While most of the city’s dive-bar demons were at home recovering from the weekend’s festivities, a few goblins and ghouls gathered for Live Bar’s Halloween bash on Sunday night. Organized by the Shanghai Underground Music Network, the event was billed as a continuation of the National Day “music festival” that literally drew less than 20 people and was cancelled before the first night was over. Sunday night’s concert did considerably better with about a hundred people in attendance, although that number dropped significantly as many students headed back to their dorms around 9 pm.
As is too common with these types of events, there were quite a few differences between what was advertised and who actually showed up to play. The show started with an unnamed Brit-pop group made up of four university students who only played a few songs, but were surprisingly good — they had an energy that was sorely lacking in some of the more established bands. Specifically, Why Hasn’t the Return to Darkness Come? (东才怎么还不来乐队), who were in such a hurry to return to the dark that they fled the bright lights of the stage after only two songs. Next up was ONE, a pop-rock group headed by China metal veteran Liu Haishen. They brought a new level of musicianship and showmanship to the underground scene, but their cheesy Taiwan pop tinged classic rock sound wasn’t appreciated by many in the audience, who jeered the gogo backup singer and heckled Liu between songs.
Eventually, ONE ceded the stage to Brand (炮烙乐队), who spent almost as long tweaking the sound system as they did actually performing. By the time they started playing the crowd was beginning to thin out, but their song “Fuck All” really got the people moving and a small mosh pit broke out … so they finished the song and left. Smash (粉碎乐队), the only death-metal band of the evening, quickly took over and rocked the house down with an apparently improvised medley of original songs and Metallica lyrics. As relative old-timers, Defendant (被告乐队) had no problem keeping the energy level high, and their straight-ahead garage punk is always a crowd-pleaser. Finally, Old Street (老街乐队), a progressive metal band fronted by underground rock organizer Guang Hui (光辉), made their debut. Unfortunately, their first ever live appearance was cut short when the police shut the concert down due to noise complaints.
Overall, it was a great way to celebrate Halloween, and while there were a few disappointments, we look forward to more of these shows. Keep your eye on the Shanghaiist calendar for more upcoming events.
Shanghai Streets has some photos of the Halloween rock concert on Flickr.