As the great migration moves back into cityscapes like an old man easing into a warm bath, it’s time to get back to Shanghai. Yes, it’s time to get back to work. If you stayed in town over the holiday you probably noticed the lack of boom-boom sticks throughout the past week. Instead of the neighborhood uncles laying down an apocalyptic shitstorm from dawn till dusk, we had an army of police and volunteers patrolling the streets ready to dole out fines to firecracker enthusiasts. For anyone who has lived here more than a few years, it’s impossible not to get a little sentimental over the lost tradition of popping off. That is until one of your neighbors braves the police patrols and sets off one of those flying dynamite sticks that blows up next to your bedroom window at 7am. Yeah, screw tradition, I’ll take sleeping in instead.
Kicking off this mother f’ing monkey on Thursday is the launch show for a new small basement venue in Zhaibei district called Space-631. Watch out Basement6 hipsters: it looks like you have some competition. The experimental gig will feature seven local acts supporting a touring headliner Ryosuke Kiyasu. Then on Friday we have Toronto-based punk rock outfit METZ in town. The feisty Canadians have been on the indie label Sub-Pop for a few years and are touring around their new album titled II. Rounding out the weekend, we've got a solid local show in the form of Undress for Success joining forces with Little Monster at Yuyintang on Saturday night.
Well that’s your first weekend in the year of the monkey. It’s only downhill from here kids.
Exciting news in the world of Shanghai basements with the opening of Space-631. This basement photo studio in Zhabei has been converted to host a variety of experimental and indie rock shows, along with plans for alternative cinema events. There has been a large modular shaped hole in Shanghai since the closing of 696 Space over a year ago. 696 was one of Shanghai’s longest running experimental venues, and was home to the NoiseShanghai crew. For the past year, Basement6 has been hosting the bulk of Noise Shanghai gigs along with a few Inferno and Yuyintang showcases to help out. But experimental music doesn’t pay the bills so a regular venue for these misfits of Shanghai’s bland rock scene will be a welcomed addition.
Headlining Thursday is Japanese-Canadian musician Ryosuke Kiyasu. Trained as a drummer, Ryosuke is no stranger to playing for the big names in hardcore and experimental scenes, such as Canadian power-violence band The Endless Blockade and legendary Japanese avant-rock group Fushitsusha. Most famous for his solo snare drum performances, Ryosuke is also known to throw down a noise set with effect pedals. This is just the start of a massive 30+ show world tour that includes the bulk of Asia and North America. Ryosuke is also playing a bonus show down in Basement6 on Saturday night at 9pm, if you can’t make the weekday gig.
The Thursday Space-631 show has an extensive supporting line up that includes seasoned veterans such as Torturing Nurse and Adam Cae, along with fresh faces like the solo project from former Non-Plus of Color bassist 白夢薇 along with Zhu Songjie. Also playing are Smoking Barrels, Aming Liang, and the guitar work of Mai Mai. If you want to check out the current landscape of the local Shanghai experimental scene, then this show is good as it gets. Starts early at 8pm.
Kiyasu Orchestra – Session I
Leave it to Canada to become one of the last bastions for producing decent punk rock bands. Last month’s Career Suicide tour gig killed it at Yuyintang and this week we have a gig with so much rowdy potential I can barely sit in my seat. Yes, METZ are a three-piece Toronto band who have been laying down in your face hardcore to a larger than usual audience via there Sub-Pop record label support. These kids make a lot of noise. Many people are calling them the Japandroids of the 2010s.
METZ are in essence a true punk rock band but you won’t find any Mohawks or spiked collars in these Canadians closet. The band's got a fuzzed out sound in with the straightforward powerful riffage, and in-your-face vocals -- expect plenty of that for this Friday night fight fest. Sounds about right to me.
METZ – Eraser
Undress for Success & Little Monster
This Saturday night, let us return to Yuyintang for a little more noise-making fun in the form of the ever evolving Undress for Success. Don’t be discouraged by the horrible flyer and gig name “Winter Lollipop” but instead be stoked that Undress for Success are back in action as they have yet to disappoint live in any venue. Also playing are another personal favorite Little Monster which is a project from Dirty Fingers drummer and Brazilian heartthrob Alex and the enigmatic Shanghainese guitarist F formerly of the band Pairs. Finally there is an act called Iwdbys performing who have a unique brand of lo-fi acoustic guitar rock that I haven’t gotten a chance to check out live yet. But I’m expecting big things kids. For now check out an older cut from Undress for Success along with a newer live recording from Little Monster.
Undress for Success - Nine to Six
Little Monster – Summer Song
See you down in the underground, Shanghai monkeys.