2010 produced an interesting vintage. It was specially marked by events as the Expo (aka… la puta Expo) which shook a bit the waves here in Shanghai, or the strong warm front with festivals that had on its firsts moments the participation of Maybe Mars’ bands at SXSW. We also experienced some earthquakes and fires, the closing down of Logo, the release of many interesting albums, and much new decent music that pleasured our ears.
I think of the Expo as a fast moving chain of events that took a bit too long to end at last. However it was good, I’m sure the alcohol and tourism industry are fine with the results they accomplished, and we sure did learn some things about our own city and the evolution of the industrial world. But I can’t pass by without saying that frustration did occurred a lot when it was about music. One would imagine that cultural managers from around the world would be more … let’s say … cultured. But well, they are human. I mean, Herbie Hancock was here, and Carlinhos Brown, and Cafe Tacuba, and BLK JKS, and so many that should have played in front of huge audiences but they played in front of only few hundreds, and not precisely because we are not many music lovers in Shanghai, or because they were tiny acts, but because ironically the management of communication wasn’t valued highly by the exhibitors as an important asset to show off. During the Expo months I fantasized many times on the things that local producers would and could have done if they would have had the resources that had so many of the country expositors at the Expo. Anyway, there was Finland, and there were all these bands and musicians that came to play to Shanghai, because actually they were getting the visas and permits to actually play in China. Maybe we could call it freedom, if we would forgotten about Top Floor Circus though. Well, the world was not still perfect on 2010.
During the previous months to the Expo, among all the rumors out there it was the fear of having music venues shut down as it was for the Olympics. Luckily we learned that the Shanghai’s government was smarter than that and they let us keep the music live. But there are unavoidable events in life, destiny if you want, and the same day the Expo was ending, so was Logo. It was just a huge lost, Logo was the collision point were the movement of the underground scene of Shanghai exploded definitely. There is YuyinTang, and The Shelter, and so many others venues that collaborated on the process to make it to the point finally achieved. But Logo was the one, the one between YuyinTang and The Shelter, the one that joined rock, punk, electronic, jazz, experimental, and even folk music. Logo was the trashy place that became popular for rescuing many souls longing for parties with decent music in Shanghai, lost into tasteless shallow clubs. I still miss it, a lot. Cheers to Maxim and Taipei and to all the Logo Djs, the hippies, and the punks for the good times and the nice tunes.
The wave of festivals all over the Republic was pretty fun, funny, and interesting. It was very encouraging to see how the old ones have become big. It was interesting too, to witness the birth and development of many mini festivals in cities all over the nation, great thing too. The funny thing- to be positive about it – was the counting on electric guitars broken on stages, how this tiny act was a reflect of the ego of rock turning bigger, and unluckily, faster than the quality of the music in many cases, which is the bad part of this. Anyway, the good part of the festivals is the materialization and the evolution of the music scene in China. We can add to this the many nice albums released this year, the evolution on the dedication to the production of albums, the setting and growth of producers, who hopefully will lead to more engineers to join the scene. All these things had me thinking that actually the underground scene is not underground anymore, but totally on the ground. And isn’t it better to live on the ground than under it?
We have some very good bands and musicians to show off, they are creating nice music, we are going to nice shows each week, there are more and better new artists brewing around us, there are bands and musicians establishing sounds and esthetics that are modeling an stronger musical identity for China, managers/producers are feeling positive feed-back to their work, they are handling with more conviction and better technique their enterprises. Our local music scene is actually evolving from the under grounds, turning into an interesting music movement. And who knows, probably the ways and strategies that are being created and tested here are going to evolve into some interesting theories for the global music business, and maybe more Chinese music will be exported too, maybe even developing a world class quality to play along with the best musicians around the world. To me it seems like we are moving from the dark charm of hidden spots where trashy bars with poor sound systems were the refuge for those outlaws with artistic ideas about partying with music, to places with interesting esthetic senses, no tasteless, sensible, with solid layouts and better resources for a better production, targeting to smart audiences. Not underground. Indie.
Friday Dec 31 2010
YuyinTang – No Sleeping in New Year Eve
Three bands will be playing on the house to rock. The honeys, Yuren, and Plastic Chocolate. I’m curious about this.
Address: Kaixuan rd.
Entrance: 50 rmb.
Starts at 10pm, and they promise to be rocking hard at midnight.
MAO Live House – TECHNOW – NYE Edition
These party has been cooking for months so it should turn out on a very very good one. The Djs in charge will be Boro Lo (AT/GER), Martino V (AT), Milan J (GER).
Address: 570 Huaihai Xi rd.
Entrance: 100 rmb at the door
Starts at 10pm
The Shelter – New Year’s Eve
Partying properly must include a stop by The Shelter, so this is a must tonight. The Djs directing the night will be V-Nutz, Drunk Monk, Deville, HBD and Sickstar.
Address: 5 Yongfu rd.
Entrance: 40 rmb
Starts at 10pm usually
JZ – Jazz New Year Countdown Party night!
This one will go all night, knowing the cats at JZ the party will be long and so you can be sure that any time you stop by JZ tonight there will be nice jazz and a nice beatnik hang.
Address: 46 Fuxing rd.
Entrance 30 rmb
Starts at 9 pm and most probably it will end at breakfast time.
Dada – ZAOGAO
Empfab (live), Trix, and Mau Mau have been preparing for this one long ago too, they are expecting to burn down the house, no matter what. They are planning to party until Saturday at 3pm. At that time I might be in a coma if I was partying all night, but what the hell, it’s 2011! and actually, I always wonder where I was going to be on 2011, seriously, I never thought I was going to be in China though, China wasn’t in my fantasies, so I’m kind of impressed on how creative can life get. Anyway, one more thing about this party. It’s free! (considering the excessively high prices of parties for new year’s eve, this is important.
Address: 115 Xingfu rd.
Entrance: as mentioned. Free.
Starts around 10pm. And you should know, Empfab set is only 35 minutes long, starting at 1 am.
Saturday the first one of 2011
JZ – AfroSonic Orchestra
Survived the night before then JZ is the place to go. Cool funky tunes with the best choreographies you can see around and probably the best bloody Maries in town, the best to start the year smoothly. And at 2 am the best jam session in Shanghai.
Address: 46 Fuxing rd
Entrance: 30rmb. Free after 1am.
Sunday the first one of 2011
Huse of Blues and Jazz – Mike Null & The Soulcasters
HOBJ celebrated 15 years of life on 2010. They are doing a nice job with music there, and starting the year visiting them it seems like the fun thing to do this Sunday. The band there now is pretty sweet, but the official promotions says it better: “Get ready for an unforgettable night of soul-shaking vocals, cold and funky blues guitar, bourbon-soaked jazz piano, and a house-rocking rhythm section guaranteed to blow the roof off!” And on Sundays they have the jam session which is actually the jam session that started all the jam sessions in town, if you didn’t know.
Entrance is free
Address: 60 Fuzhou rd.
Starts at 9pm
That’s it. Have a great celebration tonight. Happy 2011 to all of you! All the best, the best experiences, and the best music for you on this new year 2011. Cheers!
Mache is a hippie witch that was born under Beltane's full moon. She enjoys talking to ghosts and interdimensional beings, and cooking for her friends and beasts. She has Chilean wine in her veins instead of blood,and at the moment she belongs to China.
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