Mon, Jul 28, 2008 - Page 13 News List

[THE WEEKENDER] Music festivals swing, bop and rock Taipei

By David Chen AND Noah Buchan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Taipei International Jazz Festival launched its weekend finale on Friday evening at the 228 Peace Park amphitheater with top-notch performances by musicians visiting from the US, Belgium, and the Netherlands, who taught last week at the Taipei International Jazz Academy, an annual one-week summer camp dedicated to cultivating up-and-coming talent in Taiwan. The finale also featured student performances throughout the evening.

The 2,000 or so audience members didn’t seem to mind the typically stuffy summer evening in Taipei as they listened to Dutch vocalist Denise Jannah, who charmed attendees with personable stage banter and her clear, exquisite voice. She sang a variety of styles, ranging from jazz standards to numbers tinged with Caribbean rhythms. The Suriname-born singer’s smooth delivery was enhanced by rousing improvisations, in particular from violinist and festival founder Hsieh Chi-pin (謝啟彬) and guitarist Fabien Degryse.

Thousands attended the Formoz Rock Festival, which took place at the soon-to-be-closed Taipei Children’s Recreation Center (台北市兒童育樂中心) over the weekend.

On Saturday, a large crowd of 400 or so people jostled in front of the Rock stage to watch festival founder Freddy Lim’s (林昶佐) band, Chthonic (閃靈), whose members donned their usual black leather costumes and face makeup. Lim screeched, yelled, and growled as his band played frantic speed metal riffs, which had the audience headbanging and moshing.

In fine Formoz tradition, there was something for every rock fan: on the Fire stage, garage rock band Rabbit Is Rich (兔子很有錢) held a rousing show. The band members got lost in their songs, which started at a mid-tempo hypnotic beat and ascended into a punk frenzy. Meanwhile, a large crowd gathered at the Wind stage, to see popular alt-rock singer Deserts Chang (張懸) and her band.

One of the evening’s highlights was the Canadian band Caribou, which played a set of atmospheric but driving indie rock instrumentals, accompanied by a light show. The band’s leader and drummer, Daniel Snaith, is a spectacle by himself, perhaps a modern day Keith Moon gone avant-garde. With his drum kit placed at the front of the stage, Snaith’s arms swung wildly as he pounded out the beat.

The festival organizers revised the lineup yesterday as typhoon Fung-wong approached the country.

Shots rang out inside Taipei’s National Theater on Friday night as balaclava-clad extremists stormed the stage and down the aisle, taking the three-quarters full theater hostage. One burly terrorist planted a bomb two seats over from where I was sitting and then sat down with the trigger device in his hand.

Such was the tense spectacle that La Fura dels Baus confronted its audience throughout Boris Godunov, a play by the Spanish theatrical group that fuses the original work by Alexander Pushkin with the story of the Moscow theater hostage crisis when roughly 50 Chechen rebels seized a crowded Moscow theater in October of 2002.

La Fura’s meditation on using violence as a means of grabbing power succeeded in revealing the individual motivations behind the terrorists — though without justifying extremism — and in the process humanized them in a way that the media often fails to portray.

Large projection screens were used to great effect and served as both a background set to the actors on stage as well as to show the action outside the theater — such as government officials trying to decide how to proceed with negotiations or police surrounding the building (presumably filmed earlier in the week).

This story has been viewed 2564 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top