Viet Nam News
In a bustling capital city where the traditional and contemporary meet, underground music is taking its first baby steps.
It’s happening at VietGangz Brotherhood, a music, shopping and entertainment mall for young people who nurture a special love for underground, which opened on May 6.
The complex is Ha Noi’s response to some playgrounds that opened lately in HCM City, like The Factory, The New Playground, and the City’s Children Palace. VietGangz has much the same to offer.
In fact, VietGangz has already staked out a claim in HCM City’s Cao Thắng Street in District 3. Its Hà Nội version is located at Alley 3B, 21 Đặng Thái Thân Street, hoping to capitalise on its HCM City reputation.
Located on a total area of 400 square metres, the complex catches the eyes of passers-by with its vivid neon flashing lights and signboards, three entrance doors with dark backgrounds to represent the underground spirit, impressive graffitis covering one side of its wall and street art pictures hanging on the other side.
Nguyễn Vinh Khang, manager and co-founder of VietGangz Brotherhood, said he and his team’s aims are to create a true playground for young people who share the same love and passion for underground music. “We want our brothers and sisters to have a place only for themselves,” he said.
Bright facades: A colourful line of bottle caps hanging under Degrey-Tas clothing shop.
On the ground floor, sets of tables are painted in appealing colours, inspiring the groups sitting at them.
Upstairs is the main gathering for most common brands in the underground community, like VietGangz Coffee, the coffee shop with one of the biggest Harley Davidson motorbike collections; Liêm Barbershop, the Chicano style hair salon developed by the Chicano Movement of Mexican Americans to express pride in a shared cultural, ethnic and community identity; VietGangz Tattoo, the special body tattoo shop with its slogan “Never offer sale”.
“What distinguishes VietGangz from other coffee shops and complex zones is our display of Harley Davidson motorcycles. I’m pretty sure you have never seen so many motorbikes in any other places,” Khang added.
Nguyễn Ngọc Mai Trang, a visitor busy taking a selfie with her younger brother, said it’s her first time drinking coffee in such a vivid and quaint place like this.
“My brother takes me here to buy some items for him. He is a musician and has been playing underground genre for three years. He comes here and looks for VietGangz piercing for his lips. At first, I was really scared since I worried it would hurt him, but he said it was okay so I let him,” she said.
Another visitor, Trần Đức Trung, is making the most of shopping at VietGangz, where products created by the shop are made, like sweaters, hoodies and accessories.
“Here you can find many fashions and accessories designed for underground followers, from $exy Killa (hiphop), Hope Shop for purchase in snapback, to The Chicano Shop, where hiphop oldskull products of big brands like Tribal, DC, Obey or Degrey-Tas are on sale,” Trung said.
He continued, while his hands were burrowing in a bunch of clothes.
“However, as I have been to The Factory and The New Playground, I still feel like this place is not having much unique and varied fashion brands like The Factory, and the drinks are still one step back from those of The New Playground. The music is also too loud sometimes and it annoys me a bit when I want to be here to work,” he added.
It seems there is still much for Khang to do as he tries to balance his wish to share his passion for underground with young people and keep the business going well.
“Only old school and Chicano rap are played here so it is a bit loud for passers-by sometimes. We will try to fix the problem and improve the quality of the complex so we can serve our customers better,” he promised. VNS