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.
暴走蜗牛 are Fanqie Chaodan's new band. We nearly didn't recognise him with black hair and his hat on though. They have the same guitarist as New Vector, a super geeky looking keyboardist, a bassist who is about the same height as her instrument set on its end and Fanqie Chaodan himself up front. Backed by a band as oppose to his usual one-man-and-his-guitar set up, Fanqie Chaodan really comes out as a performer - cracking jokes and at one point reading from a Lei Feng daubed notepad.

They also have a song called 待修改 (Changed) which include lyrics about how he once had a girlfriend who didn't like Top Floor Circus and references their song 上海欢迎你 (Shanghai Welcomes You). As he played it, I'm pretty sure he noticed I was wearing the Top Floor Circus 上海不欢迎你 (Shanghai Doesn't Welcome You) t-shirt, which was pretty funny. Anyway, they haven't got any tracks recorded yet and this was their first proper live performance, but you can watch a couple of videos of them rehearsing here and catch them again this Friday down at 696 Live Bar. They're well worth going to see.

bremen.jpgNext up were Bremen. They had their own groupies down the front and had plenty of energy, but they were a bit pop and poser-ish for my tastes. Once they'd closed their set out with a cover of T-Rex's 20th Century Boy, most of the crowd left. I'm not sure if that's because they were there for Bremen or if it was because it was too late for a Sunday night - it was gone 11pm by this point.

Anyway, last on were punk band 被告 who gave a good performance and kicked up a real dust storm on the YYT stage with all their jumping around. Unfortunately, there were only a few dedicated fans/friends left by that point and after a few songs I have to admit my weekend caught up with me and I slinked off too.

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I think Cui Jian was amazing. The night before Zheng Jun played a rather dully concert, and one would expect that Lao Cui was just another not too bright a star cashing on the fame from early years.
However unexpectedly Lao Cui showed he's still 中国摇滚第一人, literally. The gig was great, one of the best I've been to in years. Cui Jian is still unique and original, while most of young bands are unfortunately poor copies of some more or less famous western bands. Fortunately not all of them.

Hey Jake

Sounds like an amazing night. Sorry I missed it. Hoping to make it to YYT on Friday for their Laobaozi night.


The only club in town in Buffy is The Bronze. I was totally taken there when New Vector played. If only Dingoes Ate My Baby were on the bill.

I'm never excited by Cui Jian. I find the music to be too middle of the road and rock and jazz being all one family is just the sort of thing he'd say. I'm more interested in tattooed vegetarian punks telling people to go f*ck themselves, hooray for Kang Mao.

Fanchie Chaodan was well funny.

Reading this review made me realise that we were three bald Englishmen last night.

As they say de gustibus non est disputandum.

Cui Jian invited JZ club horn section to play with him, and they all did very well, this is when he said they were one family. His words should not be taken out of context.

I understand you like tattooed vegetarian punks, great, but are their Chinese versions in the XXI century really original? Is it original to look like and say what people shouted out in the 1970 now? Maybe I'm expecting too much, but telling people to f*ck themselves is hardly original.

Cui Jian is different. Among other things he taught a lesson of history during the concert - asking and saying what was happening in China every decade since PRC was proclamed - 1949 中华人民共和国成立, 1959 大跃进, 1969 文化大革命, 1979 改革开放 1989 中国摇滚诞生了...

And I was happy he did not play 一无所有. He was just true to himself. Just my opinion, FWIW.

Hi YLK, don't take any of this personally, I just have some extreme passion in this area and have little control over it.

For me, Subs have it all. Talking about rock. Their music is far more emotive and original than the A.O.R. sounding stuff. Their lyrics are confrontational and focused, if a bit more dressed down. Their live shows are raw and powerful, and they live the lifestyle too. Thinking of their shows and listening back to their music, they are clearly the best 'rock' band to have come out of China.

My opinion, of course.

They are much more 'real' to me than a lot of the so-called originals. My ultimate punk band is Propagandi or Operation Ivy. Bands that dropped the macho/homophobic stuff and replaced 'chaos' anarchy with political anarchy (liberal socialism) and satire.

:)... it's like the forbidden fruit, once you've tasted it you can't untaste it. Once you've heard Propagandhi sing "Nation States" then something like "Heal the world" just seems weak and ambiguous. Once you hear Subs scream "where does the garbage go?" then songs saying stuff like 'be nice to nature' are just wishy washy and ineffective. Once you mosh out to Subs or The Queers or whoever in an intimate venue, then 'soft rock' in an arena doesn't cut it anymore.

Of course, different genres are just that ... different, but now we're talking about 'rock' and 'rock' that is in some way energetic and confrontational.

I'm sure Cui Jian is ok and a good guy etc and I know he is important ... just expressing my viewpoint. Conjuring up the important historical events is fine and it brings out deep emotions, by association. With the Subs it's direct power as you are exposed to Kang Mao's soul, and you are shown an existence away from mainstream repression where your individuality and expressive power are unleashed.

When Cui Jian comes to town everyone rolls out the cliches and gets thoughtful for a while. After the Subs have been here for a show, new bands form, the whole scene has to 'up it's game', passions are exposed and people feel shame about not been true to themselves and the rock ethic. We need them more than ever right now in Shanghai.

Also, look around the world today, people need to be told they are bad and to f*ck themselves more than ever.

Andy, I respect your opinion.

It's just that Cui Jian's music has accompanied me since my early years in China, so I guess I feel very much connected with his music and lyrics. He and Kang Mao both are powerful in their own ways. Good we have them both - and the whole spectrum of various bands in China to listen to.

