To hear the guys of punk outfit The Deported talk about some of the gigs they've played over the past two years -- "the better ones", they call them -- you wonder if they actually were deported from some place or if they're just expecting it any day. Best to catch their gig at Fu Jen University this Sunday, while they're still in the country.
In an interview with the band this past week, Deported guitar player, Tony, said that a recent gig they played at a local vegetable market was one of their better shows.
"The vegetable market was cool," he said.
Vocalist Andy O, the band's other guitar player, Jeff, and drummer, Liu Wei (
"We played in the middle of the street, Tony said. "There were old ladies trying to get out from in front of the speakers and parents pulling their kids away."
The vegetable market was a good show. But it wasn't as good as the gig in Taichung.
"Taichung was our best show," Andy said. "There's this road along the side of a canal that all the foreigners in Taichung hang out at and drink beer. It's like foreigner ghetto. We were there hanging out with some guys we know and one of them said, `Hey, let's have a show right here tomorrow night!'"
So, the next night, the Deported guys and their Taichung friends lugged a studio's worth of equipment onto the street and into the canal where the acoustics would be keen. They threw electrical cords out an apartment window, over the tops of trees and down into the canal to power the amps. Someone strung Christmas trees lights around the edge.
"We didn't advertise it all," Andy said. "We just did it. But by the time we were doing the sound check, there were like a hundred people that had gathered around. We ripped into our first song and immediately -- lights, sirens -- the cops came to shut it down. We were like `No! No! One more song!' But it wasn't gonna happen. Our best gig: one song in a ditch."
Some of the band's gigs never even happen, but make good stories nonetheless. Andy keeps an online journal, Anarchy in Taiwan, that details many of the band's exploits. He tells a story about a woman in high heels, bright pink pants and pink-streaked hair that barged into their rehearsal at a studio in Ximending last month. She had bootleg punk rock patches on her plaid coat and started singing to their tunes in Japanese.
"It was totally random," Andy explained in the interview. "She said she wanted us to come to her club and play a gig right then. She said it was a nice club and that the people there were all movie and TV producers and that they all loved punk rock. They were gonna pay us and give us free beer." So they went.
"It was the Royal Opera Hotel Spa or something like that," Andy said. But there were problems. They didn't have their drummer, for one, so the woman volunteered to drum for them. More problematic, there was only one amp.
"She told us that we could bring more amps from the club across the street," Andy said. "Then she disappeared with one of the customers."
When a bowl of fruit came to the table, Tony jumped back, afraid that if anyone touched it they'd be charged NT$50,000.
"I've heard about this," he said. "This is totally a trap! ... Let's jet!" So they jetted. Another memorable gig.