November 2009 Archives

UPDATE: There's another version of 上海不欢迎你 embedded after the jump, Lu Chen being a prostitute here, and more videos from Ding Ma's Mao show here

The sound's a bit dodgy at times, but here's a video of Ding Ma doing 上海不欢迎你 from last night at Mao (note the 不). It also features an announcement from Comrade Mei Er at the start. Plus, if you look closely, there's some dude in the mosh wearing a tux. What's that about?

Video: Pinkberry's MV

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Here it is then, the video for Pinkberry's Pinkberry Song. And yes, I'm aware that I look like a tool.

Video: PZ64, Yuyintang

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Meanwhile, over at Yuyintang, here's what was going down. This is All Summer by PZ64 who were supporting Chengdu's Ashara. 

Top Floor Circus, Mao Livehouse

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dingma.jpgThe curse of the podcast struck again with a disappointing turnout at Mao last night for the 0093/Rock Shanghai CD release. In fact, the curse stretched to the two podcasters as well - Andy was sick and I had to work, meaning I didn't get there until late. Actually the crowd wasn't too bad - it was the sort of audience that would have looked fine in YYT, but that looked poor in the much bigger Mao. Especially after Mono had had the place completely packed the night before.

So I got there pretty late. I'm not going to review the show properly, as I only really saw the one band, but there were a few friends of the blog who I know were there for most, if not all, of last night so feel free to add your own round-ups in the comments.

The one band I did catch and that I'd darted across town to make sure I saw, was Top Floor Circus. We talked a bit on the pod about how you're never quite sure what to expect from Top Floor CIrcus, but they were in full band mode last night and were on top form. It's been a while since I last saw them like that, but they played a great (and hilarious) set. Lu Chen performing air fellatio while acting as a prostitute during 进来白相相 is an image that will be burned into my mind for a while. They closed out with a reworked version of 上海欢迎你 that was given a more negative twist with a chorus of "Shanghai doesn't welcome you, we've got no culture and no renminbi".

After that, I saw the opening few moments of Firefighter, but I needed to head over to Swiss James' leaving thing so only saw a little bit. The rest of the crowd was leaving as well at that point. Someone who did stay on though was Pu Pu, lead singer of The Mushrooms and later, following a message from Lisa Movius, it became clear why. Apparently, Firefighter are a Mushrooms cover band. Lisa had mentioned this to me earlier in the night, but I thought she just meant they sounded a bit like them. Nope, according to Lisa they actually played covers of The Mushrooms' songs. Bizarre.

Anyway, there certainly wasn't 500 people there last night, which means they've still got some CDs left. If you didn't make it along to Mao, head over to 0093 and see if you can get your hands on a copy. 
shanghairock2009.jpgIt's been a while, but this show is finally coming around. You can hear us talk a bit about why it's significant on the podcast by clicking here. You can also read an interview with Jiang Shaoqing, one of the main men at 0093, right here. What I want to focus on here though, is the line-up changes that have taken place since I last looked at the event page.

Perhaps most significantly, Top Floor Circus are no longer the headliners. They're still playing and are still the act with the biggest draw, but they'll be going on second to last. So who is at the top of the bill now? Firefighter. Well, they're billed as the 嘉宾 (support band), but they're going on last. Not really sure why. I'll be honest, I don't really know who these guys are. According to the PR blurb, they're four boys from Shanghai University of Engineering Science. They also seem to have been involved in the early stages of the Pepsi Battle of the Bands, judging by this video. What are they doing going on after Ding Ma? Your guess is as good as mine.

Another line-up change is that extremo band Double Control Where are no longer on the bill. Candy Shop (Tian Pin Dian) are however, which is good news. They may well have been on the line-up for a while and I forgot, but it doesn't really matter - the important thing is that they're playing and that last time they hit Mao, they tore the place up.

Finally, the other addition is Second. As I mentioned on my previous post just now, the girls will be teaming up with Pinkberry again. Overall then, Saturday night at Mao looks something like this:

20:00-20:30 The return of Bang Bang Tang
20:45-21:15 Candy Shop
21:30-22:00 Pinkberry + Second (+ Pinkberry's music video premiere)
22:15-23:00 The always brilliant Top Floor Circus
23:15-00:00 Firefighter

Not bad. Remember: 50 kuai gets you in and a copy of the CD (though they're limited to 500, so be prompt) and this is a big night for the scene. Come on down and support it.

Video: Second at 696

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So 696 is no more, but here's a video of Second performing at the space which the band has just put up on Douban. The song is《如果可以 》, which I'm going to awkwardly translate as If I Can.

Second are also going to be at the 0093/Rock Shanghai CD release thing on Saturday at Mao by the way. They'll be doing their combined show with Pinkberry again (as seen here), which should be well worth catching. In fact, there's been a few line-up changes since we last checked in on that event and so some of what we said on the pod last night is no longer 100% accurate. Sorry about that. I'll stick up a post in a minute with all the updates and the info and the hype and the blah, blah, blah. Just be patient.

Podcast Six: Pinkberry "The Pinkberry Song"

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Podcast number six then. And it goes a little something like this: an important announcement is followed by a review of last weekend (Mao's grand opening, Rock for Roots & Shoots), a little chat about a venue closure and a certain local band's releasing of full length tracks and then a look ahead to this weekend's action.

For those of you listening online and not on an iPod or something, you can click away to your heart's content with these links right here.

Update: The points we mention from the Layabozi review were made by site editor Mike, not Zack. Sorry.

