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MP3 Monday: Black Rabbit Fest

Click inside for all you need to know about this Sunday's Black Rabbit festival. Plus some humble band recommendations ...
2011-09-13 04:33:21
MP3 Monday is a weekly SmartShanghai column, serving up mp3s from bands living and making music in China (or coming to China, or thinking about coming to China, or whatever). Copyright holders: if you would like your song removed, please email us here, and we'll honor your request promptly.

So we're less than a week away from this big ole Black Rabbit Festival -- local promoters, Split Works' unflinchingly bold foray into multi-stage festival bombast. I'm guessing by now you're somewhat familiar with the main, big-ticket headliners -- Ludacris, 30 Seconds to Mars, HEBE -- so for today we'll look at some of the other, more under-the-radar acts that are on the bill.

Admittedly, the aforementioned three might not do it for everyone -- to each their own -- but there's a bevy of other interesting stuff on that Black Festival line-up that just might convince you to make the trek out to Pudong. Here's some of that.

But first, the logistics:

The Basics:

Black Rabbit is this Sunday, September 18 at the Shanghai Rugby Club. It's one full day on Sunday only -- starts at 12pm noon and runs until 10pm at night. Four stages are hosting a variety of international and local rock, pop, hip hop, electronica, and with that is all the amenities and accoutrements you usually associate with large-scale music festivals: food, drinks (and drinks and drinks), kiosk shopping, fun, and games.

The Tickets:

Pre-sale tickets are 260rmb, available on SmartTicket right here.

Tickets are available at the gate on the day of the festival for 350rmb. Given the sheer size of the place, the concert will not sell out, so if you don't manage to secure your pre-sale tickets in time, you're still getting in if you want to go ahead and turn up.

Please note when ordering through SmartTicket: We're getting a lot of order for this festival and we're still a pretty small operation. It's a big help if you order your tickets along with your friends so we can deliver a bulk number to just one address. But, hey, all the same, if you just want one ticket, that's cool. No worries.

We're setting the deadline to order tickets at Friday afternoon. That means you've got a couple of days yet to sort yourself out, but really… sooner the better. Get on it. Don't dawdle.

Special alternative option to get tickets: This Wednesday, The Shelter is hosting a Black Rabbit Warm-Up party featuring local DJs playing at the festival. It's free to get in and they'll have more than enough 260rmb pre-sales available if you want to just drop in and buy your ticket. If you find yourself out on Wednesday night, stop in at The Shelter and pick up your tix. No cover. Here's who's playing.

The Location:

Shanghai Rugby Club is in Pudong. Period. Specifically, it's at 2700 Zhangyang Bei Lu, near Wuzhou Da Dao in Pudong. That's probably not going to mean much to you. How about this: it's in the northern area of Pudong, about 11 stops northward on Line 6 after transferring from Century Park Station. Basically, you're going to cross the river and go north, north, north, up in Pudong. Yes, indeed, the metro is the best way to get there.

-Getting there by metro

Real simple. Get yourself to Century Park station in Pudong. From there, transfer to north-bound Metro Line 6. Hang out with Line 6. Get comfortable with Line 6. Make friends with Line 6. Get off about 11 stops later at Wuzhou Ave. Station. Leave the station through Exit 1. Walk north about 200 meters. You're there.

Returning home after the concert by subway: Last train back southwards from Wuzhou Station is at 10:43pm. Yes, that's 10:43pm. You're going to want to remember that.

-Getting there by taxi

Even if you're a committed taxi person, you should probably just take the subway for this one. Maybe save your money for the cab fight back. Just a completely rough estimate from looking at a map, it's over 200rmb to get there by cab from Puxi. More or less. And it's probably a longer trip with traffic and whatnot.

[Edit: One of the festival organizer is saying it's 85rmb by cab during the day rate, with a travel time of 35mins from Puxi. We are evidently not good at making these sorts of estimations... cab seems way more reasonably now...]

Nevertheless, if taxi is how you want to roll, from Puxi, you're going through Xiangyin Lu tunnel. Turn out at the first ramp in Pudong side and then turn left onto Zhangyang Bei Lu. Go straight down that Lu until you get to 2700. Click here for the venue listing again and the SmSh taxi print-out page.

Please note: There is no parking, so don't drive your own car to this thing.

-Getting there by bus

Turn away from whatever bus stop you're at, get into a subway. Head to Century Park. Refer to above.


Okay, on to a few preview samples from some of the acts booked at Black Rabbit. Click here for the full line-up.

Click right here for the schedule of acts and what stages they're on.


Gold Panda (8:00pm @ Oblivion Stage)

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Riding granulated waves of acclaim from Pitchfork Media, The Guardian, and NME, and probably also coach class on British Airways to be with us here in Shanghai, one-man chill-out session, Gold Panda is one of the must-see acts of the more alterna-cool "Oblivion Stage" at Black Rabbit. A cross-over composer that equally appeals to fans of dreamy electronica proper, as well as washed out, low-fi-loving rock kids, Gold Panda quickly leapt to world critical attention off this tune here in 2009, "Quitters Raga", as well as his remixes (Little Boots, Zero 7, Bloc Party) and his full length, Lucky Shiner, released in 2010. Ideal for fans of nostalgia, obscura, and errata, gleaned across twinkling oceans of haze.

