After filming over one hundred shows this year, you’d might be shocked to know that I had difficulty this year picking my favorite shows and performances. What it finally boiled down to was that these were the moments, big and small, personal and collective, that slapped a shit-eating grin on my face, and stood out above the rest. Check it out below.
The Big Five
This was the moment where there was no turning back – the multi-cam edit. Looking back at it, it really is a shoddily put together video. But damn, did it feel good working with a group of people who wanted to push this baby forward – filming electro disco renegades Nova Heart nevertheless, whose shows are hypnotically sensual, vivid, and ‘big’ in every aspect. So kudos to all the people who lit a fire under my ass this year.
Yeah I’m slamming these two together – sue me – it was a one two knockout of punk back in August which left me reeling for days – no way I got keep them apart. First up was Dr. Liu and The Diders at School – a gloriously unhinged show that completely caught me off guard – an atmosphere bordering on psychotic – from The Diders ‘leave nothing on the table’ set to Dr. Liu & The Human Centipede’s volatile hardcore ramblings with a twist – this was madness contaminating an audiences consciousness, and perhaps the moment that School took home venue of the year for me. Chaos reigned supreme the very next day at the DMC Opening Party, punk’s newest punk haven, and its was a shitstorm of epic proportions, where birthday cakes, burnt popcorn, ripped out earrings, shoddy equipment, and even the boys in blue couldn’t put a lid on the madhouse fun that transpired. A beautiful collection of moments.
Last April I finally decided to get off my ass and get the 411 on the music scene down in Shanghai and I could not of had a more fulfilling experience – between catching local favorites at the legendary Yuyintang, to discovering my new favorite band The Dyne at Uptown Records, seeing The Gar pack the house, and even digging the eccentric aesthetics of 390, there wasn’t a dull moment in sight. 2014 is will definitely find me spending more time down south.
Seeing the roots of the resurgence of the Jingweir zine, from the emails, to the meetings, to the packaging, all leading up to the launch party was simply a ball, an eye-opening experience, and a honor to be apart of. By the time Hang on the Box, I mean Girl Kill Girlss, were singing ‘Down By The Water’, I was getting goosebumps. Surrounded by the best group of friends this side of the world, there couldn’t been a more perfect aligning of stars.
Just an amazing lineup that solidified WHAI as one of the best acts in town, had me marveling at Mico’s insanely good drumming skills, and dancing in reggae bliss to LSD, all made the better since I had my parents in tow who (even at seventy-seven years old) were having a grand ol’ time. Now that’s how you show the rents a good time.
10 Other Grin-Inducing Moments
Proof that rock stars still exist in China – larger-than-life songs made true by some of the most furiously talented people in the business who deserve to pack out stadiums at this stage in the game – yaogun lives on!
When post punk pioneers Gang of Four invited Lu Di of AV Okubo and Hua Dong of Re-Tros, two righteous bands who have been seeing a lot of exposure outside of China, to come on stage for a new track the three wrote together – ‘Broken Talk’ – it was a pretty geek-heavy moment. An awesome reminder of the cross-pollution that the music scene will likely be swimming in in the near future.
Dos Kolegas still reigns supreme when it feels the need to; a snowballing of awesome sets, most notably from Buyi, who remain a unstoppable crowd pleaser, Steely Heart, whose new wave rock n roll ignited for once, Subs\’s manic energy, and Nine Treasures unique twist to the pagan metal genre. 2K + summer sun = good times.
You know when your throwing your girl in the air and conga-lining though the crowd as if you heard music for the first time, it’s a good show. And Yemen Blues blew the roof off of the joint – jaw-dropping performance.
QSBS have fallen further down the glossy world of pop and I couldn’t be happier. So when she performed her latest single ‘Mammoth’ with the help of Li Fan (of Bedstars) and Wang Yu (of The Gar) on additional drum duties, Fu Han and company turned Yugong Yishan into a sauna. This is how an audience should react. Great song.
Watching Mii was one of those moments where everything clicks – every beat, chord, outburst just comes together in a symphony of jamtastic bliss, which literally put me in a trance of childlike wonder. Or maybe it was just an acid flashback.This was also my first run in with Shanghai shit rock Pairs getting the cover treatment – Guiguisuisui’s snarky Cheshire-Cat take on ‘Eighteen Shakes’ simply rules and reminds a testament to Xiao Zhong\’s songwriter abilities.
Why can’t more bands be like Daikaiju, who relish at any opportunity to play and while they’re at it, put on some of the most electrifying shows ever in Beijing – can we have an annual Daikaiju tour?!
Though 2013 wasn’t as big a year for Skip Skip Ben Ben as I had hoped, the band managed in sneak in a few surprises, including this noisy rendition of the ‘girl power’ hit. Ben Ben can walk all over me any day of the week.
One of the few times where I almost cried during a set, when Buyi isn’t busy taking names and kicking ass, they can really throw you through some emotional hoops.
Sweetest group of Aussies I’ve met, and seeing they unleash their hyperactive manchild power punk onto School was an unexpected delight. And plus, this was the first and only time I’ve ever been paid to film – so yeah, getting paid to do something you love is like George Constanza eating and having sex at the same time.
Check back tomorrow for my bands and artists of the year.