Jake: February 2011 Archives

Bob Dylan approved?

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61e7f4aajw6deror7dfptj.jpgThis blog is becoming quite the rumour merchant. But in my defense, I did just get a Weibo and there's very little out there other than rumours, pictures of pretty girls and Tom Cruise. So here's what's doing the rounds now: the government in Beijing has approved a license for a Bob Dylan concert in the city (no word on Shanghai) according to Sina. 

You might have read already that the annual 'Bob Dylan coming to China' rumours were already swirling about, but the government announcement would seem to bring them a step closer to reality. After a cursory search of the Beijing government website, I couldn't find the page in the screenshot here, but it's come from Sina Entertainment so it'll be interesting to see if it works out. So will he come to China? The answer my friend is... well, you know.

Pairs, RDC, X is Y and BCR at Live Bar

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live bar feb 26 039.jpgThis was the best show I've been to in a while. Partly that's because there's not been much else going on recently, but mostly it was because this was four excellent bands playing a packed out venue and all were on top form. I've noted before that it takes a while to get to Live Bar if you live down town, but the new space is a vast improvement on the old one and this show was definitely worth the trip. Plenty of people made it too - the room was packed out from beginning to end and even the space outside the venue was fairly crowded with people.

That's not a big surprise really, given that four of the city's best bands were in attendance and the whole thing was free. Things kicked off with Pairs who were on fine form. They played a couple of new tracks and, though no five kuai notes were thrown, Xiao Zhong and F did have a bunch of flowers thrown at them part way through the set. Also, you might have read this article about how Xiao Zhong has always ripped off other bands when starting his own bands, but we found out on Saturday night that Pairs' 'I Want to Die in the Ocean' is actually a reworking of Arcade Fire's 'Wake Up'. Who knew?

Next up were Rainbow Danger Club who are warming up for their album release at the same venue on March 18. If you weren't already excited about that show, then Saturday night's performance should have put you in the right frame of mind. The band performed a rousing set, complete with reworked versions of 'Drown the Creatures' and 'Neighbours on the Rooftops', that had the crowd enraptured. By the time they rounded off with 'Enduring Love', couples were spontaneously dancing together at the front. They were outstanding and frankly a hard act to follow. And yet...
31.jpgEmbedded after the jump is a song from the forthcoming Rainbow Danger Club album, Where Maps End. The track is called 'Enduring Love'. I strongly recommend you listen to it.

It's fair to say that this is a pretty highly-anticipated record, and understandably so - Rainbow Danger Club have built quite a reputation through their live shows and last year's free EP. You can get your hands on the album at Live Bar on March 18, where they'll be playing with Pairs and Friend or Foe, but don't wait that long to see them live, get to Live Bar this Saturday and watch them with Boys Climbing Ropes, X is Y and Pairs.

And while we're talking about Live Bar, you might want to head up there on Friday night too where you'll find The Fever Machine and friends are tearing it up.  The artwork here isn't necessarily the artwork for the album incidentally, just one of the entries into their album art competition that I like.
Picture 1.pngRemember this? Well, word on the weibo is that Midi Festival has been confirmed for Century Park on the 6th, 7th and 8th of May....
2979908345_7f73297319.jpgLove them or hate them, Torturing Nurse are never dull. Deaf Sparrow, a site that writes about extreme and experimental music, has just done an interview with Torturing Nurse's main protagonist, Junky. Click here.

There's not too much new if you're familiar with Torturing Nurse, but it's a good introduction for the uninitiated and provides me with an excuse to post this photo by Gregory Perez from a classic Torturing Nurse show at Live Bar a few years back and link to this excellent video.

Also, you've probably seen this already, but there's some good news and a hint that 2011 could be a strong year for Shanghai bands. My tip for best new band this year is Naohai incidentally, not that anyone's asking, but still.

