The Shanghai streets are alive with music my friends, and rock n roll is back on top this week. So many good live gigs coming up this weekend that I can’t decide. Most likely I’ll just end up falling asleep to that girls dancing channel on the ole Mi TV Box. If you don’t have one of those little 300rmb Mi TV Boxes that stream bootleg videos and puts your poor corner DVD Auntie out of business, head on down to the Metro City Mall and just ruin your life by picking one up. Before we get into the business of rock is anyone else dying to attend the Lil Jon DJ set this Friday?
Well, looks like I’ll be with the rest of you dregs at Non-Lil Jon events such as the LOgO Re-Opening party on Saturday. Don’t worry LOgO, I’m sure the 13th re-opening is the one that’ll stick. Not only is this a club re-opening party, it is also the launch of new promotion crew Co:motion. This feisty upstart features heavy hitting local celebs like French bread maker Laura Ingalls, who stunned the world last year by retiring from DJ’ing, then stunned no one by returning to DJ’ing. He has quit the Acid Pony collective for the fresh faced Co:motion group which features Mau Mau, Raz, MIIA, and a number of local DJ’s, VJ’s, and bottle poppers.
Moving on from club news no one cares about, this Friday, Jun 12 has three solid shows that feature the best Chinese indie rock has to offer. At MAO you have Hedgehog celebrating their 10 year anniversary with a little rock of ages showcase. At Yuyintang you have Chui Wan with their new album release gig. Finally on Friday is Xi’an band Jump Goat along with Non-Plus of Color (whose leader Hei Mu also comes from Xi'an) playing Inferno. Luckily, Saturday's only option is the last show from XXYY, as bassist Mike Bush moves away from our little utopia.
Beijing indie rock band Chui Wan are so flipping hot right now. Just off the heels of a massive month–long American tour, they've wasted no time starting their Chinese tour in support of a new self–titled album. For the past month I’ve been Facebook stalking them across America as they played large events such as Austin’s Pysch Fest along with underground venues from New York to San Francisco. They also toured with Chinese acts Bird Striking and Deadly Cradle Death, gaining mostly positive reviews from the American indie media. After living in China for a few years, you realize how hard it is to build a sustainable rock scene, so when our local artists head out into that big scary world we all wish them the best. Check out Chui Wan’s over 400 America tour photos here.
The new album is a few years in the making and showcases Chui Wan’s progression into a tightly wound band performing their detailed compositions with seemingly ease. Chui Wan’s bassist Qu Qiong got into the act lending her vocals to the songs “On the Other Ocean” and “Silence”. This self-titled masterpiece was also pressed on 12” vinyl and will be available to purchase at Friday’s show. Every month now we see new Chinese vinyl releases and I say keep ‘em coming. Next month our favorite Chengdu post-rockers Hiperson have a double 12” coming out and I’m going to be first in line. It should be noted that Chui Wan’s new album was recorded by Yang Fan from the band Ourself Beside Me. Yang Fan also has a new 12” solo record out that will be available for purchase at Friday’s Yuyintang show.
Chui Wan – "Seven Chances"
Chui Wan – "Vision"
Way on the other side of town at Mao Livehouse, another widely respected Chinese indie rock band will be plying for your attention. Hedgehog represent Modern Sky records, our great nation’s largest independent music label. While I don’t have much love for Modern Sky, I’m crazy about Hedgehog and would follow them off a cliff like a drunken lemming on a Friday night. They are in Shanghai via Beijing celebrating ten years of playing rock shows and breaking hearts along the way. While Hedgehog may be technically fronted by guitarist / vocalist ZO, we all know the true star of the show is 4ft nothing drummer Atom, who also plays for Nova Heart.
Little known fact is that Hedgehog also toured the states back in 2011, supporting famous indie band Xiu Xiu. While in America they recorded the album Sun Fun Gun with John Grew and Russell Simins from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Maybe it’s their classic early 90s rock influence, but the world can’t get enough of Hedgehog and I hope they have 50 years left of rock in them. Here's a few recent favorites.
Hedgehog – "In Spring" (2009)
Hedgehog – "Dear Boy I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend" (2011)
Hedgehog – "Aspirin" (2014)
Oh, I see. You’re not into those "obvious" Chinese indie rock bands. You want a taste of the real underground? Well look no further then rock bar Inferno who have a solid lineup on Friday featuring Xi’an alt rockers Jump Goat playing alongside Japanese band Fire Head. Supporting are Shanghai bands Bordhell, Clamrod, and my personal favorite Nonplus of Color.
Even after watching a few videos of Jump Goat, I’m still not sure what kind of sound they are trying to achieve. Nonetheless these Xi’an goth rockers have piqued my interest and with the solid supporting acts, this is the show for you if you’re looking for something new in the scene.
Jump Goat – "Hey Betty"
Recently the Shanghai group Girls Like Mystery played their last show, and now Scottish Mike’s other project XXYY is disbanding? What the hell is going on? Lucky for us Scottish Mike will still be around for a bit but unfortunately we must say goodbye to bassist Mike Bush, who is moving to Malaysia.
If you haven’t seen XXYY then you probably haven’t been to any shows in Shanghai. These guys have been out there plugging away at the business of punk rock like rapid dogs with a need to feed on Shanghai’s loud amps and weak beer. While this Saturday is XXYY’s last Shanghai show, they will be traveling to America this summer to play a few dates. What’s with everyone going to America to play? Just remember XXYY boys that in America, the police don’t take kindly to peeing in public and I’m going to make the prediction that someone is getting the taser gun on this mini tour.
As a little present to all their fans, the band recorded a new song and put together a sweet little music video. Just try and watch it without crying, then head down Saturday to see the real thing.
小心翼翼 XXYY – "Drive"
小心翼翼 XXYY – "Fight Song"
She swam by me, she got a cramp. He ran by me, got my suit damp. Summer sun, somethings begun. But, uh oh, those summer nights