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Shanghai music venues: MAO closes, Modernsky Lab opening soon

Plus Qianshuiwan undergoes a name change

MAO Livehouse
Shanghai is set to get a new live music venue for 2017, with the opening of Modernsky Lab adding a roughly 1,000-person capacity livehouse to the city's gig-hosting options. Before that, similarly-sized Shanghai gig mainstay MAO Livehouse is to close its doors for around two months to undergo renovations.

Set up by Beijing-based record label and promoter Modern Sky – who are perhaps best known here as the people behind Strawberry Festival – the new Shanghai space will operate as a sister venue to Beijing's Modernsky Lab, which opened in the capital's Galaxy SOHO hub in 2015.

Located in the Ruihong Tiandi development beside Linping Lu metro station in Hongkou district, the new Shanghai venue will also feature a shop selling music and design magazines and products, plus its own independent coffee shop. The gig space will have second- and third-floor viewing areas and will likely hold around 800 to 1,000 people.

The new space will enable Modern Sky to tour acts between the two cities and do spin-off shows from their festival network without the need to deal with venues not under their control in the two cities. It'll likely host a mix of live acts and DJs – both international and domestic – if its Beijing counterpart is anything to go by.

Shanghai's Modernsky Lab is slated to open in May, by which time MAO Livehouse will have reopened following a roughly two-month makeover. The long-running gig venue hosted its last shows before the renovations this past weekend, with plans to be back in business by March 2 in time for the visit of Japanese rockers The fin. on March 3.

Details of exactly what MAO's renovations will entail currently remain scarce, but with a bit of luck they'll include a better sound system. We're also hoping they'll take the opportunity of the closure to reassess their frustrating bar token system.

Finally, Qianshuiwan Creative Arts Centre - the Putuo-based venue known for having some of the best sound quality in the city - has announced a name change. There's no official English name yet, but the Chinese name translates as Bandai Namco Cultural Centre, referencing a new sponsorship arrangement with the Japanese video game producers.

The Q-Hall will be renamed the Dream Theatre (maybe they can book prog metal act Dream Theater to celebrate) and the Q-House (that's the smaller, upstairs venue) will be renamed the Future Theatre. These names are taken from the announced Chinese monikers; official English names remain tba. QSW have asserted through their official WeChat account that this is purely a naming rights change, and that the overall operation of the venue won't be effected. So we guess that means there aren't any plans to turn the place into a giant Pac-Man game just yet.

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