A story of love: My times in Mao

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A recount on concerts at the MAO Livehouse in Beijing.

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Author Max-Leonhard von Schaper
English title A story of love: My times in Mao
Publication Rock in China
Date of publication 2010 exactly on 2010/04/30

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A story of love: My times in Mao

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Closed! Shut down! Locked and dark! The MAO Livehouse is gone! That place of underground feeling that welcomed one with cheap(?) booze and rocking shows! In the years 2007 and 2008 I spent most of my rock-laden nights at this venue, in search for the kick of the night and a spirit I found mostly lost in Western music: real anger and passsion. Aggressivity and melancholy. It was here that I saw The Falling, that we started a mosh pit for Surprise, that we enjoyed a packed house for Tookoo's A Distance for 7 Years release. It was one of the venues that opened their doors for the foreign bands that stranded in Beijing in May 2008 after the final cancellation of the Midi festival. And it was just a couple of months ago, that I sat with the folks of Painkiller and MetalCon in the shabby upper part for a beer and smoke to discuss the start of another journey in our musical life. Gone are these times and it seems that also the very location it all happened has been closed for good.

Of all the venues in Beijing, the MAO Livehouse was one of the most genuine ones for me. With 13 Club focussing on the heavier bands, the Yugong Yishan being too much of a posh location for me, 2 Kolegas too far off and veiled in the mystery of alternative electro nights with Yan Jun, with Starlive being the big big hall and the D-22 always embranded in my memory with half crowded gigs of bad punk bands, the MAO Livehouse was the center of underground for me. With bands living around the venue, in the back parts of Nanlu Guoxiang and around the Xinjiekou area, MAO drew not only the hipper fans of Gulou East Road shoppers, but also the Hutong crowds and the bands that enjoyed the midnight chuanr at Xiao Xin Jiang Ju, directly opposite the location. With its signature wall next to the table soccer and the hundreds and hundreds of band logos, websites, names and slogans encarved in it, MAO grew more to a home to music than any of the other places I saw.

It was the place where I introduced my Chinese colleagues from work to the underground world of Chinese music. They never had been in contact with the angrier part of Chinese youth and they were amazed with which freedom and passion those young people not only celebrated their creativity and music, but where they also celebrated the birthday of the very founder of this nation China: Mr. Mao Zedong. On his birthday, the staff had prepared a video and announced the reason for celebration to the audience. My colleagues were shocked to find out that not only did China's youth engulf in rock and punk, but that the very same people upholded a tradition so unexpectacly nationalistic, not seen in the rock of Western countries.

In many ways MAO was rock, was punk, was metal, was underground in its lived spirit! For those about to rock, we salute you!

--Azchael 15:56, 30 April 2010 (UTC)


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