While other venues have come and gone with varying degrees of importance, Yuyintang has been crucial to the development of the Shanghai music scene in the five years that it has existed. And last night was a classic Yuyintang night: packed, sweaty and great fun.
Mao had shown that it's easy to cram a venue full when you make it free entry, but Yuyintang last night was ridiculously busy. At 9 o'clock on the dot (the advertised start time), they stopped letting people in it was so busy. Half an hour later, they relented and just abandoned the door as people built up on the street outside.
Having fought my way to the lockers on the stairs, I was slapped on the back by Pupu of The Mushrooms who told me they were about to go on. The trouble is, there were so many people, the band could hardly get down the stairs. People let them through eventually so I followed them down and managed to worm my way into the middle. And then I couldn't move. I was properly squashed in. It was the sort of crowd where if one person moved even a little, everyone moved and soon the whole room was swaying from side to side. That was before The Mushrooms even came on.
Earlier Yuguo had gone on at 9pm (they had to catch a train or something, hence them being first), but they were already done by the time I got in. Plenty of people were there for The Mushrooms though and they tore into their standard performance, i.e. blistering. A few people flaked out after a while, partly due to the crush and the heat (most of them were still wearing their winter coats and sweating like crazy) and it became possible to jump a bit more, but it was still packed. And The Mushrooms are always at their best in front of that kind of crowd.
You could tell it was an important occasion for them and they didn't disappoint with their set. Pupu led the crowd in a chant of the venue's name as well and talked about the place's importance. When he thanked Yuyintang for everything they'd done, you knew it was genuine. As he put it, "no matter what else happens, there's only one Yuyintang."