Post-Hamilton wave at its finest.


Perfume Genius (4:00pm @ Oblivion Stage)

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Representing seminal, big cheese American indie label, Matador Records, Perfume Genius is Seattle-based singer / songwriter, Mike Hadreas, who does layers of meaningful misery and desolation on top of plinky, minimalist, ghostly piano jags. Plenty of candid self-evisceration and rumination on isolation with basically no sonics to hide behind. "Spectral", they call it. His full length debut Learning was released in 2010, showcasing Perfume Genius' various stark compositions anchored around direct explorations of bald melancholy and honest-to-goddamn heartbreak. This song here is one of his break-out hits. Kinds of reminds me of Neil Young's more maudlin moments for some reason. The quavering voice thing. But yeah, should be interesting to see this presented in a large, live setting. We hear he tours with a drummer to give some oompf to the agony.


Rainbow Danger Club (12:30pm @ Stage Left)

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Making their big festival debut is beloved Shanghai indie rock four-piece Rainbow Danger Club -- back on stage after a summer hiatus, after releasing their well-received album last year, Where Maps End. Music belies a background in modern rock and pop, but sprawls outwards into constructivist dream pop, post rock, and a bit of psychedelia -- ambitious ebbs and flows and crescendos through individualistic song structures and idiosyncratic instrumentation. They've quickly become one of the highlights of the Shanghai indie community for their well-wrought marathons through genre and emotion. Build, break, and pick it up again. Don't miss them kicking the whole festival off at Stage Left. Budget your time to arrive at the festival right when it starts off so you don’t miss RDC.


Otakrew (4:15pm @ NBA Street Jam Stage)

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New kids on the block, Otakrew is a collective of local Shanghai-based DJs and producers, playing in a variety of left field but also party-approved dance genres. You've seen these names: hBd, Ceezy, Heatwolves, and DJ Trix. With these guys it's a definitive hip hop and funk foundation, but music will probably skitter out into skankier house, fidgetty shit, and juke terrain. Party, party, party. Along for the ride with Otakrew is graphic designer Cheeri and visual artist Olivepixel, who's was the dude behind the visuals at the Antidote stage at this year's Shanghai Midi. Pretty cool stuff from the ROM futurist at that stage, so look for more of that here hopefully. This track is a special one. Heatwolves and new addition to the Black Rabbit line-up, DJ Caution got crunk on one of that pop singer, Hebe's songs. She's also playing at the festival, you see. Apparently, they sampled crickets for their hi-hat percussion. Bizarre. Message is the same though, which is I LOVE YOU. I TOTALLY, TOTALLY LOVE YOU, or something like that.


120 Days (8:30pm @ Stage Left)

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Representing Oslo, Norway and rounding out the festivities for the Stage Left Stage in the evening is space rock four-piece, 120 Days. They're on famous Norwegian label, Smalltown Supersound (and Vice in the States), and I'm betting that for a day filled with a lot of poppier elements, folkier sounds, down-beat electronica, as well as loads of hip hop, you're going to be turning to these guys to turn it up somewhat and bring some fury at the end. Get maximal with this shit. Music sounds like galaxy, acid drop dance rock and stutter drums indie rock, with a sort of Scando nu hard rock element. All that slathered in hard synth lines, swooshin' spectral noise action, jagged, kraut rockish grinding machinery and futurismo pulses -- plenty of Pink Floyd plus Kraftwerk emulation and whatever else. Hypnosis, fluttering mechanics, ethereal drones, and the like. Pretty cool. Trippy laser brain music.

That one's called "Come Out, Come Down, Fade Out, Be Gone", which is solid advice.


PK14 (5:30pm @ Oppo Real Stage)

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Arguably -- although it shouldn't prompt much of an argument -- there's no other band more synonymous with, and central to, "Chinese underground music" than Beijing's PK14. At what can be perhaps described as the "autumn" of their career, there are few bands more revered by Chinese rock kids than PK14, both for being an early originator in the late '90s of what would subsequently and variously be described as the "Beijing sound", as well as for being one of China's most consistently arresting, furiously emotional, and technically unimpeachable live acts -- PK14, they're the real deal.

On top of that, they haven’t been to Shanghai in a while and almost never play Chinese festivals.

I would expect their set at Black Rabbit to be quite a special thing…in a chest thumping Chinese indie rock pride sort of way… so like, yeah… don't miss out!


So all this and more, in addition to the goofiness of those headliners... not an exclusionary list here by any means. Have a look to the festival page here for more acts and stuff.

Black Rabbit. This Sunday at the Shanghai Rugby Club. Starts at 12pm noon. Advance tickets: 260rmb. Order here.