The last Antidote party I went was the one during the Olympics at Captain Bar, those days Shanghai was very much like a ghost town, if possible. I went with a friend who was happily impressed with the environment. Even he’s not much into electronic music he did thank the music, the space and the people. Sitting down outside, talking with all kinds of people. It was there I thought about the value of the Antidote parties in Shanghai, these parties are not any party, they have an extra value over the economic evaluations. The cultural profit of this project is superior than what maybe will ever be their market price.
This is, in minor scale, something similar as the importance of protest music calling for freedom when people has been living under oppression. We can’t compare expensive drinks with exile, or bad music taste with censorship. But we can say that when we live in a place where things don’t work as we would like the we are always confronting the situation of taking in our hands the option of doing something to give ourselves what we wish to have against practicing forever the “sacred” sport of complaining and watch our white hairs grow while waiting for something else to do that change.
The value of Antidote is not measurable on profits but on the chain reaction caused in Shanghai’s music scene. The value of a simple innovation is hidden behind an assertive vision, the ability to go straight into the people, and with a simple move, open a window nobody tried to open before and just assumed it was irremediably closed. So when the fresh air comes blowing in, then the eyes can notice there are more windows to open as easy as the first one. The value of opening the first window is not only in how much took to open it, but how clear was the vision of those who realized the window was there and it was possible to open it.
Antidote’s original line up, should we say “ingredients” here? …. were, Ozone from San Francisco, B6 from Shanghai, MHP from Shanghai, Emcore from Gansu, AMNJK from Japan. Since then they have added several members and many guests including, Fish, R3, Ben Huang, Sulumi, and more.
Michael, Antidote’s founder, explains its beginnings: “basically …. let’s make a party where we can play alternative music, cause no one else is in Shanghai. Let’s get the right place, and the right people to come, and prove there is a demand for it. It’s working…”
I was not very lucky with my interview to Michael, I caught him too busy to answer my big list of questions, but I got an answer for the one about when was going to be the Antidote at (for) Bar Rouge. He said: “I’m not at all interested in doing Antidote in Bar Rouge. I have nothing against it, it’s just not right for Antidote. Generally I prefer small clubs for this kind of party — more intimate, more about meeting like-minded people. You know, people you can actually have a conversation with.”
Well, not that I’m crying over this but I had the dream of going back to that terrace and enjoy it once with nice music on the back. ( … what were you expecting? I like Antidote because I spent more than one night there asking to the first friends I had here, how was possible that there was nothing else to do in a huge city as Shanghai besides going to Bar Rouge to contemplate the big … uh… Pearl Tower).
So talking about windows and fresh air, other answered question I got from Michael was about how he positioned Antidote among the newer groups in town as Free the Wax and less new as S.T.D. His answer: “isn’t it all the same people?” I guess Martin Gore would agree with Michael.
The last question he replied was about the Antidote’s recipe: “Recipe? I’m still working on perfecting the Antidote cocktail… the secret ingredient is Sichuan peppercorn oil. Just haven’t found the right blend yet, cause it’s got to be red and cranberry doesn’t work with the pepper — got any ideas?” I did have some ideas, now it’s just too late and I can’t even think about them. I’m just thinking, the secret ingredient will not be so secret now, but there’s a chance now someone will come out with the rest of the recipe to add it to the menu of the bars under the Antidote’s effect.
I think there will be the need also for an antidote for the Antidote’s party tomorrow, at least I may need one myself for Friday morning. Besides Antidote’s anniversary today is also Chile’s day and I “must” celebrate with Chilean wine and a good home made barbecue. That will have to be before beginning the night out by 24 Frames per Second with Joe Strummer documentary to fly to C’s right after.
Three years of life is a big deal, there’s harvest under the meaning of three, and the coming four is about establishment and consolidation. So it’s more than well deserved a good celebration tonight. To begin here are the cheers and congratulations of three of the many followers of Antidote in town:
“It was there three years ago already, wow.. last Thursday of the month is still the one well worth spending at C’s! I guess if those guys weren’t there this basement would have closed down long ago, and who wouldn’t miss those so typical toilets? cheers to Antidote!” – Fabien Barbet
“Shanghai would be sick without the Antidote. Shanghai IS the Antidote. the Anti Shanghai is a dot. the Antidote is the Shanghai.”
“Antidote is one of the best parties to catch up with some of the hottest and healthiest boyfriends Shanghai has to offer. But like real real real healthy ones. “ – Julie Pure