5 Shanghai bands to watch in 2017

The locally-based acts to keep an eye on this year

Dirty Fingers are a Shanghai band to watch
Dirty Fingers
With an intoxicating DIY attitude, bags of on-stage swagger, plus an arsenal of punchy tunes to match, Shanghai hasn’t had a punk rock band quite like this since the days of Mortal Fools. The raucous high energy of Dirty Fingers’ unpredictable live shows is set to be concentrated into album form this spring after the band signed a deal with Beijing-based independent record label Maybe Mars in late 2016.

Until then, expect to see them continuing to pop up on gig bills all over town - toward the end of last year they were playing several shows every weekend and sometimes even two a night.

Dream Can
The rise to prominence of all-female psych-rock trio Dream Can was a definite bright spot for Shanghai’s music scene in 2016. They’ve been gigging regularly since 2014, but last year saw them really hone their sound, and their debut LP is now one of the most anticipated Chinese rock records of the coming months.

The band have been working with PK14 frontman/producer extraordinaire Yang Haisong on a Maybe Mars-backed album for some months, but while the recording stage is essentially finished, the initial aim of a March release now seems unlikely. Instead, look for the record coming out nearer the summer and keep an eye on our regular weekend gigs blog for Dream Can's next live appearance - they're well worth catching.

Nonplus of Color/Mirrors
Nonplus of Color are not a new name on the scene by any means, but after a series of line-up changes, not to mention a backdrop of numerous started-then-stalled projects from the band’s chief creative force Hei Mu, we’re hopeful that this is the year that the art-rock act finally get it together and realise their potential with a stable line-up, consistent shows and some recorded material.

At the same time, it'll be interesting to see how Mirrors (watch below) - the project from former Nonplus of Color members Da Bai and Daniel Nagels, plus new recruit A Ming - progresses in 2017. Unsurprisingly, Mirrors' music shares a similarly psychedelic sonic core to Nonplus of Color, but Bai and Nagels are taking their previous work in a new, sometimes noisier direction aided by A Ming's rock riffs and yelped vocals. We're excited to see more of them.

The Molemen
Having started out as an all-ukulele ska band, The Molemen have one of the most thoroughly enjoyable live sets in town. After rising from the ashes of folk-rock outfit The Horde, they've taken their own distinct musical path and brought something new to the Shanghai music landscape. There have been a few line-up tweaks along the way, but those now seem settled and their combination of skilled musicianship and catchy, jump-along tunes has us hoping that they’ll become a regular fixture on the Shanghai gig circuit for 2017.

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