1. Is there jazz at the Corner Jazz Club?
In a word, no. The bar is on a corner though. They once had bands but DJs are less mafan.
2. Freedom Cuba Live House
Update Spring 2012: This venue seems to be on (permanent) hiatus 🙁
Veteran Qingdao music promoter Lao Zhang set up shop in Taidong on Tongshan Lu after the closing of both Owl Bar (sHooters) and a dungeonesque space under Tiantai Stadium. A real hero in the effort to bring more music to Qingdao, viva la Zi You Gu Ba!
3. Any venue in town for original music?
Redstar in Room 401 in Creative 100’s No. 3 building. Redstar’s small stage has seen bands including Chinese indie heroes Carsick Cars and Rebuilding the Rights of Statues (ReTROS). Foreign musicians at Redstar have included Headache with Jim Black, Briggan Krauss, Peter and Tony Scherr, Michael Blake and Teddy Kumpel, Beijing’s Redbucks, and Finland’s Moses Hazy et al. Check out a video of Hollerado at Redstar here.
The main image above is from a ReTROS show at Redstar. Update Spring 2012: This venue has been dormant except for regular practice sessions of local punk group Dama Llamas and occasional Creative 100 related events. Call 8388.2269 for more info.
Other places to catch original live music in Qingdao include Cape 3 (coastal bar street in Polar Ocean World on Donghai Lu near Shi Lao Ren Beach), Freeman Cafe (in the triangle of Charlie’s Bar and LPG), King’s Head Pub, and the SY Experimental Theatre.
Cape 3 in the Polar Ocean World has hosted Nova Heart, IZ, Beijing Beatles and more. Their sound system is said to be the best in town. SY Theatre has seen traveling folk shows from labels like 13 Month Records.
UPDATE 2015: Cape 3 has moved to Yanerdao Lu across from Book City and next to Old Jack’s.
4. Is there anywhere in Qingdao with live music every night of the year?
Club New York boasts a versatile house band that plays almost 365 gigs a year. The bar hosts occasional traveling acts, like Michael Bates in 2009, Dress Code in 2010 or the Beijing Beatles in 2011.
Lennon Bar used to be a regular haunt of the Canadian expat band the billKillers and has seen a steady stream of house bands with Chinese and Philippine players.
5. Are there any bands in Qingdao?
Local bands include Han Orchestra, Mr. Cat, The Dama Llamas, Firehouse, Bojue, Kamikaze, Demo, Overcoming, Fancy World. Some of these bands are dormant, coming alive from time to time for special shows. There aren’t a whole lot of gig opportunities for the less accomplished local bands. Band member attrition and turnover also plays a part in the relative lack of Qingdao local bands. Another factor is that musicians of a certain caliber who want to work and be recognized in their field migrate to Beijing.
Guitarist Ma Xiaodong of Escape Plan is a Qingdao native who followed the path to the capital – his Qingdao band was called Ma Yi. Demerit is one Qingdao band that has made it big in Beijing and toured the US on Vans Warped Tour. Pipedream Princess, Pungent Liquid, Four Lines Pane, and Li Zenghui are names not commonly known.
There aren’t a whole lot of gig opportunities for the less accomplished local bands. Band member attrition and turnover also plays a part in the relative lack of Qingdao local bands.
6. What about modern Chinese folk music in Qingdao?
Venues which have hosted acts like Ma Tiao, Chuan Zi, Shan Ren, and more include Freeman Cafe (Jiangxi Lu near ssLPG and Charlie’s Bar), King’s Head Pub (11 Xinyi Lu) and SY Theater (26 Shunxing Lu in Taidong near the pedestrian mall).
Sonospace Books in Creative 100 hosts regular guitar forums with local Qingdao musicans and traveling folk singers/guitarists. Hostels like Kaiyue (Old Church Lounge) and Wheat (Maizi) also have folk shows, e.g. Frederick (Dalian), and Qingdao rockers/punkers sometime show up to play – especially on special dates like Christmas/New Year’s.
7. What about music festivals in Qingdao?
Historically, one of the best music festivals in Qingdao took place in 2004 on the Shilaoren beach. It was called Qingdao Rocks The Beach, organized by Alex Roy and friends, with around 10 bands on 1 day. It opened a lot of eyes and ears though it wasn’t until 2007 that Qingdao saw another large show, MAX 07. The following years have seen MAX continue to bring in great foreign and local talent for Redstar’s Music and Art eXpo.
The first Golden Beach Music Festival took place in Xuejiadao (Huangdao Kaifaqu Zone across the bay) in 2008, growing each year and becoming a summer event known all over China as a great 3 day musical party on the beach. Update: 2011 Golden Beach Fest was held on a square not the beach. Stay tuned for Summer 2012.
8. Are there any classical music concerts?
Qingdao classical music fans can attend concerts by the Qingdao Symphony Orchestra and visiting performers at the Qingdao People’s Hall on Daxue Lu and the modern Qingdao Grand Theatre in Laoshan district. Visiting conductors have included Lior Shambadal and Jan Latham-Koenig as well as Chinese violin prodigy turned conductor Hu Kun.
Another venue for classical music is the Qingdao Concert Hall, a vintage building across from Zhan Qiao pier that has hosted the Qingdao International Violin Competition for many years. The lobby areas of the Concert Hall contain photos and memorabilia from the history of the building, which is on the Qingdao Historical Register.