For a relatively small third tier city like Yinchuan, the increasing number of music bars popping up in the city may come as a surprise to many. However, Yinchuan is no stranger to rock n’ roll. Anyone who’s lived in Beijing with a keen interest in Chinese rock music will have noticed the fairly large representation of Yinchuan natives making a name for themselves in the capital’s music scene. Bands like Buyi (who’ve been around for over a decade), Wu & The Side Effects, Nucleus and Lidong all have Yinchuan boys at the helm. What’s more, Yinchuan musician brothers Zhao Muyang and Zhao Yiran are hailed as two of the most influential musicians in China’s underground music scene, having played with some of the pioneers of the rock movement like Dou Wei and such bands as The Breathing (呼吸) and No.43 Baojia Street (鲍家街43号).
However, those looking to catch a gig by any of the aforementioned bands and musicians will probably be disappointed when they get to Yinchuan; despite being the birth city of many great musicians, very little of this musical creativity can be found in the live music bars here, as almost all of the musical talent has migrated to Beijing. In fact, a word of warning about Yinchuan bars is needed here: Yinchuan’s bar scene is not as regulated and “orderly” as most bars in Beijing and Shanghai, and many of the local bars are popular drinking grounds for the underbelly of Yinchuan’s “shadier” society. In other words, don’t rub people up the wrong way or you may find yourself in a very unpleasant bar brawl!
Now that the unpleasant aspects are out of the way, let’s get to the more positive aspects of Yinchuan’s music bars: At present, there are a number of venues with fairly regular live music gigs and some even manage to pull in well known bands from other cities. Spring Festival is usually a good time to catch a gig here as many of the “lost talent” now living in Beijing, return home for several weeks. Bands like Buyi and Nucleus usually put on a show every year. Also, many of these bars are important platforms for the younger generation of musicians hoping to join the list of Yinchuan’s Rock n’ roll alumni. So, without further ado, here are the main music bars in Yinchuan (at the time of writing):
1) Shifang 十方酒吧View In Map
Probably the most active and respected live music venue in Yinchuan, Shifang is host to a regular string of live performances and manages to pull in well known bands from across the country. At the moment, this is pretty much the best bar to go to catch a good gig. A large space and decent sized stage guarantees a packed house when a well known band comes to town.
Add: 129-1 Haibao Fuxingyuan, Shanghai Donglu, Xingqing District, Yinchuan
Tel: 0951 607 5902
Photo courtesy of Tongguan Live House
2) Tongguan Live House 铜管现场酒吧View In Map
This live house just opened this May 2011 to a special concert by Beijing-based rock band Buyi. Hidden within an aspiring art district next to Beifang Minzu University (features factory building strikingly similar to Beijing’s 798, but currently minus the art galleries!), this bar’s opening was quite a courageous move by its owner Zhang Hailong. But then again, as the former sound technician of renowned Beijing live music venue 2Kolegas, Zhang Hailong knows a thing or two about opening a bar in a risky location.
Like the owners of 2Kolegas, Zhang Hailong doesn’t care too much about the interior. But the time saved on not doing up the place is made up for by his ambitious efforts in creating Yinchuan’s first truly laid-back rock n’ roll student bar. Though it’s still too soon to predict how the bar will do in the long-term, especially since its fate also relies on the development of 801 Creative Park, for now all signs look good that this may become Yinchuan’s most bohemian (and most friendly) live music house.
Add: 100 metres inside 801 Creative Park (east side), Xixia District, Yinchuan (opp. Beifang Minzu University)
Tel: 138 9510 9556
3) Xianchang 现场酒吧View In Map
This is one of the newest additions to Yinchuan’s live music bar scene. Opened by a Yinchuan musician and his wife, Live House has a lot of potential, but unfortunately its desired laid-back bohemian vibe is compromised by the rowdy crowd that call it their regular drinking hole. The owner has accrued some bongos for jamming sessions and a number of talented Beijing-based bands have played here so far, so let’s see how this bar develops over the long-term.
Add: 2-3 Aiyishuijun Commercial Street, Zhengyuan Nanjie, Yinchuan
Tel: 153 4950 6609
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Keywords: Live music bars Yinchuan rock and roll Yinchuan music venues Yinchuan
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