Budweiser Storm Needs More Arcturians – An #EDM State Of Mind

The first lineup announcement for the second edition of China’s self proclaimed biggest #EDM festival is out.  Budweiser Storm returns with an entirely predictable first announcement of Avicii, some of the Swedish House Mafia dudes (perhaps one of the ones that played last year, or is it the other two?), Afrojack, Dash Berlin (yes, we are still using DJ Mag Top 10 references as benchmarks of quality) and Knife Party.  So far, so safe.

(Storm 2013 after-movie – right up Tom Cruise’s street)

2014 has been a big year for #EDM spending, with 2 of Chinese big music marketers (Heineken and Budweiser) tying their flag in no small way to the globally corporatised bastard child of electronic music.  The moneymen here in China have also decided that #EDM is going to provide a massive ROI.  After evident successes with Ultra Music Festival and Global Gathering in Korea, why would China not follow the same path, goes the thinking?  2014 has seen the emergence of a multitude of festivals devoted to electronic music, from Electric Circus, to the 3rd edition of the Great Wall Festival (organised by China’s own SFU Entertainment – a little too close to the SFX Entertainment name for our liking), to Release (organised by Modern Art Entertainment), to a slew of other such festivals that are planned for the autumn of this year, mostly in Beijing.  And of course, there’s Budweiser Storm.

(Great Wall Festival – “Walls of inclusiveness” according to the anchor, who manages to squeeze a word out amongst a throng of laowai’s who’ve had a little too much pop and ice cream).

Continue reading

Words From: Alessio Avezzano of Live Circus

Live Circus is a creative business founded by Alessio Avezzano. Originally based in Glasgow, Scotland, Alessio now operates out of Shanghai, where he collaborates with artists and musicians from around the world to produce sometimes quirky, sometimes funny, at the very least well made music videos and short films, amongst other things. We shot some questions over to Alessio to find out what got him going.


Alessio doing his thing


The desire to have this interview with you came about from this terrific/terrifying video that flew up in our faces from Shanghai act Round Eye:

They’ve packed in a lot:

  • The calculative practice of parents coordinating meetups (介绍) to pair off their kids (in this case the daughter is promised a ‘tall / rich / handsome’ – 高富帅).
  • Unyielding parents keeping a close eye on their daughters
  • Reference to Xintiandi, that place where people go to drink expensive Tsingdao
  • Acknowledgment of China’s beauty ideals, and the association of tans with the peasantry.

Basically, it’s pretty loaded! What are your thoughts on the concept? Do you think being able to joke about the crap local kids have to deal with is a good way for the band to garner some love?

Continue reading

Words From A small-mid Sized Venue Owner – Making It Happen in Shanghai

Venues provide critical points of contact between artists, fans, and increasingly, brands. Yet it seems venues – and the people that run them – are often left out of the conversation. The purpose of this interview is to get an update from a small-mid sized venue in respect of recent developments in the live music industry, and where the onus of responsibility for its future development lies.

We caught up with Sacco, co-founder of 390 Bar - a 250-capacity venue that sits on a quaint street in Changning district – and owner of Uptown Records, one of our favourite (and only) record stores here.


(ChaCha supporting Nite Jewel, Oct 2013)
Continue reading

Lowery On the Law: IP Talk at the U.S. Consulate

On the 26th June just before Cracker’s debut tour in China (a partnership between the US Embassy and Split Works), we attended a panel at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai concerning something along the lines of the importance of intellectual property (IP) rights in China. We managed to cobble together some takeaways even though the discussion was a little too short to do the subject justice, and lacked a clear direction.

Speakers included:

David LoweryCracker front man and copyright evangelist
Archie Hamilton – MD, Split Works / Splatter China
Bill Zang – Vice President, Shanghai Synergy Culture & Entertainment Group
Edward Qi – CEO / Founder, 2 News Net Broadcasting and Technology
Paul Stanley – Moderator

The audience of Cracker fans and consulate staff were eased into the panel by the moderator, who got Lowery to set the scene by describing what was involved in creating a record. He sensibly confessed that actually the majority of the work (and certainly spend) goes into promoting a release.


About five minutes later, what was a discussion swiftly became a contentious debate that centred around the views of Lowery and Hamilton. The debate was nothing radically different from what we’ve seen/heard/read about so many times before. Those who are ‘for’ intellectual property rights are pitched against those of a more egalitarian disposition, who believe IP rights are a vehicle for centralizing power and control.

Continue reading

The World Underground Sneak Peak

We previously blogged about The World Underground project. In the creator’s own words, the documentary:

 “…is a global idea, starting with China, Montana, and Chicago.  A new web series capturing moments in time from underground music scenes around the world.  To be released online, for donation only, free to all if you so choose.”

Well, it looks like the gears are turning – there will be an event on July 10th where you can get a “rough, censored” sneak-peak of the final work. What’s more, there will be a bunch of bands playing including SUBS, Stolen, Chui Wan, Residence A and Diders.


If you backed the project then thanks for doing your part to ensure we archive what’s going on – maybe we’ll look back to this time as being a golden age for independent music!

Follow-up: 2014 Zhangbei Inmusic Festival – Lorde to headline?

For those of you who did hold your breaths, the official line-up is out, and oh what a surprise one of the world’s hottest acts will not be gracing the stage of a festival located in a far off hinterland. Furthermore the festival appears to be sponsored by our favourite sanguine bovine. Coco Rosie’s appearance will also be missed by some. However, SEPULTURA.

image002 image003 image004

Middle of the Road Mido Festival

We just had to make a comment on this one. Over in Nanjing it appears we have a 山寨 Midi on our hands here. Friends on site reported 7 bands and several DJs from Jiangsu radio constituted the entire fest lineup. Their headliner was Aska Yang (杨宗纬), a Taiwanese Mandopop singer, who played along with Wan Fang and Hao Meimei.

In the words of one of our respondents “it looked more like outdoor KTV”…and having watched this video of Aka Yang performing, we couldn’t agree more. She paid RMB150 for a ticket from a tout (黄牛) after the festival reportedly sold out.

 These pictures paint a thousand words:

Global IP Champion David Lowery Spreads the Word in Shanghai

Ahead of Cracker’s show on Friday 27th at Yuyintang, David Lowery – who was recently named a Global Intellectual Property Champion by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – will be giving a talk alongside Archie Hamilton (MD, Split Works/Splatter) and 臧彦彬 (Bill Zang, Vice President of China Audio & Video Association, China Record Committee Chairman) about themes concerning the protection of copyrights in the territory and the various challenges artists face asserting their limited rights here.

The event takes place on Thursday at 6:30pm at the US consulate event space. You can register here.

It will be interesting to witness the extent of Lowery’s knowledge, and how his very much ‘western’ mentality comprehends the unique legislative environment we find ourselves in. Here is a brief video that gives an intro into Lowery’s reasoning:

Lineup Leak: 2014 Zhangbei Inmusic Festival – Lorde to headline?

And so, the Inmusic / Zhangbei Festival legend continues.  This time, the organisers have (unofficially) snagged one of the biggest artists in the world.  The local government (seemingly without the permission of the organisers) have announced on Weibo that Lorde will be making the long trip from Beijing to the Hebei grasslands.  It will be interesting to see how this goes down based on the experiences of previous acts that have made the same trip.

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 18.31.52

Continue reading