Mao's Grand Opening
A response to the Crystal Butterfly piece*
Rock for Roots & Shoots

The closure of 696 Live Bar
The Mushrooms release full length tracks

More on the 0093 CD
Top Floor Circus
Bang Bang Tang
Bang Bang Tang's music video for I Love Flawed Men Best
Pinkberry's MV shoot
Extremo band Double Control Where
More on Mono

* Since we recorded this podcast, Lisa Movius has, to her credit, responded to the post on Crystal Butterfly. You should read her comments too.

Video: Triple Smash at Yuyintang

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Triple Smash have stuck up a bunch of videos from their performance at the Rock for Roots & Shoots night at Yuyintang last Saturday. The one here is When You Hold on to Your Dreams. I mentioned in my write up that the band are going on tour and here seems as good a place as any to let you know the wheres and whens in case you happen to be in these places:

27/11 - Nanchang, Black Iron Livehouse
28/11 - Hangzhou, 798 Pub
29/11 - Suzhou, WAVE
12/4 - Chengdu, Matang

If you're a fan of the rock without a singer thing, you'll probably know that Mono are in town this weekend (more on that here), but you'll also appreciate Triple Smash's cover of this excellent 65 Days of Static song right here. 65 Days of Static are a great band incidentally, someone should definitely bring them to Shanghai - the kids would love it.

Listen here

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pupu.jpgThe Mushrooms have made the full length demo versions of several tracks available for streaming on their Douban artist page. Go check them out now by clicking here. I still feel The Mushrooms are best experienced live (like this), but these are some decent recordings and it's nice to have the full versions available. With tracks like this, someone should sign them to a label or something - it'd be easy to get these recorded and a proper album put out pretty quickly right? What? Oh.

I shan't bang on too much about why The Mushrooms are so good but, even if you don't dig these recordings, you should really check them out live some time. They are a fantastic live act. Look at the reactions on the faces of the crowd in these photos - tells you all you need to know.

Another quick listen that I'm going to tag on the end here just because - 8 Eye Spy have put up a track from their forthcoming (or maybe out now?) album. It's called 上西天 and you can listen to it here.

On those Maybe Noise albums (8 Eye Spy and Muscle Snog), the latter certainly seems to be out in Beijing so it's just us down here in Shanghai waiting for it now. You can probably find it on the Taobao (I haven't looked yet), but Shanghai Tattoo have said they'll let me know when it's in. When they do, I'll let you know too (as long as there's a copy left for me when I go to get one).

Generation gap

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lipang.jpgNext Saturday at Mao is the 0093/Rock Shanghai CD release party. Top Floor Circus are going to be headlining, Bang Bang Tang will be making their comeback and Pinkberry will be there debuting their new music video that night. But more importantly, it's something of a milestone for the scene and especially for 0093. Dan Shapiro, over at The Beat, has labelled the release "the definitive moment for local rock in 2009." Read Dan's piece in full here. One quote that stands out, is Jiang Shaoqing, 0093 founder, on what the CD means to him:

"This is a change in the overall environment [of local rock music]."
Sure, he might be hyping the release a bit, but it makes for an interesting contrast with another local music piece that has gone up recently over on CNNGo. This second piece is by Soma PR Director and Shanghai-based writer Lisa Movius, who regular readers will know well too. It's essentially a preview for last Friday's official opening of Mao and in it, Lisa talks to late-'90s band Crystal Butterfly about changes on the scene. Read the full article here. Here's a quote:

'"There are more people, and slightly better venues, but really not much else has changed aside from that in terms of Shanghai rock," says scene veteran and Crystal Butterfly (Shuijingdie) guitarist Wang Wenwei'
In talking about the pressures of work and how bands still struggle, Wang may have a point, but are the band the best people to comment on the current state of music in Shanghai? I'm not sure I've ever seen a member of the band at a gig where they weren't performing. Having hardly played themselves in the past few years, do they really understand what is going on in Shanghai today? Do they deserve to be held up as a leading light on the Shanghai scene?

696 Live Bar, we hardly knew ye

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Weihai Live Bar.jpgThe Live Bar down at 696 Weihai Lu has been shut down. Live Bar 696, Live Sound Garage, Weihai Lu Live Bar - call it what you want, it's gone. Little notice was given of the move and word is the venue lacked the appropriate paper work - something that was always going to cause them problems in such a central location. According to the venue:

"Due to various reasons, 696 Live Bar is closed as of November 20, 2009. We are looking to relocate and the events planned for November and December will go ahead at a new venue once one has been found. We apologise for the disappointment and inconvenience caused. Upon opening our new venue, we will compensate you! It's been a short four months, but we'd like to thank all the musicians and fans for your support. Please be assured that despite the difficulties, we will never give up!"
It certainly has been a short four months. Despite seeing the space before it opened, I never actually made it to a gig there. Andy did the other week and seemed to like the space. It's a shame that it's gone and I hope Xiao Bai and the people behind it bounce back. Whether they'll be able to find another venue soon remains to be seen. 

Rock for Roots & Shoots, Yuyintang

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boojii.jpgThere were six bands last night, so things got underway early. For once, I was on time though (actually, I was embarrassingly early, but never mind). The line-up was a really good one, although oddly it didn't seem to have attracted much of a gig-going crowd. The night was up against Au Revoir Simone over at Mao, which may have had an impact, and of course we talked about it on the pod, which is always the kiss of death for a night. Regardless, a lot of the people who were there seemed to be there for Roots & Shoots rather than there for the music. That's fine, it's a good cause obviously, but it doesn't necessarily make for the best gig atmosphere.

