Fri, Jun 10, 2005 - Page 14 News List

'Two Faced' Wu Bai back on familiar territory

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wu Bai may have fallen on his face in the US, but he's still rocking in Taiwan.

PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES

Homegrown hero and long-reigning "king of rock" Wu Bai (伍佰) and his band China Blue are set to shake Taipei County tomorrow night for a concert in support of his latest album Two Faced Man (雙面人).

The album was released earlier this year and Wu Bai and his band have already taken their show on the road to the US, playing gigs in San Francisco and San Jose, among other places. While the rocker gets more than his share of respect here in Asia, reports from people who attended his show at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco were less than glowing.

Though the band played their hearts out, they did so to a sparse crowd of 30-somethings who seemingly had long been cured of rock-and-roll fever.

"It was a great show, but the audience looked like maybe they had all been given comp tickets," said one fan who was in the crowd. Wu Bai even spoke English to try to communicate with them, which was cute, but obviously didn't break the communication barrier.

The lackluster reception was despite the fact that the band was playing at a 1,000-seat venue -- a fraction of the standing-room-only stadium gigs they play in Taiwan and the rest of Asia.

As Two Faced Man is only the second album the band has released in the past seven years, tomorrow night's audience is all but guaranteed to be geared up for a good time.

The album is a bit of a departure for Wu Bai and China Blue, who have put aside their straightforward, hard-hitting style in favor of a foray into electronica. Their rock roots are still readily apparent, though, especially on scorching tracks like Taiwan Made (台灣製做) and the rock-tronic Li Hai (厲害).

Early word of the album on the streets had many long-time Wu Bai fans concerned that their head-banging hero had gone the way of Taiwan's legions of "head-shakers,"

but the album had been well received, with many Taipei stores sold out of stock earlier this week.

The album cover features Wu Bai nonchalantly donning a toy shark on his head, with his face visible in the shark's mouth.

The image, he's been quoted as saying, is a lot like his personality; not very friendly but cool and fun. It's a personality that had taken him not only to the top of the Asian rock scene, but landed him roles in films such as the locally produced romantic comedy The Personals and the 2000 Hong Kong action flick Time and Tide.

He also has a local television project in the works; and has written music for Karen Mok (莫文蔚) and Andy Lau (劉德華), among others.

Wu Bai and China Blue

Where: Shinchuang Athletic Education Hall, at 75, Chunghua Rd, Sec 1, Shinchuang City, Taipei County (台北縣新莊體育館(新莊市中華路一段).

When: Tomorrow night at 7:45pm.

Cost: Between NT$800 and NT$1,800 and are available at the ticket counter outlet of the National Theater at CKS Memorial Hall, or by calling (02) 3393 9888. Tickets will also be available at the door.

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