Hey Chongqing, we're going through some changes here at CQScene and we're ready to unveil a small one for you today! In an effort to make all the cool bars, restaurants and events we post here more accessible to you, we started working on a small listings section. It's not much, but the essentials are there and we will be updating daily. If you have any location you want us to put up, let us know in the comments. We'll be glad to oblige!
For now, all you have to do is type a few keywords in the search bar on the main page. Examples: bar, restaurant, cafe or the name of the place you're looking for. You can also put in the name of your district and search from there...
The results will appear as if you were searching for articles, look for the ones marked “Location”. They all contain directions, a dropoff point for your taxi driver and a short review if you don't know what to expect... Simply open the link and copy everything on your smartphone, you rich bastard.
The Mayans predicted it (maybe), so did Nostradamus and Tupac, there was even a movie about it… Yeah whether you believe it or not, the end of the world is coming… IN STEREOEO !!!
This month, Chongqing party crew HEAVY FLOW are throwing the party to end all parties and sit next to you as you embark on that great big Escalade in the sky. This will be your last chance to make out with random people, treat yourself to a liver scorching drink and dance dance dance as not 1, but 3 top notch DJs throw it down to that fatal mark of 11 :59, when it all comes crumbling down…
And if it doesn’t, then don‘t you worry, ‘cause this one promises to bang on to the break of dawn.
Its not every day that internationally established DJ/producers make it to Chongqing, and very few make the return. DOSHY on the other hand loves this city and has made coming back a bit of a habit ever since transplanting to Guangzhou from Berlin earlier in the year. If it's an earthquake that happens to bring the world to an end on Friday, the crowd inside Nuts Club will likely rage-on unknowingly, as DOSHY's bass heavy music is of seismic proportions. Check out this live set he did for Amsterdam's Red Light Radio:
Heatwolves is another DJ who has professed his love for Chongqing on numerous occasions. The man behind legendary Shanghai party night LOVE BANG, returns to Nuts Club to help us celebrate the apocalypse, though that's not quite how he sees it:
"We're flying back to Chongqing this weekend with a suitcase full of exclusive songs, gummi sharks, and Love Bang T-shirts. Good news - the world won't endon Friday. Remember, Heatwolves called it. Expect lots of bass, lots of love, some hip hop, and no Christmas music - big up to HEAVY FLOW for hooking up the show. Really looking forward to playing with DOSHY and JCC."
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.
As 2010 comes to an end, I'm left to reflect on the year that was. Doing so evokes memories of events, and changes Chongqing has seen in the past year; CQ beer festival, legitimate western food, an Irish Pub, and main-stream media coverage. But what stick out in my mind most of all is the music. For 2010 was a great year for music in a city often referred to as a cultural desert.
And as I look out my window into a thick haze of urbanization, I try to recall where, for me, the year started. Of course I could say January 1, or February 14(Chinese lunar new year), but anyone who's been here as long as I have knows that due to the perma-grey skies, and bone chilling weather December through February, new year's day in Chongqing might as well be March 1. Or in my case, March 13.
March 13 is when I was blown away by Shanghai via Guizhou singer/MC ChaCha at Nuts Club, where many of my fondest memories form 2010 took place. Not to mention a mere few days later when I had a night out with the infamous Dead Elvis, which included a vomitus high schooler, and a tranny-bar. Or on April first when a Norwegian Jazz trio played, featuring one of the sick-nastiest drummers I'd ever seen. And later that spring when, 2 of China's best producers of electronic music, Liman and Sulumi(particularly Liman) rocked CiCi Park, Carsick Cars(in its original line-up) and 24Hours, played great high-energy sets at a near empty Nuts Club, Reptile Retard taking the energy through the roof with their unique style of "techno-soul," and Maybe Mars' return to Chongqing with Ourself Beside Me before the lull of summer.
And as the weather started to drop, the calendar began to fill-up, beginning in September with three nights of non-stop music from bands both foreign and local to celebrate Nuts Club's 3rd anniversary, featuring Chongqing's best Narrenschiff, BendT., The Wheels, and The Deep Green Sea. As well as spectacular performances by Seattle freak-folksters the Cave Singers, and 'psycho-billy' band Knuckle Bone Oscar from Denmark. October saw the return of ChaCha, this time with the entire Uprooted Sunshine Soundsystem, as well as legendary reggae producer Clive Chin. And later that fall when, recently named 'best band in China' Miserable Faith played to a packed house, Beijing up-and-comers Guai Li made their Chongqing debut and American instrumentalist Daniel Hart pulled off an excellent rendition of 'One Night in Beijing,' with his violin and dance-pad. Before the year was rounded out by two of my favorite bands from China's east coast, Dalian's Wang Wen, and Boys Climbing Ropes from Shanghai.