Resist Resist kicked things off. They get better every time I see them and the addition of Tim Anderson on the drums has made a real difference. If there'd been more people there, everyone would have been dancing like crazy. Or like Little Punk.

mao.jpg"Firstly, I'd like to thank Mao for inviting us to play here tonight" - Li Pang, Crystal Butterfly frontman and Director of SOMA (i.e. the company running Mao). Does it work if you thank yourself for inviting your own band to headline the official opening of your venue? Well anyway, headline they did.

Having been open for nearly two months now, this was Mao's official opening apparently. According to the press release, "since its soft opening late September, Mao Livehouse Shanghai has lifted the bar several notches for the city's live music scene with dozens of well attended, highly acclaimed shows by musicians from around China and around the world." I've got to be honest, I'm not sure I can name one dozen shows at Mao that fit that description so far, let alone dozens plural, but the venue certainly looked good last night - it was absolutely packed.

Must start by apologising, this week's pod had some minor technical hiccups and may sound a bit buzzy from time to time. We know what happened and all will return to normal next week.

Through the buzz though, you'll hear us talking about last weekend's shows, Candy Shop at YYT and Steely Heart at LOgO, our discussions of the "Shanghai sound" and whether the city's music is becoming known for something different and we'll look ahead to this weekend, before rounding off with a classic Top Floor Circus track.

And here's your links:

Candy Shop at YYT
Candy Shop's Douban
Black Luna
Steely Heart

Shanghai Scene
Andy's original post
An interview with Han Han of Miniless Records
Muscle Snog
Fading Horizon
8 Eye Spy
Top Floor Circus

Ben Houge
CMR on an odd Owl City interview
MAO's soft opening
The Mushrooms
Crystal Butterfly
Rock for Roots and Shoots

Video: Pet Conspiracy live

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Ok, last Pet Conspiracy post for a while, I promise. But here's a video of them that's spliced together from clips of their live show in Shanghai, a Hallowe'en performance in Beijing and a gig in front of a bunch of people in Hong Kong who are apparently unsure what to do in the event of the lead singer stage diving. Have a look. 

From Candy Shop to Caramel Mint

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melody-nini.JPGOne of my first posts on this blog was about watching the Tian Pin Dian (Candy Shop) boys join Sammy from Black Luna on stage to perform one of their songs. Take a trip down memory lane here. It emerged soon after that this was the new line-up for the band as the original female vocalist, Melody Li, had left due to the pressures of work. It was a shame in some ways. Sammy is a great singer (read Andy's review of Candy Shop's latest gig here), but Melody had really come in to her own as a performer and I was sad to see her leave the band. But she wasn't finished.

Following a recommendation from Melody on Douban, I joined the Caramel Mint group, was added as a friend by their lead singer, Nini, and went to go check them out up at Live Bar in support of Runaway Snail about a month ago. At the time, I was struck by how strong Nini was as a singer and as a performer, especially considering the band was new. Turns out, I shouldn't have been so surprised.

New music on a cold Tuesday

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maimai.jpgIf you're in Shanghai right now, you'll know it's freezing brass monkeys out there, as my Grandad used to say. If you're afraid to go outside and are huddled up in front of your computer, here's a few new tracks for you to warm your cockles on.

First up, a couple of Muscle Snog solo project songs for you. The first is from Mai Mai under the name Asthma Writers Union and is called analog box work 005. Listen to it here and remember that this Sunday is RESO 9 featuring Yan Jun. More on that here.

I mentioned the other day that Vivien from Muscle Snog, also known as the Curry Soap, has been re-recording some of her old songs and you can check those out here. You'll also see a couple of new things to listen to as well - This is Not a Sad Song and a lo-fi version of the same track. A lot of the stuff there is pretty minimal at the moment, but she's planning to record some new material with a collaborator that will be more in the vein of Little Northern Europe.

She's also going to be getting a little help from Sun Ye, who nevertheless has found time to upload a demo on his own Douban. He's called it Boojii Reserved, the name of the band he's in and their album, but I'm not too sure what the relationship is I'm afraid, as Reserved hasn't been released yet. See what you think by clicking here.

Far from reserved, Gia, formerly of Hang on the Box, has come out with a new album on Maybe Mars Modern Sky, humbly entitled The Brilliant Gia. She's recently uploaded a few tracks from said record right here.

Some other new songs coming out of the capital are courtesy of Casino Demon, who have put up two new tracks on their Douban. CD, incidentally, have taken a bit of a knock in the comments on CMR recently. Regardless of your view on the band, there's an interesting debate going on there surrounding the recent Sing for China tour of the US - go check it out.

Video: Six Shot

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Neither of the bloggers on this website managed to make it to the metal night at MAO on Saturday, the Hell United event that we talked about on the podcast, but Andy found some great photos of Fearless performing and now "deathcore" band Six Shot have posted up a load of videos from their set. My favourite is this one (for the track Unanswered), which shows the crowd going absolutely nuts. If you're not into metal, I urge you to still click play on this one and watch what happens (the sound quality is only so-so anyway).

The guy on bass there is David Chiang who also plays in instrumental post-rock outfit Triple Smash who will be at the Roots and Shoots benefit gig this Saturday at YYT before starting their tour of southern China. The charity show also features blog favourites Boojii, Boys Climbing Ropes, Duck Fight Goose and Resist Resist amongst others (i.e. you don't want to miss it).
4104516285_57cba4f95f.jpgLast time I saw The Youth and the Destroyer, I commented that they maybe needed to be gigging more regularly and rehearsing more in order to improve. Well, they were in action again on Saturday night meaning two gigs in as many weeks. Introduced by bassist Reggie as "about the douchiest music you've ever heard", they played their way though half a dozen or so songs and even switched up their line-up for the last song, though it wasn't quite Candy Shop doing Ding Ding Dang. They might well have improved since the last time I saw them, but it was kind of hard to tell.

