Shanghaiist got to go check out the new location of the House of Blues and Jazz the other day on Fuzhou Lu just near the Bund, right across the street from the Captain Hostel. It looks like the new space is going to resolve all the issues the last place had while also adding a few nice new features to the entire package. The entire space is quite large, as they’re planning to use a bigger room towards the back as a dining room, where they will serve lunch and dinner. They are planning to be open from lunchtime straight onward through the late night showtime, quite an extension compared to before. Also the new place doesn’t have a big column in the middle of the stage blocking your view of half the band.
Lin Dongfu and Song Lan have spent an extra-long time (and extra-huge amount of money) making the new space just right, using the same wood paneling decoration concept as the last place—in fact much of the paneling came directly from the old building. They have 2 levels again, but this time the second level has a whole section where you can look down onto the band. They had to rebuild the frame holding up the second level, as the original framework was rickety and unreliable. They have replaced all the windows and installed a central gas heating system so as not to have to use air conditioners blowing air to heat the place in winter. The stage is just big enough for a normal-sized band, certainly larger than the last one but in a bit of a strange shape we think. It’s an even square, but because it’s facing both into the bar area in one direction as well as the main music listening seating area, no one side can be considered the front. Instead, the front seems to be the corner that faces both the seating area and the bar area. We’ll just see how the shape works out once people start playing on it.
Jazz lives again on the Bund:
Shanghaiist thinks the Bund has nearly come full circle and its time as THE nightlife spot of Shanghai is returning. More and more great spots are opening at every part of the Bund as well as on the streets set back from the Bund. We’re convinced that it’s going to be the best place to hang out in town once they finish the underground tunnel for cars and get the pedestrian thing happening along the riverfront in another two years or so.
Live jazz has had a hard time maintaining anything on the Bund, with Number Five lasting only 7 months as a full-on jazz club, and other places only featuring live jazz for limited amounts of time. Right when Bund 6 opened, Tiandi on the 3rd floor had regular jazz for a good chunk of time—but didn’t seem to get the punters in with much consistency. Glamour Bar and New Heights have always had jazz shows now and then, but neither have ever been “jazz clubs” per se, and they’re not trying to be. Now JG has started semi-regular jazz parties, but it doesn’t seem to be trying to become a full-on jazz club either. And of course CJW has been open for a few years now at its Bund Center location, but we would argue that it’s not close enough to the Bund to be really considered “at the Bund”. Even if the building is called the Bund Center.
So with one of the earliest mainstays of live jazz in Shanghai moving to the bund, it feels to us like a pretty significant symbolic event. Jazz is making the return to its earliest location in town once again, and this time it seems like it can’t fail.
Cross-posted at Shanghaijazzscene.com