Five must see bands for this weekend’s upcoming Echo Park festival with music from Shocking Pinks, South Acid Mimi Dance Team, The Big Wave, Nine Treasures, and Envy. [Ed: At the bottom of this page, you'll find all the essentials about what will likely be the finest music festival of 2015, including how to get there, the schedule, food, drink, activities, and more].
As the cool breeze of Autumn rolls through our little anytown P.R.C., we welcome new students, new teachers, and of course, heading back from their Ibiza summer holiday, the army of consultants that plague Shanghai. Over the weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the Expat Show at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. Yes I’m talking about an Expat Expo, people. Let’s just say my wife, who is from Shanghai, was horrified by the prospect of expats forming in such large groups for the specific purpose of celebrating expat culture. The event was comprised of over 150 booths representing expat health insurance, comfort food delivery services, wine peddlers, travel agencies for people who can’t figure out the C-Trip website, and about 30 ladies with their own juice brands.
One of the best booths was the Heart to Heart Shanghai foundation, which is composed entirely of volunteers donating their time to give support to Chinese children from poor families who are undergoing heart surgery. Besides sponsoring money for children from the provinces to receive heart surgery, the group donates their time in two hospital play rooms seven days a week. These are the best people in Shanghai.
Another group represented at the Expat Show goes by the name Guy Tai, comprised of stay-at-home husbands whom have been displaced to Shanghai because their wives moved here for work. Besides the monthly support group meet up at Shanghai Brewery, the fellas keep active with go-karting, visits to cosmetic factories, and general day trips of fun. The Guy Tai website also provides useful tips on subjects like teaching your Ayi about how long food should be kept in the fridge before being thrown away.
Music festival season is upon us and this week it’s time to share some of our favorite acts playing at the Echo Park shindig going down at Shanghai Rugby Club. While you should already know the headliners like the milk-shaking Kelis or chemically-romanced Gerard Way, today we are going to focus on some solid acts you don’t know. Or maybe you do know, what the fuck do I know what you know anyway. Without further adieu let’s get into this Echo Park round up!
Hailing from New Zealand, the Shocking Pinks are my most anticipated act playing Echo Park. Shoe gaze indie rock to his pink bones starlet Nick Harte got his start with such labels as Flying Nun and DFA. After a five-year break from releasing recorded material, Harte signed to the label Stars & Letters Records, on which he put out a triple album on last year. While the album features multiple songs without the melodic structure that made girls from Auckland to Christchurch fall in love with the Shocking Pinks, it does contain some gems and worth a listen. The Shocking Pinks play Sunday, September 19 on Stage Left at 4.50pm.
Shocking Pinks – "Nostalgia"
South Acid Mimi Dance Team
Three girls out of Yunnan province playing stripped down electro covers of Bikini Kill and Atari Teenage Riot? Just take my money now. Causing trouble in the Kunming scene for the past year with synchronized dance team stage antics and lunar-themed masks, Shishi, Wei Lin, and Yi Xiao nail the beat to the floor. The video below is just a short preview of the band in action, but make sure to visit their Douban page for a proper listen. The songs are beautifully simple and will hit you straight in your Casiotone heart. South Acid Mimi Dance Team play Sunday, September 20 at 2.20pm on the Wooozy Dimension stage.
South Acid Mimi Dance Team – January '15 Preview
The Big Wave
With direct influences from artists like Joy Division and New Order, Beijing electro post punk outfit The Big Wave are set to destroy this festival with angular garage guitar riffs and front and center vocals. As co-front man Xing Xing once said "I don’t sing about love, I sing about sex." Well sing it soul sister. Early this year the three boys with rock 'n' roll in their veins signed to mega Chinese indie label Modern Sky, and I’m guessing they will quickly climb to the top roster spot. Again we only have a so-so quality live video to share of the band so hit that Douban for the real deal. The Big Wave play Saturday, September 18 at 1.20pm on the Wooozy Dimension stage.
The Big Wave – Live 2014-08-21
File this one under a must see ninth wonder of the world with Nine Treasures representing the ever-growing Inner-Mongolian folk metal scene. Singing mystical and fable-driven songs in Mongolian tongue, the group played Germany’s biggest metal festival Wacken back in 2013 and haven’t looked back since. Adding to the bands authenticity, member Tsog (朝克) has studied the Mongolian horse head fiddle, Morin Khuur, and he comes from a renowned family of musicians. For years metal bands from Europe have been incorporating local ancient mythology into their music, so it’s only natural their Mongolian metal head counterparts follow in suite. Shit is just bat shit crazy awesome. Nine Treasures play Sunday, September 19 on Stage Left at 7.20pm.