The headliners were Steely Heart, recommended by Dan Shapiro on The Beat (go here) and also by Morgan Short when I was at the Heart Attack night last Thursday. These guys know their stuff, so I went along to check them out. Steely Heart's lead singer has the swagger of Bian Yuan and the band have a sound that's similar to Casino Demon's - not surprising given the friendship between the three. Honestly, I didn't feel all that engaged by the band's performance. That's nothing against them necessarily (or those who recommended them) - they could have been amazing, but again it was kind of hard to tell.

Why? Because this gig was at LOgO. Anyone who's ever caught a band at LOgO knows that it's not the best place to see a gig and that the sound is far from the best. Although it's never been my favourite place to watch bands, I've never had a massive problem with it, but on Saturday night it seemed particularly bad, worse than usual. Maybe, having caught a couple of shows at MAO now with their fancy (i.e. good) soundsystem, it's made me realise just how bad the sound is at other venues, but at LOgO on Saturday it was really poor. Not everyone can invest in a state of the art system like MAO, but when it gets to the point that it damages the performances of the bands, it's time to do something about it. Or simply go elsewhere.

Afternoon rock: Pinkberry and Sonnet

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xiaoyou.jpgWondering how things went down at Yuyintang last night for the Candy Shop gig? Mr Best has that one right here. Sammy has really settled in with the band now and their new lineup is just as seamless as it used to be, even when they switch instruments for Ding Ding Dang.

Speaking of changing lineups, you can check out Pinkberry's new look this afternoon over at eno. They're launching a new t-shirt range or something, I'm not really sure, but Pinkberry and Sonnet are playing there. That's at 4pm at the Changle Lu shop. It's ridiculously cold today, so that might not be a bad place to hunker down for the afternoon.

I've written a bit before about Pinkberry's recent lineup troubles, but in the run up to the enormous Rock Shanghai/0093 CD release at the end of this month, they're rehearsing and gigging again with a new look lineup that features Sonnet's Lezi on the drums. The Rock Shanghai/0093 CD release show will also see the first showing of the long awaited (by me anyway) Pinkberry MV that I wrote about here.

Sonnet have been working on new material lately and, though I'm not sure how much of that will be on show this afternoon, there will definitely be some new songs when they head up the Beautiful Western Suburbs night at Yuyintang on December 18th. This the Lezi-organised collective that features both the aforementioned bands as well as 21 Grams and Joker and all four will be on show that night. You can check out interviews with both 21 Grams (this one) and Joker (this one) by Lezi over at, but you'll need to be a reader of Chinese for those.

Video: Maybe Mars in New York City

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Andy here. While Jake was spinning the ..err ... CD players at the Heart Attack night at Not Me I saw Tim Franco there. He's just back from New York where he was with the Maybe Mars show. So chatting about it spurred Tim into getting a video clip uploaded and then he was kind enough to give us first look.

So here it is. Thanks Tim.


Podcast Four: Muscle Snog "Call It Pop Song"

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Correction: We were so hyped in the podcast that we called the song Not A Pop Song. It is, in fact, called Call It Pop Song.

Here it is then, podcast number four. In this week's outing, we ask whether all the hype was justified over Pet Conspiracy as well as discussing the MAO show in general and the bizarre case of the t-shirt snatching photographer. We also talk about Hanggai's bai jiu fuelled gig the following night at the Dream Factory before moving on to look at two very exciting upcoming CD releases - new albums from Muscle Snog and 8 Eye Spy. Finally, we take a look ahead to this weekend's action before playing you out with an exclusive Muscle Snog track, which we manage to give the wrong name to (Jake was thinking of the Curry Soap's This is Not a Sad Song at the time).

And here's the links to go with it all if you're the multi-tasking type:

Pet Conspiracy at MAO
The nudity and the hype
Pet Conspiracy on the MySpace
Boys Climbing Ropes
Duck Fight Goose
The write up
The photographers debate

Hanggai's MySpace
The write up

Maybe Noise
A little bit about Muscle Snog and their Douban
8 Eye Spy's MySpace
A review of RESO 8 (organised by Mai Mai)
the Curry Soap
A little bit about Sun Ye
[As we were recording, Maybe Mars released an announcement on Douban to say that Mind Shop is now on sale - allow a couple of days for it to get to Shanghai though]
Stockist details

Dan Shapiro's weekend preview
Candy Shop
Black Luna
Forget and Forgive
Why Andy can't forget or forgive Lightninger
Chaos Mind
Screaming Saviour
Six Shot
October Capricorn
Mr Chelonian

Remember Indie Top One? Sure you do, it was the culmination of the scene story of last year. After the show at the Dream Factory, Soma repeated things down in the new university district of town, Songjiang. One year on, Zhong Chi has uploaded this video of her performing the song I Can't Hide from the Songjiang show.

It's a professionally produced video and it all looks very nice, but ask yourself: does the crowd of teenagers that you see milling around on film really look like they're producing the rapturous crowd noises that you hear? Call me a cynic, but maybe, just maybe, this isn't the original sound from the day. Still, nice video. Check out more from Zhong Chi here.
maybe_mars_us_tour_WEB.gifANOTHER UPDATE: While the debate about gig photographers rages on, Tim Franco has posted some great photos of the bands in the Big Apple. He's even done a write up of it all as well. SmartShanghai has the goodness right here.

UPDATE: Rather than just plucking the comments of some random off of Douban, the Radar has gone and done some research and commissioned a proper review and everything. Check it out here.

