Fri, Oct 08, 2004 - Page 13 News List

Rock 'n' roll pow-wow

Mogwai, Capitol K, Tribeca, FC Five and Taiwan's indie all-stars will gather in Wulai this weekend for the Autumn Tiger Fest

By Max Woodworth  /  STAFF REPORTER

Bands set to appear at the Autumn Tiger Festival include, from top left, clockwise, FC Fire, Mogwai and Tribeca.


It used to be there was a season for festivals -- summer -- and they came fast and furious, with Spring Scream, then Ho-Hai-Yan and finally Formoz, after which the organizers would go home and hopefully count their money and fans would return to indoor venues to get their music fix. No more.

To hear Doris Yeh (葉湘怡) of the Taiwan Rock Alliance (TRA) tell it, she took a look at the calendar and noticed that, hey, nothing ever happens in the fall. "So we thought, why not put on a show then."

"We" refers to Yeh and her partner Freddy Lin (林旭佐), the other head of TRA who's usually the public face of the group but who took a backseat for this weekend's Autumn Tiger Fest in the Atayal village and hot-spring resort town of Wulai, Taipei County.

The choice of venues is refreshing for its discovery of Taiwan's other dominant natural resource for this type of event, namely the mountains. And unlike the summer's festivals with their enormous stages, corporate sponsors and all the other fittings of bloated music concerts, Autumn Tiger will be relatively low-key -- sort of like an after-party for Taiwan's indie music scene.

That's not to say the lineup was an afterthought, though. A distilled batch of Taiwan's most popular indie bands is set to play. Scottish post-rock gods Mogwai will make an appearance, along with England's Capitol K, Tribeca from Sweden and the G.B.H.-meets-Jesus Lizard punk band FC Five from Japan.

For those who may scratch their heads at the reappearance of Mogwai in Taipei less than a year after playing The Wall last November and who have noted a rash of second and third comings by foreign bands, ie. Dirty Three, FC Five and Cat Power, there's an explanation in that all these groups initiated the contact. "It's not because we don't know any other bands," Yeh said.

Performance notes:

What: Autumn Tiger Fest

When: From 4pm to 10pm tomorrow and 2pm to 10pm Sunday

Where: Wulai Elementary School, 5 Kala Rd, Wulai Township, Taipei County (台北縣烏來鄉卡啦路5)

Tickets: NT$1,650 at the door for a two-day pass, or NT$1,350 in advance from, or at White Wabbit Records in The Wall, B1, 200 Roosevelt Blvd, Sec. 4, Taipei (台北市羅斯福路4200B1).

Transportation: Buses leave to Wulai from downtown at the No. 4 exit of the NTU Hospital MRT Station or from the Xindian MRT Station.

On the Web:

No one will complain anyway about another chance to catch Mogwai live tomorrow night, and this time in the unusual setting of Wulai Elementary School's playground. Their music is more commonly associated with dark, smoky clubs, but its epic scale and intense volume should play interestingly in the lush river valley.

The newcomers to Taiwan -- Tribeca and Capitol K -- show some interesting variety for their synth pop and rock-electronica fusion. Most importantly, they sound like nothing being made in Taiwan.

Tribeca is an updated version of the Pet Shop Boys or pre-Violator Depeche Mode, with the residual influences of 1990s indie rock. It's either fabulously ironic or cringe-inducing, depending on one's judgment of 1980s post-disco synth music. Either way it's undeniably melodic and the lyrics of teen angst and furtive sexual experiences raise suspicions that front-man Lasse Lindh is telling stories from his adolescent years.

Taking things into uncharted musical territory is Capitol K, whose two albums contain every imaginable type of music re-engineered in the most improbable ways. It's the kind of experimentation that goes awry in less able hands or that comes out establishing new genres. Capitol K is in the latter category.

Filling up the rest of the lineup over the two days on two stages will be local favorites like Tizzy Bac, WonFu (旺福), Nipples and LTK. Taipei's best shoe-gazer band Sugarplum Fairy (甜梅號) will even make a reunion appearance. Keeping things going on Saturday night will be DJ@llen, DJ K and Lim Giong (林強) in case people don't feel like leaving after the bands finish. And who would? Camping will be allowed at the venue.

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