Playing to a different crowd
Known for his bawdy humor and outrageous stunts, TV personality and variety show luminary Kan Kan will be facing a new audience this weekend, when he brings his offbeat style to Huashan Music House
By Gavin Phipps / STAFF REPORTER
Love him or loath him, you have to hand it to high-rolling celebrity Kan Jin-rong (康晉榮), or Kan Kan (康康) as he's known by his hordes of doting admirers, many of whom are excitable young women as opposed to seasoned and fervent music buffs.
\nAlong with his long-time partner in vulgarity, the much-maligned restaurateur, record company executive, variety show host and cable TV channel owner, Jacky Wu (吳宗憲), Kan Kan has become one of the nation's most well-known purveyors of laddish, or, as some might refer to it, toilet humor.
\nSince the late 1990s, the surprisingly reserved and genial media all-rounder with the acute sense of wit has been a comedian and a variety-show host, has appeared as a guest on countless TV game shows and has performed regularly with his band, The Live Band (康樂隊), at Taipei's EZ5.
\nWith the ability to charm both live crowds and armchair fans alike with his bawdy humor, varied musical routines and infectious impish grin, there can be no denying that the multitalented Kan Kan is a "showman" in the true sense of the word.
\nKnown for his laddish sense of humor and hybrid musical tastes rather than his devotion to typical mainstream folk/rock, the entertainer will be venturing into uncharted territory this weekend when he takes to the stage of the predominantly mainstream venue, Huashan Music House (華山音樂館).
\nA venue more accustomed to the dulcet folk-oriented tones of highly respected musicians including Chen Ming-chang (陳明章), Hung Fei (黃妃) and Lee Ping-hui (李炳輝), and raw edged rock anthems of acts such as The Chairman (董事長) and Back Quarter (四分衛), the entertainer sees his upcoming performance at Huashan as quite a challenge.
\n"It's my first time to play the venue and it's going to be quite a change from the usual ones. I'm pretty wary about the audience. The venue's reputation speaks for itself," explained Kan Kan. "But when the owner asked me to play there it was an opportunity I couldn't turn down."
\nBilled as a one-off special, the gig comes hot the heels of the release of Kan Kan's latest album, Happy Jiankang (見康快樂). Released by Gamma Music (嘉瑪音樂) -- a label his crony Wu part-owns -- the album is his third since 1999.
\nAlthough neither his debut, 1999's Tears (催淚) or its 2001 follow up Interpreting the Dream (圓夢) achieved platinum -- or gold status for that matter -- tunes from both albums did enjoy considerable airtime on national radio.
\nFor his latest effort, however, Kan Kan has veered away from spotlessly clean studio recordings, opting instead to let loose a recording of a gig at EZ5 in August this year -- blemishes and all.
\nWhat the finished product lacks in studio mastering it more than makes up for in the fact that it is a great example of what makes the entertainer such a popular all-round showman with an uncanny ability to put a smile on the face of everyone in the room.
\nOn the album the entertainer warbles his way through a mushy cover version of Glenn Fry's The One You Love, hits the audience with an eardrum-busting rendition of Happy Birth-birds-day and chops and changes musical styles at a whim.
\nAlthough they are all covers, Kan Kan is not ashamed of the fact that the tunes on the album are not of his own creation. Many may cringe at the thought of a celebrity cover band, but the star stands proud and doesn't shy away from admitting that his own songwriting prowess is somewhat on the weak side.
\n"I've tried to compose my own tunes, but with my TV work keeping me busy it's hard to find the time to sit down and really get into song writing," he said. "I have written a few, but after showing people and seeing their reaction I figured I should probably stick to other people's tunes instead."
\nThen again, the music is only one of the reasons so many turn out whenever he hits the stage. Interspersing songs with humorous anecdotes in which his bawdy humor and racy wit come into play, audiences never know what's going to happen when Kan Kan takes to the stage.
\nRegardless of audience reaction tomorrow night, Kan Kan plans to savor his one-night stand at Huashan. Drunk or sober, the whimsical and straight-talking showman plans to give those present a night to remember.
\n"I haven't finalized the set yet, but spontaneity will probably be the order of the day," Kan Kan said while cracking a mischievous grin. "I'll sing, tell jokes and drink. If I happen to drink a bit too much, then so be it. It'll make the evening even more fun."
\nWhat: Kan Kan and The Live Band Special
\nWhere: Huashan Music House (華山音樂館), located at 1 Pate Rd., Sec. 1, Taipei (台北市八德路一段一號2樓)
\nWhen: Starting at 9pm tomorrow
\nTickets: NT$600 at the door
Kan Kan enters uncharted territory tomorrow at Taipei's Huashan Music House.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF GAMMA MUSIC
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