Its hard to believe so much has happened in so little time. It was no more than a year and half ago when Chongqing's live music options were limited to the odd show in a dark, dank, basement of a youth hostel, and the even more rare occurrence of 'dance' or 'electronic-music' parties. And to think, the above is a mere selection from the artists' performances that stick out in my mind, having left out acclaimed artist, both foreign and domestic.
The aforementioned local band The Deep Green Sea celebrated their 8th anniversary on New Year's day. Having seen them a dozen or so times, I was once again captivated by their somewhat eerie, somewhat funky, chilled-out sound. And if Chongqing's first 2011 show is anything to go buy, we should be in for yet another great year music, in what may be the only 'desert' in the world that is not expanding, but shrinking.
Over the past few months Chongqing has played host to some of the biggest names in the Chinese indie-music scene, and the Month of May promises to be no different as heralded acts, both foreign and domestic get set to rock the once dubbed 'cultural desert.'
Fresh off of their Chongqing debut back in March, Shanghai live music and party brand 'The Antidote' make their return to Nuts Club, this time with Danish electro-soul/rock duo Reptile and Retard. If March's 'Antidote,' and the press Reptile and Retard have garnered is anything to go by, Saturday the 8th of May promises to be a good one, as the consensus seems to be that their live show is a spectacle not to be missed. The charisma and showmanship of the band's singer 'Reptile,' who while touring China last year, became known for his stage antics including jumping off of speakers, crowd-surfing, and a great deal of crowd interaction, all while the other half of the duo 'Retard,' provides the musical backdrop to Reptile's gospelesque voice, creating bass-heavy electronic music with a laptop, effects pedals and a custom key-tar, as given the Danes praise as one of the must see bands in China this year. Antidote's mission of creating a party, as opposed to just a concert is always bolstered by DJs to keep the night going, and this time around will feature Shanghai via America DJ Ozone, as well as 1 or 2 more yet to be determined.
Later in the month the live-party atmosphere continues on Thursday the 20th, when French electro-rockers P.U.S.S.(and acronym for Party Under Sexy Skirt), also make their Chongqing return. After the success of last November's appearance at Nuts Club, when they had the near capacity crowd dancing and singing all night, Alliance Francaise and local promoters Fresh World Promotions(FWP), have teamed up once again to bring the high-energy out-fit back to the Shapingba live-house. Recently signed to Chinese indie label Modern Sky Records, P.U.S.S. has been building steam in China with tours the past few years, and the partnering with Modern Sky can only bode well for their presence within the middle kingdom, and we should expect to be seeing more of the Frenchmen in the years to come.
The following day, Friday the 21st, the highly regarded Maybe Mars, record company out of Beijing, bring their Independent China in Stereo series to Chongqing for the first time. Having recently returned from a stint at the prestegious South by South-West(SXSW) in Austin Texas, and a tour of America's North-east, Maybe Mars began a push to further the brand's reach domestically with Independent China in Stereo, a series of concerts showcasing 2 or more of the label's best bands. Volumes 1-4 were contained to China's east, venturing into Hangzhou and Shanghai, but the company are now making their way out west, in ironically, China's Southwest with Vols. 4 and 5 in Chongqing and Chengdu respectively, this time bringing along label heavyweights Carsick Cars, and relative newcomers 24 Hours. Carsick Cars, having garnered press from the likes of The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The Newyorker, and The New York Times, to name a few, are one of the best and brightest acts in the Chinese music scene. Drawing comparisons to The Sonic Youth(whom they've toured and collaborated with) and Nirvana, Carsick Cars are guaranteed to bring out a good sized crowd of locals to see the progressive noise-rock trio. And with 24 Hours' "hard primal beat" dance-rock, also in-tow, Maybe Mars' first-ever Chongqing showcase will be nothing short of a rock & roll riot!
[originally published in Chongqing Currents magazine]