Blame it on the World Cup, but it’s a testament to the steady improvement of the Shanghai music scene that we now consider a weekend with four live shows “slow.” We unfortunately missed the Beijing rockers, Camel, at Live Bar on Friday night, but heard from reliable sources that they put on a fun, up-beat, pop-punk set. On Saturday, Hackbuteer played a wild show worthy of a crowd of 400 people at Yuyintang, except that there were only 40 people there. The highly underrated six-man band from Xi’an experimented with everything from straight-up rock-and-roll to an Incubus-esque combination of guitars and turntables. Best secret of the weekend, they were. And what’s better than drinking warm beer from a can in a dirty warehouse in the middle of nowhere?
Keeping in the “daytrip venue” mode, we made the Live Bar trek on Sunday to watch the man who traded in Jose Cuervo for Jesus Christos — Gypsy Carns. If his one-man show and tales of bachelor parties with Poison weren’t entertaining enough, we’re assuming the look on the taxi driver’s face upon the realization that this tamborine-toting 6’1”, 200 pounds of pure man in cowboy boots (complete with spurs) needed a ride was.
Later that night, we made the unlikely transition to JZ Club for Coco’s last set before the band heads out to the Montreal Jazz Festival. This silky-throated singer is quickly becoming the obligatory show in Shanghai to catch. Local “celebrity” sightings, you ask? Sebastian from Tootekool, leading jazz expert Mark Pummell, and columnist Matsume … as well as the guys from , ahem, GigShanghai.
Monday evening we swung by Gypsy Carns’ fifth show in five days at the Gibson Showroom. The man was still going strong, but the music was wearing thin. Much more entertaining was listening to the translator nimbly dance around phrases like “he is born again” and “I was living a life of cocaine and fast women”.
Speaking of busy times for censorship, we’re still trying to get to the bottom of the Prince-coming-to-Shanghai rumors …
Photo of Gypsy Carns by Shanghai Streets.