If you’ve recently moved to Shanghai and you like live music, you don’t know how good you’ve got it. Sure, the scene isn’t great yet — some might argue that it isn’t even good — but at least there is a scene. Two years ago, maybe even a year ago, we couldn’t say that. But now there are live music offerings almost every night of week here, and things are only going to get better. We watched Norwegian indie-rockers The Mayflies (not to be confused with The Mayflies USA) play at Live Bar last night, and they were great — a legitimate band we would have paid to see at one of our old haunts back in Atlanta or Athens, Georgia, where we were never wanting for quality live music.
There was a small, largely male crowd there last night — not sure if when the Mayflies asked the crowd to stand in front of the stage they were expecting it to be such a sausage fest — but everybody seemed to have a good time … especially Lao Sun, Live Bar’s energetic owner, who only stopped dancing to get on stage and address the crowd. (You can read a relatively recent interview with Lao Sun here.) Live Bar, by the way, is worth the trek outside city center (it took us 45 minutes to get there last night … holiday traffic? … we hear Metro Line 4 is a better option, but it stops running pretty early). It’s a classic live rock venue, small and sweaty — seriously, the place will be an oven come July — with a very underground vibe. They raised the stage and raised the roof (literally) since our last visit there. Both welcome improvements. They also have cheap drinks: 15 kuai tall bottles of Tsingtao and 20 kuai cans of something called “Stout Beer,” a dark Chinese offering that actually wasn’t too bad for a Chinese dark offering (of course, some people describe it like this: “Sweet and slightly malty cardboard flavour. Watery. A very bad stout.”)
You can listen to some of the Mayflies’ music here. Unfortunately no clips of their encore song: “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” There is more information about the Mayflies’ trip to China at Norway’s “official site in China” (there’s really not that much there, but we just wanted to link to Norway’s “official site in China”). In attendance last night were some of the members of Top Floor Circus — the lead singer of which landed head first on the pavement after falling from the shoulders of a friend while goofing around outside Live Bar between bands.
Other than that accident it was a good weekend for live music in Shanghai. The Mayflies played Friday at Shuffle Bar, as well. Liverpool’s The Wombats played at Shuffle on Saturday and reportedly kicked ass (when they weren’t drinking the bar dry). Both The Wombats and the The Mayflies are in China for the Midi Music Festival, which kicks of today in Beijing.
Checking Upcoming.org, it looks as though things will be quiet in Shanghai until May 6, when indie/electropop duo Monokino take the stage at Shuffle. More info at ShanghaiStreets.net.
Other random weekend notes: A Future Perfect has got to be one of the best places to dine outside in Shanghai. Great atmosphere. Great food. Substantial portions. And attractive prices when compared to similar restaurants in the city. Also, no surprise here, but Cotton’s kicks ass — a great place to hang out. All hail the Chairman Mao Shot. Good stuff.
Anyone take photos of last weekend’s gigs? Email them to [email protected] or upload them to your Flickr account and tag them “shanghaiist”.
Photo of The Mayflies by Kim Laland.