Mon, Aug 01, 2005 - Page 16 News List

Formoz 2005 rocks Taipei

Thousands of attendees can attest that this year's festival was the best organized in the 11-year history of Formoz

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

PHOTO: TAI HSIANG, TAIPEI TIMES

The atmosphere and weather conditions that greeted music fans at this year's Formoz Festival (野台開唱) were probably best summed up by electronica/rock act Moby on Friday night, when halfway through a scorching 90-minute set the shaven-headed DJ-cum-rock and roller addressed the crowd with two simple words: "It's hot!"

And hot it was, both on and off stage, but the humidity certainly didn't deter the roughly 10,000 festival-goers who turned up on the opening night from enjoying the fantastic line-up of bands at the Yuanshan Children's Recreational Center (台北市兒童育樂中心) where the festival was held.

Although the increase of the ticket price to NT$1,500 and the close monitoring of ticket sales had raised some questions regarding the success of the festival, organizers needn't have worried. Actual attendance figures have yet to be calculated, but it's safe to say that Formoz 2005 proved to be both the best organized and most attended in the festival's 11-year history.

With hundreds of people still patiently standing in line at the venue's entrances for tickets and wrist bands at 5:30pm on Friday evening, large crowds had already begun to gather at all of the festivals six stages in order to catch the opening acts.

The focus of attention for large numbers of festival-goers on the opening night, however, were the Wind and Wood stages, where some of the big-name bands were slated to perform.

On the Wind stage Taiwan's FOTC (一隅之秋) got proceedings underway with a so-so indie rock set that, while falling a bit flat did its best to rally the early arrivals. It was the Japanese ska-punk combo Kemuri, however, that set the real tone and pace for what proved to be an evening of high-octane and high-energy entertainment.

Taking to the stage after a lengthy delay due to sound-check problems, Kemuri wasted no time in rousing the crowd. Thanks to the band's energetic lead singer Fumio Ito, the combo had the audience eating out of its hand by the second number. His jokes regarding the audience being "too tired to dance" were not taken lightly by the predominantly late-teens/early-twenties crowd and the band's brass section infused Fishbone-like salvo of ska-punk had incited the first mosh pit of Formoz 2005 long before the sun had set.

Following Kemuri's blistering set, the action and attention moved to the Wood stage, where local expat punk combo, The Deported wowed the crowd with its Dead Kennedy's/Discharge-like barrage of noise.

Their performance might not have been to everyone's liking and the lyrics of the band's politico-punk songs might have been lost on large numbers of the audience, but one overly exuberant member of the audience was so taken by the set that he leapt on stage, removed his pants and began simulating sex with an equally boisterous male friend.

Local psychobilly combo Chicken Rice (雞腿飯) took to the stage next and while the three-piece wasn't as lively or as fluid as it has been on previous occasions the band still attracted one of the opening day's largest audiences.

It was Moby, however, that a majority of people had come to see on Friday and he didn't disappoint. Organizers still don't known the exact number of people who came solely to see Moby, but, according to head of Taiwan Rock Alliance (TRA) Freddy Lin (林旭佐), at least 4,000 people were crammed into the area immediately adjacent to the stage and many thousands more had staked out vantage points in and around the park.

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