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that Maybe Mars are touring some of their bands through the US of A right about now. Here's a bit of background and here's some more details.

Well, it sounds like things are going a bit better than the Modern Sky attempted tour of the same land mass a few months ago. That was where they put Casino Demon and Hedgehog on at a Chinese Cultural Show. You can hear us talk a bit more about it on the podcast here and watch a video of the debacle here.

Word is that the show at The Glasslands, who hosted Xiao He, Carsick Cars and PK14 last Friday (together with These Are Powers), was a sell out with a twenty minute wait to get in. That's a venue of around 300 capacity. According to the same comment on CMR, people threw Zhongnanhais at the show as well.

There's a fairly, umm, interesting write up of one of the New York shows here as well. It's basically a stream of consciousness based on the show and shouting so much to Carsick Cars that his throat hurts, but give it a read. Here's a highlight:

"xiao he was incredible, awesome -- apparently pretty drunk before he even started soundcheck. xiao he lyrics: "YOU WANT CHINESE SONG, I GIVE YOU CHINESE SONG". xiao he lyrics: (chinese national anthem). xiao he lyrics: "i know you, you want to know me -- we are all here together -- FUCK YOU". by the end of the night, xiao he was completely wasted, freaking with random women, attempting to grope two members of these are powers as they were trying to perform on stage, grabbing their stage monitor and flipping it around so that it was emitting sound downward into the stage. he is our new hero."
So what does this tell us? Apart from the fact that Xiao He is an amazing performer (we kind of knew that already), it shows how successful Chinese bands can be touring abroad if they're put on in the right venues. Pet Conspiracy ripped through Europe recently, causing Helen Feng to label it "one of the most successful tours a Chinese band has ever done". By the sounds of things (and yes, I'm basing this on hearsay and a couple of comments - the ayi who owns this site won't spring for flights to the States), the Maybe Mars tour could be set to achieve similar success.

Modern Sky, please take note.

8Eyespy.jpgFor real this time.

Back in late September, I said that the new Muscle Snog album - their first and possibly last studio long player - was due out on October 1st. It was, I wasn't lying. Trouble is, there were some problems with the ability to print the artwork and the CDs got held up at the factory. Same thing happened with 8 Eye Spy's record. It was frustrating.

But the latest word from Maybe Mars (both records were produced via the Maybe Noise label - a collaboration between the Beijing lot and Miniless) is that Mind Shop is being shipped to distribution points right about now and that 8 Eye Spy's album will be out this week too. That means you can soon get your grubby little hands on them right here in Shanghai. Brilliant. You'll find them at the usual places: Shanghai Tattoo down at the Cool Docks and 2049 (300, Guoding Lu, near Wujiaochang). Given that neither of these places are the easiest to get to (unless you're a student at Fudan or work at Kebabs on the Grill), you might want to call ahead to check they have them before you set out.

And these are a couple of records you are definitely going to want to buy. Don't believe me? Check out the new recording of Happy Dreamer on a Sad Bed that Muscle Snog just put up on their Douban artist page. Try the other tracks on for size too. You'll like them. For a taste of what 8 Eye Spy have to offer, hit up their MySpace

RESO 8, Yuyintang

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metituidema.jpgIt's probably fair to say that RESO nights aren't for everyone. There's an important distinction between these and the NOIShanghai nights - at RESO, it's certainly more about experimental music than straight out noise or performance art. No meat was thrown last night.

Still, they're not the most accessible of nights and I understand the small turnouts and that sometimes the people who do go are turned off by it. Personally, I always find something worth watching. This time around, I was most impressed by (没腿的马) Legless Horse/MTDM's collaboration with (徐凤霞) Xu Fengxia, who played the Sanxian and produced some incredible vocals. Before that Mai Mai had produced a lengthy collaboration with a trumpeter, but I prefer it when he's picking the guitar by himself and playing it with his teeth.

They might not be the most crowd pleasing nights around town, but if you've ever been intrigued by a RESO night, I encourage you to check out the next one on November 22nd at Yuyintang. Yan Jun is on the bill. Yan Jun is the founder of Sub Jam, is one of the best known sound artists in China and is the guy who tortured Torturing Nurse. If you don't have any of his stuff and are looking for a starting point, they sell some of his CDs in The Thing on Wujiang Lu. I recommend Vive La Vaches (a collaboration with Wu Quan) or the semi-transparent white one (with Wu Quan and FM3) that doesn't seem to have a name. Ben Houge recommends the Music for Shopping Malls record that he's on as well (I don't have that one).  

Layabozi's 60 best Chinese albums

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Picture 1.pngJust a quickie (chortle, chortle):

See, this is why I like it when Layabozi has more regular content. They've produced a list of the 60 best albums to come out of this country. It's a great list with a wide variety of picks and a real "something for everyone" flavour to it. Here's how they did it:

"The criteria was totally subjective and attached to luck and the law of whatever will be, will be. The only thing that was not random here was the selection of the people we asked to do this."
Hence, you'll see Han Han, Super Sophia and some bloke called Andy Best amongst those making the selections. Go check it out now.

Hanggai, Dream Factory

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hanggai.jpgThere can't have been too many people who did both the Pet Conspiracy and Hanggai shows this weekend, but if you were to ask anyone who did which was the more entertaining, they'd be hard pushed for an answer. If it was your first time seeing the former, then maybe the stage antics would have sealed it. If you'd seen them before but it was your first time watching Hanggai's raucous traditional folk music, you might be tempted to go with the Mongolians.

