[Danish band The Clean Boys, playing at Harley's on Saturday for Rat On]
Happy Wednesday Shanghai. Another Golden Week has passed and the sweet grip of Autumn is in full swing. The weather was beautiful and music lovers had plenty of activities to choose from. One of the new festivals ‘Simple Life’ was quite interesting. This was probably the most innocent music event in I’ve been to in Shanghai and it was refreshing to be at a festival without a DJ stage. Just a bunch of mild mannered kids enjoying music without smoking, drinking, or even littering.
While the no booze part was a hard blow the festival was actually awesome. The legendary New York band Television’s set was a little sluggish but the ten minute version of Marquee Moon made the trip to Expo Park worth it. In the crowd were members of some of Beijing's biggest bands, like PK14, Carsick Cars, Birdstriking, Soviet Pop, and more who all drove down for the festival. While I’m sure it didn’t come close to a VIP table at Storm, hopefully more festivals like Simple Life will spring up to counter some of the more commercial music events.
If rock and roll is what your looking for then the good ole boys down at Rat on Swamp Dog have your number with a Danish import band who go by the name The Clean Boys. Just good old-fashioned power pop & punk that's guaranteed to move your feet. Little known fact that Scandnavia had a very active garage rock scene in the late 70’s and early 80’s so today along with a Clean Boys song I’m going to share some Danish underground selections. I’m talking real underground. Most of the bands only released a 7” or two with less than 500 pressed. Since this was pre-internet the only documentation at the time was in small fanzines so it's a miracle that you can find them online now.
The Clean Boys
The Clean Boys are back on China’s doorstep for the first time since their extensive 2009 tour. The rocking Danes formed in the city of Aarhus over ten years ago and are known for their relentless time spent on the road. If you ever listened to the Killed By Death rock compilations that came out in the 80s you’ll hear a very strong resemblance to the garage bands of that era. It’s not cerebral, it’s not art -- it’s just rock n roll with no apologies. Take it or leave it.
Clean Boys - "In Limbo"
While the bulk of great garage rock bands from Scandinavia came from Sweden you can bet those Danes were rocking just as hard in the late 70’s. Wearing monster makeup, Lost Kids are Denmark’s answer to the power pop act The Rezillos. They had a larger career than most with two full length LPs and four singles and even got on a Danish pop television show.
Lost Kids - Cola Freak
Probably the most influential punk band out of Denmark would be Sods who formed in Copenhagen in 1977. It’s widely disputed if they were really the first punk band in Denmark with so many acts starting around the same time. However, after exposure to Joy Division, Television, and other post-punk bands like Pere Ebu, the Sods quickly changed their style to a more gothic industrial style. Check out a little early Sods here with their classic tune Television Sect.
Sods - "Television Sect"
I found Johnny Concrete on the punk compilation Paere Punk. This is their only 7” under the Johnny Concrete name, however they had a few releases under the name Dream Police. Some say the song "Johnny, Johnny" was a gay anthem as it seems to be based on a boy serenading a boy. Anywho that 7” goes for dollars these days as do many of the early garage rock vinyl from the Scandanvia due to the rarity.
Johnny Concrete - "Jeg Ved (Hvor Du Er)"
For some more current Danish rock, check out the Clean Boys with new Chinese rockers Dirty Fingers, old school Chinese band Loudspeaker, and PVA on Saturday at Harley’s.
[Epitaph, playing at Yuyintang with ten other bands on Sunday]
One more worth mentioning. This little Sunday show titled Shanghai Metal Assault 2 almost snuck past the radar. Starting at 2pm it’s a free gig that includes 11 mostly local bands covering nu-metal, progressive metal, melodic metal, and yeah just plain metal. Damn Shanghai has a lot of metal bands.
You got your classy act MathLotus who like button-up shirts and long piano intros in their sets, and Epitaph (墓志铭) who dawn the spikes and corpse paint for your pleasure. Then you have the wild stylings of Chaos Mind ran by the dread locked front man Sam Dust who recently started the record label Playful Warrior. Another Shanghai band to watch out for is Arcbane who just signed to Playful Warrior and are also playing the next Rat On monthly showcase October 25th and the Anti-EDM Festival on October 18. Over 10 hours of Chinese metal at a low low cost of 0RMB? Damn that’s a bargain.
There you go.