I had heard of the YYT open mic – for YuYinTang – for at least two years, but I never managed to get there. I think it’s because it happens on Monday nights, and I had to leave the country in recent years past. But this time around I was there Monday night so I took the immediately first opportunity to attend this open mic, and I’m glad I did.
Although when I arrived to find the room full of spectators, and a high, sizeable stage set up with drums, a half dozen guitars and other instruments, I thought, Oh, no, this is a jam session for a full band kind of situation. That meant so much for my solo bit with my guitar, and that of a Brazilian colleague of mine who I arranged to meet there.
In the end, I did not have to worry, as the YYT is really open to all kinds of acts, solo or otherwise. Oh, you’re at a disadvantage in that situation going solo, since the crowd gets really wild and hot when the bands go up. But I had plenty of thumbs-up signs from spectators through the evening after my two-song set early on. And they were immensely respectful during the songs.
The MC is a wonderful presenter, and if you had a case of the nerves, he’ll be there to warm you up, as he was with my colleague, going up and speaking between his songs in a Chinese that we could not understand, but that warmed the audience up further….
Of the outrageous acts, my favorite was the man with the rage. This was a Chinese guy who had a cool foreign backing band, with a slick lead and smooth bass player, but this man yelled, yelled, yelled with rage into the mic. Even the band was amused. Check it out.
The other fun band was the very young and inexperienced group that looked almost like teenagers, and who played almost exclusively Led Zeppelin songs, with the woman singing. Delightful!
Finally, I met the bass player, spoke to him afterwards, and found he was a Frenchman, longtime expat in Shanghai, with a talent for gypsy jazz, which he plays frequently in China.
Altogether worth attending ever time I get a chance!