Where do you stand in the 021 Bar/Shrock.cn controversy? Shanghaiist has been light on the scene for a while and wasn’t there for the height of the drama, but by reviewing the thread linked above you can get the general idea: a run-down bar in the Yangpu district run by some “rock immigrants” from Xiamen, has the support of local favorites San Huang Ji, over-enthusiastically and haphazardly organizes concerts, sometimes announcing bands who later deny that they had been contracted to play.
Shanghaiist has been there once, a couple months ago on a failed mission to get a cartilage piercing for a loved one (too dirty was the verdict). San Huang Ji was practicing on stage while we visited the tatoo studio “next door”. The guy who helped us was friendly, showing off his belly-button piercing, but clearly drunk and in no condition to do a sensitive piercing.
Our take is, the place is grungy but it seems ideal for a rock bar. Shanghaiist wouldn’t blame them for the low quality of concerts: I mean, the Shuffle Bar showed up at the beginning of the slump too (actually even closer to the point than the 021 bar). In our view, Shanghai kids are just too, ahem, prissy to go to a place like 021; look for them at Cashbox instead. Poster toulang618 says:
“I’ve read a lot of your posts, and what you guys are looking for is basically part-time rockers, guys who work on the side to support their rock habit; that’s why Shanghai will never be like Beijing, never have that intensity, because Shanghainese are incapable of being devoted 100% to the music.”
We can’t let 021 Bar off the hook for being grunge, though. Making up concerts and posting the as real is just lame and hurts the indie rock scene. As usual, no real-world problem is black and white, and this is clearly the smudge in this spat.
Still, any town needs a range of venues, from polished (Shuffle, Tang Hui) to quality roots (Yuyintang) to down-and-dirty come-one-come-all type middle-of-nowhere places like 021 Bar in order to promote an all-around, sustainable development of the rock scene. The number of venues for quality indie music is shooting up in Shanghai, so much better than it was a couple of years ago when this hipster rolled, or rather stumbled, into town (“shang yang (clothes)” is still scribbled near a circle around, oh, about Parksons on our 2004 Shanghai street map). When we can finally stop dropping by Xintiandi to pick up Ark Livehouse schedule brochures looking for decent rock music in Shanghai, we know the scene’s made it!
Previously on Shanghaiist:
SH gives the people what they want