BTW I really like that Cui Jian always sings in Chinese (never heard him sing in English); if you want to be understood you use the the language people understand. I'm not a big fan of local bands singing in English.


Yes, more is better in this case since our scene is mainly underground.

I think in some ways, it's dangerous for Subs to be clearly understood by the casual listener. That's a whole other subject though.

Jake, I think your line up order may be a little wrong. If I am right PZ64 were on first, they were pretty good actually although I only saw last bits, defendant were the second last band and fingers dancing definitely came on last somewhere really late in the evening or next day as it probably was by then. That was when I left, sorry, no matter how good you are (and they are technically very polished and, erm, not exactly difficult to watch), cover bands aren’t my thing and Tina Turner’s “only the best” is enough to drive me away from anything real quick.

I have been trying to work out who被告were and find their douban site (which I think doesn’t exist but happy to be proved wrong), they were brilliant. Ok, a bit formulaic and “not another punk/post punk/thrash band” but they are very good at what they do and given as you say nearly everyone (which seemed to be almost exclusively young groupies) shot off home after Bremen pretty impressive how they kicked on regardless and put in a seriously fun show. Eh, I like a good noisy band with attitude, these guys have oodles plus they know how to play together and keep it tight, they had the small crowd left bouncing around with infectious enthusiasm. No doubt there will be something popping up on the video sites here soon as the girls next to me religiously recorded most of the set.

Totally agree that暴走蜗牛 (what is the translation of the name btw?) are worth seeing, really interesting and as they got their act together over the set really impressive. Did you catch the way the guitarist from New Vector was looking after the bass player who was from where I was standing pretty much hiding in the corner and encouraging her? I was touched (to use a poor translation), be good when she comes out of hiding as she can play for sure and as you say, your lead geezer is a heck of a performer. Just wish I could understand what he was saying between (and during) songs as it seemed to entertain everyone else :)

I was really disappointed by New Vector, not sure if it was a bad night or something but it wasn’t working for me. Didn’t notice the PSP hooked up to the drummer’s headset and didn’t notice the bassist had headphones on either (clearly I am an observant individual), might explain why I was wondering whether I was hearing two different bands at times. I’m just going to write that one off as a bad night for them rather than a criticism, next time I am sure they will get their act together a bit more (and perhaps leave the psp behind?!)

Bremen – well, what can you say? Pop and posey maybe but that lad has a heck of a voice and the looks and charisma to turn YYT in to Babyface for a while, I mean, come on, when I arrived I was wandering around in a sea of young girls wondering if I was in the right place. That’s the sort of exposure and following that will make original music here push its way through all the barriers. They have a big future if they don’t stumble over their ego first.

Thanks Rubbish, you're spot on - I mixed up 被告 and PZ64.

There's no site for Defendant as far as I can see either. Hopefully they'll set one up soon though as I liked what I saw of them too and, like you say, they didn't seem to fazed by the exodus. I'll keep an eye out for any videos.

暴走蜗牛 (I'm translating it as Runaway Snail but happy to have a better translation from someone?) were really good I thought and the bassist certainly seemed to come out of her shell (forgive the pun) as the set went on.

Funny you say that about New Vector, after I stuck the video of them up, the singer sent me a message to say she didn't think it was a very good performance and that they'd be better next time. I liked them and thought they had potential, but yeah, maybe they need to take those headphones off.

Bremen reminded me a bit of Little Nature post-Soma and, while they weren't really my thing, there's no denying they already have a following.

Hey Jake and err... Rubbish :)

So, Rubbish, thanks for your detailed comment.

The night had all the characteristics of an 0093 night and when we review them we take into account that it's a showcase of new, inexperienced bands.

I liked New Vector because they had a coherent style to their music and the singer's personality fit that. Of course, they need time to develop their performance.

The only down to the night was the rampant shameless photographers. 0093 is for new bands to get their start and while they are going public and will be reviewed, I think it's not fair for them to have a whole paparazzi section and to have entire performances videod. A couple of snaps and a one song clip would suffice to promote the band or keep a record.

yeah, I agree with the photography thing, was a bit much and not really cool for a showcase event, the in your face telephoto lenses thing is a bit rude really. particularly when the photographer pops in for a few shots then goes out the back again, job done, stuff the music. So no, that wasn't me ;P, nice call out though!

I wasn't being critical of New Vector, I think I made that clear and Jake seemed to back that with the band's own pov. It was an off night, they are a new band, they clearly now how to do their thing, and I'll be back to see them again (and again etc etc). What can I say, I was disappointed I guess because I had expectations - I have listened to their stuff on douban and it is seriously good; run, just run is is one of the best things I have heard in ages. It just didn't come together on the night. Bad days, we all have them.....

yeah the photographers were a bit ridiculous that night - the worst by far was the guy with the beret on who kept moving people's mic stands and things out of the way to get a better shot while they were playing. getting in the way of the crowd is one thing (one thing that really pisses me off), interfering with the band themselves is just unbelievable.

with New Vector, I think it's definitely a case of the best is yet to come. you're right Rubbish, their stuff on Douban is really good and it's good to see that they recognise when they don't give their best performance. I thought they showed in places that they could be a really strong live act, but, as you say Andy, they clearly need time to develop. I'm looking forward to watching them do so though

Rubbish, wasn't suggesting that you might have been one of the photographers, sorry. The photographers overkill thing is just a pet peeve of mine.

Also, I'm happy to hear all your opinions on the bands. It's great. I wish we had more commenters on the Kungfuology blogs, enough people read them. I think most people don't get to go to a lot of shows themselves.

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