Recently in Chinese Music Category

Subs need your help

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It's been well over a year since I posted anything here. Other commitments have got the better of me and I just don't really have time to update this blog at the moment, although you probably realised that already. I'm still writing plenty about music in Shanghai here and blogging here if it's of interest, and of course there are plenty of other blogs on Shanghai bands these days.

But I just wanted to post up an appeal on behalf of one of my favourite bands, Subs. They've just started recording their new album, You Are You, but being steadfastly independent, they need some help with financing it. As I write this, they're about a third of the way to reaching their target on this Kickstarter-like site. If you can stump up some cash for the record, they're offering a number of rewards ranging from a credit in the liner notes to free entry to all their shows next year to getting to shout a bit on the album. Contributions can start from as little as 30 kuai and I reckon it's a cause worth supporting.

The Sound of Beijing mixtape

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2011120502421263_Medium.jpgMatthew Niederhauser (who you'll know from those famous shots of Chinese bands in D-22 and other excellent photography) and Zhang Shouwang (who you'll know for being the driving force of Carsick Cars) have put together a mixtape for Domus' city series. Naturally, it mainly focuses on bands from the capital, but there are a couple of non-Beijing acts on there too, including Duck Fight Goose. In fact, the DFG song is taken from their debut album Sports, released on Friday at Yuyintang, so if you haven't heard anything from the record yet, here's your chance to check out the track 'Golden Gate'. There's loads more great stuff on there too though, so check it out here

Top Floor Circus, Gebi Bar Yiwu

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dingma yiwu.jpgI found myself in Yiwu on Saturday night (don't ask) and thus missed this little beauty, which was a shame. Not that I went without entertainment. I hadn't really planned it, but I found out that Top Floor Circus were coincidentally in town that night too and playing at a place called Gebi Bar so I got in a taxi and went hunting for it. 

A little way out of the town centre, Gebi is a collection of former temple buildings with the largest converted into a bar and performance space. Small pavilions are located next door, but these days it's not quite as tranquil a place as it perhaps once was - especially when Top Floor Circus have packed the house out.

When I got there, they were already part way through their opening song, but they basically played all of their album 13 Songs and the crowd lapped it up. It was interesting seeing Top Floor Circus outside of their native Shanghai - I've always been curious about the reverence they largely receive in Beijing, despite being not only a Shanghai band but one that sings almost exclusively in the local dialect. 

Despite singing in Shanghainese, Lu Chen spoke in Mandarin between songs and was careful to explain what they were about. Not all of the crowd understood Shanghainese, but many knew the songs regardless and certainly enjoyed the sentiment. Beside the pure linguistics, the band were just as entertaining as always. Lu said to me afterwards that he felt the venue was well suited to them as a band - just really straightforward and fun - and he was right. Mei Er got through three guitars (one his own, two borrowed) and Lu's mic kept breaking, but it didn't really matter, the crowd (many of them dressed in '你信不信,反正我信' t-shirts) loved every minute of it.

They capped it all off with an old favourite - GG Allin's 'Bite It You Scum' - and sent everyone home happy. It was one of the best gigs I've been to in ages.

Sound Toy are coming back to Shanghai

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Chengdu-based band Sound Toy are playing at MAO Livehouse next month, which is a show to get excited about. They're playing on the 6th, which is a Monday, slightly odd, but and is the Dragon Boat Festival so worth getting out for. Sound Toy rarely tour so when they play here it's a pretty big deal - I think this is only like their second show here in about five years or something. Could be wrong, but that's my guess.

Music Fever are the people you should thank for bringing them your way again, the local-based label seem to be stepping up activity again after a dormant period - they also have a big weekend at MAO Livehouse week after next with two nights and a CD release headed up by My Little Airport.

Anyway, I digress. Check out Sound Toy here to see if their music floats your boat and if so, the show details are here.

More festival trouble

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banner-blossom-by-2011-nanjing-international-music-festival-mask9.jpgI didn't make it to any festivals last weekend in the end, but I've spoken to a few people who did and the word is that there were a few problems. 

Festivals in Beijing were subjected to an alcohol ban, though at least most of their line-ups weren't messed with (Avril Lavigne played to the apparently dusty, poorly laid out space at the Pinggu Festival at least). The same can't be said for the Nanjing Blossom Festival who had some overseas and China-based foreigner bands struck off the bill at the last minute. So last minute in fact that many of the bands had already travelled there and only found out when they arrived. UPDATE: Dan Shapiro of The Fever Machine and Morgan Short of Boys Climbing Ropes have more details on the problems at Blossom in the comments. Beijing Daze has more on events up north too.

