Here Comes the Spring at MAO Livehouse, Ben Houge at Not Me

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P5290213.jpgI'd planned to go to Yuyintang last night for The Fever Machine presents... show with X is Y, Pairs and Rainbow Danger Club playing along with Dan Shapiro's new band, but I had a bit of a headache around gig-going time last night and decided that maybe a bunch of folk artists might be more suitable. So I headed over to MAO instead for the Here Comes the Spring CD release from the Music Fever people.

It was the sort of turn out that would have been a good one at Yuyintang, but in MAO just looks tiny. If MAO are really looking at a bigger space when they relocate, they need to think that one through hard. How many times has the space really been filled since they moved in? Five or six? Maybe not even that many.

Anyway, for a lo-fi folk show, it was a good turn out. Never mind that it's nearly the summer, the Music Fever guys (basically Sunny and Fanqie Chaodan) have done a really good job on the Here Comes the Spring CD - there's some great tracks on it and it's professionally produced. It's also really nicely packaged and designed and if you can get your hands on a copy, I recommend it. The night itself was well organised as well, with graphics from the CD providing a back drop to the artists, good sound quality and a special piece of music playing in between performers (these sound like small things, but regular gig goers here will know that they're not always achieved). Overall, it had the feel of a really professional night.

Unfortunately, I only caught a few of the acts as, having perked up a bit, I wanted to head over to Not Me and catch Ben Houge's pop set there as well. Fortunately, one of the people I did catch was Mogu Hong, who I really like and she was certainly the stand out act from those that I saw. You can hear her stuff here.

I left part way through V-Day's set, who turned out to be the Britpop band from Nanjing who played at the last Kunming Lu Live Bar gig the other week. That night I thought they were ok, but on the MAO stage they struggled a little. Anyway, the reason I was leaving was to go see Ben Houge play. He's been away travelling for a while, wisely avoiding the Shanghai winter, but he's back now and it was great to see him perform his pop set, which I love.

He played a great set, even throwing in a Jay Chou cover as an encore after the crowd refused to let him leave without playing one. The only drawback was the set up at Not Me which saw him playing at the back of a small stage in one corner of the dancefloor with decks acting as a division between him and the audience. It meant he was a bit too far back, but despite the far from ideal set up, he still produced a cracking set. He's on the Douban as well, so listen in here (especially Jessica's Scissors and 口口口口口口口口) and is playing D-22 on June 5th for those of you in Beijing.

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