Mon, Dec 03, 2007 - Page 13 News List

[WEEKENDER] Free Luxy bash rises above corporate camp

By Ron Brownlow, Diane Baker and Jonathan Biddle  /  STAFF REPORTERS AND CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Saturday night saw the Taipei leg of HP's Art in Motion tour at Luxy, featuring UK legends Coldcut and Jurassic 5's DJ Nu-Mark, with VJ support from Berlin crew Pfadfinderei. Ostensibly a fusion of music and live visuals, early on the show, which was free for those who reserved tickets online, seemed like an extended advertisement for the computer company and, thanks to guidance from a person who appeared to be the most irritating emcee in Asia, was beginning to resemble some kind of hip-hop-themed wei ya (尾牙) end-of-year party.

However, things improved quickly when Nu-Mark took to the decks and wowed the crowds by mixing sampled beats with a selection of increasingly unlikely musical childrens' toys. Innovative, and unlike the local beat-boxing warm-up act not a bit self-indulgent, the crowd responded with a mixture of laughter and butt-on-the-floor boogying.

With the audience now suitably warmed up, Coldcut entered stage right and took no prisoners with a ballistic delivery of hip-hop, dub and electronic beats, all synchronised with nine projectors beaming video and images around the room in an awesome display of digital showmanship. Jumping from the more obscure references of their own back-catalogue, they never allowed themselves to alienate the newcomers and regularly dropped in samples from sources as diverse as Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, Run DMC and AC/DC. Taipei barely knew what hit it.

With Nu-Mark resuming control, the entire room bounced the rest of the night away to the sounds of a thousand house parties, and the best music Taipei has heard in several years.

Also taking no prisoners were funnymen Dan Machanik and Hartley Pool, who teamed up for the second time in as many months for the Stonely Planet standup comedy tour at Taipei's Comedy Club.

The two were joined by American comedians Huanger and Chris Huang in an outrageous adults-only show that had audiences alternatively splitting their sides and shaking their heads in disbelief.

Late Saturday night, in the third of the tour's four shows, Huanger warmed up the crowd with jokes about his resemblance to the Gollum character from Lord of the Rings and how he sometimes wished he were Caucasian, then ended his set by stripping to his underwear, dousing himself with flour and hissing, "Preciouss!"

Pool followed by first, as he often does, trying to appear as awkward as possible, before ripping off a few one-liners and reading some of his "poems," the last and funniest of which was titled Seventy-five and was so offensive that reprinting any of it would probably cost this reviewer his job.

Continuing with a theme developed in past performances, Pool, who teaches English, also read a list of unfortunate sentences penned by his students, which included: "She dropped her purse so I go it up for her" and "I only came once and it wasn't very good."

After a brief intermission, Wang told jokes about being a pothead in New York City, growing up in a Taiwanese-American household - his mother told him to stay away from black people because they did drugs and from white people because they were racist, and what it's like to be an American-born Chinese, or ABC, in Taiwan.

Then came the main event, Machanik, wearing a T-shirt that read "Rehab is for quitters" and with completely new material loosely based on a recent business trip to the US. His set was structured around a narrative that saw Machanik arrive in Chicago - where he was pleased to find that the people at the airport made him look thin, get high, argue with the GPS device in his rental car, and have a conversation with a hallucinogenic Mini-Me spawned during a cocaine- and Viagra-fueled Ricky Martin concert in Miami.

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