Last night at around half past nine, police showed up at Yuyintang and told them the planned gig for that night (local folk artist Wu Ji) would not be going ahead. No real reason was given, they simply asked to speak to the manager and asked to see the venue’s licenses. Audience members (there were around 20-30 people there at the time, not a huge crowd) were told that the gig was cancelled and that they needed to leave the venue. The authorities then confiscated equipment from Yuyintang – the cash tills and everything from the sound desk, including the computer. Tonight’s Pinkberry EP release has been “postponed” according to a notice from the band, though they will still be at the venue at 9pm tonight to give out postcards and to meet any disappointed fans who show up expecting a gig.
Yuyintang are currently trying to ascertain exactly where they stand now – and how they get their equipment back. They have some big, big shows lined up for May with gigs taking place almost daily, starting with big name experimental indie act Xiu Xiu on Sunday 2. There is no word on these shows yet and clearly the hope is that they will not be affected, but they have to be in some doubt at the moment.
The word today is that Yuyintang will get back their equipment and they haven’t been shut down completely, but that doesn’t offer us the comfort we need. Newby also makes this interesting observation:
It’s interesting the kind of gigs that the authorities are focusing on. One was a Sunday night show, though the attempted raid came a few days before. The other was a low-key folk show. Peaches at MAO singing ‘Shake Yer Dix’ and ‘Fuck the Pain Away’ is clearly harmonious enough to be allowed. A Beijing band playing indie-rock or a local folk artist? Let’s shut it down! Clearly, dealing with a handful of annoyed locals is a lot easier than trying to placate 600 drunk and angry white people. It’s also less likely to get attention in the press.
Shanghai expat @ybouc also informs us that the police also showed up Saturday night at Cotton’s (Xinhua Lu), of all places. Tell us about your own encounters with the men in blue in the comment section below.