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[Music Monday]: Charity Rocks

Sacco covers May’s Musical Charity Gigs featuring Techno & Rock for Nepal, Punk for Maximum Rock n’ Roll, and Zumba for the Chiheng Foundation.
May 4, 2015 | 18:47 Mon
Music Monday is a weekly SmartShanghai column, serving up songs from bands living and making music in China (or coming to China, or thinking about coming to China, or whatever). Copyright holders: if you would like your song removed, please contact us here, and we'll honor your request promptly.

[Strawberry Festival on Saturday]

Greetings and salutations fellow Shanghai folks. Hopefully everyone celebrated May Day honoring the working class heroes that keep our little society going. I’m guessing you honored the struggles of our past proletariats by trying out that new brunch spot. Hey, we each pay respect in our way.

It was a great weekend for music lovers with reports of Killswitch Engage murdering it at MIDI. Helen Feng of Nova Heart decided to crowd surf the muddy waves out in Taihu as well. Also, word on the streets is the Hives were the highlight of Friday’s Strawberry festival. Can’t stop those Swedes if you tried. But the real winner of the weekend was Dinosaur Jr. proving they still got the chops 30 years later at Strawberry.

I was also at the Jing’an Park JZ Spring Festival on Friday. Now, last February I turned 35 and as part of my birthday re-education package, I received a new guideline book of allowed activities and locations to visit. Unfortunately I’m not longer allowed to visit Perry’s Bar, The Mansion, or any music festival that doesn’t have smooth jazz playing the main stage.

But in all seriousness this mini JZ Festival was quite refreshing. The audience was nearly 98% Chinese, with varying ages and social backgrounds. Music festival culture is still quite new in China and we are going to have to win over the Aunties and Grandmas if we have any chance of surviving. Beijing had nearly all their music festivals canceled this May holiday. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that in Shanghai.

[Helen Feng of Nova Heart at MIDI Taihu over the weekend]

In the spirit of music for a common good, May features four solid charity gigs in Shanghai. First up on Thursday, May 8th is Sam Barker at Lola to raise money for Nepal. Then on Friday the 9th we say goodbye to Girls Like Mystery, who are playing their final show and will also giving proceeds of the door to a Nepalese charity. The following Saturday at Yuyintang is an international benefit for the Maximum Rocknroll magazine, featuring some of Shanghai's best local bands like Smoking Area and Round Eye. Finally at the end of May you’re treated to a Zumbathon for the Chiheng Foundation, which does incredibly important work in Chinese HIV awareness. To help the effort in Nepal you can also donate via Music for Relief or to the many available foundations online.

Sam Barker (Nepal Benefit)

Ah Berghain, how I miss your debauchery and space docking ways. How I long for those endless nights in my ass-less chaps, dancing in the dark to those sweet techno beats. Alright I’ve never been to the infamous Berghain club in Berlin, but I’m pretty sure my mental image of thousands of Germans off-their-face and getting down until the afternoon is accurate.

This week’s Wooozy Offline takes us to the infamous club Lola, which is closing later this month, for a night with Berghain legend Sam Barker. You might know Sam from his production duo project Barker & Baumecker, who have one of the best studio collections in Germany. The duo uses a combination of digital and analog gear such as the XBASE 999 drum machine on their album Transsektoral, which also features daisy-chained Moogerfoogers. Barker himself is known for using a large eurorack modular synthesizer with endless patch cables and possibilities. One outcome of all this gear is that their studio productions have nearly no samples, creating a unique sound in a repetitive electronic genre.

Thursday’s show features Sam Barker along with opening sets by Sleepless and Jackie, and it's only 40rmb and the money goes to a good cause. Giddi up….

Barker @ Unit Tokyo, 16.01.15

Girls Like Mystery (Nepal Benefit)

Long time Shanghai rock institution Girls Like Mystery are calling it quits and playing their final show Saturday at Yuyintang. The hard driving expat band had a few lineup changes over the past year and Saturday’s show will feature surprise guest past members. Let’s all hope we are not losing Scottish Mike Herd, who has provided an endless supply of quotables the past years via his Tumblr and various stand up routines.

Along with playing countless shows around Shanghai, the band put out an album in 2013 called Distance Changes Everything and participated in the We Are Shanghai comps. They will forever be sealed in a time that is the classic 2010’s Shanghai rock sound. Catch them along with The Psyders and Blue Magpie for a mere 30rmb. All members of the bands have decided to donate the door proceeds to a Nepalese relief fund so let’s send off GLM with a bang.

Girls Like Mystery – "Letters"

Psyders – "Pharaoh Surf"

Maximum Rock n’ Roll (Magazine Benefit)


Next week is a rock benefit for rock itself in the form of the San Francisco DIY magazine Maximumrocknroll. This benefit is close to my heart as Maximumrocknroll was one of the first punk rock magazines I started reading, and it inspired me to make my own magazine and get into action. I call that era “when I used to believe in stuff". Also I lived next store to the MRR house in San Francisco for seven years while I was running a pirate radio station that broadcasted their weekly radio shows. A couple years ago I stopped back by the MRR house and was guest on their radio show playing some Chinese punk. Check that out here.

Seems DIY punk rock don’t pay the bills though. The magazine has fallen on hard times and made an appeal for rockers around the world to help out. The Shanghai punk community picked up the call and put together a solid show at Yuyintang live house on May 16th. The show features legendary Shanghai noise artists Torturing Nurse, who I was sure had been banned from Yuyintang. If nothing else it will be worth it the trip to see what kind of trouble that scamp Junky of Torturing Nurse gets into. Not to be outdone, event organizers Round Eye are playing and you can be sure someone's getting hurt during that set. Also on the bill is my favorite new Shanghai band Smoking Area, who just slay. Rounding out the bill are punk rock acts Pinball City and Zi Lu.

In solidarity, Beijing is also is hosting a MRR magazine benefit on the same day. In the name of punk rock let’s dig deep for that 60rmb cover charge and let the Mohawks fly on Saturday, May 16th.

Smoking Area – Live at YYT

Torturing Nurse @ The Grosvenor 13/7/2014

Round Eye – "Suntan"

Zumbathon (Chiheng Foundation)

Just went you thought your month of music charity events were over, on Saturday May 30th Cambio Coffee is hosting a Zumba class for charity. For those of you living under a rock, Zumba is a dance aerobics sport created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez during the 1990s. The money for the May 30 “Zumbathon” goes to a great charity, the Chi Heng Foundation, whose main function is operating projects in education and care for children and adults impacted by HIV/AIDS in China. This event is also sponsored by Shanghai PRIDE and is welcome to all whether it be your first time in the Zumba rink or you Zumba with the best of them already.

With my Brazilian Capoeira dance fighting classes on weekends, my schedule is pretty full, but I’ll still try this Zumba craze out in person on May 30. There is also a second class on the Sunday, May 31. Again, all proceeds benefit the Chiheng Foundation raising awareness and supporting Chinese families affected by HIV.

Ivan Monterrery Feat. Zumba Charity

Dig deep Shanghai. Dig deep.


This column is written by DJ Sacco, who runs Uptown Records, Shanghai's dedicated vinyl shop. Ironically, they don't sell Mp3s or dabble in anything digital, instead they have 7" and 12", EPs and LPs from rock to electronic, rare pressings, DJ equipment and band merchandise. Find them in an old bomb shelter at 115 Pingwu Lu.