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[Music Monday]: Golden Rocktober Holiday 2015

Top Golden Week rock concerts and more with music from AV Okubo, Sick Of It All, Dustin Wong, Candle Thieves, DNKL, and Ranking Joe.
Sep 28, 2015 | 15:49 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.

HK Hardcore Act King Ly Chee play MIDI Electronic Fest with Sick Of It All On Oct 2

Another Golden Week is upon us, and there is no shortage of solid music gigs around Shanghai. Hopefully the Psy-Trance festival's yoga workshops from last weekend left everyone enlightened and limber. Since there is no rest for the wicked, it's time to climb back on that horse we call rock and roll and brave the smokey live houses for some sweet guitar licks.

The holiday week also includes two of the year's biggest electronic festivals. One being the October holiday version of eMiDi, which is hosted out in Suzhou and features a large number of China-based DJs and producers. Along with the electronic acts, the festival also includes some of the largest bands in metal and hardcore punk, like Sick of it All and King of and Children of Bodom. Not sure what metal has to do with Electronic MiDi but I'll take it. For a full guide to that festival, check this article.

The other big game in town is the Storm EDM Festival. If not familiar, EDM is a music genre made popular by the Zack Efron movie 'We Are Your Friends'. Storm is a heavily branded festival that features the biggest names in main stream dance music like Tiesto, Skrillex, and A-Trak just to name a few. Expect over the top stage presentations and lots of kids going crazy. If you're looking for a more down to earth evening of music head down to the Anti-EDM Festival down at The Mansion on Sunday. There you will find some of Shanghai's best DJs playing non-commercial dance music. Now let's get down to the business of rock with a preview of some of Golden Week's best live shows.

AV Okubo – 9/27 @ Yuyintang

Start your Rocktober Holiday week off a couple days early with some of the finest Chinese rock around. Coming from the mean streets of Wuhan, the band AV Akubo is known for their hard living ways and morbid dystopian lyrics. Last year they had the chance to tour Europe in support of their album Dynasty. That album was produced by none other than post-punk originator and Gang of Four frontman Andy Gill. Don't miss one of Maybe Mars signature acts on this special Monday night show.

AV Okubo – Opium

Sick Of It All – 10/2 @ Electronic MiDi Festival

Update: Didn't get a visa. Not happening. Sorry, kids.

What is one of the most influential New York Hardcore bands doing playing at a Chinese electronic music festival? Beats me, but who am I to look a punk rock gift horse in the mouth. Also playing are Hong Kong's finest hardcore act King Lychee and Finnish metal mega act Children Of Bodom. Since the 1980's, Sick Of It All have been starting mosh pits and inspiring countless misguided youth to get their trademark dragon tattoo. The band has cycled through all the classic punk rock record labels like Fat Wreck Chords, Revelation, East / West, and Relativity. Nearly 30 years of non-stop dedication to the hardcore arts culminated in their recent Last Act of Defiance album. This may be your last chance to check out Sick Of It All playing the last slot on October 2nd's eMiDi festival.

Sick Of It All – "Call to Arms"

Ranking Joe – 10/2 @ Shelter

Another legend makes his way to China, this time in the form of reggae MC Ranking Joe. Coming up in the Jamaican scene of the 1970's where his father operated a sound system that hosted concerts on a weekly basis, his early work was inspired by U-Roy, and one of Ranking Joe's first hits was titled Honda 750. A few years down the road he was able to collaborate with U-Roy himself and other artists when he switched over to the infamous Green Sleeves records. This is a huge booking for the newly renovated Shelter, which has helped put Shanghai on the map for reggae & dub parties. Playing alongside Ranking Joe will be singer ChaCha who a few years backed dropped a 10” record with the legend.

Ranking Joe – "Rome Dubplate"

Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa – 10/4 @ Yuyintang

Originally Dustin Wong came to Shanghai to play the Woods and Wires festival brought to you by the people who put on Echo Park. This time around, it's a very special treat as the Japanese singer, composer, and writer, Takako Minekawa, accompany him. Wong got his start with the art rock band Ponytail, which still has a cult following. His solo work eventually got him signed to indie rock label Thrill Jockey.

His solo live set is based around a loop pedal alongside a number of distortion pedals layered on top of each other that take the place of a full band. A few years ago, Wong started working with Takako Minekawa, one of Japan's most respected musicians for nearly 25 years. Minekawa was even married to the Tokyo producer Cornelius and she writes a column for the Japanese version of Keyboard magazine. This show is gonna be aweeeesome!

Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa – "She He See Feel"

DNKL – 10/05 @ Yuyintang

Chengdu's New Noise productions is back with yet another Scandnavian artist this time in the form of DNKL. Pronounced 'dunkel', which means dark in German, these three Swedes do not disappoint, churning out their form of melancholy electro rock. Man, New Noise just loves those Scando bands.

While only together a couple years, the band has already made a name for themselves in their hometown of Gothenburg along with creating buzz around Europe. Switching from slowed-down electro to a dance track or two, these Swedes were heavily influenced by artists like Mogwai, Edgar Froese, and The War On Drugs, just to name a few. While they represent the Gothenburg 'sound', the band has distinguished themselves with powerfully intimate productions while maintaining an ambiguity about their personal lives.

DNKL - "Hunt"

Candle Thieves – 10/05 @ MAO Live House

Last but certainly not least on our Golden Rocktober Holiday countdown are indie rock darlings Candle Thieves performing at MAO Live House. The duo is known for their matching thick-framed glasses and piano-based, pop-friendly songs that incorporate old Casio keyboards, xylophones, and anything else they can experiment with.

Candle Thieves got their name from the singer's Scott McEwan's dad habit of stealing candles from weddings. The flip side to this coin goes by The Glock alias and have been making music since their school days. This would be my date show pick of Golden Week, so get on that SmartShanghai dating site and enjoy the sweet tunes of Candle Thieves.

Candle Thieves - "Balloon"

Hope you enjoyed a little preview of your holiday week in music. There is just a ton of stuff going around town so keep updated on the SmartShanghai events section.


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.


Editorial Policy: At, all of our editorial content is conceived of by our team who live in and critique this city, for our readers who do the same. We don't accept payment for content, unless clearly labelled. Read our full editorial policy here.