The Top 10 Shanghai Bands List

Not understanding Mandarin, I didn’t let that hinder my coverage of the local Shanghai rock scene. Wait. Good scene coverage usually means there is aim to be comprehensive, and no, I just trust my ears and gut feel every time I’d see some gig ad, and set foot in a live music venue.

In no order:

Math Lotus
Math Lotus
All it took was a pair of 7 string Ibanez guitars, and a 6 string Yamaha bass, along with a blend of ferocious instrumental Dream Theater-type metal. I don’t even like Dream Theater.
http://site.douban.com/mathlotus/

Torturing Nurse
Torturing Nurse
I have a special space in my heart for noise acts: I was briefly in a collective with noise, avant-garde leanings back in college. It was a surprise to discover a noise scene here in Shanghai, with Torturing Nurse taking the lead. Not for everyone, but if you have no mind for any sort of rock posturings, look at this guy with a bunch of effects pedals, and no guitar.
http://site.douban.com/torturingnurse/

墓志铭
墓志铭/EPITAPH
My opinion on this black metal band solidified on my second watch: I love them. They are a visual treat: donned in black leather, spikes and corpse paint, they are a delight to photograph. The also sound great, finding that sweet spot between traditional, lo-fi and progressive black metal, where just the right blend of evil settles.
http://site.douban.com/MZM/

Plastic Chocolate
Plastic Chocolate
Radio-friendly rock I honestly believe should be more popular around here. Easily reminds me of that corner of Japanese mainstream rock I actually like.
http://site.douban.com/pc/

Pairs
Pairs
Much local press has covered and praised them, but I can’t seem to catch them in any of the gigs I go to. Finally went to one last week, and I wholeheartedly agree: if you enjoy barebones garage-rock, they are a must-see act.
http://site.douban.com/pairs/

大囍福
Bigger Xifu
Quality indie-rock from a band I promised myself to follow, but alas, I haven’t seen them in any of the bills lately.
http://weibo.com/biggerxifu

Next Year's Love
Next Year’s Love
Are they still around? Saw this indie-pop band back in 2011, when I think they were only a few gigs old, and their set felt like they were a really nice pair of sneakers that needs a lot of polish. Their promising rawness at that time has stuck with me until now.
http://site.douban.com/nyl/

Death to Giants
Death to Giants (now defunct)
Witnessed this other pair front for Japandroids, and the bass and drums, dual vocal sing/scream assault felt like a college rock, post-grunge outfit with metal inclinations. As far as the show went, they gave a set at par with the main act.
http://site.douban.com/deathtogiants/

Broken Promises
Broken Promises
I feel weak witnessing female-fronted metal bands, especially those with growlers, and a more-than-compelling sound to boast.
http://site.douban.com/brokenpromises/

21 Grams
21 Grams
Post-rock seems to be surprisingly big in China, and I have seen this band back in 2006 with heavy shades of Explosions In The Sky. The last time I saw them opening of Envy, it was much more evident that they also sucked in some Japanese influences of the genre.
http://site.douban.com/pr21g/

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