Welcome to Spring Break Shanghai! Bust out the party ice chest and short shorts because I’m ready to live it up for the next week. Oh wait, there ain’t no spring break in China. Turns out the Easter Bunny stopped by around Marco Polo times and got turned into a nice soup. If you were in town last weekend you may have noticed a swelling of the ranks in local Shanghai gigs. A little bird told me the Japanese hip hop show last Friday at Shelter got over 900 paid at the door. Damn I can just imagine the dance offs in that mother. Saturday’s ISLANDS show did not disappoint but my favorite gig was the Horrorist from the VOID crew. I thought this show would be dead as it’s basically a rip off of every '90s industrial band rolled up into one. But to my surprise it was packed and the NYC bloke screaming “Body to Body” in a WWII German helmet went over well with the crowd. Check the photos from that in this gallery.
However, Beijing fell on hard times with the 330 Metal Festival being canceled by the man on the day of the event. Started in 2001, the 330 festival is one of China’s most respected metal events of the year and just another casualty in the current harsh climate in our music scene. Organizer Mr. Kou of the band Suffocated lost nearly 80,000rmb of the money he raised for the event. But money aside, from the pictures I saw, people at the gig were really upset upon hearing no bands could play.
It looks all the upcoming May Festivals in Beijing and Shanghai are at risk as well. Luckily in the recent future we have a few solid small gigs coming up in the form of Friday’s “Punk Party” at Yuyintang that features Beijing’s Gum Bleed. Then Sunday our skank and pickle of a friend DJ B.O. has resurfaced on the Shanghai scene brining in Chinese rockabilly gods Rolling Bowling and local surf rockers The Psyders to Inferno. Then jumping ahead to Tuesday April 8th is Hong Kong hardcore legend King Ly Chee at Yuyintang which should be a big one.
While the English name for Friday’s Yuyintang show is titled "Monster Punk Festival" it’s quite clear the gig is more of a punk party. Headlining is Gum Bleed, which is one of my favorite street punk bands out of Beijing. They recently had a 30+ city Europe tour slated for last fall but had to reschedule to later this year. Since 2006 this group of tattooed Chinese punk rockers have been promoting the classic messages of punk's past from The Ramones to Joy Division. Last year the band put out an LP called City of Heroes on CD and Vinyl and before that had a split 10” vinyl with German hardcore band Sick Times.
Also on the lineup is one my favorite new bands called Smoking Area. Fronted by the bassist of Banana Monkey, the garage punk band has been killing around town lately. Then we have a special treat in the form of Goushen who have been coming back strong with a new lineup in 2015. All in all a solid gig for the punk hungry fans.
Gumbleed – "Kiss Me I’m Punk"
Goushen – "A Thousand Ants"
Oh DJ B.O. with your endless rotation of questionable events around Shanghai. I hate to say this but I’ve missed you. Maybe it’s the lack of Elvis impersonators, rock n roll spelling bees, or sumo wrestling competitions in Shanghai without your presence. In any form it looks like you’re back despite my petition to the American consulate to take you back home. By the looks of your recent flyers it seems you are up to that same bag of tricks that would make any door to door salesman proud.
Even though China does not have an Easter related Spring Break, we DO have a Holiday this Sunday. It's Tomb Sweeping Day, a holiday for people to honor their loved ones' past, similar to Day of the Dead in Mexico. This means Monday has the day off so Sunday is fair game for live music and parties. Also we should note this is one of those rare no strings attached holidays when you get a three-day weekend but no seven day’er the following week.
Headlining this Sunday’s Juju Panky Jive #1 is Beijing Rockabilly outfit Rolling Bowling. A trio of greasers whom for over a decade have been bringing that huge upright bass around China to give our land a much needed taste of '50s rock 'n' roll. One might say the band is neo-rockabilly as they have many songs that border on the punk and psychobilly sound. If you haven’t seen them before then make sure to head down to Inferno Sunday as they put on one of the best live performances in China. They have a super tight set. Just don’t forget to roll that pack of Lucky Strikes in the sleeve of your white t-shirt and get out your best pair of Levis jeans. Supporting Rolling Bowling is one of my favorite Shanghai bands The Psyders.
Rolling Bowling – "Rockabilly Lover"
The Pysders – "Ronins from the Forbidden Planet"
King Ly Chee
Boom. This show is technically next week I had to include in this week’s punk themed article. Hong Kong hardcore legends King Ly Chee are stopping by Yuyintang next Wednesday April 8th. I first mentioned King Ly Chee earlier this month in my review of Hardcore Punk across China -- who knew I would get a chance to see them in action live so soon!
The band has been going strong for 15 years and the tour is in support of this anniversary. Most people recognize King Ly Chee as the first band to bring the modern form of Hardcore Punk to China and even though the members have changed over the years, the message and style of the music has not changed. Over their 15 year history they have toured the mainland countless times, collaborated with some of the biggest hardcore artists in the world, and I’m sure sold a few Vans shoes along the way.
Supporting the night are Spill Your Guts, Chaos Mind, and Loudspeaker. Because who the fuck else would be playing? Let’s cross our fingers this gig goes off without a hitch, because I don’t want to see a bunch of big hardcore guys crying into their flannels. That’s not good for anyone.
King Ly Chee - "Overcome"
Spill Your Guts – "Poisoned Mind"
Happy Spring Break, Easter, and Tomb Sweeping Weekend Shanghai!