Jake: May 2011 Archives
X is Y have released a teaser track taken from their forthcoming split record with Boys Climbing Ropes. The track is available for free download, is called 'Never Sever' and is a great appetite-whetter for what's to come. The bandcamp site linked to here says that the album will be out on October 1st, though I'm not sure that date is confirmed yet. Chances are the record won't be out until after the summer though. Stick this track on loop while you wait. Clickedy click.
I mentioned in this post that it looked like Music Fever, the label/collective headed up by Fanqie Chaodan and Sunny from New Vector, were stepping up their activities and so it seems. In addition to bringing Sound Toy to Shanghai next month and putting on a big two-night gig at MAO Livehouse this weekend for their double CD release (followed by another show on the Sunday), they're taking a leaf from Zhulu Hefeng's book and heading out to the universities.
They're doing two mid-week shows back to back at Donghua University, showcasing most of their bands including Da Fresh, New Vector, Runaway Snail and Wuhan's Danmai. Here's the details if you fancy it.
If you're not a student however, the three days they've got booked at MAO Livehouse this weekend are probably of more interest. The CDs feature Top Floor Circus along with a bunch of the acts performing at the shows such as My Little Airport. One of the acts playing on Saturday incidentally, is a new band called Bigger Xifu, formed by three of the girls from Momo - wonder if that means a return to Happy Strings style? Anyway, here's how the line-up looks:
Just a quick note: if you were planning on forking out 400RMB for the Shanghai World Music Festival in Zhongshan Park this weekend, just bear in mind that one of the big headliners, The Gotan Project, have now cancelled. Equipment problems at customs or something. Blah. Also, and this is a big one, the Uzbekistan National Song and Dance Troupe have cancelled too. I know. That means there'll be some line-up shuffling - see if you can make sense of this press release.
On to other matters: Battle Cattle are new in Shanghai, have a Douban with a track up on it already and are playing a show with Kungfuology favourites Next Year's Love next week. It's free and at Yuyintang - can't say fairer than that. Here's the details.
Another date for your diary, at least for those who can bear gigs at LUNE, is May 28th when Boys Climbing Ropes, The Beat Bandits, Moon Tyrant and DJ BO come together for a show to help those acts raise money for tours in Mongolia and Japan.
And another one for June 10th if you plan that far ahead: Beijing act Yantiao return to Shanghai with a lightly re-jigged line-up after impressing at Live Bar a while back. They're with Pairs, Guijian and new Shanghai duo Death to Giants, featuring him out of Moon Tyrant and him out of Rainbow Danger Club. Baddaboom.
I left this event a little earlier than I would have liked so didn't see all the bands on what was a big and broad bill. It was a well-organised event and there was a good turn out for it, the first from the newly-launched Zangnan Recordings. They had a varied line-up too, with Ann kicking things off before overlapping sets from Ho-Tom the Conqueror and The Song Dynasty, a comedy interlude from Kungfu Comedy, The Dudettes, Stegosaurus? and Rainbow Danger Club.
Of those, I'd like to focus on Ann as this was the first time I'd seen them live. In short, they were great. They play a sort of post-rock-sounding music but with a singer - at least, for most of the set, she left the stage for the final track or two. They have a really good sound and incorporated a guzheng and flute into their set on Friday. It might sound a little cheesy, but it worked and I came away really impressed with what they're doing. Hopefully they'll play a bit more live as their gigs seem to be a bit few and far between at the moment, but credit to Zangnan for getting them on the bill. You can check out Ann's Douban here, scroll down a bit and there's some demos to listen to.
Udancecn.com have done a podcast with Pairs - basically 15 minutes or so of their tracks strung back to back. There's also a text interview up here (in Chinese). Scroll to the bottom of that page, click the orange text and the Pairs podcast is all yours.
Bivouac Recording is a new field recording label that's just launched in China. Check them out right here.
Shanghai Daily have a profile of Folk Rock United founder Liu Jian, that's here.
Speaking of Shanghai folk artists, miir has a free two-track EP up on bandcamp that's well worth checking out. Cop that one by clicking here.
Finally, a quick heads up for a free show at LUNE next week featuring X is Y, Next Year's Love, Moon Tyrant and Girls Like Mystery. That's on the 21st, details here.
The good people over at Layabozi.com are celebrating their third anniversary tonight with a show at Yuyintang. Here's the details:
Starting at 8pm
- Indie Art Exhibition by the trio of power-indie-ladies Ziggy, Nora and Squinzzi.Nora and Squinzzi debut. Nora with her first set of paintings, and Squinzi with a selected mix of her best photographies. They will be supporting the lovely return of Ziggy with her wild paintings.
9pm Yay! starts the music!
We have a hot surprise to start the party.
Theo Croker and his band Charles Foldesh, Curtis Ostle, Nick Rosen, will start up the fire of DynamoOn concert with a couple of tunes to call to the stage the spirits of the great beatniks and ask together for permission to the muses to start the ritual for long life, prosperity, and playfulness with music.
LON, will set up the machines and line up the chords by beats and loops, taking us on a ride with electronic sounds to leave us on the land of grooves and melodies. LON beating pulses can draw colors in the air.
The Song Dynasty will use machines and electronic instruments to project and play with sounds creating harmonies that will open doors and windows to experiment music in vast ways. The music of The Song Dynasty is delicatessen for savvy listeners.
