Chinese Music: June 2010 Archives

Photo: Subs in Shanghai

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p75994362-9.jpgCheck out this photo of Kang Mao in Shanghai. It was taken by someone using the handle Malfunction on Douban and you can check out the whole set here. For those of you who know/care about photography, it was taken on a Nikon F3 with a micro-nikkor 105 F2.8 and shot onto Kodak Tri-x 400. No Photoshopping was involved apparently. Whatever, I like the scratchy feel of these.

SUBS bitches!

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subs2.jpgThis was the kind of gig where I ought to open the post by saying something like 'I'm still recovering', but fuck it, I'm no way near recovering from this. Maybe I never will. This gig was immense. Here's a bit of disclosure: I was mildly involved in this event. Not really enough to skew any judgment, but I'll tell you the story regardless. I'd been on at Kang Mao for a while about Subs' new album and about coming back to Shanghai because they hadn't played here in ages. About a month or so ago she called me to say they'd booked a date in Shanghai, she said they didn't have any support bands yet, but they had a slot at 021 bar and what did I think. What did I think? 021? For Subs? Fuck that.

So yeah, they ended up at MAO Livehouse instead and then we got Boys Climbing Ropes and Pinkberry in to support. It was a line up I was excited about, but events still conspired against me and I managed to miss Pinkberry's set, which was a shame.

Still, I was there in time to watch Boys Climbing Ropes give a towering performance. Anyone sick of me banging on about how good this band are needs to skip the next paragraph. Seriously, they were so, so good. I love it when they play a venue like YYT and you're really up close and everything, but they're basically one of, if not the only, Shanghai band who can really own the stage at MAO and when they do it's incredible. They played a fairly short set (Subs wanted on fairly early, it was a school night for a lot of people remember), but they don't need long to get things going. They have the stage presence and they have the music to just really kick things off. They were brilliant.

Then Subs came on. They played a lot of new material - fair enough, this was a release party for their new album after all. That meant that things didn't kick off in the audience as much as they could have done, but things still got pretty lively down there. Oh yeah, there's no shit photos of the bands from my point and shoot for this post by the way, Subs gigs aren't for taking photos, they're for throwing yourself around like a loon. Anyway, Kang Mao was amazing, she really is the queen of fucking everything. Wu Hao is one of the best guitarists you'll ever see and as for the head gear, Luwan Rock has pointed out the likely influence. That's also where I stole this photo from.

Anyway Subs were immense. They are the best, there's no two ways about it. I got a nice lump on my forehead after someone brained me in the middle of one song, but it was completely worth it. For me, the highlights were like this: Postlude from the new album, Kang Mao nonchalantly expressing a wish to crowd surf by flicking a finger out to the audience with a 'should I?' expression on her face that sent people into a frenzy and them closing the night out with What More. Shut up, shut up, what more you wanna say?