Fri, Aug 01, 2008 - Page 15 News List

[THE VINYL WORD]

By Alita Rickards

Vibe’s image makeover from den of iniquity to den of iniquity-cum-music venue continues tonight with a performance by Pan Africana Cultural Troupe.

The group of musicians from Ghana, South Africa, Saint Vincent’s, Canada, Dominica, Cameroon, the Caribbean, Trinidad and the US put on highly entertaining, danceable shows with music that ranges through genres such as reggae, funk, hip-hop and even rock.

The troupe’s drumming in particular had crowds at this year’s Spring Scream, Peacefest, and the Myanmar Cyclone Relief Concert, grinding and a groovin’ in a manner rarely seen here.

The range of instruments they use is astounding: from the familiar bass guitar, drums, congas, castanets and maracas to the more exotic djembe and doundoun, which are hide-covered West African drums, and the sousaphone, which is similar to a marching tuba.

Bassist and percussionist Justin Lewis said in an interview on Tuesday that his experiences playing in Los Angeles “bring in some of the R ’n’ B, funk and soul sound,” with the other group members adding “authentic Caribbean flavor,” African roots, and soca to produce a fusion of sounds. “We try to come together and make it work with really hot, hot, hot grooves,” he said.

While Vibe has had a reasonable turnout for its live shows, there has been a dead zone from around 1:45am to 2:45am when people who attend the live shows leave. At one point last Friday, there were less than a dozen in the entire bar during unhappy hour. Several were overheard bemoaning the lack of a party vibe and eventually left.

By 3:30am the place was packed, with bodies gyrating on the dance floor, lushes drinking at the upstairs bar, couples flirting, phone numbers being exchanged and furtive groping going on in one corner.

The nightclub can go two ways. It can either play host to two separate crowds and never the twain shall meet, or some of the band audience could stay on after the live shows, while some of the club crew could turn up earlier.

Given most acts start at 10pm, if you stay until close at 7am, a night at Vibe becomes a marathon.

One of the benefits of Vibe as a venue is the association many have with it as a place where, as one clubber put it, “anything goes … you don’t have to put on any pretensions, and no one cares what you do.”

Tomorrow is the Roots Dub Session at The Wall, with Taimaica Soundsystem, High Tide, and DJs Taili and Katzu.

Both events offer party people a chance to get down to some soulful music with a different flavor than most weekend club fare.

Pan Africana Cultural Troupe performs tonight at 10pm at Vibe, located at B1, 155, Jinshan S Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市金山南路一段155號B1). Cover is NT$300 and includes one drink. The Roots Dub Session begins tomorrow at 11:30pm at The Wall, at B1, 200 Roosevelt Rd Sec 4 (北市羅斯福路四段200號B1). Cover, which includes a drink, is NT$350.

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