Shanghai 24/7 launches tomorrow

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headerlogo.pngMaybe you've heard of this, maybe you haven't, but Shanghai's getting a new music-dedicated website called Shanghai 24/7 and it launches tomorrow at midnight. As in midnight Monday, morning Tuesday. Is that tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? Anyway, I e-mailed co-founder Tom Hughes some questions a few days ago to find out what it was all about and here's the responses courtesy of CTRL+C and CTRL+V. Badaboom:

1) Can you start by introducing yourself/the Shanghai 24/7 crew? Who you are, where you're from, how long you've been in Shanghai, that kind of thing - the sort of questions expats always ask other expats in Shanghai.
Shanghai 24/7 is a rapidly expanding group of like-minded friends and collaborators with a shared love of all things creative and original. Grieg and Jon are in charge of web design and development (a massive job!); Doug, Dave and Andy are our main people out and about conducting interviews etc.; Gaby and Nesil write excellent, succinct exhibition previews that make sense of the spiel; our newest recruits, Dyanne Pete and Phillip will be writing gig reviews, blogging - generally trying to get under the skin of the city. I'm Tom, and I write bits and pieces, have the odd idea here and there. We're on the look out for more contributors - get in touch!

We are all from the UK, except Pete and Phillip who are from the US. Andy and Jon have been in China the longest, having both previously lived in Beijing. The rest of us have been here for two or three years for the most part. 

2) So what's Shanghai 24/7 about? Where did the idea come from?
Well it's developed quite a bit since we first came up with the idea! Greig and I were talking about how there is so much going on in this city, how lucky we are to be here, yet that it can all seem kind of disparate at times. Countless times when I've spoken to people about gigs, events I've been to, music I'm listening to, they say the same things - 'I'd really like to do things like that/find out more etc., but I always miss them or don't have enough information to decide whether it's my kind of thing'. Initially, this was what we wanted to be able to provide - a place where you can find more in-depth information, enabling people to make more of an informed choice about what they see and do, and by the same token, creating more exposure for musicians and visual artists in Shanghai. 

New Pairs songs

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The video on the right here features a couple of new Pairs songs. Here's Xiaozhong introducing them: 'The first song is called 'five kuai' and the second is called 'Christmas'. We're hoping that in the vein of Carsick Cars song Zhong Nan Hai, instead of throwing cigarettes people could throw five kuai notes on the stage when we play it.' Not much more I need to add to that really, click the play button and check them out yourselves. The songs will feature on Pairs' new album, hopefully on its way soon.

In other Pairs news, they've just released a 7" and are playing a bunch of shows in the coming weeks and months, so make sure you're stocked up on five kuai notes. More details straight from the horses' mouths here.

Reasons to be cheerful

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p853117947.jpgIt's fair to say that the last few weeks haven't been packed full of gigs in Shanghai. But that's always to be expected at this time of year and with Yuyintang reopened and Mao Livehouse opening up again in March, things are looking up. There's a couple of shows on this weekend at YYT, but next weekend is when it all kicks off again (and I'm not even counting Mrs Nas) with Boys Climbing Ropes, Rainbow Danger Club, X is Y and Pairs at Live Bar. Here's a quick round up of other bands/shows heading your way at various venues around town in the next few weeks and months in the order that I remembered them (more details once they're closer)*.

Rainbow Danger Club album release party
Break for Borneo album release party
Moon Tyrant album release party
Shanghai 24/7 launch party with BCR, DFG X is Y and Ho Tom
Lots of Trash a Go Go/MT Hooligans shows
More Fever Machine and friends shows including one with Old Doll and Miku from Nanjing
Hedgehog album release
Bigger Bang
A big Japanese post-rock band returning
Then there's all those festival rumours too

Plus, don't forget about JUE (running in March and April), which includes a Maybe Mars showcase with the long-awaited return of Snapline and AV Okubo, Duck Fight Goose and Pairs.

* These are just a few of the shows going on that I've stuck here to make up for the fact that posting has been light recently and it is in no way meant to be a conclusive list. There's probably some whopping omissions, so feel free to leave more shows in the comments.