Although they're based in Beijing these days, they haven't forgotten their Mongolian roots and, dressed in traditional costume and playing traditional instruments, their music has an authenticity and energy that is hard to match. Apparently, Hanggai had been against having a support act on the bill. They didn't need one. The audience - with a strong Mongolian contingent - were only here to see them. They were called back to the stage for three separate encores, with some audience members blocking the stage exit at one point and pleading with them to continue.

It was no over reaction - Hanggai were simply an immensely entertaining band. It wasn't the only stage invasion of the night either. Earlier several Mongolian girls had taken to the stage to present the band members with white scarves - a traditional greeting. During a song about drinking (so good that they played it twice), a man got up to offer the lead singer a bottle of Mongolian baijiu (ridiculously strong stuff), which he promptly necked. One of the Mongolian girls who'd been showing off their traditional dance moves during the gig, also got on the mic to accompany the lead singer in one of the encore songs - Ulan Bator - and to lead the crowd in saying "Hanggai we love you" in Mongolian. I imagine everyone meant it as well, Hanggai were outstanding.

Video: Torturing Nurse at Canart

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I wasn't at Canart last night to watch Torturing Nurse - I was over at the Dream Factory watching the excellent Hanggai (more on them in a minute) - but by the looks of things that might have been for the best. This is a classic Torturing Nurse performance, as in not what the audience is expecting. I don't want to give too much away, but trust me, you definitely want to watch this video. It certainly puts Pet Conspiracy's "crazy" stage antics in context.

I doubt it'll be quite in the same vein, but if you're into the experimental/noise scene, don't forget it's RESO tonight at Yuyintang. 9pm, 40 kuai.

Video: Duck Fight Goose at MAO

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And here's a video from last night of Duck Fight Goose performing their brand of "death ray rock". It's shot at kind of an odd angle - sorry about that. It's because I was just holding the camera in front of my chest and not really watching the screen - I prefer to watch the bands properly rather than on the back of my camera. I like to get videos for the blog, but I also like to enjoy the gigs and, unlike the people with long lense cameras who flooded MAO last night, I don't like getting in people's way with my camera.

Still, it's not a bad quality clip so give it a click all the same.
Pet Conspiracy at MAODiscoballs, alien-like headsets, toy guns, gay kisses. After all the hype, Pet Conspiracy didn't disappoint.

They certainly know how to make an entrance. Last time I'd seen them it'd been on all fours in chains. This time Helen Feng came on stage wrapped in a huge length of red cloth with a silver mask over her head. Check out this photo to see what I mean. YunYun entered atop Huzi's shoulders. From there they launched into a powerful set that had people jumping around like mad. For those who weren't seeing Pet Conspiracy live for the first time, there were some things that were familiar, but it was nevertheless a great performance and, as this was their first time in Shanghai, this will have been most of the audience's first experience of them. They left the crowd buzzing.

Before them Boys Climbing Ropes and Duck Fight Goose had got the night going, interspersed with the Baijiu Robots and other DJs. On the podcast, I mentioned that my hunch would be that the bands would all go on first, followed by the DJs. But Andy thought otherwise and so it proved.

Duck Fight Goose opened the night while the venue was still filling up. An inflatable Haibao with an erection positioned at the front of their stage, the band produced a great performance. With a high quality soundsystem, all Han Han's loops and effects really come through and now that they've got a decent number of songs to their name, the band are really coming into their own. Given the assorted talents on display, it's hardly a surprise, but Duck Fight Goose are a fantastic act and are definitely a band to watch.

So too are Boys Climbing Ropes, but then you probably already knew that. I'm seriously looking forward to the new record and there were a couple of new songs in last night's set that I assume are taken from it. Despite Little Punk being hidden behind a bizarre keyboard set up, they are another band who really do the set up at MAO justice with their music.

All in all a successful night for the Antidote crew I'd say. More photos after the jump.

Don't forget: Hanggai at the Dream Factory tonight.
petmoon.jpgSavour those naturist photos of Pet Conspiracy. The album has now mysteriously disappeared. In its place though, are a series of shots from a photo shoot for Moon magazine. They're not as funny, they're just gory, but there's some nudity there if that's what you're after. Turns out that's where the one of them holding cigarettes for each other comes from as well. You can download the magazine, which features an interview with the band (in Chinese) here. Or just look at the pictures here.

So a recap then:

Pet Conspiracy tonight at MAO, 9pm, 60 kuai. One of the hottest bands from Beijing right now, this show is going to be crazy.

Boys Climbing Ropes in support. One of the finest bands in Shanghai, these guys are always brilliant live. Check out the latest podcast for one of their tracks.

Duck Fight Goose on the bill too. Take LAVA/OX/SEA's Hans, Boojii/Muscle Snog's San San, Boojii/Hard Queen's Damen and Muscle Snog's Panda and you've got yourself some of the finest musicians in the country. In one band.

Don't miss this.

I'm not affiliated with this show in any way, I just want you all to come because if we can pack out MAO, this show is going to be unforgettable. Be there.

Get your clicks

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24hoursfield.jpgBored? Here's a few places for you to double click your mouse.

First up, The Guardian's New Music on a Wednesday blog, which, as you may have already guessed, writes about new music on a Wednesday, has picked 24 Hours' Mr Stevenson as one of the tracks to listen to this week. They've even included a link to this humble blog. Read the NMOW post featuring 24 Hours here and then add the blog to your RSS or Google Reader thing as it's always a good read. Theirs I mean, not mine.

Speaking of Maybe Mars bands, you've probably been reading over at China Music Radar about a bunch of them heading over to the US of A. Well Dan Shapiro was apparently stowed away in one of their suitcases or something and has now surfaced with a piece all about them in Time Out New York. Not too shabby. Have a read here.

