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[Music Monday]: Cover Story

A dive into the dark world of Halloween rock tribute shows with songs from Rage Against the Machine, Blink-182, The Strokes, and Sublime.
Oct 27, 2014 | 12:32 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.

A tradition old as All Hallows Eve itself is the tribute cover show. Shanghai has her own tribute traditions dating back seven years now. Basically you get a bunch of 30 year-old men who think they are still 13 together in a room and let the good times roll. The very first rock tribute show happened at the deceased 4Live bar and was put on by none other than a fresh-faced party crew called STD on an ominous autumn night in 2007.

At that show history was made with the Misfits cover band Horror Business, which featured members of Boys Climbing Ropes. Since that fateful show Shanghai bands started organizing and practicing earlier each year to top their predecessors. 2008 saw the birth of Clash tribute band Yellow Riot, with former members of Mortal Fools and The Rogue Transmission. That was the first year the tribute gig was hosted at Yuyintang where it remains till this day.

Since 2008 at Yuyintang, bands have covered Joy Division, KISS, Wham!, Twisted Sister, Metallica, Dead Kennedys, The Velvet Undergound, Tool, Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, and the Grateful Dead. On a related note, this year’s main organizer Ivan Belcic has teamed up with Scottish Michael Herd to put out the annual We Are Shanghai compilation album. If you play or produce music in Shanghai and want to be featured then hit up Now let’s see what’s on the chopping block for this Friday's Halloween Rock Tribute Show.

Rage Against The Machine

Off to a good start with Rage Against the Machine, featuring members of local metal act Machinery of Other Skeletons along with Pyroglyphix and Friend of Foe. The band that had middle school kids around the world screaming to Free Mumia in America, justice for the Zapatista’s in Mexico, and many other causes that 90s teenage boys championed without knowing anything about. The hardest thing for me about RATM is they are actually one of the first true rap rock bands. A genre that in my opinion ruined music. But damn if that Zack de la Rocha didn’t get you going with those "Bulls on Parade" and "People of the Sun" lyrics. Well the 90s ended with the break-up of RATM and in turn teenage angst went to the way of Limp Biscuits with a side of Korn. The question is do our own Shanghai version of Rage have the chops? Find out on Friday my friends.  

Rage Against The Machine - "Bulls on Parade"

The Strokes

Laaaaaaaaaaaast night is probably the only Strokes song you know. A couple chords of "Someday" might ring a bell. I have a sneaking suspicion that Girls Like Mystery guitarist Adam Poole, who looks like a early 2000s hipster trying to be a early 1960s hipster, will be doing the honors of playing Strokes lead singer Julian Casablancas.

This is fitting since the real Julian Casablancas grew with a father that owned the Elite Model agency, assuring easy access to blow and babes anytime. I’m pretty sure that’s just an average Tuesday morning for Shanghai’s Kevin Wright. Oh how nice it must be for your daddy to buy you that backing band and record contract like a trip downstairs to their private model farm too pick out this week’s toy. Alright maybe I’m just jealous, those cookie cutter rock stars did have some catchy damn tunes.

The Strokes - Last Night

Blink 182

Guiltiest pleasure in the world, Blink 182. Growing up in California, pop punk was a respectable genre for years before breaking big with bands like No Doubt taking the world by storm. Then came along Blink 182 and it was all over. So sugary, so sweet, even though some could argue the band did its time in the underground long enough to reap mainstream rewards their influence can never be undone. Well if the biggest problems society had to offer back in 1999 was passing time in your room alone or getting a burrito then maybe the Blink-182 generation is truly the greatest. Just try to listen to "Adam’s Song" without tearing up. It’s about teen suicide man, shit is heavy. They're covered by XXYY on Friday and I can only dream how those songs will sound in Scottish Mike Herd's accent.

Blink 182 – Adam’s Song


Oh man, no. Wait did I say rap rock ruined music? Turns out it was reggae rap rock that that destroyed America and Sublime was the grim reaper. However if there is one band on this blue rock we call Earth that could do Sublime justice it would have to be Shanghai’s own Hello Money. I’ve seen Hello Money countless times and even though I always go into the show a hater I leave tapping my feet to those sweet mash-up reggae rock jams that only they could do so well. Look out for them channeling junior high's broken dreams into Yuyintang's pagan alter.

Sublime – The Wrong Way

Should be good clean fun for all ages.


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.