Mao Livehouse Closure: let’s open the can of worms & rant!
Late on Friday, the news hit the webosphere that Mao Livehouse was shut down effective immediately and the PURESSENCE gig scheduled for Saturday night was moved to Frank’s Place. It was obvious enough that something was wrong otherwise you wouldn’t move an established band that travelled halfway around the world and have them play in a bar. But I’m not going there at this point, The Beijinger and Global Times did a great job covering the events, asking questions to the owners and about the events. I’m concerned about other aspects of this whole affair in Beijing and for Beijing.
There is an abundance of venues with better stages and more appropriately suited for a PURESSENCE gig than Frank’s Place and a few of them were on the clear for Saturday and more so on Sunday yet the organizers claim none would have accommodated them and reshuffled things around for a world acclaimed band? I call bullshit!
Whomever was handling the band’s business dropped the ball royally: Frank’s Place couldn’t fit more than 100 persons on Saturday and less than 30 showed up for a free, yes free, performance the next day at Paddy O’Shea! Did they even try to promote that band? I have my doubts on this!
It could have been greed, it could have been stupidity and it could have been 20 other reasons, none of which we can be sure off but no matter what it was, it pisses the living hell out of me! The music scene has enough to contend with here yonder with cancellations, lack of authorizations and other types of growing pains but the worst problem as i see it right now comes from within.
We often hear about how the music industry in Beijing is at its infancy, that utopian stage where all the bands learn from each other and work together which is true for the most. I would however argue that the venues and organizers don’t work with each other enough.
We consistently get weekends jam packed with great shows at the same time that tend to cannibalize each other’s audience and then have a drastic drop in the quality the following week with slim pickings throughout the city! How difficult is it to look at the gig listing and schedule shows around each other so that each band gets a chance at a bigger draw? That is where cooperation falls short!
The upcoming festival season is another clear example with 2 music festivals being held at the same time on opposite sides of the city without even a chance to hop from one to the other. Even worse, a lot of the bands are overlapping so there will be a clear loser on this one and they will go on complaining that the city is not ready for this type of event… yeah right!
I’m not just faulting organizers and venues here: The bands get their share of the blame for being lazy quite often! From what I have seen so far and what i have heard from other people, a lot of kids just have an utter disregard or misunderstanding on how to promote themselves and get the word out. Sorry, lads! That how a band will end up playing Yugong Yishan with an audience of less than 30 people which i have seen happen ( and it happens often enough to good bands).
Admittedly, I’m working on a few assumptions here and I’m gonna try to get a hold of PURESSENCE to get their impression of it all! After all, I’m just another one of those jaded music fans with too much time on their hand that is used for random ranting online.. they flew across the world to find chaos so me thinks their point of view and opinions, if i can get them, are worth more than mine.
Still, with all the ranting, props to Frank’s Place & Paddy’s for giving the band a home this weekend… maybe, just maybe, their impression won’t be as negative