VAS Livehouse on Wanhangdu Rd., Changning
VAS Livehouse is conveniently located on the corner of Wanhangdu Lu and Changning Lu, across the street from the 888 King Mall. Maybe you’ve noticed the venue’s title glowing in black and white of what seems an abandoned building.
But it’s a perfectly functioning place where great concerts go down on the 3rd floor. You can take an elevator or the stairs - to be honest I find the dim-lit stairs quite cool. They give you an underground-vibe and the posters for future events are hung around almost entirely in the dark but it’s good because you’ll def read into them.
Once you arrive you get a stamp and you can go straight to the bar before you enter the main room or go straight to find your spot. VAS is vast in space. One can choose between standing in the very front, up close and personal to the stage or stand in the bleacher-like risers for a slightly higher view.
If you get there a little late - like me… and it’s packed, fear not because China has taught us that too many souls in one confined space aren’t enough souls. You can stand on the side stairs - though not super comfy since people eventually bump into you from walking up and down for bathroom/bar trips.
Get there early to scout out your spot or prepare for a cozy concert.
Another thing that I really enjoy when I’m at VAS Livehouse - the most important, i.m.o. - is the incredible sound system!! You know how after some concerts you leave and you’re practically deaf or you play back your videos and the sound is distorted killing the actual sound you heard live? Well, that doesn’t happen at VAS.
The sound is clean, crisp, and just right - shoutout to their sound-check team because the times I have been, it has practically been perfect.
I’ve seen Isaac Gracie, Daya, and Anne Marie - 3 different genres and the experience was great!
Coming up and taking place at VAS as well is London-based solo project, The Japanese House! Witness the blend of dream pop and brooding electronica.
LOFAS on Ruiping Rd., Xuhui
This venue is located in a mall (surprise?) next to a store that seems to be directly connected to the venue. It’s quite small but still spacious so you won’t feel claustrophobic. You enter and the bar is first, then to the left you fully walk in and see the stage.
You have enough space to dance around and the stage is literally a step up so the experience is very personal! The visuals are also great as well as the sound quality.
When I went to see Mark Redito, it felt like a house party: lively, colorful, loud, and positive. You would look around and people were vibing without the pressures of having to move around too much for space to breathe - it was refreshing.
Next, at LOFAS is Cee "Bring Me Back Tour" Live in Shanghai so make sure to check it out if you like C-Rap!
*You can also read my Mark Redito review here.
Yuyintang Livehouse on West Yan'an Rd., Changning
Located right outside of any exit 2 West Yan’an stop on Line 3/4, Yuyingtang is a given. It’s literally across the one-way street of McDonalds — it looks quite low-key, almost cool-kid exclusive but in fact it’s the complete opposite.
Yuyingtang is a rock, heavy-metal, folk-friendly, judge-free zone. You enter and the staff is chill and friendly. The bar is right there as well and drinks are cheap and refreshing, nothing out of this world.
There are high tables around the back edges of the main space where you can enjoy a cold one, chat with friends, people-watch, and sway if you don’t feel like moving around that night on the dance floor.
It’s a very personal stage — one can feel the heart and soul of the bands. There’s something about that stage and dance floor proximity that builds and almost-instant connection. You’re suddenly making friends with hella strangers that are vibing out, you’re making eye-contact with the performers and then you wonder how you had not been introduced to this place before!
Every time I have gone, the crowd is a ball of undying energy, positive shoutouts and lots of dancing or moshing - you name it.
Band jamborees happen all the time with the likes of local bands like DaHaHa, Parachute’s on Fire, Shenzhen’s Thin City, and more. JMSN and Mac DeMarco have also previously performed there, among other big names.
Stay tuned because very soon Last Bash Before Class will go down there! DaHaHa, Poetry in Shorts, ClanDestino, and more will be wooing you with their diverse beats & vocals!
*You can also read how I missed JMSN here…#sadTimez
TAXX @ Found158 Julu Rd., Jing'an
TAXX is one of those places one has to go to as soon as they arrive to Shanghai - it’s quite the club and quite the scene to be completely honest. The bar is practically non existent because the locals have sections and bottle service, while the foreign crowd also has bottle service but for free and at the very front of the DJ booth/stage.
It’s up to your own discretion to judge the legitimacy of that alcohol - just drink responsibly!
A huge venue without a doubt. You walk in and it almost feels like the club will swallow you as your heart beat begins to assimilate to its bouncing-off-the wall bass. The lights are wild and the visuals from the big screen will entrance you for sure.
In most venues in Shanghai, one is able to witness their artist/band quite up close and it’s amazing! At TAXX, more likely than not, a world-touring DJ who’s played at the best of the best festivals, plays there! How can you turn down your chance at making eye-contact with some of your favorite DJs??
You can prance about, head-bang with others and not really have to worry about bumping into people every 3 seconds. It’s an intimate front section but it doesn’t mean you compromise your personal bubble too much.
If you want a rave-like feel at a high-scale club with free alchy...
to be continued...