We’re sure glad we left Southern Barbarian* when we did. We were told that the Maxïmo Park gig would start at 9 pm and that there would be an opening band. So someone brought up on Western rock concert tradition would assume the very earliest Maxïmo Park would take the stage would be 10 pm. But we figured it would be more like 11 pm or midnight — that way the bar sells more drinks. But when we arrived at 4 Live (or Fabrique … or whatever we are supposed to call it) at around 9:45 pm we were shocked to find the headliners already on the stage and even more shocked when a friend told us they had already been playing for 20 minutes and that the opening act started at 8:15 pm. What kind of a punk (or post-punk) show was this? Oh — that’s right — one in Shanghai.
Aside from the start-time snafu, Maxïmo Park (as previously reported) rocked, and the largely Caucasian male crowd loved it. Correct us if we are wrong, but this show was something of a first for Shanghai — a fairly popular but not mainstream Western rock band playing a small club built specifically for live music. Actually, that statement doesn’t need all those qualifiers — Maxïmo Park is the best Western rock band** we had previously heard of*** to play Shanghai. Period. They were polished, with a great stage presence and we think lead singer Paul Smith could be a star some day (we were surprised he didn’t take any eyes out in the front row with one of his many jump kicks last night). Frankly, Maxïmo Park’s keyboardist frightens us a bit, and we think if there was every a Maxïmo Park horror movie, the bassist would be the first to get knocked off — he just seemed out of place.
We had been told previously that concerts featuring indie(ish) bands were an almost impossible sell here in Shanghai. Just not enough fans/money to support them. Well, last night we saw what it takes — a major sponsor. It was all-Bacardi-all-the-time at 4 Live. The brand took over bar and all you could drink were 20 kuai Bacardi cocktails. And that’s fine with us. We’ll gladly forfeit our beer for a night if that is what it takes to get good bands in Shanghai.
But we really think they could have sold a lot more Bacardi had they started the show at a normal hour. Maxïmo Park had finished their first set by 10:28 pm. And by 10:40 pm, the encore was over and the place was clearing out. Did it fill up again for the 1 am after party?
* A great (and cheap) Yunnan restaurant we’ll write more about soon.
** Not in their 60s.
*** We liked The Mayflies earlier this year, but they are still relative unknowns.
Photo from shanghaidiaries.com. More photos will likely appear soon at the Maxïmo Park Moblog.
We saw tons of people with cameras there last night. If you have photos or videos to share, post links to them in a comment. You can also email your photos to
COMING SOON: Shanghaiist interviews Maxïmo Park