We’re going to start running a little feature every Thursday with our picks for the weekend’s events. We’ll keep the Live Dates section updated, of course, but here we’ll give you a little more information to help with the very difficult decision of which music to hear Thursday is still Thursday, despite proclamations that Wednesday is the new Thursday. That never happened for obvious reasons, so go hear some actual bands and don’t stay up too late, unless of course you want to. Coco Zhao is one of few singers I would go to hear even if I lived in New York or something. He is also my pick for Shanghai’s top artist of melodrama, and I mean melodrama like Mahler and Jeff Buckley, not melodrama like Chinese soap operas. He’ll be at Lounge 18 with special guest trumpeter Feng Yucheng. Excellent blues guitarist and singer Sam Hooper is getting towards the end of his stay at the House of Blues and Jazz. Hopefully he has recovered from his laryngitis or whatever it was and can sing again, and if not, he’s still a wailing guitarist and his band is killing. Thursday is a good day to go because it’s not as crowded as Friday and Saturday, though maybe on those days it’s easier to drift into the shadows and avoid buying one of their very expensive drinks.
Friday there’s a little more action: a reggae thing at LOgO, some Disco thing at Volar, Sugar Mama and co. at Cotton Club, and the Latin Project at JZ with Kuzu. That gets our first pick because we like the Latin Project (some of us, anyway) and especially because we have word that this is the last performance of Kuzu, who play Xinjiang music and have achieved a good reputation in their opening slot. Then the Latin band will rock the house and lots of attractive people who know how to dance will dance. Around the corner at The Shelter Miles “Musicman” Tackett will be spinning funk, hip-hop, and breakbeat. He is the man behind Breakestra (or myspace version, as breakestra.com isn’t working in China), a band close to Layabozi’s pan-stylistic heart. They play funk and hip-hop, making clear the connection between break-based music and the funk drummers who’s shit it steals/uses as inspiration. We’ll have to wait until next time for the band, though; this time it’s Miles on the decks, not bass, guitar, and “upright cello,” whatever that is. Prediction: funky and illuminating.
Saturday things get trickier, but after much deliberation and with apologies to STD, Lions of Puxi, and everybody else, we have chosen Red and Rad at Yuyintang and Subculture: Soundclash at Shelter. Red and Rad is Yuyintang’s New Year’s Eve Eve aka mini-New Years’ show, and will feature four popular Shanghai bands: Sonnet, Pinkberry, Cold Fairyland, and Banana Monkey. Variety, big names, this one’s got it all. Soundclash will be a showdown between three crews: Phreaktion and Sub-Culture of Shanghai and Kongkrete Bass of Hong Kong. You’ll hear dubstep, DnB, and more. Check out our play list from DJ Wash for ideas.
Finally: Sunday–though it’s kind of not a Sunday because it’s also Chinese New Year’s Eve: For Real This Time–there will be a New Year’s bash at JZ featuring Oleg, JQ, Alec, and the Lions of Puxi. The 30 RMB cover will get you plenty of music, and those guys are all solid. At Melting Pot on Hengshan Lu it’s blues night with extra Mongolian sauce. I have serious reservations about that place, not least because drinks are expensive and they don’t pay musicians much. They have money to open branches all over the place, but not to pay the band. Lame. Also, it’s a really awkward space. Anyway, the point is that Ronnie is a great drummer, and doesn’t mess around with badly paid gigs unless they’re really fun, so you know this one will be good.