From March 12th to the 22nd, the JUE | Music + Art Festival hit Beijing and Shanghai like a storm. Since its launch in 2009, the festival has continuously been part of a movement against large, homogenous music festivals. Bringing in artists from various genres and backgrounds, JUE has become a celebration the alternative, creative, and progressive arts and music scene around the world.

Redscale worked as the official media coverage team, taking videos, photos, and interviews at many of the events.

One of the first performances consisted of the prolific Japanese rock trio BORIS who performed some of their best hits at the QSW Culture Center Shanghai. The group consists of drummer/vocalist Atsuo, guitarist/vocalist Wata, and bassist/guitarist/vocalist Takeshi and the trio has released nineteen albums in their nineteen year career. They are one of the most significant artists to come from Japan’s noise scene. The group’s constant stylistic evolution has kept them at the forefront of the noise and doom scene for the past two decades, where they’ll likely stay as they continue to astound fans around the world. Lots of dedicated fans came out to support BORIS’ tour in Shanghai, shouting “subarashii!” (superb!) throughout the entire show and long after.

 

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A few days after, Taiwanese rap artist Miss Ko and American hip-hop artist Jay Electronica performed at the underground club Arkham . Miss Ko debuted in 2009 and is famous for being the only artist to rap and sing a smooth blend of English and Chinese Mandarin. Her debut album “Knock Out” topped the charts in Taiwan, making her the first female rapper to have a No. 1 album in Asia. Jay Electronica debuted in 2007 and has released two studio albums. He has collaborated with other renowned artists including Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar. Over a hundred people crowded the stage to see the award winning artists, and the queues to enter before the show opened extended down the street. Chinese fans are often criticized for having low energy at concerts, but that stereotype was put to rest at Arkham as fans rode along with Miss Ko and Jay Electronica’s infectious beats and irresistible energy. Even in the lull between performances, a group audience members made a dance circle and showed off their smooth breakdancing moves. During Jay Electronica’s set, the entire audience was invited to join him on stage.

 

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The very next day, French singer, songwriter and composer of electronic music Émilie Simon performed at the QSW Culture Center Shanghai. Émilie Simon debuted in 2003 and won the Victoires de la Musique, the French equivalent for the American Grammy, just a year later. She has since been nominated for multiple awards, including the César Award for the best film music composition in recognition for her soundtrack score in March of the Penguins. Her electronic music is internationally praised for its distinctive softness and candor.

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觉 (jue), the character which inspired the entire festival, means “to sense” or “to awaken.” In the festival’s ten day span, the independent art and music celebration truly revitalized the Shanghai music scene. Strolling around Shanghai , one can easily tire of the same American pop songs or Korean pop songs that are generally adored and virtually unavoidable. Yet the diversity of acts in the JUE | Music + Art Festival exposed entire niche communities from around the world within Shanghai.