Editor's Picks, December 17-20

d5401935a859b4afd2da0b1f939cb26b08282a35_mI’m not going to lie to you, folks: It’s slim pickings this weekend. Maybe you are lucky and you are leaving on a jet plane, winging to an exotic locale. Well, this week in Editor’s Picks we are going to take a trip, also. Let’s take a trip back in time and revisit some of my favorite shows of the year, laugh at my under-informed reviews, pine for the highs of 2009, and hope that the Expo doesn’t fuck everything up for 2010 live music in Shanghai. And don’t worry; we will still be ticking off the places to be this weekend, such as they are. However, each entry will have a companion piece, explaining where we wish we were again.

Makes sense? OK, let’s get to the picks.

Thursday, December 17th

Did you go see Friction 7 vs. Guzheng like I told you to last week? Have you been to Anar for one of their jam sessions? How about a little swing music at Melting Pot Hengshan Lu? Do what you feel. Get in where you fit in.

JZ Club
46 Fuxing Xi Lu,
Huaihai Zhong Lu
near Yongfu Lu, Metro Line 1 Changshu Lu Station

129 Xingfu Lu,
near Fahuazhen Lu

288 The Melting Pot
Heng Shan Lu No.10, Near Yong Jia Lu
ground floor of Orden Bowling Center
Subway #1, exit 4 of Heng Shan Lu Station

Where I would rather be:

Lots of people have spoken about seeing a fantastic Mushrooms show this year, especially recently, as writers begin to take stock of the year that was. Well, way back in August I caught the Mushrooms for the first time at YuYinTang. Here is my review at the time. As I read it back, I feel sheepish comparing them with Linkin Park. Bad job by me. I’ve seen them a couple times since then and I would like to dissociate myself from those statements (although I said I like the Mushrooms and didn’t like LP). Unfortunately, it’s out there for everyone to see. But that’s just something I have to live with. Let me just say again: 2010, Year of the Mushroom.

Friday, December 18th

image-20091112-6k2qmgg8yssxyci67ln2_t140We All Have a Sorry Yesterday feat. 21 Grams, Pinkberry, Sonnet, and Jiao Ke at YuYinTang

Who me? Actually, my yesterday was pretty good. The sun was shining, I got some work done, it was cool. What happened to you?

You may remember 21 Grams from an MP3 Monday entry put together by the dashing Morgan Short. You may remember the movie from whence they take their name, or you may have heard that humans lose a small amount of weight when they die, which leads to speculation that 21 grams (actually, the numbers vary) is the weight of the soul. Or if you have heard none of those things, just know you are in for some pretty good music. However, Pinkberry is not my favorite band from Shanghai. We’ll just leave it at that. Jiao Ke I have no experience with, and Sonnet I have only seen briefly at the show I am about to reminisce about. Despite these tenuous bits of information, this event is going to garner the Editor’s Pick of the Week Seal of Approval. Like I said, slim pickings.

YuYinTang, 9 PM
1731 Yan’an Xi Lu,
Entrance at Kaixuan Lu

30 kuai for ladies, 40 kuai for the dirtier sex

Where I would rather be:

Sonnet was the opening band for one of my favorite shows of the year, Bigger Bang at YuYinTang. This show was packed and I showed up a bit late, only hearing one song from Sonnet. Also, I could not go anywhere but to the side of the stage in the vestibule, and squeeze my way in, little by little. When I finally made it to the main area I saw, right in the middle, this thrashing, albino, alopecia-stricken gorilla. After I wrote the review, Andy Best commented on my post and then I found out the thrashing gorilla was Jake Newby. The show was great. I still remember Pupi’s polka dotted bathing costume with pink tights and the thin sheen of sweat frosting her back. I have recently purchased their EP. Two of the songs are great, two others are good, and one is pretty boring. There’s your instant CD review and here is my review of the show for you to peruse.

The Future feat. Ben Thriller and Mau Mau at Dada

I think a drunken me saw these guys at C’s last Thursday and maybe my drunken self liked it. I can’t confirm any of this, though. Just kidding. Actually I have seen Mau Mau a lot in the past few weeks and he always does something that doesn’t make me want to fall asleep, which is more than I can say for many DJs. So step into the future. Maybe it will cure your sorry yesterday.

