Top Floor Circus
From Music-China Wiki
Formed in October 2001.
They were great, but, I'll have to explain it for those of you who didn't catch the show. They have been inactive for a while now and basically knocked a short set together not planning to headline the show. Also, they have now progressed from being a punk act with a funny front man (Lu Chen) into a Lu Chen stand up comedy routine with a backing band. The main set actually had only two songs and most of the time was the routine that included bring people on stage to play roles. It was, however, funny as f*ck.
The whole routine, and songs, were based around Lu Chen being Haibao (the Shanghai 2010 Expo mascot, pictured) and dissing the Ol*mp*cs and their mascots, the Fuwa. The first song, [...], was basically chants of "the Fuwa are all pussies" with a chorus of "I'm going to crush your balls". The idea is that it's sung by Haibao. Before the song they actually acted out Haibao doing said ball crushing Manga style with the members of Momo playing the Fuwa.
Then there was another comedy/drama satire piece where audience members had to answer obvious questions about the expo for shit prizes. Then came the other song. I have to remind you at this point, Lu Chen is very good at this and everyone was in stitches and loving every minute. The next track was a satire of "Beijing welcomes you" ... Shanghai welcomes you. It had a really funny chorus. I'd love to recite it here but it totally does't rhyme in English, sorry. The gist was that Shanghai has no culture but we've got money and that the Ol*mp*cs have nothing to brag about. Take my word for it, in Chinese it was really really funny.
After all this they made to leave but the surprised crowd didn't seem to happy about it so the band tacked on a couple of old favourites.
At the end of 2009, during the 0093 CD Release party, their song "Shanghai doesn't welcome you", got videotaped and went viral online on youku. Due to their display of discourage to the Shanghai Expo, Top Floor Circus got in trouble, as first the video was removed from youku, then their song removed from douban. Sale of T-Shirts showing the song's title were also forbidden.
On August 13th 2011, they performed at the Gebi Bar in Yiwu district. According to Jake Newby:
When I got there, they were already part way through their opening song, but they basically played all of their album 13 Songs and the crowd lapped it up. It was interesting seeing Top Floor Circus outside of their native Shanghai - I've always been curious about the reverence they largely receive in Beijing, despite being not only a Shanghai band but one that sings almost exclusively in the local dialect. Despite singing in Shanghainese, Lu Chen spoke in Mandarin between songs and was careful to explain what they were about. Not all of the crowd understood Shanghainese, but many knew the songs regardless and certainly enjoyed the sentiment. Beside the pure linguistics, the band were just as entertaining as always. Lu said to me afterwards that he felt the venue was well suited to them as a band - just really straightforward and fun - and he was right. Mei Er got through three guitars (one his own, two borrowed) and Lu's mic kept breaking, but it didn't really matter, the crowd (many of them dressed in '你信不信，反正我信' t-shirts) loved every minute of it.
Appearances in press/books
- Mentioned as "Yaogun band to watch" in the Insider's Guide to Beijing 2007.
Thirteen Shanghai Classic Pop-Rock Hit Songs- 2010, December
骑骡仙 (with Glorious Pharmacy) - 2008, May 25
A Hippo Wildly Grinds Its Teeth Bank Side (Mao Dou + Lu Chen) - 2008, January
最低级的小市民趣味 - 2004
The Top Floor Circus EP - 2001
做作得很自然 (Lu Chen) - 2001
We Are Shanghai - 2012, January
Rock Shanghai 2009 (VA) - 2009, November
Improvisation in Shanghai (VA) - 2005, December
Midi 2002 Live (VA) - 2002, July
Appearances in magazine compilations
So Rock! Magazine (no. 15) - 2002, December
- X-Music Magazine no. 227 - 2002, September
Appearances in Podcasts
Articles & Interviews
- Douban Page
- Xiami.com Profile
- Live performance of "Shanghai Welcomes You" at the Modern Sky Festival 2008 (including lyrics)
- Top Floor Circus @ Live Bar - 2006/06/23 by Brad Ferguson
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Andy Best (Kungfuology) (2008-09-26). "Top Floor Circus live @ Yuyintang". Retrieved on 2009-04-30.
- ↑ Andy Best and Jake Newby (2010-01-20). "Podcast SE02 Ep One: Rustic and FAF". Retrieved on 2010-01-23.
- ↑ Jake Newby (2011-08-15). "Top Floor Circus, Gebi Bar Yiwu". Retrieved on 2011-08-25.