ChaCha & Jay.soul
Happy Thursday everyone. I hope the drab weather isn't turning everyone else into a zombie like I think it is me. Today’s not bad, but with rain claiming much of the next week's forecast, the metaphorical brain-rot promises to slowly eat away my soul. It is in due time then, that this weekend Chongqing will see an influx of just that. Soul.
On Friday night, the soul comes two ways, as it creeps into both descriptions of singer ChaCha’s beautiful voice and the name of her collaborator, Dutch DJ/producer Jay.Soul. Together, the Shanghai based duo make up the trip-hop outfit AM444, who last year released the album Eye Wonder to critical acclaim(it was one of the few albums I’ve purchased on itunes over the past few years. Its that good). This will be ChaCha’s third Nuts Club performance, but only her first as AM444, and if the previous two shows are anything to go by, I’d be willing to bet this will be one to remember. Local beatmaker PDP is in support and DJ Drunk Monk, who has a knack for rocking parties until the early morning, will take to the decks to close out the night.
And on Saturday, Nuts will play host to a double-header of sorts, with two distinctly different, but equally intriguing happenings. Firstly, at 20:30 is the band XiBan. Though very much a Chinese band, XiBan would be best described with the oh so general label of “World Music.” The band, with members from China, France, and the US, combine elements of Shanxi Opera, Beijing and Jiangzhou drumming, Tibetan and Yellow River singing, with elements of Indian, Australian, and modern electronic music, playing everything from bells and buckets to guitar and didgeridoo. A definite must-see for the hippy in all of us.
Directly following Xiban is the appropriately named ‘After Party,’ which in its own could serve as a headlining show featuring Berlin based producer and creator of “extra-terrestrial future beats,” Doshy. Apparently he was traveling in Chongqing at the same time that a friend of his happens to be here for the month, working her day job as a doctor, developing pharmaceuticals. This friend also just happens to be JCC, one of China’s best drum n’ bass DJs and the creator of 嘈!ChAos, Guangzhou’s longest running D&B/Dub-step party, who will DJ alongside Doshy at what promises to be an all night throw-down of bass-heavy beats and “synth wizardry.” And might I remind you, it’s FREE.
No. 2 Story @ Nuts
What a night folks! Last saturday (feb. 18th 2012) was not only the one-year anniversary party of popular expat dive Da Rasta, but also the latest live outing of Chongqing band No.2 Story (二号事件- Erhao Shijian) and opening act A South Adventure (南方奇遇- Nanfang Qiyu).
I punched out at 9 and immediately ran to Nuts, where I got to see the tail end of South Adventure’s set. Unfortunately, I paid little attention as I was busy recalling the events of the previous thursday with fellow showgoers. A few minutes later, my eyes were drawn to the stage as the main act stepped in. For fans of the genre (any combination of the words metal, hardcore and emo about describes it), it was a very good show indeed. To start with, the members of the band are all well known in the local music scene and there was visible mutual love in the room. Technical ability and talent were also part of the equation so, to the untrained eye, it was as good as it could get in a Chongqing livehouse. My half-trained eye, however, couldn’t help but notice how much they could benefit from a little direction… N.2 Story have a knack for pleasing (or pleasuring, if the rumors are true) their crowd and they can scream loud enough for you not to mistake this for lowly commercialism. We hope to see this act develop into an underground sensation in the near future…
Da Rasta's anniversary bash
Da Rasta’s 1-year anniversary bash
I followed a crowd of foreigners through the small alley between Shazhong and Hanyu Lu to attend what promised to be the party of the month. Over its yearlong history, Da Rasta has gathered a loyal clientele and almost all of it was there… which made movement a near impossibility. Local celebrities danced to the music of Dj’s P (aka Ya Boy) and Goodweed and all in attendance received a clever gift: a keychain bottle opener.
Congratulations to Shapingba’s premier foreign devil spot, we wish you another year of breaking windows, chairs, bottles and the barriers between people. Jah bless.
