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.

Century Park (世纪公园)

Ah yes another park review , don’t worry everyone there will be plenty more to come! If you find yourself out on the Pudong side of town consider checking out Century Park. This park is a massive green space featuring a gigantic lake in the center. Originally it was named Central Park but the big guys in Beijing decided the name wasn’t aight and it was changed to Century. There are many activities to partake in such as : renting bikes , flying kites , setting up tents , picnics ,paddle boat rental, fishing , and having a dedicated concert area. This is one of the largest urban parks in Shanghai with around 140 hectares in the park itself.If a big music festival comes to Shanghai it’s pretty much guaranteed it will be here. A fantastic sounding (I was slow on getting the info about the concert but people told me it was quite awesome) festival spanning three days with bands from all over the world just happened a few weeks ago.

I know I’ve written about a few parks before but greenery is one of the things I really miss about living in Ohio. Slowly but surely I’ve become accustomed too and have really started to love city life but let me tell you it sure is nice to hop in a car and drive anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to find yourself in a dizzying array for different lush green zones. Lush green zones with dirt trails and few to no other people. Parks here in Shanghai are usually busy and bustling (even during the days those old people are crooning out songs , ballroom dancing, and loudly play card games. The parks are definitely vastly different but still much enjoyed by myself. When I come back to Ohio to visit expect to hang out with pretty much exclusively in the wonderful parks spread out over northeast Ohio.

This is one of the parks in Shanghai where one can find a quite little spot and partially forget where they are. There are some dense patches of trees and flowers where you can’t see any of the ubiquitous skyscrapers that characterize Shanghai , some peaceful sculptured gardens , and we can find examples of Eastern and Western landscapes. One little patch of the park was designed and given as a gift by the city of Montreal. I’m only mentioning this because my roommate is from Montreal and he confirmed that in fact it does remind him a lot of Montreal , kinda cool me thinks. One can spend hours wandering around the paths and checking all the different areas in this park. Enjoy it now before the insanely hot humid summer arrives folks when it can be difficult to drag yourself away from the cemented position on front of the A/C.

I guess I should put out some of other important details about the park , maybe such as how to get there yea? Fortunetly its pretty easy everyone don’t worry. Century Park is located on metro line 2 Century Park station and if you can’t managed to find the park after leaving the metro well its hopeless for you my friend. This metro station is one stop past the Science and Technology Center I wrote about previously, and is very easily walkable from the Science Center. Just go down Century Avenue.  Admission to the park also costs 10 yuan , around a $1.55 USD at the time of writing.

I’ve been to Century Park quite a few times but don’t frequent it so often considering it’s such a long hike from my house via the metro. My pictures from it are from when I just arrived in Shanghai as a traveler with my friend Lindsay , who was visiting me from the U.S.A , at the time. I especially love the fisherman picture with the highrises in the background. Enjoy folks!