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January 4, 2012

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Expat, Chinese music scenes come together

FIVE stand-out local bands will stage at one of Shanghai's best live houses Yuyintang on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon - and admission is better than free. Each guest gets 1 yuan (15 US cents).

The bands are Baiyu, Prank, Senlinmu, Dabei and Loudspeaker.

The "1 RMB Challenge" is a two-day music event aimed at giving expats and Shanghainese a chance to explore each other's music scenes, which are surprisingly separate.

The Saturday night show will feature super ace Chinese acts playing for the expat community, and on Sunday afternoon expats will perform for a Chinese audience.

Shanghai-based expat Punk duo band Pairs will perform on Sunday afternoon.

They embark on a New Zealand tour at the end of this month.

"We're so passionate about this, the promoters will pay all audience members 1 yuan each for coming and checking it out," says the local music promoter Brian Offenther (DJ B.O of Trash A Go-Go and music columnist for Shanghai Daily).

The impetus for the show came from Offenther's meeting with Xiao Wei from local band Dabei. To their mutual surprise, they both expressed frustration over difficulty in getting many expats to Chinese shows and difficulty in getting many Chinese to attend expat performances.

As it stands, there is an expat and Chinese art scene. With very few exceptions and despite the efforts of many, few artists have been able to cross over.

"This is a real shame, since their integration could lead to bigger audiences, more diverse shows, unique collaborations, and overall a more vibrant scene," Offenther says. "We hope this creates a dialogue and facilitates new connections between audience and artists."

One week later on January 15, the garage rock/punk band Mohanik from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia will stage at the same venue, after stops in Beijing and Ningbo, bringing the show "Can I Have Some Mohanik Tour 2011."

The word "Mohanik" is made up. Originally they had written "Mechanic" but later changed a few letters.

After it was formed in 2004, the band played club gigs around Ulaanbaatar until 2009, their breakout year. Their playing tightened up, revealing an infectious pop side to their thorough punk passion.

Their songs proved quite popular, especially "Moritoi Ch Boloosio," meaning "I wish I had a horse," a classic Mongolian movie from the 1960s.

They followed with the release of their debut album "100-N Undaa" (meaning "100 Tugrik Soda"). Tugrik is Mongolian currency and 100 tugrik is extremely cheap.

"Mohanik is a rocking good band bursting with youthful rebellion and infectious, carefree energy. They're also some really cool dudes," says Ho-Tom the Conqueror (Tom Mangione), the singer/guitarist of The Horde.

Due to their new confidence, their shows generated a lot of buzz, culminating in a win for "Best Alternative/Punk Band" at the 2009 Mongolian Underground Music Awards (MUMA). In April 2011, the band made their international debut in Shanghai, playing two raucous shows as part of Trash A Go-Go. In July 2011, the band played in support of Shanghai bands Boys Climbing Ropes, The Horde and Moon Tyrant on their tour of Mongolia.

"Mohanik's on-stage energy is only surpassed by the warmth and friendliness they showed us throughout our tour in Mongolia," says Ivan Belcic, the vocalist of Moon Tyrant and Death to Giants.

1 RMB Challenge

Date: January 7, 9pm; January 8, 2:30-6pm

Tickets: Free (Each guest gets 1 yuan.)


Date: January 15, 7:30-10pm

Tickets: 50 yuan (40 yuan for students)

Venue: Yuyintang, 851 Kaixuan Rd


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