MAO Livehouse shuttered their first location in Shanghai at the weekend, with around 1,300 people packing into the Red Town space according to the organisers. I didn't make it to the show unfortunately, but I did pop in to look at how Yuyintang's renovations were coming along this weekend.
The heart of the local music scene, Yuyintang closed their doors a couple of weeks ago and plan to reopen on Valentine's Day with a special unplugged show from Yuguo. So what have they been up to in a month? A lot. The refurbishments are extensive and should create a vastly improved venue.
The building was never intended as a gig venue, which was clear from its layout, and though this lent YYT some of its charm, it also led to frustrated punters at some gigs. Hoping to change that, the venue has made some major changes. It's a bit hard to describe without more photos, but I'll give it a whirl. First up, they've shifted the entrance to the left of the old front door, as you can see above. The small lounge area that used to occupy the space directly in front of the entrance has gone, replaced by a long bar down the side of what is now one big room opening out toward the stage. The stage itself hasn't moved, but the area immediately in front of it has been extended all the way back. Presumably a sound and lighting desk will need to be put in at the back (there wasn't one there when I snooped around), but overall the viewing area will be larger. They've also flipped the staircase so that it slopes towards the front entrance now, meaning it doesn't impinge on the area in front of the stage. I'm not sure if they've changed things upstairs as I couldn't get up there, but it's a major overhaul.
There's still a fair bit of work to do to finish it all off, but it seems like a positive change. Check it out for yourself when Yuyintang reopens on February 14th.