Our big fat review of the year continues with contributions from Ivan Belcic, Jake Newby and Gabriel Bancaud. Click here for part one.
Drums for Death to Giants and also in the Acid Ponies/Death to Giants supergroup Death to Ponies. So yeah, he's had a few mentions here already. He also creates badass artwork that goes into your eyes via posters and t-shirts under the Twin Horizon brand.
Things don't get better than Rainbow Danger Club. They've been the best band in town since their first show, and they continued to hold that title all the way though their final performance earlier this year. Souvenirs, their crowning achievement, says it all. Their best production quality yet, songwriting that is at once pioneering and accessible, and mind-blowing artwork. Simply an unbeatable record, cover to cover.
Runners up: The Horde's Consider Yourselves Conquered and The Other's Nomadology.
One more best release: Reykjavictim's Xiao Di Fang
One one more best release, if I can: the Tzu Sing x Kim Laughton "Teeth" video. Dark and haunting music, perfectly complemented by the trippy excellence we've come to expect from Kim on the visuals
The Halloween show always proves itself to be one of my favorite shows of the year, and this year was no exception. Special hat-tip to XXYY's spot-on tribute set as Green Day.
The Shanghai Punk Festival also destroyed. Tons of great sets from bands all over China.
I sound like a broken record at this point, but Rainbow Danger Club's farewell gig may have brought a tear to my eye.
There were maybe eight people there, but Canada's Living With Lions absolutely blew the roof up off Yuyintang. The Ghost Inside crushed everyone else at MIDI, and did the same the next night at Mao when they opened for As I Lay Dying. So So Modern at 390. High energy, tight songwriting that managed to be both musically challenging as well as catchy, super friendly dudes.
The Horde packing 25 people into db Studios' recording room to lay down gang vocals on "IKEA Love Song"
Mike Ford's carefully composed farewell drum solo
Nichols smashing his trombone at the end of his last (for now) Death to Giants show
I've gotta give my vote to instrumental duo The Other. Beautiful debut album with Nomadology, and they're both friendly, supportive guys who you can see at gigs all the time. Really looking to see where they take their music.
Predictions for 2014
I'll just keep plugging ahead and see what else happens. More interesting new bands, composed of new faces, would certainly be welcome. I'd love it if a crushingly brutal, technically proficient metal band sprung up out of nowhere and just annihilated everyone. I'm also really looking forward to (spoiler alert) Ho-Tom's and Franco's solo albums. Speaking of which, XXYY needs to put an album out already as well!
Jake Newby is the editor of Time Out Shanghai, and is present at, like, ALL the shows.
Rainbow Danger Club's Souvenirs was easily the album of the year from Shanghai for me. It's just an outstanding record from a hugely talented band. Highlighting what a blow Nichols' departure has been, two of my other favourite albums this year were Death to Ponies' Swine Water and Death to Giants' Blood Pours Out. I also really enjoyed Tom Loves Katie's album and FeiMa's debut.
On the international side, I enjoyed Metallica's show, just because I was two rows from the very back way, way up in the roof of the Mercedes-Benz Arena and surrounded by Chinese kids from all over the country who had made the trip to Shanghai just to see the band and stood head banging all the way through the show. It was a great spectacle. Although for real spectacle, it was hard to top God Speed You! Black Emperor at Qianshuiwan. That was an epic, intense experience. Rainbow Danger Club's album release was a great show, as were Nichols' farewell gig and the Sunday Live show with Snapline as secret guests.
Watching Limp Bizkit play to a field of empty white plastic garden chairs for Sonic Shanghai.
Gabriel is one of the organizers of the annual 'Fete de la Musique' - check out our interview from a few years back to find out more.
I will put ahead Reykjavictim's "Xiao Di Fang" album released earlier in spring. Since last year, he has made much progress on the writing/composition, and his performances live are always something to watch and listen to. Not to mention he is doing all this work all alone!
No hesitation, the trumpet player Ibrahim Maalouf who played for JZ festival. That was something. His title "Beirut", live, I wont forget it easily. Just so powerful! You get the meaning of LIVE performances with these kind of artists and concerts.
Regarding local artists, I would go for the beijing based band Nova Heart at 390. Strong stage presence and great music. And they just played Transmusicales festival in Rennes, France, which is THE music festival in France who dedicates their line up mostly to upcoming artists (Stromae was the only headliner this year), many of them to become international names in a near future.
Yes more and more big names in town, on all kind of music genres, more and more music festivals, many more promoters too and more bands i heard. But as for the local chinese audience, is it really following ? hopefully yes. And hopefully door tickets wont be always excessively high for big acts. And hopefully more and more local artists to really take the time to sit down and write and compose, not only jamming on a loop. I was discussing with a local producer who is working with a hip hop artist back in France who is getting an increasing media exposure, asking him on how much they had put to get it right. Before his first album release, they worked something like over 70 tracks, to finally chose 13 of them.. So hopefully in Shanghai, also more professional structures to help these local artists to define themselves and to accompany them in their development like Zhu Lu He Feng music label does here. Jia You !