Fri, Nov 03, 2006 - Page 15 News List

The Vinyl Word

By Rob Near and Steve Price  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Loop's Monster Massive, held last Friday, was appropriately titled. Everything, from the hordes of people to the music, was huge.

Walking into the cavernous warehouse space of the Taipei World Trade Center, people were everywhere: by the bar, lined up to the washrooms, crowded in front of the main stage, etc. Many of these people, foreigners most of them, were dressed up in Halloween style. The best the Vinyl Word spotted were the three amigos, huge sombreros and all, Rick James, and several Super Mario brothers.

With the space, people, and costumes came a festive spirit. People hollered, cheered, and screamed along with the music. The costumes, too, gave people a good excuse to mingle and sort with strangers. The crowd was one happy and excited whole.

The music kept them that way. Kevin Shiu warmed things up nicely with a set of true-school progressive house. Plodding dark drums, heady piano melodies, and twisted synths were the order of the night. Then, finally, it was time for what everyone had been waiting for, Sasha. The North Wales native delivered a big, tough set with more of an electro influence than fans have previously heard. The highlight of his two hours was a special remix of Moby's Go. These big-room sounds left the Taiwanese crowd in sync, frothing and shuffling well past 4am.

Beyond and throughout Sasha's set, the Loop's production values were first rate. The sound, always a tricky affair in a big space like the Taipei World Trade Center, was good. Moreover, the stage and its design were huge, so huge that one had trouble seeing the actual DJ. He was somewhere tucked away inside the gigantic props, fireworks, dancers, and real fire-jets. You could see him, though, on three large projection screens. Props of such a grand scale in turn, created a similarly sized vibe.

In the world of rave, bigger doesn't always mean better. But with Monster Massive, grandeur, pomp, and theatricals made a grand event.

Friday night's bash at Nankang 101, on the other hand, was less than well-received. "It wasn't very busy. The X-Ecutioners were good but the crowd wasn't getting into it," said Toby Garrod, who had donned a minstrel voodoo chief outfit for the night.

The following night's do at the same venue was better attended and more camp.

Halloween weekend, ladies and gentleman, marks the beginning of the annual pre-Christmas lull. But this year, November looks more like a warm-up than a wind down with The Mixologists, Sheep, Slacker, Danny Taylor, James Zabiela and Jon Marsh scheduled to play various venues across the island. There's just no rest for the wicked.

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