Dada, 9 PM
115 Xingfu Lu,
near Fahuazhen Lu

No cover

bhd7qUZVeqe4liywXw9JhFYQo1_400Where I would rather be:

Many people will point to Dam-Funk as one of the top gigs at Shelter this year. I was pretty hyped for it, but primed myself a little too hard with a big dinner at a Sichuan restaurant and then beers with an old friend at everybody’s favorite dive bar, Time Passage. Anyways, I got into the Shelter and Dam-Funk didn’t go on. And didn’t go on. And didn’t go on. I think it was like 1 or 2 before he started and by this time I was falling out on my feet, drinking random drinks off the bar, and calling co-workers I happened to meet there unflattering names. Luckily, my poor wife dragged me home. I would definitely like a re-do on this one, but we’ll have to see about that one. Check out the preview for the show I did here.

Saturday, December 19th

Plastic Tree (JP) at MAO Livehouse

braininjuredchildMAO Livehouse continues to stretch the limits of what people will pay to see middling bands. Did someone in management get whacked in the head by a crystal butterfly and take leave of their senses? Wait until the bottom for pricing information and see if you agree. I can’t decide if it’s the bands that are demanding exorbitant prices or what. They are brought to you by something called Icon Productions for Painkiller Magazine. Um, OK. Truthfully, I can’t tell you very much about this band because there is little about them on the web. No Myspace, nothing on Google Music, and I couldn’t even find them on, which is usually one of my go-to sources. So you will have to decide if you want to take a chance on this decadent show.

MAO Livehouse, 8 PM
570 Huaihai Xi Lu
near Hongqiao Lu

280 kuai advance, 340 kuai (!) at the door

Where I would rather be:

I’ll tell you one Japanese band at MAO Livehouse that I would have shelled out 340 kuai for, although I didn’t have to (thanks, Reggie): That’s MONO. It was really a big event (I think pretty much everyone from Shanghai that you can read in English on the Internet was there) that lived up to the hype, although some thought it might have been a bit long (not me). As Dan said (paraphrasing), they are not really rock, or post-rock, they’re more like classical. It’s true. They just love to make perfectly-executed, atmospheric soundpieces. Their music was moving and, I think, one of the biggest moments of 2009 for Shanghai, although you could argue Ratatat because it was the biggest indie show up to that point. Anyway, here you can read my review of the MONO show.

Sunday, December 20th

Thrash the Night feat. Gum Bleed at YuYinTang

What the world needs now are punks, street punks. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. This will be a fun show, I guarantee, as long as enough people go. The music on their Myspace page is really fun and acerbic. You should go to this, I tell you. However, if I had my druthers…

YuYinTang, 9 PM
1731 Yan’an Xi Lu,
Entrance at Kaixuan Lu

40 kuai

Where I would rather be:

The only thing better than street punks are dance punks. OK, some might disagree, but I’m going to make Pet4082454274_1b56a511e3 Conspiracy at MAO Livehouse my best show of the year anyway. As you may or may not have read, I was blown away by the band’s stage presence and the music was really fun and danceable. Their opening shtick with the struggling red cloth mummy set the tone for the whole set. I think I fell in love with Helen a little bit, which I’m not ashamed to admit. This show was preceded by the band nuding up for some pictures and then it set off the whole photographer debate. If nudity is how you “win the internet” then controversy is how you win my heart.

However, I will be at neither of these places this Sunday. I will be on a plane headed for a little holiday relaxation (I wonder if they will make me wear pants? You know how I feel about pants on Sunday.) So I will be taking a backseat role for a while. Mike and Mache will be handling the Editor’s Picks and other good stuff. 2009 has been great for me, especially since I started writing for Layabozi, and I look forward to bringing more hard-hitting stories to your brains in the New Year.

Have a great holiday season, wherever you are, whatever you celebrate, and make sure to check out and vote in the Duel of the Decade!

Year-End, nay! Decade’s End time-wasters:

Good job, world leaders in Copenhagen. Way to go. Anyone else think rich people will just destroy the earth for the sheer fun of it?

Along those lines, a pretty interesting story from the New Yorker’s Man in China, Evan Osnos.

Did you know world-famous DJ Heatwolves! (formerly of Baijiu Robots) has a blog? Now you do. It’s pretty cool. Magic cats, indeed.

Just another cool (B for) blog.

If you’re into this sort of thing, go for it.

And, finally, the ultimate time-waster of 2009.

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