Summer, it's all about getting away from the sultry city and chilling on a beach. And if you are a moody music freak who's pretty much over the rammed madness of beach massives, but still wishes to get the most out of the season, read on as my latest monthly beach party discovery is a gem.
While a lot of party cats were probably too drunk and burnt out from the Summer Swank Pool Party at Sunworld Dynasty Hotel on the lucky "triple-seven" Saturday last weekend, I took a breezy car ride out to Chienshuiwan (淺水灣, which means "shallow water bay") in Sanzhi, Taipei County (三芝) to check out Big Swing at Sound Garden. (FYI, the owner is the brother of the legendary Sound Garden's proprietor in Taichiung, one of the city's underground music fans' favorite hang-outs.)
Not sure what to expect, as soon as I got out of the car, my favorite brand of house music (Latin flava) wafted over on the salty ocean breeze. The venue is a Mediterranean-style white building with blue window frames and a veritable forest of potted plants. It has a spacious indoor lounge and an ocean-front terrace that features a tropical garden and classy Greek-style pavilions. It's nicely tucked away beside a golden sandy beach. The beautiful turquoise water makes it a good spot for a dip. The DJ booth and sound system were set up in the garden and a decent set of party lights gave the place the atmosphere of an exotic private villa party.
Veteran DJs Dark and Tom are the brains behind the new venture, both of whom are among Taiwan's top jocks with real talent, experience and musical knowledge. Dark, who's currently the music director at Brown Sugar, has been turning the tables since dance music first hit the island. His style has shifted from the techno of early rave times, to deep, Latin, jazzy, soulful house in recent years. Known as a member of Blue Records DJ JJ's crew in Taichung, Tom's hobby, besides deejaying, is throwing parties (mostly free ones) whenever he spots a sweet venue.
Directions: Take the MRT Danshui Line (淡水線) to Honshulin (紅樹林) and then take a cab to Chienshuiwan, Sanzhi (淺水灣三芝). The cab ride costs about NT$300 and the total travel time from Taipei City is about one hour.
By car: Take Chengde Rd (承德路) and then Dadu Rd (大度路) towards Danshui.
After Honshulin MRT Station, stick to the right lane and get on Danjin Highway (淡金公路), which leads to Sanzhi. Chienshuiwan is on the left, just past Sanzhi police station.
The entrance fee, which includes one drink, is NT$250.
"The whole idea of doing this event is to offer the kind of music that's almost nowhere to be found in Taiwan nowadays," he said. "And we'd also like to bring back the feeling of having an awesome party at a secret location where only those who are in the know can find it."
As for the next anticipated Big Swing on the beach, it'll fall on either Aug. 4 or Aug 18, visit http://tw.club.yahoo.com/clubs/12INCH/) for updates.