Straight Music House’s (直的音樂舍) Music Terminals festival at Taoyuan County Stadium (桃園縣立體育場) started off as a relaxed sunny afternoon on Saturday with people mingling and wandering around the spacious grounds. While some lounged on the grass drinking draft beer, others followed Tricky around as he took photos and was occasionally asked to pose for pictures with fans and sign autographs.
New Pants (新褲子) attracted its audience from across the stadium, with front man Peng Lei (彭磊) dressed in a grey military uniform, executing Devo-like moves on stage. Their sound is reminiscent of a dark Pet Shop Boys with elements of the Talking Heads thrown in for good measure. His erect posture, campy hand-clapping and mock-official gesturing captivated the crowd.
Frente! charmed listeners with very chilled-out, laid-back music. Vocalist Angie Hart’s slightly quirky, warm style of singing is well suited to a sunny day. The band exuded a kind of goofy charm, though guitarist Simon Austin’s attempts at banter — “This song is better after a few pills” — went over the crowd’s head.
Liz Durrett’s soulful, smoky vocals and mournful, dignified facial expressions on one stage were at odds with the sound drifting over from the another stage: that of the Clippers’ (夾子電動大樂隊) KTV influenced kitsch-pop. Their psychedelic videos playing on the big screen looked like they were made using state-of-the-art technology from the 1960s.
Durrett’s sound brings to mind Cat Power, but without the self-indulgent spaced-out rambling that ruins the latter’s live performances. Durrett is focused and though immobile, is suffused with a quiet intensity.
Saturday’s highlight was headliner Placebo. It was eerie to see so many people gather and stand in front of an empty stage while the stages on either side had live bands playing to a smattering of people. The alternative rock group rewarded the audience’s patience with a fantastic show. The crowd’s raised hands glowed in the red stage lights as fans sang along. Front man and singer/guitarist Brian Molko is beautifully androgynous, with smeared black eyeliner and a somewhat coy stage presence, while the band’s new drummer, Steve Forrest, bared his tattooed upper torso and whipped his surfer-boy mop of blond hair around.
The audience went wild, especially the girls.
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