posted on July 29, 2007 17:09
After a few great years Yugong Yishan is being knocked to make way for yet another mall. Incongruously located in a bus carpark in the city’s seedy (but being-gentrified) Sanlitun bar strip, Yugong Yishan hosted big names like the International Noise Conspiracy and an after-party for Ian Brown. Hailed among local rock fans because it was run by people who knew their music and knew how to serve a good drink cheap, Yugong Yishan bade farewell with a loud farewell party Friday and Saturday nights. Propreietor Lv Zhiqiang passing out the booze to regulars and all the local rockers who played at the box-shaped, one-storey venue off Gongti Bei Lu.
Located opposite the north gate of the city’s iconic Workers' Stadium, the bar was rare in Beijing for spending money on tweaking a decent sound system into place. The word is that the bar is moving into the old city to take over an historic old property which has housed imperial concubines and more recently a failed chic-club, Rui Fu. Lets see if the bar’s old regulars will make the trip over – the old Yugong Yishan also got a lot of passing trade from other Sanlitun bars, something unlikely to happen in the new location given it’s in a neighbourhood where passing trade is mostly old timers on Flying Pigeon bicycles pedalling by. It’s one to watch.
Rock will be represented hence in Sanlitun by dive bar Kai, where every Thursday night Tagteam Records spin a “corporate-free, additive free” dose of indie rock to a gang of students and addicts of cheap (and watered?) drinks.
Nearer to Yugong Yishan purported new location, Mao Livehouse on Gulou Dongdajie hosts brit-pop nights by local bands like Gentleman and Black Heart and Billows Fairytale. The larger, swankier Star Live, host to Sonic Youth’s Beijing gig, is still hanging in there, but charging RMB40 a head for what often look like half houses you wonder how long it will last before going the karaoke way. Newer venues emerging: like the Bank, on Gongti Dong Lu can charge RMB80 at the door because they play a glossy mix of dance and Mandopop.
And we still have the Stone Boat, a lovely old period building set in a lake inside ancient Ritan Park where usually experimental bands like Panjir (they blend sounds from China, Central Asia and North America) play.