Fri, Feb 24, 2006 - Page 15 News List

Rock for democracy

By Steve Price  /  STAFF REPORTER

It's time to say yes to Taiwan, democracy and freedom.

PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES FILE

Twenty-six bands and performers will take to two stages tomorrow and Sunday at Huashan Cultural and Creative Industry Center (華山創意文化園區 ), but instead of promoting their albums they are coming together to sell an idea: Taiwan is a sovereign country, a beacon of democracy in the shadow of East Asian authoritarianism.

The Taiwan Rock Alliance (TRA) has organized annual "Say Yes to Taiwan" festivals since 2000 to mark the 228 Incident when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) slaughtered an estimated 10,000 citizens, two years after it took control of the island.

In 2004, Einstein Records in Japan, held its own Say Yes to Taiwan show in Tokyo, on Feb. 21, the first time a rock concert had been held in a foreign country to support Taiwanese independence and sovereignty.

This year's event has moved the political locus from an "anti-China annexation peace concert" to a more inclusive, pro-Taiwan, pro-democratic focus and lauds the island as "perhaps the most free" country in East Asia.

Previous concerts took a more antagonistic, rock `n' roll attitude toward China.

Instead of showing China the middle finger, this year organizers are putting on an altogether more grown up affair. However, the line up remains as potent and angst-ridden as previous years.

Proceedings begin at 2:30pm on both days and the band schedule can be viewed at www.eastcoreasia.com.

Fire Extinguisher (滅火器), Guangzhou-based trio Pangu (盤古) and Hotpink, a local female outfit will provide rebellious punk kicks.

Moving down tempo, Onyx Jazz Quartet with members from Taiwan and Japan and Japanese beatbox Dokaka Golden are scheduled to play on Sunday at the Freedom Stage.

Billed as the most "wicky" rock band in Japan, Invisible Man's Deathbed, led by a frontman who bears more than a passing resemblance to Danzig and Freddie Mercury, will play the Independence Stage at 6pm tomorrow.

Other notable acts include Melody Award winner A-Di-a (阿弟仔), Dog G (大支) and Australian expat punk band Consider the Meek.

Tickets are NT$600 in advance for two days, NT$450 for one day; visit www.artsticket.com.tw or call (02) 2778 9774 for more details.

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