Classic Rock at the Bulldog

Posted on March 5, 2012


"The Phantom Sun" foto@me

We all know Shanghai is the land of opportunity. So a couple of pals of mine recently tapped into the city’s stream of happy goodwill and landed themselves as fun-ass gig at the Bulldog on Hengshan Lu and Wulumuqi Lu. It’s a cosy little British sports pub, just a little bit rough and tough, with an exterior that I think of as “ramshackle-classic”. It’s quite funny that it’s sitting like a drunk, bloated uncle next to the swish, sleek glo London.

So my friends Chris Wise and Mark Hodnett, British and – of course – regulars, got themselves a sort-of DJing thing there every Friday, spinning classic rock on this sci-fi meets disco device called an Ableton. (Which I got to prod and poke at!) Mark and Chris are a prog-rock band called Phantom Sun – click here to listen to and download one of their tracks, “Chasing Clouds”.

In any case, the past few Fridays have been chilled-out fun for me. I was never too much of one for classic rock, and neither am I complete convert – also they don’t only play rock, there’s some serious metal going on too – but I have been educated on the finer points of the genre.

The Booth. foto@me

I asked guitar-genius Mark to give me a list of his 5 personal favs. Desert-island anthems, if you will. He calls himself a “classics fan”, so the list may be a tad skewed in that direction. I like it well enough, though.

Marky Mark glowers at the lens. foto@me

Being British and a guitar-boy, Mark started off with “The Biggest Band in the World”.

1) “Ramble On”, Led Zeppelin

And I grew up with an uncle who would blast the neighborhood with Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath on his decrepit speakers at 9 in the morning, so in Stockholm Syndrome-style, I love me some Black Sabbath as well. I therefore welcomed “War Pigs” as a familiar puberty-era tune.

2) “War Pigs”, Black Sabbath

The Ableton gets fingered. foto@me

And of course there ain’t no classic rock without classic Hendrix: “Rock is so much fun. That’s what it’s all about – filling up the chest cavities and empty kneecaps and elbows.”

3) “Freedom”, Jimi Hendrix

The boys were nice enough to let me into the Booth to “dee-jay” i.e. push lighted square buttons on the Ableton, which is normally used for mixing dance music. Several other things were explained to me as well – all I remember are “channels”, “oscillator” and “free beer”.

Chris the Wise, in a cloud of smart smoke. foto@me

Getting busy. foto@me

Button pushing. foto@me

Back to more moosic – here’s everyone’s fav pioneer of the guyliner, in an awesomely short caftan:

4) “Ziggy Stardust”, David Bowie

And my absolute favourite in the list – the irrepressible David Byrne. This here is the live version of “Psycho Killer”, and a stunning example of amazing showmanship.

5) “Psycho Killer”, Talking Heads

Where's all that music coming from, then? foto@me

the happy recipient of a fresh pint. foto@me

More Classic rockin’ at the Bulldoggin’ to come! Catch the lads there every Friday for laid-back good times.