The Inspector Cluzo
This French rock duo features the guitarist-and-drummer format made famous by punk-blues bands like the Black Keys and the White Stripes. Several members of Fishbone produced Cluzo’s debut album, and the influence shows in the frantic, funky grooves and zany but soulful vocals. Add to that some post-Spinal Tap humor: the band has a song called Fuck the Bass Player.
Money Shot Horns
Currently Taiwan’s favorite party band, this “supergroup” of eight expat musicians will have audiences dancing this weekend with funk, soul and R ’n’ B. Lead vocalist Dooley Chandler slips Mandarin phrases into his singing without missing a beat.
88 Balaz (八十八顆芭樂籽)
This four-piece indie-rock outfit has grown up with Spring Scream. Lead singer Ah-Chang (阿強) was 17 years old when the group made its festival debut; he was so excited (and drunk), he rode a bicycle from the stage into the crowd. The band will surely impress this weekend with on-stage madness, but its tight, energetic guitar rock will steal the show.
Deserts Chang (張懸)
She seemed to come out of nowhere, having gone from solo performer and part-time sound engineer at Taipei’s Witch House (女巫店) to revered indie-folk icon. The 27-year-old released her debut album in 2006 through Sony BMG, which has been smart enough to let her do her own thing. Expect a large crowd for her set.
Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤)
This is a trio of two MCs and a DJ that are into social causes and their Taiwanese roots. The group calls its music “Taiwan traditional hip-hop style”: they often rap in Hokkien and Hakka and sample everything from Taiwanese opera to Nanguan (南管) and oldies.
Space Cake (太空蛋糕)
This four-piece band has one foot in post-rock grooves and the other in pop. The result is fun and quirky music full of guitar distortion, playful electronica noises and chirpy vocals from singer Squidgirl.
This is a blues-rock band, but with djembe and tablas. The grooves are laid-back, but the energy is intense. Lead singer and guitarist Bradley Tindall clearly loves being on stage, making for an entertaining show. It would be surprising if the group didn’t play its ode to the Spring Scream locale, Kenting Sunset.
Get your rage on with this South Korean rock and hip-hop group, which describes its music as “rock with conscience.” They list bands like Limp Bizkit and Red Hot Chili Peppers as influences, which can be clearly heard in their music. The band plays several sets throughout the weekend.
These guys were “indie” before indie became too artsy. Many of their songs are driving guitar rock with a melancholic tinge. Lead singer Jun Lee’s (李昀熹) soaring, husky voice has a magentic pull that few can resist.
Europa Huang and Agonist (黃建為與興奮劑)
It’s easy to forget that there’s more to Spring Scream than loud bands with electric guitars. Huang is an up-and-coming folk singer with sharp pop sensibilities. His acoustic-based music leans toward safe melodies and heart-on-sleeve lyrics, but he delivers them well and with sincerity.
— DAVID CHEN