Things have been relatively quiet over at the new LOgO in Shanghai for a while now, but now via Luwan Rock and Kungfuology we’ve learned that it’s closed down for good.
We have a feeling that many more tears were shed over the closing of the old LOgO over on Xingfu Lu than will be for the perhaps-demise of the new incarnation. Located on leafy, fancy Sinan Lu instead of in the middle of Shanghai’s beloved F-visa ghetto, far (enough) away from everything except for a trusty Lawson’s and plagued with all the sound issues of the old venue meant for very empty nights unless a big show was in town.
Posting has been super super slack. The back end of last year = proper burnout for us and the Radar kinda fell to the bottom of the priority list. We love this site and there was lots of stuff to be posted, but there are also plenty of other sites doing a great job keeping us English speakers in the mix.
This one has been bubbling around for a while: Shanghai is getting another Live House. Hot on the heels of Shanhai, Putuo will now host a 1,500 capacity performance space, and a 500 capacity livehouse on the banks of Suzhou creek. It will be called the Qian Shui Wan Cultural Centre and you can find more details about it (in Chinese) HERE.
T›his one seems a lot more straight up and government led than the incumbents. It also looks like the hub of yet another real estate play, so how much underground music they will actually welcome will be the question.
Iconic Beijing venue 2 Kolegas turned 6 years old last weekend. As many of the commentators have intimated, 2K is close to being a perfect music bar. Hidden away in a crazy drive in cinema near Chaoyang Park, the venue really comes alive in summer, where revelers spill out onto the sofas in the courtyard and eat chu’ar and smoke cigarettes. The main room itself is small – 200-300 people if packed, but the intimacy and rawness of the space creates extra experience on those great nights.
6 years is a long time for a venue in Beijing to be active and 2K should be congratulated for building its audience and providing a haven for artists and music fans alike. We salute you!
Reviews of the 6th anniversary celebrations are HERE and HERE.
The final curtain seems to be coming for the Zhijiang Dream Factory. According to the management, Shanghai’s first mid sized venue will be turned into offices in May.
The venue shot to prominence in early 2009 with a series of shows from Shanghai promoters including the inaugural JUE Festival shows (a Maybe Mars showcase and Demerit), Ratatat, Battles, and local showcase Get in the Van!
This was an eventful weekend down at ChongQing and Jianguo Lus in Shanghai. We had booked two shows at the new Mao Livehouse across their opening weekend. This being China, it was probably a mistake.
Before we start, let’s get one thing straight – Shanghai needs a venue like Mao Livehouse. The advent of this space has revolutionized the live music scene in China’s second city. The new edition is a good one – a decent use of space and some interesting design touches. Still too many unlit little steps though – expect to trip a few times on each visit. This is not a rant against a very valuable stakeholder in the future of live music in China, just a series of requests for better communication and more transparency.
And so it’s all over. Snapline, Besnard Lakes, Hedgehog, Rainbow Danger Club and lots of other bands all played to big crowds in Shanghai this weekend. There will be some stories upcoming but the other news is that Mao Livehouse had a VIP/ soft opening on Friday night. You can check out photos of the new space on Douban. Our initial conclusions are
it’s awesome to have that bigger space back in Shanghai
the renovation is really nice
the space is actually a bit smaller than the previous one – it certainly feels so with a lower roof and wider stage
the location isn’t perhaps as good as the previous one: although it’s more central, it’s further from the centre of live music operations that was Kaixuan x Huaihai x Yan’an
Does anyone actually have any feedback about the party itself?
March is a kicker for sure. After full houses at the MB Arena for the Eagles and Usher last week (more on that later), it’s the turn of the underground to bark loudest. We’ve been building up to this in China’s Southern Capital for quite a few years (don’t hate, Nanjing). While Beijing regularly sees a slew of great shows across any given weekend, Shanghai has never seen a weekend like this one before.
All venues are packed full of juicy goodness, from the JUE Festival offerings of Besnard Lakes and Vitalic on Friday night (plus a literary battle and the opening night of ENTER at Source), and a showcase from Maybe Mars bands Snapline and AV Okubo on Saturday night, to uprising local band Rainbow Danger Club‘s Where Maps End album launch, to Beijing band Hedgehog’s latest return to the capital, to the ambitiously titled “Longest Nite Ever”, an 8pm – 8am extravaganza over at the new Hennessy sponsored Mixing Room at the Mercedes Arena. Finally, there is a benefit for Japan run by the Beat Bandits. Run along to Lune around midnight to give your 20RMB to a good cause.
We are sure there are other bits and pieces happening, but this all seems to reflect a new appetite for live entertainment in Shanghai. There are more (and better) venues and with Mao Livehouse set to open next weekend, it finally looks as if Shanghai might be developing a live music scene worthy of her status as one of the world’s most important city… get out there and support your local music scene this weekend Shanghai.
Shanghai’s live music scene is about to get a lot hotter. The two main venues both closed at the end of January for renovation (Yuyintang) and a move (Mao Livehouse). YYT emerged from its cocoon this week and you can see photos of the new and expanded space over at Smartshanghai.
Mao Livehouse will be coming back at us towards the end of March. We’ve actually been into the venue already which was well under way 3 weeks ago. We’re not allowed to say too much about that at the moment, but it will be similar in size to the last venue, with a slightly lower ceiling and two stages in different rooms.
Wukesong Arena in Beijing has had a troubled first year. Initially taking over a year to open its doors and then getting rid of AEG pretty sharply after they did actually open, the venue has been doing pretty reasonably business over the last 12 months. A string of corporate gigs, the big Usher concert last July, the big NBA game in October and various other bits and bobs have all been nice, but running an international calibre venue in China is a tough business without other revenue streams.
Which is why, in the age of an increasingly brand supported music industry, naming rights for venues like these are not just a nice to have, but vital to profitability. Despite being terminated as building management, AEG China were retained to focus on naming rights, and at the back end of last week, they came up trumps, pulling in Mastercard on a long term deal. Similar to the Shanghai MB Arena whose deal with Mercedes stipulates a set number of shows per year, there will be a show minimum at Wukesong, so we can expect more big name international stars coming through China over the next 5 years.
We told you yesterday in our ode to the Eagles that something had come to us, almost like a gift from St. Christmas, something that filled us with good cheer and hope for the year ahead. The story goes a little like this:
Local blogger and “scene” stalwart Andy Best (he does love the word scene, by the way) wrote an article reviewing the Expo. You can read his coherent and visceral “appreciation” in full over at Kungfuology. The main thrust was that Expo came and went without leaving much, if any of a cultural imprint on Shanghai. To most, it was an inconvenience (although we miss the clean air, which we are sure was a massive inconvenience to all the Jiangsu and Zhejiang factories forced to close for 6 months), and the culture that came in was restricted to people willing to brave the hoards, the distance, the hugeness. Finally, the price (tickets weren’t actually that cheap, when you consider the cost of a gig ticket). As an aside, the actual Shanghai music infrastructure almost ground to a halt – venues were booked solid with a succession of no-name bands from all over the world on a government dime, and local bands and crowds were left out in the cold, slowly losing the will to live. Our summary may be a little overdone – head to Andy’s article for more.
In any case, the most important part of the article was when Andy laid down a gauntlet. With all the money that brands and governments were spending, was anyone actually willing to make an investment in the local scene itself? He gave an example that in his eyes would genuinely make a difference to Shanghai’s musicians: would anyone put some money behind most vital party of Shanghai’s nascent infrastructure? The tireless and profitless work done by TianTian and co. over at the 0093 rehearsal rooms.