You know the place -- it's The Shelter. The rawest spot in Shanghai, and the first club on Yongfu Lu. Underground Resistance played there on opening night in 2007. Artists like Madlib, Pete Rock, Juan Atkins, The Bug, Kode 9, J. Rocc, DJ Spinn, DJ Paypal, Ceephax Acid Crew, DJ Bone, and hundreds more have all played there. They very rarely do brand parties, and it's probably the one place you can't DJ at just because you know somebody, or because you can "bring people". They don't work with promotion crews, or pay white people to sit at tables. For better or for worse, they'd rather have an empty floor than play cheesy tunes. They are not the friendliest people, but they keep it real.
In a world of free tables, free alcohol, "international DJs", and wack EDM, The Shelter is just that -- a shelter. An antidote. A refuge. An alternative.
And also a really grim, grimey, and foul-smelling place, with an aesthetic that many found repulsive. In recent years, even the hardcore heads were asking, "mate, couldn't you at least fix up the toilets a bit?" Well, Shelter finally renewed their lease (which was in doubt for much of the last year), so they shut down for about six weeks to do a bunch of small renovations that add up to a better clubbing experience. It's still a basement, but a nicer basement.
Note: We can't reveal the new layout in this article. The friendly management insisted that your correspondents leave that as a surprise for those who come to the opening party tonight. We'll update the article next week.
- The place is even darker. They've painted everything black, including the walls and pillars
- Floor is brand new, and should be much easier to clean when water leaks down there
- The ticket booth is now at the end of the tunnel, so if people really need to check if their friend is inside, or see what's going on, they can have a peek
- A much more powerful fan, which should clear out that damp funk a bit better
- More security cameras, to look after their champagne collection
- Bathrooms are now separated between men's and women's. There is no longer a common sink area.
- *** NEW TOILETS ***
- More dancefloor space
- The club is now open Tuesday-Saturday, because the Sub-Cinema night is moving here from Dada in October
- For whatever reason, they redesigned their logo
- Brand new, much bigger DJ booth, with proper drawers, and a little area to the side that could act as a "backstage" area for artists who need such things
- Speakers have all been repositioned so there's true stereo sound now (was mono before)
- All new wiring, mixing board, CDJs, and projectors
- Subs are now stacked all together, in front of the DJ booth. More bass.
- Those ghetto-ass table lamps on the DJ booth are gone. Instead, there are dimable lights above the booth.
- Because of the new speaker placement, there are less "dead spots" (places where the music sounds shit).
- All new bar
- Prices are slightly higher -- about 5rmb steeper per drink on average
- Now they've got six kinds of bottled beer, including Chouffe Blonde, Leffe, Baird IPA (brewed with wasibi and green tea), plus the usual Asahi, Tsingtao, and Corona
- Each kind of spirit now has two options -- a low-end and higher-end. For example, Gin and Tonics can get made with either Gordon's or Hendrick's
- They've got some new Tequilas and a Mescal
- New ice cubes -- "Proper block ice" -- and new glasses.
- They're selling disposable E-Cigs by Shanghai Vape (~35rmb), as well as proper earplugs (~180rmb)
What's The Same?
- Most of the staff. It's still managed by Gaz and Gary, and the Bao'an and Ayis are the same. One new Ayi coming in though.
- The cover price will be roughly the same
- The music policy. No commercial shiz
- That area in the back. They did a few minor renovations but not much
- There's still two emergency exits -- one by the bathroom and another in the back
What's Coming Up?
- A lot…Here's the crews and DJs playing in the next few months:
Highlights include the opening party / SVBKVLT compilation release on September 18, Do Hits takeover on Sept 30, Ranking Joe on October 2, Psychemagik on October 4, Laurel Halo, The Field, and Sam Barker on October 18, and TASO (Teklife) on October 24. Also, they'll be open every day during the October holiday.