Maybe Mars showcase at MAO Livehouse

| | Comments (9) | TrackBacks (0)
P2280128.jpgThis was the second Maybe Mars showcase in as many months and, according to Dan Shapiro's article here, they could become a regular thing in Shanghai, with the label looking to bring bands from their stable down here as often as once a month. Whether that will happen next month, given that a load of their bands are heading off to SXSW remains to be seen, but this showcase was a strong outing for them. At least in terms of the quality of the line up, it was.  

Birdstriking, not officially a Maybe Mars band but one working with the label, kicked things off. Their set started well, but tapered off a bit and they could do with thinking about the order of their set a bit more. They are essentially a mini version of Carsick Cars, playing very similar music and with a lead singer who even looks a bit like Shouwang. 

Guai Li were on second and played a solid set. Wen Jun was on typical female Iggy Pop-like form, swaggering around the stage and drinking constantly. It was a bit of a change of pace from the openers and their greater experience showed. Their use of a VJ to provide graphics in time with the music helped the whole thing as well.

Third were Carsick Cars, despite being the headliners on the flyers etc. They were on pretty good form, especially with the classics He Sheng, Mogu and Zhongnanhai and were joined on stage by mini-Shouwang for the chorus of You Can Listen, You Can Talk.

Finally, AV Okubo closed out the night with an upbeat set. I'm not sure they were quite at their best, but I like this band a lot and I'm pretty sure they will have won some new fans with their performance. Hopefully the album does well.

So that was the bands. But now a few moans. 

First up, MAO need to sort some things out. The bar is shoddily organised and really slow. When you do get a drink, you're lucky if it's the one you ordered and if it's at the right temperature. 

Second, the whole thing kicked off way too late. There were four bands on the bill and we didn't get going until 10pm. If you're going to start late, at least make sure the bands keep their sets down. I know that Guai Li onwards are all pretty big deals, but that's the nature of a four band bill: if you're not in the top two slots, you keep your set pretty short. The first two bands still played relatively long sets and AV Okubo didn't start until ridiculous o'clock. By that point, a load of people had already left. 

Thirdly, make sure the equipment works at your biggest gig of the month. Sure, freak accidents happen, but a broken bass drum during the opening act didn't help keep the timing down. 

Fourth, if you have one of the best soundsystems in the world or whatever it is, use it. A couple of the bands' sets didn't sound as good as they should have done. 

Finally, and maybe this is just me, but I find it kind of weird when you play the bands' CDs before they come on stage. I'm there to see them live, I don't need to hear the CD as warm up music. I suppose it beats the crappy elevator-jazz that was being played at the start of the night, but I'm just not big on it. 

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Maybe Mars showcase at MAO Livehouse.

TrackBack URL for this entry:


My God that 'soul music' they play p***es me off! It's hardly fitting for your average Mao evening and as commented on by yourself a few months back, was downright bizarre between the bands during the punk night when Misandao played.

Regarding playing a bands' album before they come on. I guess it's a matter of taste but I'm not so bothered by that. I've come across it enough times going to gigs back in the UK not to consider it an unusual practice, especially if the band in question has a new album out.

The lights were shit again too. They should just find a good master setting and then walk away from the desk. Why do they have to continuously floodlight the crowd?

Is it to help the douchey photographers get clearer non permission crowd shots beyond a couple of wide shots?

The PA is obviously not that good. The start of Guai Li sounded pretty good. Then when they turned it up it overdrove the PA and mushed. That could happen for a number of reasons, the most likely being that the PA can put out more power than the speaker sets can handle.

For all the above complaints they need to have an experienced manager to take care of the place and assert some authority.

An opinion from Bren: I wasn't terribly distracted by the sound. I thought it was a bummer that the drum busted for Birdstriking. Their set would have obviously flowed better. I also think Guai Li played better than their last gig at Yuyintang. I like them more than I did before now.

The only complaint I have is a few things with the crowd. First, a group of people blindsiding people in the crowd to try to start a mosh at inappropriate times such as between songs. That was a bit annoying but it didn't bother me as much as the people that decided to just toss their bottles and glasses on the floor resulting in ridiculous amounts of broken glass. Falling on that was probably a lot of fun.

God the glass on the floor, i forgot about that. If i wanted to hear Carsick Cars and feel the crunch of glass underfoot with every step i'd spend my evening in a recycling centre with my Ipod. It would be cheaper for one thing.

We can't really blame Mao for that, it's the naughty punters. Come on guys, hand your empties back to the guys behind the bar or the nice Ayi who stalks the dance floor with her bucket.

Yeah the glass was a nightmare, but as Steve says, you can't really blame MAO for that - they were doing their best with the Ayi patrol. It was kind of ridiculous though, there was just glass everywhere

mao needs to sort out the timing for sure. do they run everything really late to give the bar income a boost? First band should be on much earlier - but still love this place and love to see it pack out

Glass in the pit area... That's why you got to stand in the back, arms crossed, looking slightly annoyed.

No glass but it's kind of hard to see the band through the fog of cool.

But what-fuckin-EVER.


The bar boost theory would need them to be actually running a bar in a profitable way.But they may be blissfully unaware of the bar situation.

The marathon sessions and late times ... maybe the promoters just forget that not everyone is coked up like themselves ;)

Morgan, no, people at the back are cool it's the final destination of hip.

For a show like that, they really could use a second bar location on the other side in the back or something. That, and they should hire 10 or 20 more bartenders that know what they're doing.

I gotta say that I like the cashier girl (mama-san?) on the side that just watches the madness with about as much energy as a sloth.

Leave a comment