wechat sharing

Size Matters

**When analyzing the live music scene, don't overlook venues** With the summer dearth of live music, the question of whether or not Shanghai is doomed to the boom-'n-bust cycles that have come to define the local scene is one many venues (and fans) are squirming about. Both Yuyintang and Live Bar (see pg. 32) have provided a stable stream of gigs but with their limited capacities, neither venue can fit more than 200 people, a serious handicap for bringing in established bands. According to Archie Hamilton, the mastermind behind the Yue Festival and Split Works shows, "Every time we look to bring a decent band in, we think 'Where [are we going] to put them in Shanghai?'" he says. "The answer's that no single venue has a combination of capacity, sound, lights and tech personnel." What's needed is a viable mid-sized club to fill the void between tiny bars and the behemoth arenas. Through the years a steady stream of much-hyped clubs from the second Tanghui and Shuffles to 4Live, Zhijiang Dream Factory and Windows Underground have tried to fill the size gap, but they were all blips on the scene. Despite the crowds in Shanghai being very receptive of bands, "small live houses in Shanghai have always had problems; they change locations so many times,"comments PK-14 vocalist Hai Song. "It's not good. A stable location would be good, like Little Bar in Chengdu, but in Shanghai this seems difficult." The issue of supporting a live scene here is a simple test of economics. A Beijing band traveling to Shanghai spends about ¥4,000 on train tickets, hostel stay and food. If their gig attracts a respectable (for Shanghai) 150 fans that each pay around ¥40, their total door intake is ¥6,000. From there, the venue takes a standard 30 percent cut (¥1,800 for non-math majors), leaving the band with a ¥200 profit. If you (generously) say that half the crowd buys a drink, with an average bar profit of ¥10 per drink (for a total of ¥750), the venue makes ¥2,550. Considering a mid-sized venue in Shanghai would cost well over ¥40,000 a month, it would take a month straight of solid sales for a venue to come close to breaking even. For foreign bands with international airfare and visa costs to factor in, their expenditures tend to be ten times greater than a local group. Shanghai has a long way to go before becoming a musical Mecca. Hopefully a venue will break the Shanghai curse and we will finally have a venue to brag about, but until then, we're stuck with choosing between the massive and the miniscule. Abe Deyo


DSC 7943a 0

By: Dominic Ngai -

American Food in Shanghai: Captain Rooster
Southern hospitality and comfort food go hand in hand. Every once in a while, indulging in a safe blanket of fried chicken, mashed potato and biscuits with gravy is something that we enjoy. Sadly,...
Read More
neweat2slider 0

By: Chelseastone -

Mexican Food in Shanghai: La Coyota
If you've passed by the Avocado Lady recently, you've probably witnessed the short but consistent line next door. La Coyota Pop Up is just one step in owner Gabriela Fernandez’s steady progress...
Read More
shanghai 10

By: Chelseastone -

Say Zaijian: So Long, Shang-gays
To quote LL Cool Jay in his song ‘All I Have’: “I don’t believe you wanna leave like this / I don’t believe I just had my last real kiss / I do believe we’ll laugh and reminisce / Wait a...
Read More
IMG 7287 opta 0

By: Chelseastone -

China Style: Shanghai Fashionista
This issue's Fashionista features "Gumball Gal" Roseann Lake, Shanghai journalist hailing from the States, Spain and Italy. Check out our photos and interview with this stylish gal. Often described...
Read More


Download App Now
Select your device platform and get download started
Add & Promote an Event
Tell everybody what's going on. FREE.

You've reached the limit of allowed deals. For more information

Contact us

You've reached the limit of allowed housing listing. For more information

Contact us