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2017 Nightlife in Review: The Biggest Shows of the Year

From Rock to feminist Rap, there was something for everyone


The end of the year is here and as such, it’s time for our obligatory reflections in nightlife post. A few years ago the bulk of Shanghai concerts seemed to consist largely of bands and artists who had perhaps seen better days career-wise. Things are however looking up, with venues and promoters bringing in hotter and more current artists more recently. Here is City Weekend’s take on some of the biggest and coolest singers and bands to grace the stages of Shanghai. 


2017 best concerts in Shanghai: Metallica.


In quite possibly the biggest show of the year, heavy metal gods Metallica hit the Mercedes-Benz Arena stage back in January in support of their WorldWired tour. Despite being on tour for their latest album 2016’s Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, the veterans of Rock made the wise decision to give the fans what they want- the classics obviously. In true Metallica fashion Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold” signaled the start of the show, and over the next two and a half hours, the men ran through a set of mostly old favorites with maybe five newer songs sprinkled in. For the complete rundown of the musical program, click here for City Weekend’s review.


2017 best concerts in Shanghai: Kool & the gang.

Kool & The Gang

Another oldie but goodie band came our way in the form of 1970’s funk band Kool & The Gang as the headliner for this years JZ Festival. The theme of the festivities was “Celebration” and as such, the group, who are actually known for their hit song by the same name, proved to be a perfect choice to get the party started right. Despite the weather being less than stellar, fans were on their feet grooving out to a set that includes such hits as “Jungle Boogie,” “Ladies Night,” “Get Down on It,” and of course “Celebration.” The band had to cancel their second set on Sunday due to weather conditions. 


2017 best concerts in shanghai: Princess nokia.

Princess Nokia 

The last few years have seen an increase in the rap world’s output of female rappers, and Bronx-born rapper Princess Nokia has got next. Despite being relatively new to the scene, the 25 year old East coast rapper has gained quite the following in thanks to her 2016 sleeper hit, “Tomboy,” an anthem for women who aren’t obsessed with mainstream beauty standards. Hitting the Concrete and Grass stage this year, the feminist rapper treated fans to an energetic, hour long set of songs from her album, 1992, many an ode to her New York City stomping grounds. 


2017 best concerts in Shanghai: Ariana Grande.

Ariana Grande

Pop music lovers were in for a special treat with the announcement of American pop diva Ariana Grande’s late August tour date. Following the release of her third album, Dangerous Woman, the 24 year old pop-tart embarked on a world tour in support of the project. The party atmosphere was real in Mercedes-Benz Arena that evening as Grammy nominated performer shimmied her way through chart topping hits such as “The Way,” “Break Free,” and “Love Me Harder.” 


2017 best concerts in shanghai: the chemical brothers.

The Chemical Brothers 

Electronic music heavyweights The Chemical Brothers were front and center as the headliners of Budweiser Storm Festival, one of the premier EDM music festivals in China. Pioneers in the genre, Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands are largely responsible for bringing “big beat,” the style of electronic music that utilizes heavy break beat sounds as well as synthesized loops and patterns to pop music. Marred by a constant down pouring of rain, the fellas were forced to cancel their Sunday performance due to electrical issues, but were able to pull through the previous day, delivering an unforgettable DJ set that was definitely one of the highlight festival performances of the season. 

2017 best shows in Shanghai: MDC at inferno.

MDC (Millions of Dead Cops)

This past January bringing the punk was American band MDC. Hailing from Austin Texas, these hardcore punk rock pioneers have been espousing music with far left ideals since their 1979 debut. Subject matters include: animal rights, gay rights, transgender rights, pro-racial equality, and more. Earlier this year they played two Shanghai shows with support from local bands Roundeye and The Elected Officials. 

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