Thursday, October 12, 2006

GigLive Shanghai ( is an assortment of local underground talent, and it happens every Wednesday night at the Bon-bon. Of course, reading this line the first time on a website leads you with little clue as to what the actual event will be like, so one has to venture out on their own and find out. The event is currently being held at a “club”, Bon-bon, however, it’s probably good to point out that the turn-out on Wednesday nights is extremely low – around 20 people, so it’s not as if you have to worry about a club scene. Everyone lines up face against the bar, and stands watching the band rock it out on stage. GigLive also offers up three different bands each night, each being allotted around thirty minutes. It seems that the starting time has been placed for 10:00 PM as well.
What about the music itself? It’s definitely indie rock, though I have to say that I’m a little lacking on a proper background, but it’s pretty similar to what you can hear in the US. I feel that it’s a bit interesting to listen to indie rock that’s done in Chinese though – and it’s strange to think of how similar the sounds are. My only complaints would be against the overly loud music – I think my clothes were moving with the vibrations. My problem seemed to revolve around the fact that I was unable to hear the lyrics, though I suppose that as most of the supporters were ex-pats, it doesn’t constitute an issue. The entry fee is also a little high at 88 RMB. Of course, it’s apparently “all you can drink”, but seeing that I don’t usually drink, it felt a bit excessive, though I understand that you really have to work out venues – and from the website, the club’s really the best they can get right now.
Overall, I would recommend seeing GigLive – especially given that it’s being hosted every week now, and every week they search for differing local talent. Just watch the taxis when leaving – the flood of new taxi drivers into Shanghai that can’t find their way around to anywhere is always a problem, where a 21 RMB ride ends up costing you a good 55 RMB.


charlie cai said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
charlie cai said...

I'm glad that China has come a long way in the past 6 years, and covered an astonishingly large gap between Western pop culture and Chinese pop culture in just the past 2 years.

When I came back in the summer 2004 (my last visit before Winter of 2005), Shanghai was just beginning to flourish in terms of accepting Western pop culture. Prior to that, it was mostly Cantonese or Taiwanese music, but with the emergence of Taiwanese/Cantonese music that imitates American Hip Hop or punk rock culture, the Chinese interest was spurred and the abundant supply of cheap pirated (yarr~!) DVDs really became the catalyst for Chinese to begin developing their own sense of individuality and character: they began to feel and love and search for meaning instead of drone on artificially under the government's propganda banners.

Now, all over the city there are small bars and lounges to large scale clubs that present a club scene or host music events (the popular ones being indie or Hip Hop events), so I'm sure the opportunity to experience a rapidly modernizing country that used to allow only lovey-dovey romance songs from Hong Kong and Taiwan have accepted the lyrically defiant Western pop culture (though I am saddened that Jay-Z's Shanghai tour is cancelled due to lyrical content). Overall I am optimistic that China, in the aesthetic aspect, will eventually parallel the West, however, the limitations and barriers around free expression still exist and will always be the confining aspect, but who knows, maybe it will be a catalyst to produce amazing talent, or maybe not.

P.S. I never liked Bon-bon, and I believe the taxi driver knew where to go, he just cheated you.