Managing to be in two places at once, Dan has also just published a piece in Shanghai's CityWeekend about the Neocha boys and their newish venture NeochaEDGE. You can read that one here. Proving there's no end to my seemless linking, Neocha (now apparently a person) also pop up on CNNGo's list of 20 people to watch in Shanghai.

I'm not on said list, sniff, but friends of the blog Archie Hamilton (Splitworks maestro) and Zhang Haisheng (Yuyintang founder) most certainly are. You can see the whole list right here.

Right, reading that lot should ensure that you don't have to do any work this afternoon. You're welcome.

Welcome to podcast number three. First up, Andy would like to apologize. Despite coming in with a sore throat he went on to eat up the majority of the pod time with his riffing, scatting and bebopping. Sorry. Next week will be a special edition of the pod called 'An evening with Jake Newby.'


So Pod-pickers here's what he/we blab about this week: we take a look back at last weekend's shows and Andy brings up the story of why 24 Hours think Jake is a stalker; we give you the lowdown on the F Visa Ghetto and what Brad Ferguson is up to down in JuJu; we preview this Friday's big show at MAO by talking a lot about nudity; and Jake manages to squeeze in a quick word about Hanggai before we play you out with a track from one of our favourite bands, Boys Climbing Ropes.

And here's your links, click 'em while they're hot:

The 24 Hours write-up, conveniently omitting the stalker story
24 Hours on the MySpace
Rustic, also on the MySpace
A write up of the night at 696
The shocking LeiRen on Douban
Second's Douban page
Resist Resist write up

F Visa Ghetto
A bit of background
The fancy maps
Brad's brother on the bamboo
Shouwang and Shen Jing's noise project White

Pet Conspiracy take their clothes off
AIDS Wolf do the same
PETA, 81Fur
Andy and Kang Mao naked (link currently missing)
Torturing Torturing Nurse
Pet Conspiracy European tour video
Casino Demon and Hedgehog in Washington
Duck Fight Goose
Boys Climbing Ropes
While we're still waiting patiently for the Shanghai Welcomes You MV (come on Mei Er!), the Top Floor Circus boys have released this video for the song Heaven, Here We Come. It's basically a string of clips of them larking about during their tour of the south with the song over the top and subtitles in case you don't understand a word Lu Chen is screaming. Check it out.

Also this weekend: Folk triple

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杭盖.jpgThe PC-BCR-DFG-B6 combo isn't the only show in town this weekend. If all that nudity and talk of crazy stage antics doesn't float your boat, there's a series of great folk/acoustic shows going on throughout the weekend instead/as well.

Going up against the craziness at MAO on Friday is Ninja Tune acoustic hero Fink. He's being brought in from the UK by the people at Micro Mu, who were also behind the Zhang Wei Wei and Guo Long live recording that I linked to a while back. In preparation for his show at Yuyintang on Friday, the people at Micro Mu have released an EP of his tracks for free. You can get it by going here. Completely different audience to Pet Conspiracy et al, but this is definitely a show to check out for anyone who's into their folk/acoustic stuff - anything on the Micro Mu net label is worth following and the fact that Fink is signed to Ninja Tune is another indicator of his quality. The details.

Saturday sees Hanggai at the Dream Factory. This six-piece are based in Beijing but their music is based on traditional Mongolian tunes and features the horse hair fiddle and the incredible Mongolian art of throat singing. That's them above. I've never seen these guys live before, but their reputation precedes them and they may well produce something equally as raucous as Pet Conspiracy on the Friday - just in their own way. Click here for some videos to whet your appetite. The details.

If you're not all folked out by Sunday, you can see how the locals do it with a 0093 Folk showcase back at Yuyintang in the afternoon. Fanqie Chaodan heads up a bill that includes Honey Roast Pork, White Wood and Sun Wenjie from Joker amongst others. The details.
conspiracy.jpgBy now you've probably seen the press photo for Pet Conspiracy that features four of the collective's members sat half-naked on chairs and holding cigarettes for each other. If not, don't worry - there's some even better shots below. I've gone with a fairly timid one here so that anyone reading this in the office or in a public space doesn't get weird looks, but believe me, you definitely want to see what's after the jump.

The photos were put up on Douban just now and show members of Pet Conspiracy getting back to nature. Just in case you were too lazy to follow a link to Douban, I've put the photos in the extended version of this post.

Not only are there some incredible photos below, there's also a great video featuring clips from Pet Conspiracy's recent tour. This is their 13 stop European tour that Helen Feng described as "one of the most successful tours I think a Chinese band has ever done" in an interview with Sam Gaskin at Shanghai Talk. Read the full interview here.

These guys, plus Boys Climbing Ropes, plus Duck Fight Goose, plus B6 and the Antidote DJs - this Friday at MAO could be a huge one.

Oh, and in case you're left in any doubt, the photos after this jump are almost certainly NSFW.

subs,20091018161216924.jpgHot on the heels of China Music Radar posting up the trailer for a documentary on Beijing Punk (featuring Misandao amongst others), I thought I'd post about Beijing punk heroine and Subs lead singer Kang Mao being in a documentary of her own.

Kang Mao's blog has been down lately. Every time I've tried to get on it the last couple of weeks, I've been redirected to some photo site or something. Anyway, it's back now so I can finally post about the film. It's called Do You Want to Play With Me? and she recently posted on it and a film festival in Nanjing.

Information on the film is pretty limited to be honest, but it's being billed as a Punk / Performance / Direct Movie, is directed by Liu Yonghong and Liu Zhiyong and, frankly, anything with Kang Mao in is good enough for me.