Once again, Midi Festival must be shitting their pants right about now. They've got a big weekend lined up in Century Park and have a fair bit riding on Mr Big playing on the Friday night....

Strawberry updates

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strawberries_moldy.jpgSince I posted about Strawberry being cancelled yesterday morning, a number of other sites have put up some more detailed information about what's happened. In summary, Modern Sky have blamed a thunderstorm effecting their power set up and said that the festival is 'postponed' not cancelled, though until when it's not clear. A far more likely explanation, and the one doing the rounds on Weibo and Douban before it gets deleted, is that the festival has been harmonised due to the mention of a certain outspoken artist who's still missing economic criminal at last weekend's Zhouzhuang folk festival, also organised by Modern Sky. Finally, the organisers of the electronic stage at Strawberry, STD, have relocated their line-up to MAO Livehouse on Saturday and LUNE on Monday and Tuesday. 

Organisers of the Nanjing Blossom Festival and Midi Shanghai must be a tad worried right about now, but they're still going ahead at the moment. Don't expect there to be any 'text your message to the big screen' initiatives going on though or anything that might even remotely encourage freedom of speech.

Here's some links for more information:

China Music Radar on the 'postponement'
SmartShanghai on STD's DJ relocation
Modern Sky's announcement on Douban

Strawberry Suzhou cancelled

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e408399.jpgIf you were planning on heading to the Strawberry Festival Suzhou this weekend, think again. There are rumours all over Douban that the festival has been cancelled and various sources have confirmed that this is the case, with the decision apparently taken late last night. The festival, whose slogan of 'You say hello, I say goodbye' now seems rather unfortunate, has yet to make an official announcement, but it seems that will follow later today once they've managed to inform everyone on the organiser side - as of this morning, news was still filtering through to the various parties involved. No reason has yet been given for the cancellation. More news as and when it comes through.

Midi Festival's 'Love Bears' campaign

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海报_上海.jpgIn case you haven't noticed, festival season is nearly upon us. May 6th sees Midi Festival come to Shanghai for the first time, with a three day event in Pudong's Century Park. Although it's notable for being Midi's first appearance in Shanghai (after years of trying), it's also worth highlighting that they've teamed up Animals Asia Foundation to promote awareness of the appalling practice of 'bear farming' in China - hence the bear on their posters. 

Midi are aiming to raise awareness of the issue, which sees caged, diseased and dying bears subjected to horrific processes to extract their bile, which is subsequently used in a range of products in the country. Under the slogan 'Protect the Moon Bear, oppose live bear bile products', Midi is backing the AAF's anti bear farming initiative, which you can read more about here.

In addition to the rocking bear on their posters, Midi will be educating festival goers on the issue with the aim that public outcry against the practice will mean the government is forced to act to ban it. On a broader level, it's great to see Midi using their music festival platform to support such an important cause and hopefully it'll strike a chord with the festival audience over the next few weeks and help contribute to a more widespread awareness of animal welfare in this country.

To read the full Midi press release (Chinese) click here and to read more about the AAF's bear bile campaign, click here.
周庄民谣诗歌节海报.JPGNot content with organising Strawberry in Beijing and Suzhou this May, Modern Sky are putting on a folk and poetry festival in the water town of Zhouzhuang (about 90 minutes from Shanghai) on the weekend of 23-24 of April. There'll be two stages and performers will include Xiao He, Zhou Yunpeng, Hanggai, Zhang Weiwei and Zuoxiao Zuzhou.

Here's the full line-up:



13:30-14:10 安来宁
14:30-15:10 张玮玮和郭龙
15:30-16:10 许飞与JAM乐队
16:30-17:10 马条
17:30-18:30 曹方
19:00-20:00 老狼


13:30-14:10 蛤蟆
14:30-15:10 番茄炒蛋
15:30-16:10 小河
16:30-17:10 周云蓬

Another new Hedgehog video

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I mentioned last week that Hedgehog had put some of the tracks from their forthcoming album up on their Douban for people to hear. Well here's another one in the form of a new video. The track is called 'Buried in the Sun'. See the last one here and see both songs played live at YYT on Saturday 19.

In other Beijing band news, Carsick Cars, who are off to SXSW soon, have recorded a new version of their song 'She Will Wait'. Check it out here. Come Sunday, they'll upload another (completely) new track called 'Could You Be There', which you can prepare for with these lyrics.

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