Fri, May 16, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Getting back to grassroots in Tainan

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Tainan May Jam is gearing up for its hoe down.

PHOTO COURTESY ALEX SCHUNN

Four years ago Axel Schunn put together the first Tainan July Jam, which became the Tainan June Jam a year later. This year it's the Tainan May Jam.

The name keeps changing but the gist of the concert remains the same: Bring together of some the best live music acts in southern Taiwan for an afternoon (or two) of jamming, barbecuing and beer drinking next to the sea in Tainan's historic Anping district.

Unfortunately, the weather got more time on stage than any of the bands in the past three years. "Every time I put on a show, a typhoon came!" said Schunn, who has moved the date forward every year in the hopes of avoiding inclement weather. "The forecast for the weekend said it might rain, but I don't want to think about it."

According to Schunn, the turnout for last year's show was particularly poor, but not necessarily because of the weather. "I had listened to too many people who told me that I should charge an admission price, so we tried doing that last year. But the largest shopping mall in Asia opened near here and England was playing in the World Cup on the same day!"

So this year, barring typhoons, shopping mall openings and World Cup games, the concert will go off as it is supposed to, and free of charge.

"My original idea was a free concert where people could go have a barbecue, play in the water, play frisbee, drink beer or whatever; all while these great bands played."

The bands Schunn has lined up this year include Schlumpy, from Taichung. "They have a big brass section and their main guitarist used to be with the Clangers," he said.

K-Box will go on after them. They're a jazz outfit whose bass player used to be with Schunn's own band, Charlie Swiggs, who will play after them. The Racoons, The Cause, Sheng and San Ho Yuan fill out the roster of bands. R& B soloist Sheyne, as well as favorite Tainan toe-tapper Nicole Darcy and newcomer Early are also scheduled to perform, as are the Yungkang Church band, Blue Grace.

Something for everyone?

Schunn certainly hopes so. But if not, you're invited onstage halfway through the afternoon for a drum circle jam session.

"Oh, and maybe, maybe the Mooks will play," Schunn said. "The thing with them is they're having a show the day before and they'll probably get wasted after the show. That's what they told me. So they may not make it."

Tainan May Jam starts at noon, Sunday, May 18, at Choumao Yuan in the city's Anping district and goes until 10pm.

From the Tainan train station, take bus no. 15 to Anping. Alternatively, if you take a taxi, your fare will be about NT$200. Call Axel Schunn at (0930) 952 973 for more information.

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