The story appears on

Page B4

February 2, 2012

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » iDEAL

Yuyintang boss Zhang 'grows' the music scene

IT was January 15 and Yuyintang was buzzing. Bartenders were filling up drinks for rowdy parties; the sound engineer was manning the boards; the band was playing with passion; the staff was moving about like ants; and most important, the audience was having a great time.

A lot goes into making a good show, and that's especially true for rock, where an ambience of anarchy surrounds the music, which mostly celebrates raw emotion, fueled by high-octane alcohol.

With all that fuss, it's easy to forget the people who make it possible daily.

At that show a few weeks ago, I overheard someone say it was the 36th birthday of Zhang Haisheng ("John" to some Westerners), owner of Yuyintang. I reflected on him a bit.

Zhang is a very unassuming guy. He's of average height and build, wears plain T-shirts and is very soft spoken. Many guests might not recognize his name, but they might remember his slightly pudgy face, as he's always walking around, making sure operations are running well.

Yuyintang is his arena, and while he owns it, it never feels like his personal plaything. Yuyintang is for everybody.

What's important is that venues don't just get character like this: It's a reflection of the people who populate it.

And while Yuyintang is very welcoming, it's also very professional. Other open venues may lack professionalism, making it hard to put on a tight show.

Here's where Zhang is appreciated most by people like myself, who work frequently at Yuyintang: He is always there, arriving early, leaving late and only rarely taking breaks.

In the Shanghai music scene, his dedication and consistency are unparalleled, and if there was one person who has made Yuyintang the single best venue in town for music, it's him.

"Zhang makes Yuyintang work because of his vision," says music blogger Andy Best of

Zhang started as a guitarist and singer in 1997 with a Britop rock band. "That taught him what a rock player needs on stage," says guitarist Misuzu, who has worked with Zhang for more than six years. "He's got very good music taste and he has enthusiastically has helped the music scene grow."

In 2004 Zhang cofounded Yuyintang as a collective; in 2005 it opened as a club at another location before moving to its current home on Kaixuan Road.

So after thinking a bit about Zhang on the 16, I ran on stage and said a few unscripted words about the birthday boy. Few people heard me: They were busy having a good time. So the next time you're there and see him, stop and thank Zhang for his contribution to the Shanghai music scene.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend