Local folk legend, Chen Ming-chang (陳明章), will be getting close and personnel with his audience this weekend, when the bearded crooner takes to the stage -- or rather floor space -- of Taipei's smallest rock venue, Peshawar (柏夏瓦), tomorrow evening.
Although Chen has spent much of the past couple of years working closely with his Tamsui River Band, more recent appearances have seen him teaming up with Wu Bo-yi (吳柏毅) and the Touch Band (全方位盲人樂團), Johnson Hsiao (蕭福德), Taiwan's favorite comedy musical act and one-time MTV emcee, Joy Topper (朱約信), or Pig Head Skin (豬頭皮) as he's known, as well as with popular Aboriginal activist and musician, Kimbo Hu (胡德夫).
Along with his numerous appearances behind the microphone, Chen has also been busy behind the scenes. As spokesperson for the Association of Environmental Reform for Arts and Culture in Taiwan (中華民國藝術文化環境改造協), Chen was responsible for the creation of and deals with the day to day running of the Huashan Music House (華山音樂館), booking acts and often performing there himself.
These responsibilities are now temporarily on-hold, however, as the venue was closed down for cleaning earlier this month due to the current SARS epidemic and is set to reopen early next month,, pending a city government inspection.
According to reports, no one, least of all government officials bothered to inform Chen of this. Instead the erstwhile folk artist learned his venue's fate from local media reports.
The closure of Huashan means that tomorrow evening's gig will possibly be a sell-out long before Chen takes to the stage at 8:30pm. As space is very limited those wishing to attend are advised to arrive early.
While many of Chen's musical cohorts and hangers-on will be in attendance, tomorrow evening's gig is set to see Chen performing a solo and predominately unplugged set that will feature a wide range of the crooner's tunes both old and new.
Chen Ming-chang is at Peshawar (柏夏瓦) at 8:30pm tomorrow evening. At 3, Lane 80, Shihta Rd, Taipei (台北市師大路80巷3號). Tickets are NT$250 at the door.