Weekly Update: Work Work Work

By , 2016年 3月 24日

Alright! Roaring back to life here. New venues, new bands, old topics to tackle with new media. It’s been great hibernating but now the birds are out, the buds are blooming and it’s time to get to work. Here’s a hardcore weekend itinerary to suit your underground art & music needs:


First up: Friday. Though it’s only held one show so far, Fruityspace has already become a go-to for the fringe bookers and bands (including us) displaced by last year’s closures of such noise-friendly venues as XP and Zajia Lab. Went to check out Malaysian duo FUGU the other week, and the site is great: a tight, cozy basement with seating and standing room for about 50 and a stocked beer fridge. Friday would be a fine time to check it out for yourself, when they test out their new DIY soundproofing with sets by two of the best new bands to bubble up in Beijing over the last year, 工工工 and Boiled Hippo. Check out live cuts from each of them in our Primate Anxiety chunjie mix, or check out 工工工’s style here:

8:30pm start, 40rmb at the door


Two solid options for live music on Saturday night, depending on your mood. The glossier option is at Yugong Yishan, which hosts the official launch of Howie Lee’s first full-length, Mù Chè Shān Chū. Howie’s emerged as a leading light of the Beijing electronic music scene, pushing Chinese artists toward increasing international recognition and pulling up a whole emerging generation of homegrown bedroom producers on the domestic front. (Read more about Howie and the Do Hits label in my Time Out profile.)

In addition to Howie’s live A/V set, Saturday’s show will feature a suite of overseas Chinese artists, most of whom are playing China for the first time at this gig as part of Do Hits/Noisey’s new Motherland initiative. These include Sydney-based r&b producer Nehzuil, LA-based beatmaker and instrument builder Mike Gao, and NYC-based rapper Bohan Phoenix, featured in the bananas music video above (youtube).

Yugong Yishan, 9pm start, 150rmb at the door


For something a whole lot sloppier, rock on over to the newly expanded School Rock’n’Roll Slash Football Bar to check the latest turn from from sick, sleazy Shanghai doowop punks Round Eye. Their self-titled LP from last year was one of my most slept on, but it rips hard and the band delivers it a bit differently live every time I see them, I guess depending on the other bands on the bill and their respective levels of inebriation. Stream:

This time through Round Eye is traveling with US band Mr. Clit and the Pink Cigarettes, whom they met in Indianapolis, OH during a typically frenzied Daikaiju stage attack. They subsequently toured the USA together and now Round Eye are returning the favor in China. Seems like good times based on this list of influences: “Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Misfits, Pee Wee Herman, Cyndi Lauper, The Bronx, and the queen of rock ‘n’ roll, Elton John!”

Lots of local support on this bill as well, with sets by Bedstars, Social Boar and Guiguisuisui.

School, 9pm, 60rmb


Meanwhile, Beiluoguxiang has a nice little one-two punch if you’re into some casual hutong bar hopping. Beiluo Bread Bar on the south end of the alley will be hosting artist/curator Filippo Cardella, who’s been busy this year. He curated 拆 (chai), a small group show featuring work by Beijing street writers Mask and Zato, in February, and in late April he’ll open a video art exhibit called Inner City Doldrums at Meridian Space, which is something about “the glory of a gentrified metropolis and the ruins of a post-atomic Beijing.”

In the mean time, and connected to the latter, he’s launching The Last Man, a fanzine about street writing in Beijing. Swing by Beiluo Bread Bar from 3-7pm to pick up a copy, maybe get a little day buzz going, then head on down to…

8-Bit, on the northern side of Beiluo. They’ve got a free live show of experimental electronic music, which in my experience is perfect background sound for kind of half-assing your way through Sonic the Hedgehog and drinking Mai Bar-lite cocktails. Live sets from Noise Arcade and iimmune, 10pm start.


Elsewhere in hutong art happenings: one-roomer Lab 47 has an opening on Saturday: Epiphenomena, a solo show for artist Qi Zhen. Curatese:

Qi Zhen creates a scene of various animal sculptures, by which implies a long-lasting evolution and developing of human society. The artist has always been considering the human status quo. In this exhibition, Qi strives to build an atmosphere of anxiety and helplessness. We can see the pale, distorted animals come together wandering around space, targetless. The video lay on the floor at the far end of the room shows animals’ souls running in heaven. The whole scene implies a weird also a natural sense of life, on the one hand, and indicates the dire also certain unspeakable motivation of living and existing, on the other. The Unspeakable notion is an essential point that refers to the relation between the language and the truth regarding the contemporary situation.

Sounds like seeing Zootopia on a lot of acid. Into it.


One last weekend tip, for the early birds: on Saturday, The Bookworm hosts a panel called The Arts Alive: Identity and New Media in Contemporary Chinese Art, part of the Future Perfect program within Bookworm’s eponymous literary festival. This one is curated by a contemporary Chinese art blog called Open Ground, which I’d never seen before. Hey, cool. Panelists include Open Ground founder Ellen Larson, digital artist Tian Xiaolei, and filmmaker Ju Anqi, whose latest film Big Characters has been getting some good international buzz.

Topics: “the intersection between [the artists’] work and contemporary Chinese society, taking inspiration from everyday life experiences, memory, tradition, and the increasingly significant role of technology”

The Bookworm, 10am, 60rmb ticket (buy here)

That’s all for now. Lots on the horizon next week, with the Tomb Sweeping holiday bonus as a kicker. Check back in Wednesday-ish.

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