Cassette at LOgO
Before we get into the intrigue surrounding this gig - which includes the police and alleged Expo interference - I want to say that Cassette were excellent and that the poor turnouts for their shows are no reflection on the band themselves. Even though numbers were disappointing, the band still gave a fantastic performance last night. I've been listening to them for a while and was really looking forward to seeing them live. They didn't disappoint. They are all quality musicians and have a really tight set up. You can listen to their songs here, but I strongly recommend you see them live. They're playing the Strawberry Festival in May so go and see them there. They played a great set of songs last night and lead singer Tearpixy was captivating with an incredible voice and a great stage presence - sexily strutting around and performing as if the band were in a much larger and packed out venue. They should have been as well - this band deserve better than they got on their first visit to Shanghai. Hopefully they'll come back soon and have a better time of it here, because this time round didn't really go to plan.
So what happened then? Tearpixy told me last night that the turnout for their gig at MAO Livehouse had been disappointing. I would rather have seen them at Yuyintang, but partly because YYT was full this weekend and partly because, being from Beijing, they naturally trusted the MAO brand they went with the bigger venue. That shouldn't have been a problem for a band of this quality, but for some reason the gig didn't draw in the crowd it deserved. Weird given that Candy Shop were in support as well (together with X is Y) and that those guys have been drawing in decent sized crowds lately. I guess MAO's attention this weekend was all on the Britpop night and they didn't promote Cassette as much as they could have done.
I have to admit that I didn't make it to the MAO gig either. As much as I wanted to see Cassette play, the night clashed with Stegosaurus?'s CD release and I couldn't miss that. Plus, I knew they were going to be playing LOgO on the Sunday, so I knew I could do both. Still, the crowd at Stegosaurus?'s CD release wasn't the usual YYT crowd so I don't think they drew too many people away from the other show.
Nevermind though, because there was still the LOgO gig. Except that that too got hit by problems not of the band's making. On Friday night news filtered through that LOgO had been visited by the police. According to Tearpixy they had ripped down posters for the gig and taken away all the flyers. They told LOgO that the gig couldn't go ahead and when asked for a reason, were supposedly told "the Expo".
The band and the venue decided to go ahead anyway, but to start the whole thing a bit later, about half ten instead of nine. Pinkberry balked at the late start time and bailed, but Stegosaurus? stuck with it and, despite having had little sleep after their CD release, gave a really good show. They sounded really sharp, sharper than their show the previous night even, and fair play to them to sticking around and supporting Cassette - especially as they didn't get to start until 11pm in the end. After that Cassette came on and played a blinding set.
But, of course, with their promotion scuppered and with a start time of 11pm on a Sunday night, the crowd was pretty sparse. If this was really an Expo crackdown, then it was utterly ludicrous. Of all the gigs that were going on this weekend, was a three band show in LOgO on a Sunday night really going to be a hotbed of anti-Expo sentiment? Well maybe actually. But was it really going to bring the whole event crashing down? Hardly.
LOgO have been having trouble with the neighbours lately - well, more than usual - with complaints about all the noise and stuff. This seems like a more plausible reason for the police raid and at one point Stegosaurus? were asked to play a little quieter, which would confirm such suspicions. Hopefully "the Expo" was just being used as an excuse in this case, rather than actually being the reason behind the attempted shutdown. If Expo really was the cause however, then that spells bad news for the next few months. There's a whole load of great gigs lined up from May onwards, so let's hope Expo doesn't shut them all down.
Whatever happens in the next few months, I seriously hope Cassette come back soon. I hope their experience this time around hasn't soured their view of Shanghai and the scene here. I hope they come back in a few months and do a properly promoted gig at Yuyintang with no interference from the police or from Haibao and that they play a great show. It's what they deserve.
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