Indie bands seem to pop up like weeds nowadays, but at least some of their predecessors are still keeping it real. Tizzy Bac and Wonfu (旺福), two long-established and beloved groups in the non-mainstream rock scene, perform in Taipei tonight.
The bands, which are both signed to Wonder Music (彎的音樂), have managed to enjoy a measure of success without getting lured into the Mando-pop manufacture trap.
Tizzy Bac, whose show at The Wall (這牆) tonight is already sold out, first made a splash in 1999 at Spring Scream. The group, a trio of a keyboardist, bassist, and drummer, stood out among a sea of bands for its guitar-less pop rock. Since then, they’ve won the battle of the bands at the Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival (海洋音樂祭) in 2002, opened for the Beastie Boys at a Tibetan Freedom Concert in 2003 and played Fuji Rock Festival in 2005.
Tonight Tizzy Bac presents debut performances of songs from its upcoming album due next month, tentatively titled If I See Hell, I Won’t Fear the Devil (如果看見地獄，我就不怕魔鬼). The new album marks a new direction both sound-wise and lyrically, according to lead vocalist and pianist Chen Hui-ting (陳惠婷). She says the band has been experimenting with unusual instruments like the musical saw, while her lyrics have shifted in focus from beyond “oneself” to “other peoples’” stories and how they observe the world.”
Missed out on advance tickets for Tizzy Bac’s show? The group plays again at the Wall on Jan. 18. Meanwhile, cheer yourself up by catching comedy rockers Wonfu’s show at Witch House (女巫店). The band, also veterans from the early days of Spring Scream, plays everything from surf rock and punk to disco and mando-pop ballads — and plays it all well while making audiences laugh with their silly but infectious humor. They remain a favorite on the college circuit and were nominated for best band at last year’s Golden Melody Awards.
Wonfu’s set tonight is “unplugged” in keeping with the intimate vibe at Witch House. But expect the unexpected from this four-piece, who are known to dress in wacky costumes that have ranged from Japanese kimonos to retro-disco outfits, and whose onstage banter is often as entertaining as the songs. The group, which is planning to release a new album later this year, has billed tonight’s show as Simple Live, perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to last month’s popular Urban Simple Life (簡單生活節) festival.