in Shanghai. SanSan is currently also part of Muscle Snog and Duck Fight Goose (together with Damen) two of the city's other leading experimental indie bands. So how does Boojii compare? "The main difference is that in Boojii, everyone has to listen to me!" she jokes.

Yet given the array of talent involved in the band, there is naturally plenty of collaboration. "I usually write the songs at first," says SanSan, "and then we'll play around with them when we practice and the others will all add their new ideas and thoughts. Once Sun Ye adds his guitar parts, there's more finesse to the songs. The process of putting together Boojii songs has always been very inspirational."

Midi Shanghai cancelled already

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midisurfer.jpgSome things never change eh? Back at the beginning of September I posted about rumours of a Shanghai Midi festival:

"Plans are for it to take place in Zhabei district's Daning Lingshi Park (the one with the beach near Circus World) on November 7th, 8th and 9th. The line-up will apparently feature several local bands including Top Floor Circus, Cold Fairyland, The Mushrooms, Sonnet and Yuguo."
The protracted Midi rumours we get every year meant that I was a little skeptical as to whether it'd actually take place or not and, surprise surprise, the whole thing has fallen through.

No sooner had Midi put out an official announcement about it, then before you could say "permit problems" they were back-tracking and saying that the festival wasn't going ahead after all. Sigh. China Music Radar has the story here.
Finally, some videos on this blog that don't feature me. Mortal Fools have recently uploaded a video of them doing Age of Assholes at the Beijing Punk Festival and Triple Smash have put up a live recording of them doing 再见大合 with 曹大 (of Chaos Mind) lending his vocals. And that's what you can see here (Triple Smash are after the jump), give them a click.

Also just up online are some excellent photos from the first few gigs at Mao, including some classy shots of the Second girls and you'll find those linked to right here. Toni from Pinkberry/Mortal Fools also makes an appearance in that album. Of course, if you're looking for the best photo taken at Mao Livehouse so far, it has to be this one really.

0093 to close for refurbishment

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0093.jpgStarting from next month, the original 0093 on Lingling Lu will be closed for refurbishment - that means all the practice rooms and the 03 Space performance area. It'll reopen with its brand spanking new look early next year. In the meantime, 0093's new premises on Caoyang Lu will be hoping to host the bands who were using the original spot before (their planned rehearsal rooms at Mao Shanghai will take a bit of time to sort out).

I quite like the, err, rugged feel of 0093 but, given that it'll be closed for two months, it could be a fairly substantial refit. Who knows, maybe they were inspired by the fact that every square inch of Shanghai is being dug up/covered in scaffolding at the moment in preparation for Expo next year. Then again, maybe not.

Of course, I don't actually play an instrument so I don't rehearse there and I'm not suggesting that they keep it as is - that's none of my business - just that I like it how it is at the moment, in a musty, dank sort of a way. That's easy to say as an infrequent tourist there. Anyway, with that in mind, I snuck down yesterday to take a few snaps for posterity - you can find them after the jump.

You probably know this already, but 0093 is much more than just a rehearsal space. Here's a neat little round up of its importance and, linked in the comments, an interview with Jiang Shaoqing from last year from a certain deceased Shanghai magazine. Nevertheless, in terms of purely rehearsal space business, it faces increasing competition in Shanghai now. In addition to the other mainstay practice spaces around town and 0093's own plans to extend their empire at Caoyang Lu and Mao, a whole bunch of new places have opened in recent months. I suppose that's a slightly more plausible reason for the refit than the looming Expo.

I'll head down for a similar photo gallery once they reopen, but here's 0093 in all its truly underground glory:

Since I left you

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karakul.jpgI said I wasn't going to do this, but I changed my mind. I'm sure you've all been keeping track of this stuff while I was away, but, seeing as I was sans internet, I've been playing catch up and can't believe I've missed some of the stuff that's gone down. Here's a round-up:

After all the hype, Mao Shanghai opened. Andy's review of the opening night is here and there's his write up of the Mushrooms gig that followed a few days later here. We've been hinting for a while that this could be the last Mushrooms show for quite a bit (making me doubly gutted to have missed it) and I wish I could say more about why this is, but rest assured all will be revealed when I'm allowed to say something. Rounding out the first slew of gigs at Mao was the Rock Shanghai anniversary party. I'm looking forward to catching a show there soon.

The Global Battle of the Bands competition returned to Shanghai. Despite a good turn out of local talent in Beijing (they had 20 bands, of which 2 were laowai acts), the Shanghai leg wasn't quite as successful. I speculated on some of the reasons for this before. Nevertheless, 7 acts took part and you can read all about it here.

Then, the real craziness kicked in. Maybe we should all be used to the ridiculous whims of the Party, but I was still pretty shocked to read about the decimation of the Modern Sky Festival on China Music Radar. That was followed by Andy posting that the ban extended too all gigs by foreign bands which apparently led to the bizarre spectacle of The (International) Noise Conspiracy standing around in Yuyintang unable to play at the gig they were meant to be headlining. What. The. Fuck?


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kashgar.jpgWhen I said posting was going to be sporadic while I was on holiday, I was thinking that there'd be more than, well, than absolutely nothing. I thought that in between traversing deserts and staying in yurts I could hit up an internet bar and stick up the odd post if something really important happened (y'know, like the scene milestone that comes at around 0:43 on the Bang Bang Tang video). Alas, the guy on the right here had other ideas (the one on the screen I mean, not the one in the foreground).

You see, you can't get on the internet in the "New Territories" - the ones in the west of China, not in Hong Kong. The entire region has been under an internet blackout since the less-than-harmonious incidents of July. Text messaging has also been banned, although I did get two messages while there wishing me a harmonious and peaceful National Day/Mid-Autumn Festival from the region's Party, which was nice.

Luckily, someone else picked up the slack. I'm sure you've all been following things over there anyway, but if not (why not?) go here and enjoy. I was about to try and round-up a few highlights of things I'd missed, but there's too much great stuff that's been posted over there (though personally, I'm partial to the BBT and Bigger Bang! videos for purely narcissistic reasons). I'll resume proper posting soon...