The Wheels - photo by: Black Temper
Last Saturday(Feb. 11th 2012), Shapingba’s Nuts Club filled to capacity as it hosted 4 CQ bands for the oddly-named “PUNK PARTY 2012”. Memories of my youth surfaced as I stood by the mosh pit, surrounded by giddy punk-rockers and girls distinctly hotter than the ones I’ve come to expect at punk shows. Plenty of hilarious bodysurfing attempts and tons of shoving made this one a must-see…
Wenluan (紊乱- Disorder) warmed up the room with a very decent opening set as hordes of young barbarians kept coming in. The singer, nicely pulling off the Joey Ramone look, kept the chitchat to a minimum and the crowd responded well. Focused on the pit, I only noticed the dense crowd they had attracted when it prevented me from getting a beer during their last song.
Next was EM9, a band of newcomers which seems to be an offshoot of Wenluan. I had to step out during their set, but I spent enough time inside to notice their style was heavily contrasting with the rest of the acts. The night had yet to truly impress me.
Yiwai Chongtu - photo by: Black Temper
Seeing Yiwai Chongtu (意外冲突- Accidental Collision) for the first time, however, was extremely satisfying: catchy melodies, just the right amount of brattiness and a big surprise when sunny faced lead singer SuSu pulled out Joe Strummer/Tim Armstrong style vocals.
The last band was a crowd favorite and probably Chongqing’s most popular band: The Wheels. It was a very solid set as usual, but the energy I had felt last time I saw them live was not quite there. The Wheels’ last show saw them parting with their bass player, which meant this time vocalist Panda had to take up bass duties, seriously affecting his mobility.
DJ Goodweed wrapped up the night in a dramatically different style, and we saw Narrenschiff’s Sun Ping taking over the dance floor…
I'd been hearing about Amigo's Mexican restaurant in Jiangbei for a while now, so a few days ago, when a craving for mexican food struck me, I decided it was time to pull the trigger and give it a try. Having never been there before, I asked a friend where it was located and was told that it was on the "5th or 6th floor" of the Imix building in Guanyinqiao. Easy enough I thought, but how In was mistaken. As I searched the 5th and 6th floors of Imix Park, I came across a number of dining establishments, none of them however was Amigos.
Though I must say, my efforts did not go unrewarded, as whilst on my search I came across a familiar face. A face I have seen plenty of times in my travels to Chengdu over the years. The face of Grandma. Or shall I say Grandma's Kitchen.
Located on the 5th(or 6th) floor of Imix Park, Grandmas has opened up shop serving a variety of fairly well prepared, yet decently priced western food. The menu includes everything form steak to pizza, burgers, sandwiches, buffalo wings, and even a selection of Mexican dishes.
Wanting to sample a couple of items, I went with the Montana BBQ burger and an order of burritos to satisfy my craving for mexican, Both ringing in at just under ¥50.
The burger, topped with bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce was both large as well as delicious and was accompanied by some OK crinkle cut french fries.
The burritos, an order of 2, come in either chicken or beef(I had the Chicken), and come with sour cream and a side of beans and rice. The burritos were also quite good, though the minuscule portions of beans and rice were an embarrassment. Good, not great, Gramma's is a welcome addition to the growing number of Chongqing's Western food restaurants.
Sorry that posting has been nonexistent for the past month or so, as I was fortunate enough to spend spring festival outside of Chongqing. I'm back, and re-acclimated and plan to bring you all sorts of Chongqing goodness for the year to come.
First off, I want to share with you a couple of nuggets done by 2 DJs who currently call Chongqing home. The first is "Brand New Year," which is pretty much a musical 'Happy New Year' card by Chongqing's very own DJ/turntablist Slim Doctor.
The second nugget "Grilled Dweez Sand wedge," is a mix by current CQ resident Dweezy, who brings us roughly an hour and a half of mostly hip-hop and "bass music."
Hope you enjoy!