Shanghai’s classic grimy monthly dance party goes down in basement club C’s, where you can warm up on this cool post Thunderstorm night. DJ’s are Kid Plastik, J Alexander, Fish, and Ozone.
C’s Bar, 685 Dingxi Lu, between Fahuazhen Lu and Yan’an Lu
Fei and Haixin
A good pre-Antidote option, though at 70 RMB a pitcher of beer, a slightly more expensive option, is this duo at Sus2, a dive-y bar RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO C’s. The two-guitars-and-voice duo play some sweet pop and jazz, the customers are a little sloppy, and the staff are super nice. It’s a good homey low-key spot if you want a short break from the wild freakout going down in the basement at C’s. Disclaimer: last time I went there with a few musician friends we sat in for a couple tunes and were given three pitchers of beer and t-shirts by the extremely friendly boss, so they have pretty much permanently won me over. I’m pretty sure I would have liked it anyway though.
Sus2, Same address as above
It’s the return of the Conflict of Interest Pick! This is the gig I do Fridays and Saturdays (and Tuesday without a singer) at the newly opened Sound Blue jazz club. There have been some issues with quality of service and price of drinks, which we have discussed with the boss to no avail, but I do sincerely think the band is pretty good. It’s made up of hidden treasure Mark Bai on piano, who is really a top-notch player in town but is little seen or heard because he doesn’t hang out at JZ, which is, in addition to being a great club, an important place for jazz musicians to show their face if they want to get calls. Anyway, he plays a real nice Brad Mehldau-style piano with great touch, time, inventiveness, etc. I play bass and new arrival Alex Ritz is on drums. He’s got that thing where it sounds a little dirty but everything is actually clean, if you know what I mean, similar to the effect of Elvin Jones though he doesn’t really play like Elvin. He’s also very musical and thinks always about the whole sound of the band and not just the drums. It’s one of my favorite gigs I’ve had in this town. Friday and Saturday we’re joined by the great singer Jennifer Palor who has a strong R&B foundation but sings jazz very well, has a lot of energy, and can scat. Come on down and I’ll buy you a beer.
Sound Blue, 107 Sinan Lu near Jianguo Lu
Mic Park II
There’s a great big get together for Shanghai’s hip-hop scene and we’re very pleased to see Anar continue to push towards being an all-around music spot. Rocking it will be Young Cee, Koz, MC Newshan, DJ Cavia, R.P.S., and LU1. There will also be a freestyle session and a special guest from Miami. Sounds pretty tight. Now that the Chinese rock scene is growing so fast I think it’s time to get some Hip-Hop stuff going.
Anar 129 Xingfu Lu, by the corner of that park and the unnamed street that runs in from Huashan Lu
Australia’s hottest folk/rock dude comes to town, courtesy of those hardworking music lovers over at Split Works. Split Works’ write-up says that “while his influences range from the folk music of the Southern United States to the British Isles, Lang’s lyrics evoke the environment of his native Australia in a subtle, plainspoken manner.” It’s something I’ve discovered since coming here and meeting so many Australians that they’re almost more American than Americans, closer to the ideal of Americans presented in westerns and so on. I mean, as awesome as the American West is, the Outback kind of kicks its ass. And isn’t AC/DC more like an American rock band than any of those English rock bands are? Think about it; it’s pretty deep. Jeff Lang isn’t exactly that kind of giant-balls-cowboy guy, though. There’s a legit country/folk base, but he’s got a beautiful androgynous voice and a very light touch of electronic sounds, not like electronic dance music, but a nod to the fact that computers exist and are a part of our lives now, if you know what I mean. Anyway, he shreds, plays many instruments (acoustic, electric, and slide guitars, mandolin, banjo, drums, and chumbush), and Split Works doesn’t bring lightweights. Check out his his site, Douban, and Myspace.
YuYinTang, 1731 Yan’an Xi Lu, enter from Kaixuan Lu
50 RMB cover
SMS Closing Party
Shanghai Music Society finishes out their summer season with a long long list of local DJs: Damien Kay, Kluba, Clement Pony, Laura Ingalls, Dave K, Xeum, Jaco, Philippe Ortega, Wassili, Ben Huang, and Paul Cayrol. We usually don’t pimp Bar Rouge because there are so many more music-centric options in town, but Shanghai Music Society is clearly doing something different there, and many of the DJs on that list are pretty kickass. The view’s not bad either.
Bar Rouge, 18 on the Bund, 7th floor, near Nanjing Lu
Greg Luttrell Band House of Blues and Jazz Jam
The jam is a great night to visit the venerable House of Blues and Jazz, not least because if you join the jam you get half price drinks. The Greg Luttrell band have been kicking ass over there. They are all great players doing what you need to do to really rock that room: straddle the line between entertainment and art, which, come to think of it, is pretty important at every music bar in this town. Anyway, they’re doing it yo, so check it out if you haven’t and dig it again if you have.
House of Blues and Jazz, 60 Fuzhou Lu near Sichuan Lu and the Bund