After my stint in Ningbo it was time to pay my dues and give myself over to Shanghai. What can I say – Shanghai is my mistress. I can never stay for too long but each and every time I’ve been I’ve fallen punch drunk in love with the place – the food, the people, the buildings – there’s an air about the place that simply feels welcoming and homey.
And while I didn’t check out to many bands during my two nights there, I did indulge in the electronic scene. Which meant I finally had to check out Dada – the original OG. Compared to Beijing, this joint is a beast of a venue, one that eventually turned into a swarm of sweaty bodies by night’s end. I was there for the Swimful EP release show – entitled Pearls it’s a release that’s been getting plenty of love in my home and for good reason. The UK-bred Shanghai-based producer captures a fine balance between bubbly sino melodies and steely melancholic grooves that simply glow.
However, it was opening producer Downstate who left the biggest impression (it certainly helped that I caught him before the venue turned into The Walking Dead) – he gave a live set full of 80s synths, humid bass, crackling trap stylings, and breakbeats. Complete with Dada’s smoke machine which feels the need to blast front row spectators every ten seconds, it felt like I was in a John Hughes flick suddenly hijacked by Nicolas Winding Refn. Good stuff indeed.
After tracking down so local eateries the next day and jacking as many Ofo bikes as humanly possible, I ventured to Basement6. Formerly known as Uptown Records, the basement vinyl shop has had a slight upgrade (that might be pushing it) since I was last there a few years back with a sexy little space for Idle Beats merchandise, but other than that it’s the same ol mildewy joint that I’ve come to love. Local Beijing electronic producer and buddy of mine thruoutin was there to perform his latest LP, Contingent of Outlying Territory, off of Ran Music. Can’t say enough good things about one (keep your eyes peeled for a MV next month). Supporting was husband and wife ambient duo Peng Zhuang and solo electronic experimentalist Laughing Ears. Solid ambient sounds to close out my time in Shanghai.