With the demise of the Formoz Festival last year, it looked as if Taiwan had lost its answer to Fuji Rock. But a new summer mecca has emerged for indie music fans.
Music Terminals, an all-day outdoor event that takes place tomorrow and Sunday at Taoyuan County Stadium (桃園縣立體育場), presents two headlining acts from the UK, glam alt-rock band Placebo and trip-hop legend Tricky.
The festival, named in reference to the nearby Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, features more than 30 Taiwanese and international bands on three stages, dubbed Terminals 1, 2, and 3.
The event was conceived by Ouch Wu (吳牧青) and his production company, Straight Music House (直的音樂舍), which has been organizing shows by high-profile international bands. They brought Oasis to Taiwan earlier this year and are organizing a concert by Nine Inch Nails next week [see tomorrow’s story on Page 16].
Wu aims to fill in the gap left by Formoz for a large-scale rock festival that aspires to the level of the UK’s Glastonbury or Japan’s Summer Sonic, events that feature both major pop and indie acts.
Even though Taiwan’s festival “market” is not yet “mature,” Wu wants to make Music Terminals an annual event. For this weekend’s shows, around 3,000 advance tickets have been sold so far. He hopes to sell twice that amount.
Neither Placebo nor Tricky command a mainstream following in Taiwan, but Wu, who is a former music critic for the alternative news publication Pots (破報), considers them worthy headliners for any rock fan.
“These kinds of bands, whether people actually like them or not, they really ought to be seen live,” he says.
Wu also sees Music Terminals as a chance to bring in indie artists who wouldn’t normally draw such large numbers in Taiwan.
12:30pm The Holy Soul (Australia)
1:50pm The White Eyes (白目)
5:00pm Zazen Boys (Japan)
6:40pm Frente! (Australia)
8:20pm Placebo (UK)
1:10pm Nao (Malaysia)
2:40pm Cuba is Japan (Australia)
5:50pm New Pants (新褲子, China)
7:30pm Liz Durrett (US)
9:50pm Ghost (Japan)
1:10pm Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤)
2:40pm White (China)
4:10pm Mick Turner of the Dirty Three (Australia)
5:50pm LTK Commune (濁水溪公社 )
7:30pm The Clippers (夾子電動大樂隊 )
1:50pm Tizzy Bac
3:20pm The Radio Dept (Sweden)
5:00pm Sandee Chen (陳珊妮)
6:50pm Chicks on Speed (Germany)
8:30pm Tricky (UK)
1:10pm Touming Magazine (透明雜誌)
2:40pm Sugar Plum Ferry (甜梅號)
4:10pm Wonfu (旺福)
5:50pm The Stabs (Australia)
7:40pm Kojima Mayumi (Japan)
1:10pm Citizen of Ice Cream (Malaysia)
2:40pm Jozie Lu and Mo Tzu-yi (路嘉欣 莫子儀)
4:10pm Carsick Cars (China)
5:50pm Cosmos People (宇宙人樂團)
7:40pm Down in Air (盪在空中)
WHAT:Music Terminals rock festival
WHEN:Tomorrow from 12:30pm to 10:30pm and Sunday from 1:10pm to 10pm
WHERE: Taoyuan County Stadium (桃園縣立體育場), 1, Sanming Rd Sec 1, Taoyuan City (桃園市三民路一段1號)
ON THE NET: straightmusichouse.com/MusicTerminals2009
ADMISSION: Single-day tickets are NT$1,900 in advance and NT$2,000 at the door; two-day tickets are NT$3,900 for “first class” (also NT$3,900 in advance), which includes access to special areas in front of the stages and all-you-can-drink beer, and NT$3,200 for “economy class” (NT$3,100 in advance)
ADVANCE TICKETS AVAILABLE THROUGH:Eslite music stores (誠品音樂館); Rose Records outlets (玫瑰大眾唱片); FamilyMart convenience stores (全家便利商店); Kafka on the Seashore (海邊的卡夫卡), 2F, 2, Ln 244, Roosevelt Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路三段244巷2號2樓); Norwegian Wood (挪威森林咖啡館), 9, Ln 284, Roosevelt Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路三段284弄9號); ERA ticketing outlets or online at www.ticket.com.tw
GETTING THERE: Organizers highly recommend taking TRA trains to Taoyuan Station (桃園車站). A free shuttle bus service will run on constant rotation to and from the stadium, which is five minutes away
The lineup includes Australian band Frente!, which effectively disbanded over a decade ago but reunites occasionally for one-off shows, Japanese singer Kojima Mayumi and German art-pop group Chicks on Speed.
Like Formoz, or any similarly sized event, there will be a number of bands unfamiliar to concertgoers. But one thing that sets Music Terminals apart, says Wu, is a focus on quality rather than quantity in terms of band lineup.
He says that in contrast to many festivals in Taiwan, where “80 percent of the program is bands that simply sign up to play,” Music Terminals has been more selective by choosing fewer bands, and only booking the ones “worth inviting.”
Local artists performing this weekend include Sandee Chen (陳珊妮), 1976, Tizzy Bac and LTK Commune (濁水溪公社).
Trip-hop pioneer Tricky (www.myspace.com/trickola), who headlines the festival, made a comeback last year after a five-year absence with his latest album Knowle West Boy, a chronicle of his upbringing in Bristol. After a brief association with Massive Attack, he propelled to fame with his debut album, Maxinquaye, which set the bar for trip-hop fans. The ever-restless and moody musician has spent much of his career dodging labels and genre jumping, delving into everything from aggressive punk to more accessible pop sounds.
Headliners Placebo (www.placeboworld.co.uk) add a twist of androgyny and glam rock to their sex-drugs-and-rock ’n’ roll ethos. Lead singer Brian Molko’s lyrics are full of angst-ridden, heart-on-sleeve musings over doomed relationships and references to blurred gender roles and homosexuality, and over the years band members developed a reputation for drug-fueled escapades and