Get ready to headbang with Dragon Pizza for the last time
This Sunday, Yuyintang will be echoing to the sounds of Shanghai’s first annual Punk festival, bringing together punk bands from all over the country, and some from Japan to perform alongside Shanghai’s finest for a day of excess.
It’s an impressive lineup: Shanghai is represented by Loudspeaker, one of the city’s first punk bands, Death to Giants, a two-man outfit comprising Moon Tyrant’s Ivan Belcic and Dennis Ming Nichols of Rainbow Danger Club, art-punks Top Floor Circus, and Dragon Pizza, who will be giving their last ever performance at the festival. Veteran Oi! boys Misandao are making the trip from Beijing, with Nanjing’s Rockabilly Punks Angry Jerks and Changsha’s The Last Choice. Japanese bands The Star Club, a first generation punk band that have been going since the late 70’s, and The Erections complete the list, which should be enough to keep you pogo-ing well into Monday morning. We spoke Feng Ran, a former member of Chaos PRC, one of the first generation of Beijing’s punks and one of the event’s organizers.
Misandao, Oi! Boys from Beijing.
The Shanghai Punk Festival is following on from the strong tradition laid down by the Beijing Punk Festival, still going strong in its 9th year. This event is intended to be the first in a series of annual festivals, but Feng Ran doesn’t want to stop there. ‘We want each city in China to have its own punk sound, just like Shanghai and Beijing. This is just the start of a much bigger story,’ he says.
It’s a story that has more to do with spreading the message of punk than just simply putting on shows.
‘All of the bands who are taking part are doing it for free as they all see it as an event that’s fun and worth doing, they are the ones who are supporting it the most. It’s fantastic that their doing this and it’s inspiring us to do our best job for them, and I’d like to take the opportunity to say massive thanks to all of them.’
Feng is keen to see punk continue to grow in Shanghai, which never experienced the same wave of enthusiasm for punk that Beijing did in the 90’s (about which David O'Dell has just written this kick-ass book).
‘I’ve never understood this, why such a materialistic and debauched city has never generated more of a punk movement. When a country has a strong punk scene, it can change people’s perspectives on a lot of stuff. We’re not bringing punk to Shanghai, but we’re putting more of a focus on the growth of punk here.’
Feng insists that, despite punk being increasingly commercialized and diluted, the DIY spirit of the first generation is still as crucial as ever.
‘The DIY philosophy and anarchy hasn’t changed. Everyone needs punk sounds in their life, it’s the most raw and most honest thing there is. No matter whether you’ve been exploited, put under pressure, or you’re unhappy, Punk is always there fighting for the people and for freedom! The 19th of August is the festival for these punk soldiers and you can be one of us!’
WORDS: PETE J, FENG RAN
PICTURES: ROCK IN CHINA WIKI, DRAGON PIZZA