Last weekend welcomed the second annual Shanghai Punk Festival at Yuyintang, featuring more than a dozen bands from all over China in a two-day event.
This year’s event was organized by China punk veteran Frank, DJ B.O, and Kaine, graphic designer and vocalist of Astrofuck (who also designed the Punk Festival 2013 poster and t-shirts).
The term “punk” is being used loosely to define the music at this festival, when in fact it featured a broader sense of the genre, including China-only bands that were a little more hardcore like Shanghai’s own Spill Your Guts and “death pop” duo Death to Giants.
Of course it can’t be compared to the Beijing Punk Festival, which celebrated their 10th year, but it featured some of China’s founding punk bands like Beijing’s Mi San Dao and Shanghai’s Loudspeaker, both bands formed before the 2000s.
Guilin band Banana Peel played a very pumped set – they left a very strong impression on me the last time I saw them in Shanghai, about two months ago at a one-off band night at LOgO. Less theatrics, more music. However, there were some bands that droned on, which I can only describe as similar to that of television background noise – I couldn’t even tell song from song apart.
Those that did (and were expected to) pull off theatrics was Shanghai’s “blues punk” band Round Eye, taking the stage shirtless with their bodies painted by local artist M.M. Plumm, who never before had to consider the logistics of body painting over so much man-hair.
As per attendance, the crowd turnout on the first night was intense – packing Yuyintang to bursting, letting the backdoor to the park open up to allow spillage, while those who insisted remaining inside for the show took perch on stools, tables and craning from the stairs.
The second day started off early at 3pm. However, there was an odd gap with timing – after four bands had taken the stage, a 2-hour break was given from 6pm to 8pm before the last three bands went on, annoying some of the attendees who thought that break time lasted too long, resulting in some gaps in the crowd when the schedule resumed.
Rest assured there were Mohawk-sporting, pierced-and-tattooed punks moshing and crowd surfing to the snapping snare and throaty growls at Yuyintang.
Bands that played: The Bricks, Banana Peel, Death to Giants, P-Town, Old Doll, Spill Your Guts, The Last Choice, Round Eye, Hell City, Loudspeaker, Mi San Dao, Reverse.
The Punk Festival tickets sold for RMB80 for the presale one-day ticket and RMB130 for the presale two-day ticket, Saturday, Aug 31 and Sunday, Sept 1.
[By Rachel Gouk]