The story appears on

Page B2

June 30, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Dudettes bow out with marathon music fest

FEMALE rockers The Dudettes say goodbye at an all-day musical extravaganza this weekend which will see them take to the stage for the last time. Brian Offenther lets us know what to expect.

Last Saturday, a wonderfully classy affair was held at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Musical and cultural harmony swirled through the air as the orchestra was joined by a pair of traditional Mongolian performers on one piece and Korean drummers on another.

That sort of coalescence of musicality and esoterica will be noticeably absent when The Dudettes play their last show this Saturday at Yuyintang Livehouse (851 Kaixuan Road, by Yan'an Road W.) at an event dubbed "Dudettes Fest."

The show will be from 2pm until early Sunday, with mostly acoustic acts playing until 5:50pm and amplified rock bands until 2am, when DJ Soda Pop takes over.

Overall, it's a great chance for the uninitiated to see what the Shanghai rock scene has to offer, as a sizable chunk of Shanghai's music nightlife will be on stage at one point or another with a full 20 acts playing throughout the event (full disclosure: I'll be DJing during a portion of the show). The entrance fee is 30 yuan (US$5).

Many of the performers haven't only shared a bill with The Dudettes before, they've shared the stage with them. The Dudettes rely on a rotating cast of musicians from bands such as Moon Tyrant, Rainbow Danger Club and Hotter Than Teppanyaki to provide their instrumentation.

"None of us can play any instruments," says Alicia, a third of the girls who currently make up The Dudettes. "We just happen to have good friends who can."

The Dudettes formed in 2009 with lead singer Anita Schwanz. After the departure of Anita and another backing Dudette, Emily, the current and final line up became Alicia, Rose and Sandra. Now there is no particular leader, which is noticeable by how each girl's personality is well represented in the songs and how each performance seems to fall apart about half way though.

Or maybe that's intentional. The Dudettes perform vaudeville with a rock twist, belting punk rock hits in-between satirizing Shanghai social norms, all while wearing outrageous costumes and making asides that have been generously described as jokes.

The covers include songs by The White Stripes, The Runaways and Electric Six.

They're fun, but the originals are the highlight. The perspective can best be described as a comedic take on Shanghai expat blues. "Living in China is very special," says Alicia. "There are things that drive you crazy and we try to help you relate."

An example is the song "Ting at the Loukou" which roasts the Shanghai taxi experience, from drivers who smoke cigarettes while they drive to the preference for comfortable "Expo taxis."

The main target of the song though are the singers themselves, as the fact that a resident of Shanghai can't communicate with a taxi driver with more than a few stock phrases – yizhizou (go straight), zuogui (turn left), yougui (turn right) and the pidgin Chinese of "ting (stop) at the loukou (cross street)" - is both ridiculous and ridiculously common.

If there's a word that best describes The Dudettes, it's that: ridiculous. It's that irreverent attitude that has brought so many talented musicians together to back them up at their shows and on the bill for their final one.

"We're doing it for a good time," says Dudette Rose. "People should just get the joke." They'll have one last chance to.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend