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We Are Shanghai: Go Support Local Music. It's Free.

A project that tells the story of Shanghai's underground music scene

We Are Shanghai is an annual open-call compilation for Shanghai-based musicians and artists. A bunch of local musicians submit their own songs, those songs are burned onto cheap CDs and friends and bands of the scene show up at a gig to shoot the shit and listen to music.


The show is this Saturday, 6pm at “Shanghai’s only metal bar” Inferno. And entry is FREE. 


And this year, attendees are getting cassettes as keepsakes instead of CDs. (Apple ruined CDs as a universal format.) Put your 50 kuai to keeping the scene alive by buying one. It’ll include a free drink (Read: it’ll be at the cost of a drink), a free download and raffles for prizes from Shanghai Tattoo, Inferno and Pistonhead. This year they have 40 artists featured on album No. 5. All the previous albums can be found on  Bandcamp right here.


Six bands will play, and DJ BO will keep you entertained in between sets:


Hitobashira: A brutal thrash/groove-metal band. Expect sweat and swearing, and a few drumstick splinters to fly into the crowd. Double kick all the way.



Pinball City: Rock and roll you can dance to. Reference points: The Stooges, MC5, Dead Moon, TheBellrays, The Mantles, The Byrds, TheSonics, Love, T.Rex, Thin Lizzy and more. Watch out for that bass player.



Loudspeaker: Shanghai’s oldest hardcore punk/crust bands. They'll most likely play a large handful of old songs. Most of them angry and angsty. You will applaud them, because anything that has lasted since 1999 deserves some kind of recognition.


Second Son: Newly formed in November 2016. A bunch of young Chinese dude with influences by Deftones, Megadeth, Korn, RAM, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit and Lamb of God.


DaHaHa: A four-piece comprised of four nationalities: American, Filipino, French and Scottish. Diversity is their forte, playing rock n roll that draws on blues, punk and psychedelia.


Skinny OG and Queen Diamond: Two American rappers who have performed over 200 shows since they arrived in Shanghai in 2015. Hardcore Hip-Hop and romantic R&B.



Now here are more reasons why you should go:

We Are Shanghai was first started in 2011 by three then Shanghai-based local musicians. Ivan Belcic, Dennis Ming Nichols and JC Heinbockel. And on behalf of Shanghai’s small, tightknit, absolutely grungy local music scene, we salute you.


Its DIY projects like these—which are still surviving due to the persistence of current local musicians who are determined not to let a legacy project die—that provide a year-on-year snapshot of a growing and ever-changing community.


The compilation and bands involved are self-described as "a time capsule of art and expression from one of the largest and diverse cities in Asia. Many of Shanghai's musicians are ephemeral, as some are here for study, travel, or, work; their population fluctuating every year. Thus making each album a truly unique combination of influential established artists, who have shaped the scene over the years; and the new exciting sounds of recently birthed artists.”


It's suprising that a city so populated would have so little on local music comparatively. But decades down the line after music in China has matured to rival its Western counterparts, they'll look back and find these compilations. 



This year’s lead organizer, Jason Schaller of Hitobashira couldn't have said it better: “It's like an undiscovered culture that the whole world is unaware of. It's a timepiece from a melting pot of art, and expression. The artists are not only of Chinese nationality, but people from all over the world, with different cultures and musical tastes, who for a period of time are part of this cosmopolitan. In a way it's a vector for the world's music, as are other great international cities, except this city has yet to be heard by the world.”



There are already too many places playing Top 40 hits. Spend your evening with your ears bleeding at Inferno instead.



What: We Are Shanghai Vol. 5 Compilation Release Party

When: 6pm, Saturday, Oct. 14

Where: Inferno 1/F, Bund Square, 658 Dapu Lu (near Longhua Dong Lu) 打浦路658号1楼 (近龙华东路) 

How Much: Free entry 

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Rachel Gouk
Rachel Gouk is the Managing Editor at City Weekend Shanghai. She's a ball-buster, but manages to charm her way back into people's good graces. Likes food, cooking, photography and heavy metal.


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