Fri, Dec 20, 2002 - Page 17 News List

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

Kan Kan enters uncharted territory tomorrow at Taipei's Huashan Music House.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF GAMMA MUSIC

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.

Along 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.

Since 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.

With 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.

Known 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).

A 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.

"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."

Billed 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.

Although 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.

For 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.

What 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.

On 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.

Although 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.

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