The plan is for the film to be released online, but not until next autumn. She's not too sure why it won't be out for so long either - apparently there's still a bit of editing and stuff to do on it. Still, another year? Seems a bit over the top. Hopefully it won't really take that long and we'll be able to see it soon.

Comebacks and time outs

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HardQueen.jpgSwings and roundabouts. A couple of bands are making comebacks this month, while another local favourite are taking a break.

I mentioned last week that Hard Queen had pulled out of the Layabozi Culture Clash night at Yuyintang. They were also scheduled to appear at NeochaEDGE's Search for Creative City event the next day, but cancelled that too. So what's going on?

The band have had a few line up problems of late. First Zero, the bassist, quit and then his replacement broke his foot. It seems that following these issues Hard Queen will put things on hold for a bit. Sheena has said that they're "on a break" and won't be playing any gigs for a while. "At the moment I'm not sure when we'll perform again," she told me. It all sounds worryingly indefinite, but I sincerely hope they'll be back soon.

Sheena is a great songwriter and anyone who's seen Damen play in Hard Queen or her other bands (Boojii and Duck Fight Goose) knows what a quality musician she is. It'd be a real shame if this latest set back proves the end of the band. For now, Sheena is insisting it's just a break. Let's hope so.

Meanwhile, two other bands who have had a fair bit of coverage on this site are preparing to make comebacks at the end of this month. I wrote before about the Rock Shanghai/0093 compilation CD finally seeing the light of day at MAO on the 28th and the line-up is a really strong one. Top Floor Circus are heading up an all star line up of local acts that also features Tian Pin Dian (Candy Shop). But the night will also be notable for the return of two scene favourites - Bang Bang Tang and Pinkberry.

When Bang Bang Tang were filming their music video I was trying to get Xiao Bai to tell me when they'd be coming back, but at the time all she would say was after the national holiday in October. The Rock Shanghai CD release party at MAO has now been confirmed as their first live performance in months and they're currently rehearsing hard to make sure they come back with a, err, bang.

Pinkberry have had a number of line up changes recently. Toni and Xiao You - the couple who are the major force behind the band - are determined to continue however, and they will also perform at the CD release show with a new line-up.

All in all, that makes the CD release a huge night. Maybe someone should do a call to arms...

The Mushrooms in Hangzhou

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pupu.jpgThis weekend was the West Lake Music Festival down in Hangzhou. Pet Conspiracy (in town next weekend) and Carsick Cars were there together with locals October Capricorn and Shanghai's own The Mushrooms.

There's a couple of video clips of The Mushrooms performing at the festival on the official site. I say of The Mushrooms, this one is just of a girl on someone's shoulders with The Mushrooms playing in the background. This one is of the band though. It's only a minute long, but you can see Pupu doing his thing and hear people in the crowd singing along. It's basically more evidence that The Mushrooms are a top notch live act. According to this report, even the security guys were pogo-ing along.

Anyone who's read mine or Andy's blogs before no doubt knows all about The Mushrooms, so I won't go through the whole "I don't really like the genre, but I love this band" thing here. There's plenty about them on this site if you look for it. One link I will throw in though is to this video, which is the full version of 为什么你爱他, the track they're performing in the second video from Hangzhou linked above. Give 'em a play.

More photos of The Mushrooms at the West Lake Music Festival here

Super VC gig cancelled

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If you were planning to catch Super VC at Yuyintang tonight then you're going to be disappointed - the show has been cancelled. Beijing has been hit by heavy snowfall and flights at the Capital Airport have been severely disrupted. The band have been at the airport since 6am hoping to be able to get on a plane to Shanghai, but have just been told that all flights for the day have been cancelled.

Here's a video of the boys from Beijing playing their Brit-rock for anyone who was hoping to see them tonight.

24 Hours, Yuyintang

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24hours.jpgThere were no tricks last night for anyone who chose this over crappy Hallowe'en parties. 24 Hours were a real treat. Touring in support of their excellent new album No Party People, they produced a great set of short, sharp rock. The last time I'd seen them was up at Zhangbei where they were lost a bit on such a big stage. With all three members contributing vocals at times, it's hard for them to move around on stage and that can mean that, on a large stage particularly, they don't work all that well as a spectacle. On a smaller stage and in a more intimate venue like Yuyintang however, this isn't the case and they were on fire last night producing an excellent show.

Some time with a quality producer has really helped them hone their sound and they now have a live show to match. The two female members, on guitar and bass, are both excellent musicians, but one of the real highlights of the band for me is the drummer. He is just incredible to watch and really drives their performance with his beats.

Before 24 Hours had hit the stage, the support acts had been disappointing. The Snots overstayed their welcome. As someone (who I won't name) commented to me during their performance, "what's with support bands playing really long sets?"

Rustic too were a bit of a letdown. I hadn't heard too much of their stuff before last night but, having beaten out a large field to win the Beijing round of the GBOB, I was intrigued to see them. They did a cover of the Sex Pistols' Anarchy in the UK at one point and that gives you a fairly accurate idea of their sound. But I felt a bit like I was watching a comedy band, like Spinal Tap or something. Without the humour. Actually, I can understand why they won the GBOB - a competition where voting is based on the performance of two tracks. With their outlandish clothing and energetic performance, they certainly make a mark, but I feel like they have a bit of a limited appeal. After a few songs I felt I'd seen enough, I'm in no rush to see them again and I wouldn't really want to buy a CD.

In fact, during the sets of both support acts, I really got the feeling I was just waiting for 24 Hours to start and the longer the other bands went on the more irritating it became. Luckily, 24 Hours were well worth the wait.