Party people who had ridden its claustrophobic, narrow lift – barely big enough for two – might tell you that the club after which it was named was a diamond in the rough. But in Shanghai, even the most prized institutions can have a short shelf life. After over two years in operation, underground club Elevator fell victim and shut down officially this past fall. Its now finally dropped anchor at a new location: a basement space in Xujiahui and longtime home of one of Shanghai's oldest bars and live rock venues, Harley’s Underground
. Its breaking in its new dance floor with an opening party next weekend
(Friday 24 and Saturday 25).
‘We’re lucky to be moving into a slightly larger space that’s actually underground,’ says Mau Mau, one of the club’s partners. ‘Like before, [the new Elevator] will be focused on the larger dance floor with an upgraded sound system. It will also have a nicer dedicated lounge area than the one previously.’
All considered, its hiatus over the past nine months has not been so bad. Elevator continued to host regular events at its gracious foster homes Xspace, Dada Modern Sky Lab and Dash. At its old location, an intimate, low-ceilinged space with a wooden dance floor, resplendent disco ball, citrus-coloured glow and enviable MODE sound system, preserved what many underground venues failed to: a sense of intimacy and community.
Elevator’s warm, communal atmosphere and lack of pretension is what gained it the following it has today. At the club, headlining DJs were given space to experiment and deliver sets that cruised the more liminal, uncharted shores of electronic music. With standout monthly residencies such as MIIIA's Room 303, Michael Cignarale's MEDUSA, Daily Vinyl and VOID, Elevator set a precedent where highlighting local music subcultures and resisting the ennui of the mainstream were top priorities. It may have big shoes to fill, but we’re excited to see what’s next for Elevator 2.0.