Day two of Midi saw huge crowds, sunshine and a great atmosphere again as the festival really got into full swing. The line up on the Tang Stage was a bit under-whelming, but that allowed one of Shanghai's own to shine with The Fever Machine turning in a rousing performance that had the crowd going nuts. The band's big riff rock went over so well that there was a wave of 'niubi' chants from the audience.
Honestly, there wasn't much else of note on the Tang Stage, but it didn't matter too much as The Antidote stage had plenty to offer. Jay.Soul was outstanding with a fantastic set before B6 and Trix closed the night out.
Once again though, there was a great turn out, really nice festival atmosphere and everyone was having a lot of fun - which is the main thing.
Mr who? Never mind the absent headliners, nor the fact that the constant playing of 'To Be With You' and highlights of their appearance in Beijing rubbed it in a bit (if you were actually bothered about them in the first place), Midi was a big success yesterday. The food is crap and over-priced, but that's really the only complaint - the set up is good, the site looks really nice and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There was a decent crowd yesterday, bigger than I'd expected given that most people had to work and that the main act had pulled out last minute, and all the bands played well.
With notable mentions of Angry Jerks (who played a great set in the often daunting opener slot) and Sonnet (who really got the crowd going mid-afternoon), the day really belonged to Top Floor Circus. Dingma were fantastic and had a big crowd jumping around, singing along and laughing their heads off for their entire set. So much so that they were called back on stage for an encore - something I don't think I've ever seen with a festival band who aren't headliners. They should have been in the top slot of course, but never mind they were brilliant and the crowd loved it. The Antidote stage too was on fine form after a quiet start. With Acid Pony Club, Ben Huang and R3 getting a good crowd.
The sun's shining again and today should be another belter, get yourself to Century Park.
This weekend is Midi Festival Shanghai of course. There's no Mr Big any more, but Midi have changed the ticket price for today to match those for the other two days. That means it's now 80RMB/day or 200RMB/three day pass.
Elsewhere, you've got Good4Nothing with Dragon Pizza tonight and The Morlocks with The Instigation tomorrow night at Yuyintang.
LUNE are having a Midi after party of their own tonight with Pairs, Wanderlust and Next Year's Love. That one's free incidentally.
Live Bar have Prank, Fire in the Hole and Must Be Red tonight (possibly with X is Y as well? The Douban info isn't very clear) and Girls Like Mystery, Blue Magpie and Hello Money tomorrow.
And that's pretty much your lot.
I got to Yuyintang fairly early last night because I expected it to be rammed. A free gig with SUBS headlining ought to have been, even on a Thursday night. Eventually the crowd did pick up, but I think it was largely swelled by a bus-load of people on a 'Converse tour of Shanghai', which meant that they weren't necessarily dedicated gig goers. The atmosphere suffered a little as a result, despite a dedicated crowd of fans at the front - something Kang Mao herself remarked upon during SUBS's set. It wasn't quite a denouncement in the style of Windows Tembo a few years back when she swore at everyone not in the mosh pit, but still.
More promotion might have helped, although it was always a bit dubious as to whether this was a private event or not. Despite the corporate backing, to be fair there was little in the way of branding on either the bands or the venue and it felt very much like a normal gig in most respects. Not that any of that mattered massively to be honest. You get the feeling SUBS would give an energetic performance to a crowd of three, whether those people were into it or not.
I just got an e-mail from Midi organisers and Steve-o just put it in the comments a couple of posts below: Mr Big have had to cancel their appearance tomorrow at Midi Shanghai.
Basically what happened was: Mr Big played Beijing Midi Festival last weekend and then packed their bags and headed off to Taiwan to play a show there. When they then tried to return to the Mainland for their show in Shanghai tomorrow, it emerged they didn't have multi-entry visas and so couldn't come back in. Whoops. They've not been able to work anything out last minute and thus their appearance in Shanghai is cancelled.
This is clearly a massive blow for Midi who had been selling the festival very much on the back of Mr Big's appearance - ticket prices were more expensive for the day Mr Big were scheduled to appear and the band's pictures were all over the promotional material.
The show will go on: the rest of Midi's line-up remains intact at the moment and the event is still due to run from tomorrow until Sunday in Pudong's Century Park with most of Shanghai's major bands, a couple of Beijing acts and a few imports from abroad. There's a line-up rundown from Mr Shapiro here and this is still a great opportunity to see a rock festival in the city so get out and support your favourite local bands.
I 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....
Seen this cover? ==============>
Elsewhere, Friend or Foe are in the studio and recently had The Horses/Acid Pony Club boys oversee the drum recording. Word is there could be a remix album in the works too once the actual album comes out. Exciting stuff. Read more on the Zangnan site.
Meanwhile, Billboard magazine have done a piece on five Beijing bands to watch as they hit the States in the coming weeks and months, courtesy of former Time Out Beijing music editor Jennifer Conrad. See that one here.
And finally, the people over at Neocha were profiled in the New York Times recently, check that here.
You might still be recovering from the weekend, but here's advance warning of two shows in the next few days that you'd be a fool to miss.
First up SUBS and Duck Fight Goose at Yuyintang for free. SUBS. Duck Fight Goose. Yuyintang. Free. I believe that is what's technically known as a 'no brainer'. Thursday, 9.30pm.