Upon googling rock music in the PRD, I was very amused to stumble across a site that asked “what does P.R.D. stand for?” Much to my surprise the answer said “rock punk dinosaurs.” Though the site was quite obviously not related to anything Pearl River Delta related, I nevertheless took it as a sign that music of all genres - rock, punk, folk, pop…etc – is alive and kicking in South China. You see, in just under thirty years, alternative music genres like rock, punk, grunge and experimental have mushroomed in the People’s Republic, and the rising number of live music venues catering to such musical genres is one clear example of this trend. And what’s more, the nucleus of rock music which was once solely concentrated in Beijing has exploded into hundreds of pieces flying all across the land. One big chunk however, landed in Guangzhou. Below is a list of Guangzhou’s best live music venues.
C:Union Guangzhou 喜窝
Tucked away behind a thick line of trees at the back of Tianyi Plaza on Shuiyin Lu and only found by those who look hard enough, C:Union is a rare gem in Guangzhou’s live music scene. The venue itself is low-key and its popularity has primarily been achieved through word of mouth. Run by a musician from Yunnan province, C:union attracts costumers from all walks of life. Some of the biggest acts in the country play here as do many international acts passing through town. Besides being a magnet for the most talented musicians and bands far and wide, much of C:union’s appeal lies in it’s laid-back, easy-going atmosphere, largely created through its simple interior decor and “living room-like” vibes. There’s little room for pretentiousness as it’s clear that most loyal followers here come for the venue’s top class music performances and friendly atmosphere. Drinks are reasonably priced at around 30 RMB for cocktails and bottles of Erdinger and Beamish are available for 40 RMB. Besides the live acts, customers can also entertain themselves by playing foosball or darts. (Address and contact info here)
Tutu Union T凸空间View In Map
The newest edition to Guangzhou’s live music scene, Tutu Union is located within Sculpture Park amidst the park’s beautiful natural surroundings. Spread over two stories, the venue occupies a total space of 1600 square metres and boasts a top class sound system and live recording system. With its international standard equipment and generous space, Tutu plans on becoming the main professional exchange platform in south China for artists and musicians, whilst giving Guangzhou music fans the opportunity to enjoy a musical experience akin to large-scale concerts halls. Though only in business a few months, Tutu has already attracted international acts like Vialka and popular Chinese bands like Hanggai and IZ band. Expect to see many more top class acts and music events here in the coming months. Look out also for the rotating art exhibits hanging from the walls.
Add: Inside Sculpture Park, 545 Xiatang Xilu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 3659 7623
Tekkwun Livehouse 踢馆View In Map
Like C:Union, Tekkwun also attracts top class acts from home and abroad. Since its opening in August 2009, Tekkwun has fast become one of the city’s most active venues in promoting Chinese non-mainstream music. Not tied to one particular genre, you can catch anything from hard core metal concerts to mellow Chinese folk-rock gigs. Many top international acts also swing through Tekkwun’s doors, hence cementing its reputation as one of Guangzhou’s top live music venues.
Add: 201 Huguoshan, Huanshi Zhonglu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8667 0302
Iron Age Space 黑铁时代View In Map
Strategically located in Guangzhou’s University City, Iron Age Space is another strong contender in Guangzhou’s live music scene. It’s the only venue in Guangzhou University City that offers live music to its population of 180,000. Iron Age Space is bar, an art-space and a live music venue all in one. With a 35 square metre stage, it counts as one of the bigger venues.
Add: 2 F, Xinjue Club, East Gate square, Suishi Village, Guangzhou University City
Tel: 020 2868 3060
Hooley’s Irish PubView In Map
An Irish pub, a restaurant and a live music venue – Hooley’s is the venue of choice for people wishing to enjoy an expertly pulled pint of Guinness, good food and live music. Though immensely popular with the expat crowd, Hooley’s is the least bohemian and cutting edge out of the lot. At the same time however, Hooley’s doesn’t claim to be the most avant-garde live music venue around, hence it’s less about serious music and more about having a good time. However, there are major exceptions to this rule and sometimes Hooley’s does reel in a big name or two, such as Canadian rocker Ron Hawkins for example. The majority of gigs however, consist of cover bands, while the mic is given over to the audiences in their open mic night every Wednesday.
Add: Ground Floor, Binghua Hotel, 2 Tianhe Beilu, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 3886 2675
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