We hate to sound like we’re shilling for Live Bar, but with ten shows in the five weeks since they officially opened, the Yangpu dive is fast becoming the number one venue for live rock music in Shanghai. Three consecutive concerts this past weekend meant six long cab rides, 13 bands, and innumerable (20-kuai!) pitchers of beer.
Friday: School of Rock, an event designed to showcase up-and-coming student bands (and flaunt China’s intellectual property policies), featured seven groups. Most were forgettable (at least we wish we could forget them), but there were a couple of standouts: Mr. Joker‘s singer didn’t show up, so the lead guitarist led the band in a Satriani-style shred-fest, demonstrating remarkable technical ability but leaving his bandmates struggling to keep up. After some pop-punk covers from Pink7 and nu-metal from Place Where the Map Ends (地图结束的地方), T is for Trebuchet, a group of American teachers, took the stage and played a great set of original upbeat indie rock that was hands-down the best of the night. A friend of Shanghaiist called them “the best American indie-rock band in Shanghai.”
Saturday: Old Street (老街乐队), originally from Xiamen, recently re-formed in Shanghai, and for their first “official” performance they invited local metal band Another Kind of Light (另一种光亮) and prog-rock trio Three Yellow Chickens (三黄鸡) to join in. Mr. Joker and Place Where the Map Ends returned to open the show and Old Street put on a decent performance, but the highlight of the evening was Another Kind of Light. They played a solid twenty-minute set of pure energy and inspired the happiest looking mosh-pit we’ve ever seen.
Sunday: Vialka, the Canadian/French “gypsy turbofolkpunk” duo, are currently nearing the end of their one month, 23 city tour of China. Last night was the first of two dates in Shanghai, and while the turnout was disappointing, the pair put on an awesome (though somewhat strange) show. Their music is difficult to classify — influences from the folk traditions of Europe, Asia and the Americas are combined with progressive jazz and filtered through a punk/DIY ethic to create something truly unique. It may not be for everyone, but if you’re interested in experimental music or performance art and missed the show last night, Vialka will be at Bar 288 on Taikang Lu tonight.
Photos on Shanghai Streets: School of Rock, Old Street & Friends, Vialka