Most of our experiences with the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami are in pictures of coastal towns, shredded into piles of broken wood and destroyed possessions on a muddy landscape; and the reports of damage at nuclear power plants, which have been threatening Japan with radiation. All of this horror happened on the other side of the world, in relation to Manhattan, but the distance could not stop the emotional reverberations. After all, look at a place like Tokyo: Doesn’t Shibuya Crossing share a lot of attributes with Times Square?
It can be difficult – close to impossible, even – to find anything good in disaster, but for music lovers, they can always find an opportunity to embrace in their passion while helping those in need. It feels wrong to say that Manhattanites are lucky because of Japan’s suffering, but the fact is that benefit concerts are rare events that give music lovers a unique experience. Thankfully, these concerts also make generous donations to those in need, so, really, you don’t need to feel guilty for getting a great show out of this tragedy – moping around isn’t going to help Japan.
Sonic Youth will headline the sold out Japan Benefit Concert this Sunday at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. John Zorn, who once worked in Japan under the name of Dekoboko Hajime, will host the event. Also performing: Yoko Ono, Faith No More’s Mike Patton, Sean Lennon, Cibo Matto, Mephista, Marc Ribot, Uri Caine, and Aleph Trio.
The Japan Society will replace their annual j-CATION culture festival with Concert for Japan on April 9. All of the proceeds will go to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. John Zorn will also be in attendance here, performing with Laurie Anderson. Also performing: Philip Glass and Hal Willner, The Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Bill Laswell with gigi band. Tickets can be bought here.
Henry Street Settlement will host the Concert to Benefit Japan Earthquake Relief, which will actually be two concert – one at 6:30 PM and one at 9:30 PM – on April 8. At 6:30, the performers are: Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Matthew Shipp, Gyan Riley, Masada String Trio (in relation to Zorn’s Masada projects), Ned Rothenberg, Alhambra Trio with Rob Burger, Erik Friedlander, Aya Nishina and Friends, Miya Masaoka, Jamie Saft and New Zion Trio, Ikue Mori and John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, Mark Feldman and Sylvie Courvoisier, Milford Graves, and Jack Quartet… At 9:30, the performers are: Norah Jones, Jesse Harris, Vinicius Cantuaria, Buke and Gass, JG Thirwell’s Manorexia, Elysian Fields, and Sex Mob. Tickets can be bought here.