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It seems no matter what you do, nothing is guaranteed in this world. It was just over a year ago that Mind The Gap (MTG) bought into a bar in Shekou. The hope was to secure a permanent home for the band. Once again; however, their contract wasn't renewed and they were back out looking for a new gig.

Mind The Gap, Shekou, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

After 11 years of playing live music in Shenzhen, MTG couldn't seem to catch a break. They bounced around from bar to bar and even had to leave Shekou for a while to make ends meet. This wasn't by choice. The main issue being the high cost of securing work visas for a five, sometimes six, piece band.

 

 

NOTHING LASTS FOREVER

 

In May 2015, they thought they had it all figured out. Together with a group calling themselves "MTG Friends" they pooled money together and bought into a bar then-known as Blu Bamboo. With their help, the bar changed its name to The Stage Live Music and invested in a new sound system and renovated the place in hopes of making it Shekou's premier live music venue.

 

The Stage Live Music, Shekou, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

 

Just one year later; however, the majority of owners decided it wasn't working, and on May 17th, 2016, just days after their successful one-year anniversary party, MTG played their last night at The Stage.

 

The news was devastating. The band, friends and fans were in shock. No one seemed to see this coming. The band not only lost their job, they also lost their apartment as everything they had was tied in with their investment at The Stage.

 

 

 

FRIENDS HELPING FRIENDS

 

MTG has been getting by over the last couple of months with the help of friends. George & Dragon British Pub in Shekou, for example, helped them raise some money with a Pig Roast on June 30th where all the proceeds of the food sales were given to the band. Some members played music at the roast for an intimate group of fans. It was a lively night. Keeping up with traditional MTG performances, some fans jumped up and sang together with the band on a few songs. ShekouDaily also held a benefit beach party to help out on July 10th. You can see photos of the benefit beach party here

 

Mind The Gap Benefit Beach Party at The Secret Spot on XiChong Beach

 

 

A NEW DIRECTION

 

Shortly after we heard the news in May, I spoke with one of the owners; he simply told me that The Stage is looking to try something new. They've held a few DJ parties since then and at one point sent out a promotional flyer with the name "Stage Sports Bar & Music Club." 

 

MTG fans haven't been quiet about the news. In fact, they've been quite vocal across social media. Some have gone so far as to call on a boycott of the place. The band though didn't, and to this date haven't, made any official announcements. They weren't ready to give up so easily. They continued negotiations with the majority owners of the Stage.

 

Tensions were high during negotiations considering their investment and the difficult situation caused by the abrupt change. They didn't speak out too publicly or play openly at other venues during this time in fear of negatively impacting the negotiations.

 

It's not clear whether their performance at George & Dragon played a role or not, but, on July 2nd the negotiations had finally come to an end. The band officially signed contract termination papers with The Stage. Then, on July 11th The Stage made a public announcement on their Official WeChat Account that they've changed their name to Blu Bamboo Sports Bar.

 

Blu Bamboo Sports Bar, Sea World, Shekou, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

 

I stopped in to have a look for myself after the announcement to see what the change to sports bar was all about. The pool tables are still there, just moved around, and they've added a bunch of new bars games to the mix. Actually, there's nothing else like this currently in Shekou. They have a shuffleboard, massive beer pong table, air hockey, table hockey, foosball and darts. There's also a professional electronics dart board system coming soon. Leon, one of their new managers tells me that they're not even 50% done with the changes they expect to make over the next month or so. For those that miss live music, they told me there are plans to still have live music nights occasionally; however, the focus is now on sports and games.

 

Blu Bamboo Sports Bar, Bar Games, Sea World, Shekou, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

 

 

 

MOVING FORWARD

 

The band hasn't been vocal about what happened at The Stage; however, their actions have been anything but quiet since the breakup in May. They've talked to many bars and restaurants about housing the band since then. "The biggest issue is our visas. It's not cheap. The cost is almost 40,000 RMB to get the working visas for the whole band," tells me Richard Del Rosario, drummer and spokesman for the band. Not many places have the infrastructure needed for a band like MTG as well.

 

Although talks are taking place, there have been no official comments issued from the band as to what's coming next. Hopes are they'll stay in Shekou but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. 

 

In the meantime, register on ShekouDaily or scan the QR Code below to follow ShekouDaily to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest of what's happening in Shekou. 

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