Greetings from Shanghai.
24 May (Fri):
We’ve been here since the 23rd after our Tianjin leg of the tour. We stayed overnight in Shanghai before going to Suzhou the next day to perform in Mofun Loft 2. While we were here for the night, our friend Chester (or Yang Chen as we know him) was gracious enough to take us to the new JZ Lounge at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Shanghai.
That night, great jazz songstress Roberta Gambarini was performing, backed by some musician friends we’ve met last year – Charlie Foldesh on drums and Brian Hurley on bass. To say the least, it was an awesome show. She started the show by singing Stardust….acapella! We were just totally blown away! It’s probably the first time in a very, very long time (or probably even the first time literally) that I’ve heard anyone singing Stardust, live! And she not only nailed it, she just owned it! What a singer and a musician!
What a great ending to a long traveling day.
25 May (Sat):
We left for Suzhou in the morning, had lunch, checked in into our motel, then went for our soundcheck at Mofun Loft 2. It’s located at a relatively developing area, and it sort of gives it a rather Euro-Sino, albeit rather superficial, vibe. From what we’ve been told it is developed by some Singaporean developer and also conceptualized by a Singaporean team as well, the same group of people that designed the Tianjin Financial District.
Anyway, Mofun Loft 2 is the second branch of three. We played at the first one, during our last China tour. Not surprisingly, the crowd that night was no different from the ones from that last tour. Most of them weren’t there for the music, although we did have some listeners that were enjoying it, as well. If I had describe what it was like, I would say it is similar to our Malaysian equivalent of Wings Cafe, or Halo Cafe, or similar livehouse, kind of vibe. Bands or any performers were there functioning almost like musical wallpaper. In fact, some of the crowd there were just there to indulge or partake in their own activities – drinking, playing games…albeit rather loudly too. But sticking true to our code of performance, we didn’t really care and just played the ass off the music. And as we watched our performance video for a post-mortem, the band sounded tight, and quite kick ass, I must say. Seemed like a good show cum rehearsal for our Shanghai show at JZ Club, and generally we enjoyed it, even if the audience didn’t really bother about us at all.
It’s only too bad we didn’t get to stick around Suzhou to check out some of their attractions, as we had to go back to Shanghai for our JZ Club show.
26th May (Sun):
We drove back to Shanghai and ended up in Hotel 268, a decent motel near the JinAn Temple Station. The vibe around this place is quite nice. It has an interesting mix of Bohemian and Hippie influences. Little coffee shops with fruit stalls and Muslim food all in the same row; little boutique clothes store with Italian restaurants just in the adjacent corner. It’s relatively close to JZ Club as well as La Vida (where we play on Tuesday). After lunch with Chester, we basically hung out at the hotel until our night soundcheck at JZ Club.
Our soundcheck at the club, went relatively quick. The guy who was doing sound did a great job in making sure the sound on stage was just nice. We didn’t have to work too hard during the gig. It was basically a debut for me, KJ and AJ here at JZ. I’ve been here at least twice, but it’s definitely my first time as a performer, which is something I’m really happy for.
The show itself was a real blast. It helps so much that the sound on stage was really good, and couple that with a very attentive and appreciative audience – something that we weren’t putting a lot of expectations on, being from Malaysia and not another western country like the US and all. I guess we may be doing something right after all, I can only hope. The band, again, was just kicking so much ass! Shanghai singer, Jasmine Chen, also joined us for a few of her tunes, so it was also really fun to have played with her again. Couldn’t really ask for more. We played two sets and the shorter third set. So, to say the least, we were all wiped out after the gig, cos we played HARD that night!
We have one more show in Shanghai tonight, at La Vida. Jasmine will also be joining us for a few tunes. Looking forward to it.
Well, that’s it for now. Stay tuned for more updates as we go along