Mon, Jul 14, 2003 - Page 16 News List

Monkey Insane tops the charts at Ho-Hai-Yan

The four-man metal outfit won over crowds and judges at the annual Fulong event to take away NT$200,000 in prize money

By Max Woodworth  /  STAFF REPORTER

Stone plays its set during the competition section of the Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival Saturday night.

PHOTO: MAX WOODWORTH, TAIPEI TIMES

It was during the last song by Monkey Insane (潑猴), when over 20,000 people on Fulong Beach began wildly jumping and screaming along to an explosive new-metal chorus, that the band seemed to have the Ho-Hai-Yan Music Award in the bag. And sure enough, half an hour later, organizers announced that the band had won the NT$200,000 top prize of the fourth annual Gungliao Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival.

Monkey Insane edged out 10 other bands that competed through the sweltering Saturday afternoon heat to walk away with the top honors in Taiwan's only music awards to recognize amateur bands that have yet to release an album.

The competition was hard fought, according to the judge panel, with exceptional sets put in by the other participating bands, especially Mango Runs, Spunka, Relax One (輕鬆玩), Stone and XL.

Stone ended up walking away with the Jury's prize, while Mango Runs and XL together shared the Indie Music Award.

The competition is held as part of the three-day Ho-Hai-Yan festival, which began on Friday and continued yesterday with a lineup of bands from Taiwan and abroad.

"There are far more people this year than any previous year," said Zhang 43, head of Taiwan Colors Music, which organized the first two days of festivities. "We've never seen this many people out here for a show before."

Indeed, the popular beach-side town of Fulong took on a carnival atmosphere throughout the weekend as thousands of concert-goers flooded in from Taipei and beyond for the annual event. Students, young office workers and even families with grandparents and tots in tow flooded the beach, turning it into a patchwork of towels and pick-up games of beach volleyball.

In previous years the bands performing on both stages tended toward the garage-band style that could impress with their raw energy if not their musical abilities. This year, however, the bands were of remarkably higher caliber.

"All the bands are really tight compared with last year. They can all really play their instruments and put together a set of solid music," Zhang said.

The music was set to get even better yesterday when MTV took over the reins of the festival "to put on its own lineup of groups from Taiwan and abroad. By yesterday afternoon crowds were swelling on the beach again to catch local favorites Sticky Rice (糯米團) and to see the headliners Jaurim from Korea and the Perishers from Sweden.

By any measure the festival was judged by organizers and concert-goers alike to be a smashing success. Even traffic was kept under control in the town as a heavy police force restrained crowds from swarming the coastal highway and extra trains carried the throngs into and out of town without much hassle.

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