Shanghai, Dance for Haiti

Saturday night I went out to the Dream Factory for the benefit show “Dance for Haiti.” What a weird show! I thought it would be because the lineup was so eclectic, but I had no idea of the weirdness I was in store for. I showed up at about 10:30 or so. Maybe this was late, but, come on, this is Shanghai. Nothing gets started on time. So I missed Duck Fight Goose again. I have a curse with this band. I can only see their practices. It makes for an interesting view of the band. I have barely seen them play, but I have heard their practices many times. So basically I know the parts that they practice over and over, like three thousand times.

I walked in on Studio 188 and it was like walking into a room where your grandparents are having sex; it’s great they’re still doing it, but you really don’t want to witness. I even caught a version of “We Are the World,” which was like the worst grandma crotch shot you could ever envision.

And then the next band was Lions of Puxi, a terrific reggae band, really. It’s not just that they are the only reggae band in Shanghai anymore; it’s just that they are great. Gaulthier and Gilbert have other-worldly chemistry and presence up front, Vlad just perseveres within the groove, and Johnny holds it all down behind the kit. Damien Banzigou, Layabozi Interview Subject, was worked in on the bass and Layabozi interviewer Theo Croker embellished the sound to its fullest. They played a short, tight set, and left.

So that was the highlight. One of the promoters came through with a vanity project for a couple next songs, featuring Fabien on the drums, and then we were treated to Monroe Stahr. Except, “treated” is not the right word; it should read “subjected to”. I can’t put my finger on it with his band, but they turn me off. I’m not saying they are bad musicians, but it might have to be chalked up to juju. They need to be cleansed with herbs and smoke or something. I don’t think I am alone in this thought, either, because they almost completely cleared the floor for Weghur, the next band.

Weghur played with conviction and fortitude. Unfortunately, they had been undercut by the lineup order and they seemed despondent about it. They trudged through the first half of their set, up to a point where Hassan broke a string. Then, the incomparable Gaulthier came on for an impromptu jam of a French rap song and really brought the house (of about 30 people) down. After that Weghur continued, working all the angles for another half hour at least. Their energy for the second half of their set was better. The few people who stayed were rewarded for their persistence with a jam that bordered on transcendent.

Now is the time that I reiterate that this was a charity show. With all of the earthquakes going on, it was definitely timely. Big ups to Nate and Carl, the promoters. I hope the cause did well. And I’m also going to give them a back slap on the lineup, which had a lot of promise. They got handcuffed by a musician’s schedule on that night and that’s why they ended up with a wonky order. I’m sure that during a normal evening they would schedule accordingly. They should be commended for putting together such an eclectic show and pretty much packing it out for a while. Again, all for charity.

Three Chord Truth: props to you. Haiti (and Chile and Taiwan): Get well soon.

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  1. gabloo

    well i was at the night too and seriously speakin studio 188 wasn’t bad even they are old school but they are still playing i’m sure u will not say the same thing if u see Rolling stones play why?? because they are rolling stones??
    anyway i had good times there except this monroe stahr band

  2. C40

    Zak, your pitch-perfect honesty and reverberating imagery make you writer numero uno in Shanghai in my book. Big Up.

    Honest is Bliss

  3. C40

    PS Zack (apologies for the earlier typo) it was Friday, not Saturday.

    I should know, it was my birthday.

    PS 30,700 RMB donated to Red Cross, 5,700 donated to Habitat

  4. Zack

    @ Carl: Yep, yr right. Friday night was the show. My bad. Thanks for the feedback and for giving a damn about Haiti, Habitat, Red Cross, Layabozi, etc. That’s a great haul for charity!

    @gabloo: Glad you enjoyed the show, i did too. Not sure what the rolling stones have to do with Studio 188, though. The Stones were not on the bill and, last I checked, they are not a cover band. I’m glad we agree on Monroe Stahr, though.

  5. beijia

    A nice herbal smokehouse cleansing, excellent remedy suggestion…though i fear they may have tried that and it didn’t work. Maybe they should climb the cliff and eat the eagle’s eggs.


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