Jake: August 2011 Archives

The return of Banana Monkey?

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001372d8a1530b74e6701a.jpgIt's been a long time - about two years I think - but it looks like Banana Monkey could make a surprise return to the Shanghai music scene next month. Following The Beat Bandits' decision to call it quits after last weekend, the Trash a Go Go bills have been left without one of their staple acts, but they've pencilled in Banana Monkey as part of the line-up to support Korean rockabilly act The Rock Tigers at YYT on September 24th. 

Once hotly-tipped as a band who would break out of Shanghai and really put music here on the map, it never really happened for Banana Monkey. If the comeback comes off, this wouldn't be the first time the band have reformed (their shows a couple of years ago were part of a short-lived return). Perhaps with this in mind, the band/promoters are urging caution at the moment, stating 'it's not certain, we'll have to wait and see how things go' in regard to the Rock Tigers show, but there are moves to make it happen. It's not clear if it would be a one off performance or if the band would be making a proper comeback. Either way, the show will also be the last for The Instigation's lead singer Simon, who's leaving Shanghai.

For a bit of background to Banana Monkey and their significance, check out this post.

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.
1207_laser_tag.jpgOf course you do. As you've probably seen here, Pairs are releasing a new album next month and to whet appetites for the release party at Yuyintang they're holding a listening party at X Club, that new laser tag place on Zhaojiabang Lu.

The basic idea is that they'll play the CD over the soundsystem while you run around shooting people. That way you can get a sneak preview of the record while aiming a gun at your friends, not bad. The album is about half an hour long so there'll be two games of laser tag which should last about the same time. 

Places are limited, so if you want in, you need to book a place in advance. Click here for all the details.

Zebra Festival cancelled

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607846cdgw1djueidmsvuj.jpgIn case you haven't heard, there's a big typhoon heading Shanghai's way today/tomorrow. The biggest in the city's history apparently. Probably not the time to head to the beach then. Consequently, Zebra Festival is off, though there might be a possible rescheduling. More details here.
moontyrant.jpgMoon Tyrant (that's them on the right having just devoured something) have put up a new track on their Douban. It's called 'I Am the Way', is self-produced, available for free download and you need to turn it all the way up to 11 when you listen to it. Click here to get on that and if you like what you hear, scroll on down that page for more free Moon Tyrant downloady goodness.

Moon Tyrant, as you probably know, were in Mongolia recently as part of the DJ BO-organised Rock Naadam tour. If you haven't read frontman Ivan's account of it on Shanghai24/7, you can do so here. For another round-up of what went down north of the border, you can check out a Mongolia tour diary from Ho-Tom the Conqueror (he of The Horde) right here.
p513800011.jpgMTV Iggy, apparently 'your destination for the best new music exploding around the world' has a thing where you vote for their artist of the week. The winner then gets to be on the MTV Iggy home page and there's an interview with them. So what? Well, Pairs are up for nomination.

The Shanghai-based twosome, who have a new album coming soon, are up against four other acts from around the world and at the moment, Brazil's Tulipa is killing it with 90% of the vote or something. Redress that balance by clicking here and voting for Pairs, you don't have to sign up for any spam or anything, just scroll to the voting form at the bottom of the page.