Zebra Music Festival at JinShan Beach

This past weekend the 4th annual Zebra Music Festival made its way once again to Shanghai’s very own JinShan Beach. Shanghai , beach?? , what??
It’s a good 30 miles or so Southeast from the city center but Shanghai actually has a beach and it’s actually not half bad. It can’t touch any of the beautiful white sand , blue water tropical Southeast Asian beaches I’ve been too but it can hold its own against Lake Erie. Or maybe even better considering as how Lake Erie beaches can get shut down due to unhealthy bacteria counts while JinShan city beach is separated from the ocean water and filtered. I swallowed some water and experienced no ill-health effects afterwards. Woo hoo!

JinShan beach has sand imported from Xiamen, China and the workers due a good job of keeping the sand and water trash free. It can get pretty crowded but there is enough room for everyone. Pretty much everything beach-wise can be rented ; umbrellas , inflatable rafts and tubes ,to jet-skiis and motorboats (wisely segregated from the swimming crowd unlike some places in Thailand and Cambodia). There are plenty of seafood grilling stands out on the piers and some pretty awesome seashell wind chimes as well. I will definitely go back to beach to chill again sometime soonish.

Due to unfortunate chores , lack of cash , and travel plans , I was forced to journey alone but I made some new Chinese friends there and got to practice my language skills. So that was pretty cool. *Glares at friends*

Now on the music festival. I didn’t get to catch as much of the music as I had wanted but the prospect of either spending 300rmb for a taxi-ride or being stuck out in JinShan district for the night kept me from staying too late (and sorry guys but I really wasn’t that big a fan of the Swedish band playing, and my view sucked). I think the last bus left at something like 9:30 but good thing I left a little earlier because it was a pain in the rats to find the bus stop back home. I think they should have started the music earlier than 5 and given us more time to see the show without worrying about getting back. Next year should be easier to go if this supposed high-speed metro line opens to JinShan district. It was supposed to have opened in December of 2011 , never did , and now no news at about it. Oh well.

Now onto the photos!
P.S. the two girls in bikinis were doing a photo shoot with a bunch of photographers so I feel justified (and not creepy) in taking a shot too!
P.S.S. Dude the tickets were sold out of a shady looking white van! Awesome!

MIDI FEST 2012!

Jumping in the center of a mass of people doing the same , head banging ,screaming, and jutting fists into the air. This could easily be the scene at most train stations/ coach stations in China but fortunately (surprisingly?) I was not in the middle of this commotion at a public transportation depot.

I was actually watching Michael Graves ( of former Misfits fame) sing Ramones and Misfits songs while Marky Ramone (The Ramones duh!) bashed out on the drums. There were two other guys doing the whole guitar and bass thing too. Sorry guys, I have no idea who you are but you do a damn spot on job of covering Ramones and Misfits songs! You also tour the world and play music. So yea , not too shabby.

Wait a sec. Blitzkrieg Bop? Dreadlocks? Weird costumes? Odd leafy smells in the air?  What would Mao do? Where am I?

Don’t think about the answer to that first question. It would involve some sort of cultural revolution , a purging of the fun seekers, and a foreign devil societal harmonization project.

As for the second question ,it’s been an awesome start to the spring and MIDI festival returned to Shanghai once again for a two-day weekend show at Century Park April 21st & 22nd.

With only one day to spend going crazy , running around , and listening to music , I choose Saturday (mainly to see Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg) to venture out to Century Park.

Being crazy ,like I am , I was probably the only person to ride a bicycle from Puxi to Pudong (including a ferry ride across the river) on that overcast grey day. Fortunately the weather held out and a few feeble rays of sun managed to break through the layer of clouds later that day.

Century Park is definitely an amazing venue for a festival. The park itself is huge but the revelers were kept in check in a small area (compared to the park itself but big enough for the crowd) nearby gate #5.

The security staff seemed to have taken a page from the TSA’s playbook. Noneffective nuisance. A long security line hassle with the agents confiscating my two water bottles and me teaching them how to open a book bag that has more than two zippered compartments. (You’re Welcome!)

Once inside there were two stages : Yuan for electronic music , and Tang for rock/metal. On the path that connected the two there were various food stands (BBQ ,Melrose Pizza) and of course the booze stands. Tiger (Malaysian Beer) and Jagermeister seemed to have things pretty wrapped up. Cans of tiger and shots of Jager for 10RMB.

I spent most of the time at the electronic music stage and chilling out by the river. We checked out the rock/metal stage for a bit and while it definitely had a bunch of people there the Death Metal style screams emanating from the singer had my girlfriend covering her hears and saying it hurt before she ran away.

We stayed at the rock stage just for the Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg show and awesome it was. They cycled through great covers chosen from among The Ramones greatest hits and tossed in a few of the Misfits under Michael Graves songs. It was great to hear “Pet Cemetery” , a song I had pretty much completely forgot about.

The foreigners were all festivaled out with garish costumes , funky dance moves simulating dying fish, and generally being crazy. What surprised me was the amount of hip concert going Chinese that made it out. There were a lot of the standing , staring, brainless zombie types at the edges of the crowd but there were a ton of Chinese dressed up and getting down with it. Props out to you, Green Suit Guy and Pink Suit Girl! (P.S. I can see your underwear!) I was seeing a lot of tattoos , dreadz, crazy clothes, and Chinese girls smoking cigarettes. ( A rarity out of the big cities and not all that common in them)

Another funny thing to note were the Chinese Party Girls dressed to impress in full party dresses , stiletto pumps, and insane amounts of makeup. Eh, sorry not the best choice of apparel for the outdoor (mud pit) festivals. Obviously newcomers. One girl precariously perched on her high heels would dance by carefully picking up one foot about a centimeter off the ground, put it back , and then daintily switched to the other foot while the first high heel sunk slowly back into the mud. Funny stuff. There were also a surprising amount of Chinese parents with young children and even a couple of fisherman who were hitting up the rivers in the park who decided to see what the deafening bass and booming techno sounds were all about.

All in all , an awesome time. Next weekend sees Strawberry Festival swinging into the former World Expo greens but alas, the cashola situation looks to be keeping me from it. There should be a few other music festivals swinging through later on the in the summer. They appear to be getting more and more popular with every passing year. After that , I’m counting down to Kunshan’s ( a nearby city to Shanghai) Oktoberfest! Wooo wooo.