Nine Treasures – "Galloping White Horse"
Dude, fucking Envy are playing! Having just released a new album titled Atheist’s Cornea after five years of sabbatical, these Japanese hardcore legends are back in full force. Earning their chops in the early '90s thrash scene of Tokyo, the band has evolved from brutal hardcore to well-structured post rock with a dash of screamo on the side. Probably one of the most influential bands in the rock & metal scenes, groups such as Deafheaven and Explosions in the Sky have all paid homage to these founding fathers of hardcore in post form. If you are a fan of punk rock, hardcore, post rock, or metal then this set is a must-see. Below I’ve included a classic track from the '90s titled "A Red Wound Picture" along with a cut from the brand new album. Envy plays Stage Left on Saturday, September 18 at 7.20pm.
Envy – "A Red Wound Picture"
Envy – "Blue Moonlight"
While this has been just a tiny sample of this weekend’s bands you can check out the full line up here. For the love of god Split Works, you better have at least a beer tent and if possible a funnel cake stand, or I will freak the fuck out on you.
SmartShanghai Echo Park Mini-Guide
Address, Times, And Tickets
Echo Park happens on Saturday and Sunday, Sept 19-20 from noon-9.50pm each day, at the Shanghai Rugby Club, which is at...
2700 Zhangyang Bei Lu, near Wuzhou Da Dao ｜ 上海瑞可碧橄榄球俱乐部 张扬北路2700号
The last day to order tickets on SmartTicket is Thursday, Sept 17. Those are 200rmb per day or 300rmb for two days, compared to 260rmb per day or 400rmb for two days at the door.
If you're looking for a place to stay near the festival grounds, the promoters have covered that and lots more in their FAQ.
Getting There & Back
The cheapest option is taking the metro. The venue is a five minute walk from Metro Line 6, Wuzhou Ave, Exit 1. You'll see signs. Get cash at the station, because there is no ATM on site and you won't be able to use your card to buy food and drinks. Also, the last act finishes at 9.50pm each day, so you've still got time to catch the metro back home (last train at 10.42pm). At cab from downtown is going to cost you about 70rmb one-way, and it's a 20km ride.
Yeah we're not gonna type this all out. Here you go. So many good artists on both days -- better just go for the whole weekend. Some other highlights include...Kelis, Black Star, Bok Bok, Pennywise, Nova Heart, The Fuzz, Young Fathers, Howie Lee, Bok Bok, Skinny Brown, J-Fever & Soulspeak, Nick Monaco, Damacha, and Cavia.
It's going down at the freshly renovated Shelter on Sept 20 from 11pm-late. Entry is free with proof of Echo Park ticket purchase, or 30rmb at the door. Lineup is a mystery, but expect guest appearances from Echo Park artists.
The Food & Drink Situation
Here's who's there…
Food: GumGum (burger sliders for 20rmb, plus ribs and roasted corn), Gracie's Ice Cream for 30rmb a scoop, Melrose pizza slices and wangs, La Coyota doing burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, Strictly Cookies and Spread the Bagel doing what they do, GoGet Waffles with some Belgian waffles, Korean Fried Chicken, Wawa Panini doing Japanese noodles and sandwiches, Ruijin Cajun doing some American heart attack food, Pie Society with the British pies, EQ slangin' pulled pork, and Brother's Kebab doing…you guessed it.
Drink: Harbin Beer is all over the place. Thank fucking god it's not some lame 2% beer like most of the fests here. There's also something called The Calypso Bar doing tropical drinks, plus some wine in the Duck Bites Goose area. Water – which you should be drinking – is free by Stage Left.
Art & Activities
So aside from all this music and food, there's a bunch of art, including a graffiti wall, artists performing in open cubes, short films and animations by Chinese artists, and something called light painting. Then there's Frisbee workshops, ultimate Frisbee games, human beer pong, something called "cornhole", Twister, limbo, maypole, spinning, and unicycling.
Have fun, kids.