Ministry of Sound celebrates its third anniversary this weekend, which is something of a milestone for a club which has been bedeviled by legal battles, closures, re-openings, more closures, refurbishments, gangster-related mischief and, if that wasn't enough, has had to contend with being situated in the most rubbish out-of-the-way backwater of the city.
But despite the club's striking, if unfortunate, similarities with the late Anna Nicole Smith, management remain confident about the venue's future. "Business is pretty good, but yes, people still think it's far away so next month we're launching a shuttle bus from downtown out to the club," said manager Jonny Lin by phone this week. "Over the coming year we're going to concentrate more on the dance music scene and book producers as well as DJs."
Elsewehere, Victor Cheng and Eric Huang warm up for next week's GayDays festival — more next week on that — at Club Jump which is the new manifestation of AXD. Parties are on both tonight and tomorrow. At Shadow Bar, on the fourth floor of the Living Mall, F-Bomb present Shady Nights, with free shots for those donning their sunnies and music from Junior and Megan, Fratzuki, Sona and TrackSwiss.
Spring has apparently sprung upon us and that can mean only one thing: next weekend legions of pasty northern-dwelling souls will migrate south to the beaches in and around Kenting in search of several days of sunshine and music-related hedonism. Taiwan's best attempt at a riviera lacks the swank of St. Tropez or Miami, and even the charm of the Gulf of Thailand. This is explained partly because the island's tourist market spectacularly failed to take off, as no-one in Taiwan's tourism ministry has ever fathomed that, unlike their Japanese and Chinese counterparts, the majority of Western tourists will not countenance a holiday which involves endless hours of sitting on buses, staying in chintzy hotels, and eating naff buffet food, and partly because the Chinese Nationalist Party for many years banned everyone from the beaches.
To cater for the mainstream festival-goers, Spring Scream has become justly famous for delivering a bands-based music festival over the April weekend. However, off the beaten track, a cluster of parties cater to those who like their music a more electronica-tinged flavor, and most are called Spring something-or-other (though no-one, it seems, has yet seized upon the comic potential of Spring Roll. Maybe next year.) But please note: the local police don't dig house music or drugs. These satellite raves are frequently shut down or raided. Sensitive community outreach policing techniques are not high on the list of "Things We Excel At" taped to the nicotine-stained wall of the average Pingtung County cop shop, but, whooey, those boys in blue can swing a baton. Rumor has it that they will be cracking down particularly hard this year.
Where: This one's over two venues, so it might be tricky, but they're both in Kenting. Venue one is at: Maobitou (貓鼻頭). Venue two is at Lungluantan (龍鑾潭).
Tickets: See www.friendlydog.com.tw/index.html. One-day tickets are NT$1,000 in advance and two-day tickets are NT$1,500. More on the door, and, note: they are only valid for one venue. Boo!
Who's Playing: Venue one: DJ Krush is on Thursday. Yes, Krush. Noodle, Machi, and MC Hotdog. Then rock 'n' roll and hip-hop over the following two days. Venue two hosts Spain's Digital Analog Band live and New York's Serge Devant on both Friday and Saturday, with Joe Ho, JonB, Kay and SL tearing it up on Friday and Andy Moor, AJ Gibson, Blueman, Buff Wise and Victor Cheng the following night.