Yuyintang reopens tonight

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6b6b859ftw6deaycqs6m6j.jpgAfter a month-long closure, Yuyintang reopens its doors tonight. The venue has been shut for extensive renovations which have seen them increase their capacity and make it generally a much more suitable gig space. Tonight's show is an unplugged Valentine's Day special from Yuguo, so if your significant other is into weepy indie ballads then you should get on down there and check out the new space tonight. For everyone else, there'll be plenty of opportunities to get to see the new Yuyintang over the coming weeks - the venue is pretty much booked up until April, with a string of high profile shows lined up.

Also, the plan is for the venue to be run as a cafe during the day, open every day of the week. That phase of the renovations is still ongoing so it's not there yet, but the gig bit is obviously good to go and that's the important thing.

More pictures of the new space after the jump
A little while back Pinkberry released an instrumental version of one of their tracks and invited people to lay down their own vocals and send it in for a competition on their Douban. Runaway Snail have now done the same thing with their sing-along 'Frenchman and his Landlady' or 'Faguo Ren yu Fangdong Tai Tai'. Here's what the band say:

'As millions of migrant workers return to Shanghai after the Spring Festival, Shanghai's housing problems have once again come to the fore. Good accommodation affects your life, love, job and mood. Who doesn't want a little space to call their own? Who doesn't want a good landlady? That's why Runaway Snail have decided to hold the 2011 'Fangdong Tai Tai I Love You Cover Competition.'  

So if you want to pick up the mic and lay down your own version of the song, click here, download the instrumental and then send your version to 119132404@qq.com. The video embedded here should refresh your memory of what the original sounds like.
22.jpgTitle of the post says it all really. Here's a reminder of what you've got to do:


  • Medium: You are free to use any medium you want like: water-color, painting, collage, photography, illustration, graphic design, etc. (or any combination of these)
  • Style: Can be simple like a child's drawing, or can be complex with mixed media....no limits!
  • Dimensions: Square
  • Art Direction:
    • An old sailing ship (simply-drawn) falling off the edge of the earth
    • A very, very large moon with stars and clouds in the background
    • Design should have an old "vintage" look - like a color illustration from 1850s - 1930s, or an old, weathered photograph
    • Have a magical, childish, but somewhat scary feel (the band's music is a combination of magical, scary stories)
    • Link here to download some reference images for inspiration


  • All submissions must be receive by February 15, 2010.  Send your submissions toEDGE@Neocha.com with "Rainbow Danger Club" in the subject

And here's the link, which also features the entries so far including the one above from Bren.

The album will be out on March 18th incidentally, when the band will play a show up at Live Bar supported by Pairs amongst others. That means that the 18th is shaping up to be one hell of a night for gigs - a classic 'difficult decisions' night with three big shows on one night (more details soon). Regardless of where you end up going, Rainbow Danger Club's new album is definitely something to get excited about.
Not a Shanghai band obviously, but with the Chinese New Year holiday there's not much going on here at the moment. Plus, Hedgehog are a good band and a new song from them is worth getting excited about. The video here is for their song 'Honeyed and Killed', which as far as I know is still the title of their forthcoming album, due out next month. They should be in town around mid-March to promote the record too, so keep an eye out for that show (the gig is confirmed, the album less so - it's in post-production, but Queen Sea Big Shark can attest to an album release tour being organised not necessarily meaning you have an album to release). Interestingly, rumour has it that their show will be on the same night that another big name Beijing band with a new line-up comes to town - should be interesting to see where the crowds go. That other band's going to SXSW instead now.

MTV wants Shanghai music people

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pmtv_world_stage.jpgMTV are working on a new show and are looking for some cool young people from Shanghai to be in it. There will be episodes set in various cities around the world but, according to the researchers trying to track down people to star in it, they 'really love the idea of a young, unsigned Shanghai based band being the group of friends in the show. We were thinking an already established band based in Shanghai (Chinese or foreigners) would be great, but really they can come from any walk of life.' 
So, if that sounds like you and you're under 26, click here to apply. The deadline is this Sunday so you need to be quick. If anyone wants more details, leave a comment and I'll forward you the whole e-mail.