Guess who just finished his Q1Rf and now has time to write rubbish?
Anyway, after the last positive upbeat post this one is going to be a bit different, I have been planning my weekends (you do that sort of shit when you get old) and sifting through the YYT guide for April and I am really depressed.
Disclaimer first – I get that venues are businesses and like everyone else you have to make ends meet.
Some background; I used to live in London and when I moved here there were two things that worried me most – losing access to one of the best places in the world to see live music and leaving the bike I had carted around the world behind due to some rather archaic and hard to get my head around laws regarding things with two wheels and engines bigger than a lawn mower. The second one is still not resolved and doesn’t look like being so while the global car market is pretty much entirely this country but the first one was a revelation. As I may have mentioned before.
When I arrived here I spent a wee bit of time trawling the interwebs to find live music and stuff and then got distracted and then came back to it. Long story, you wouldn’t be interested. Anyway, main point being what I found here was pretty amazing and cool, some great bands, a bunch of people who loved live music in any form and a great mix of cultures/races/whatever you want to call it hanging out and getting in to it. No bollocks about this scene and that scene, just people who loved being at gigs.
It did take a while as finding the underground was not real easy, I could find any number of clubs and DJs and what not but those days are well behind me and they never did it for me anyway unless I was being a far less responsible and upright citizen than I am today. Shanghai was an odd landing – a land of a million KTVs, thousands of nightclubs and 3 places where you could go see a band. Of which YYT was and is still arguably the bestest of the lot although 696 and Live Bar continue to show that you don’t need to be in the middle of town to host some serious shows (and if you haven’t seen it - http://www.douban.com/event/15810976/ is as good as it gets).
I had a discussion a long time ago with someone here about why Shanghai was a little behind Beijing in terms of live music and creativity I guess and they said something at the time that I think makes a lot of sense. That Beijing is a city of politics and law, a place where kicking against the pricks so to speak is a natural reaction. That Shanghai was the centre of this country’s booming financial economy, that things were a bit different here where you had folks on expense accounts larger than a small nation’s GDP and as a result you had a culture that was not as grounded perhaps as Beijing. Shanghai was a very I want it now city whereas Beijing was more a we want it together sort of place.
Back to the point – why am I depressed? Well, global warming. No, not really. I have looked at YYT for April and all I can see is the continuing takeover of the only great central place to see music (MAO Livehouse does NOT count) by DJs and expat parties. In a city with, oh, almost no live bars do we really need to see DJ nights at YYT? I accept this is personal (it is a blog guys) but every Saturday night in April seems to be an expat party event at YYT.
So while we are seeing some really cool stuff going on around afternoon shows (you didn’t really think I would post something without saying yay to afternoon shows did you?) it is becoming harder and harder to just go see a line up of kick arse bands at our favourite venue on a Saturday night. I live in a black and white world, makes life easier; DJs play in clubs, bands play in venues. I am a simple chap.
Sure there are empty nights during the week but chances are when the big party event is coming on the weekend you won’t see much of an audience on Thursday. It is a real shame that touring bands are getting relegated to mid-week too, we will see fewer and fewer Chinese and decent overseas bands hitting Shanghai when that stuff happens. I wouldn’t pay the bollocks domestic travel costs to come to YYT on a Wednesday put it that way and chances are I am not thinking that alone. So this week we have King Ly Chee – a band who have more years behind them than I knew of getting the weekend school night, another HK band getting last Wednesday, Little Fish from the UK who have played with Alice in Chains, Spinneret and others getting a Thursday. Yeah, I know, it was to do with their itinerary, like shanghai is a second thought city in China. Or if that is right then that is sort of backing my point already
So yeah, a month of DJ led parties at our best livehouse sort of disappoints me but I am only one person so no big deal. Other than I see the change here as being a bit of an issue for the future of shanghai live music. Don’t get me wrong, I would give my firstborn to the YYT team and in no way do I begrudge anyone making a crust after I have no idea how many years supporting live music no matter what. See the title of my last post. I am just feeling a bit lost I guess, sort of like breaking up with that someone you loved.
Still, 696 and Live Bar are still doing their thing and again – 696 this weekend is as awesome an event as you will see here. So awesome I am going to stuff the URL in again right here:
Do yourself a favour and expand the artists bit……then try and work out what the hell is going to happen. Other than a nurse will get tortured of course.