In a city full of inadequate venues, MAO Livehouse hits Beijing, primed and ready to take the crown as the capital's premier music venue.
In contrast to the flashy slickness of another recently opened "livehouse," which has been marred by managerial disappointments and a lack of musical savvy, MAO makes a statement with its slyly iconic logo (featuring China's most famous hairline), and the no-nonsense iron-riveted facade. The decor alone is enough to make it right at home among Gulou Dongdajie's thrasher guitar stores.
Opening night brought out Beijing's music scenesters and a buzz from the crowd - here, at long last, is a venue for our scene. Run by the right people (manager Li Tong and crew have their names attached to several notable projects), with the right backing (Japanese label Bad News, home of Beijing punk band Brain Failure), MAO's stage is sectioned off from the bar and lounge. Inside, it's all business: insulated walls keep the sound tight and clean without going overboard on the equipment, while the 400-square-foot tiered concert floor (a la gutted movie theater) slants towards the stage, offering the choice between the pit and a high view. Berwin Song
Address: 111 Gulou Dongdajie, Dongcheng District
Tel: 010-6402 5080