House music fans will want to catch this French DJ, who’s lauded for her good taste in beats and sultry voice. Hais, who was invited to Taiwan by the French Institute in Taipei, performs at the DJ stage tomorrow and Sunday.
Hip-hop with big band soul and a British accent: Lazy Habits are from East London. You’ll even hear a little mariachi in the mix. This eight-piece group, armed with two deft MCs, a scratch DJ and a jazz band, is a sure-fire party waiting to happen.
The Clippers (夾子電動大樂隊)
The Clippers were one of Taiwan’s most memorable bands during Spring Scream’s early days. Fans loved the dancing girls on stage and the group’s mix of rock, dated karaoke music and social satire. The band returns to Spring Scream with a few new members, but expect the same campy humor from lead singer and actor Xiao Ying (小應), who recently enjoyed a little stardom in the hit movie Cape No. 7 (海角七號).
As one of the most talented singer-songwriters in Taiwan’s indie scene, not to mention a producer with a keen ear, Ciacia is always worth a listen.
Matzka and Di Hot (馬斯卡和辣肉樂團)
This dreadlocked Paiwan (排灣) musician is guaranteed to please sun-soaked crowds with a unique blend of reggae, hard rock, soul and Aboriginal folk. Don’t be surprised to find yourself humming his catchiest song, Ma Do Va Do (像狗一樣), long after the show.
This hip-hop outfit of three MCs raps in Mandarin and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) against a backdrop of funky beats and jazz riffs. Daximen’s sound and rhymes lean mainstream but stay clear of Mando-pop territory.
Another veteran band from Spring Scream’s early days, Celluoid plays blues and garage rock. The band might lack the style and sheen of younger groups on the underground circuit today, but it always delivers for audiences that simply want to rock out.
Elisa Lin (林依霖)
Elisa Lin is one to watch. This young folk rocker looks as if she’s already being groomed for Mando-pop stardom, but her original songwriting and soulful voice keep things real. She often performs with IO, a group of talented Chinese Canadian rockers that won ICRT’s Battle of the Bands last year.
88 Balaz (八十八顆芭樂籽)
This four-piece band’s punk-inspired garage rock is a perfect match for Spring Scream’s “let loose” ethos. Lead singer Ah-Chang (阿強) probably won’t be stage-diving into the crowd on a bicycle like he did during his first time at the festival, but that same energy will be present.
Plenty of bands experiment with traditional Chinese instruments, but Zenkwun uses them particularly well in its brand of pop-rock. Listeners will hear strains of nanguan (南北) and Hakka music in the sounds of the erhu (二胡) and suona horn (嗩吶) laced between electric guitar riffs and loud drums. And how can you not like a band whose lead singer named himself (Obiwan, 歐比王) after Obi Wan Kenobi?
Festivalgoers who keep track of Spring Scream history will welcome the return of Milk, one of the most beloved and storied expat bands in Taiwan. The group is back after a hiatus of several years.
The Money Shot Horns
The Money Shot Horns are a crowd pleaser. Their brand of funk, groovy soul and R ’n’ B appeals to many, thanks to charming lead singer Dooley Chandler. His magnetic stage presence and the talented musicians in the band form a lasso that pulls you onto the dance floor from the very first note.
My Skin Against Your Skin
My Skin Against Your Skin has given Andrea Huang (黃盈誼) room to grow from her days as the head-thrashing lead singer of Rabbit Is Rich (兔子很有錢) into a performer with a wider repertoire. She still punks out, but now also delves into smoky blues-rock vocals reminiscent of another queen of disquietude, PJ Harvey.
Go Chic takes chick power to the nth degree with irreverent but relevant lyrics written from the point of view of modern youth. Hilarious, dangerous and fun, the band takes the piss out of everyone from culture vultures to foreign men, and redefines the “Asian girl” stereotype in the process.
Dr Reniculous Lipz and the Scallyunz
With catchy, fun and wacky rhythms and lyrics and rhymes that tickle the brain, Dr Reniculous Lipz and the Scallyunz are a bit like Dr Seuss for grown-ups. Add a rocking live band (with bassist Molly Lin (林孟珊), who occasionally dresses as a nurse), and you have a treat for the eyes, ears and feet.
Skaraoke’s frontman Thomas Hu (胡世漢) is as engaging and professional as Money Shot’s Dooley Chandler, with the manners of a dapper gentleman and the style of a streetwise hepcat. The group’s big band sound is full of raging horns and toe-tapping beats that speak ska, reggae, rocksteady, swing and jazz. There’s even a bit of karaoke in the mix.
Collider has lost none of its dark, soul-wringing power, despite several lineup changes. Its newest member, bassist Thomas Squires, helps create an angst-ridden and beautifully torturous sound.
New Hong Kong Hair City
New Hong Kong Hair City has set the bar for expat female talent with lead vocalist and keyboardist Danielle Sanger belting out and growling songs full of passion and vigor. Macgregor Wooley matches her intensity on vocals and saxophone.
Point 22 (.22)
Composed of a trio of “founding fathers” from the expat music scene, including festival co-founder Wade Davis, Point 22 (.22) is a rock band with songs that are either gut wrenchingly funny or so catchy that they stick in your head for days.
Blood Orange (血橙) is what would happen if you sent a bunch of punks back in time to the jazz age and told them to form a band. With chaotic, discordant melodies that smack into full stops then twist back around for more, it is an instrumental band that doesn’t need a vocalist — the music is the frontman. www.myspace.com/bloodorangetw
Warren Hsu (許華仁) sees chocolate making as creating art and performing magic. Zeng Zhi-yuan (曾志元) “talks” to his cacao beans and compares the fermenting process to devotedly caring for a child. Despite their different products and business models, the two helped put Taiwanese chocolate on the map in 2018 at the prestigious International Chocolate Awards’ (ICA) World Finals when Hsu’s Fu Wan Chocolate (福灣) claimed two golds, five silvers and two bronzes, while Zeng took home four golds. That year, Taiwanese chocolatiers burst through the gates with a total of 26 medals, an impressive feat given that many locals don’t
Chen Zhiwu (陳志武) says that the COVID-19 crisis puts into sharp focus that we are in a new cold war, with China and the US being the two protagonists. “It’s almost literally in front of us,” says Chen, Director of Asia Global Institute and Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Hong Kong. Political observers were hesitant, Chen says, even up to the beginning of this year, to confirm a new cold war was underway. “But ... the coronavirus has made clear the clash in values and way of life between what China would like to pursue, and what
SEPT. 14 to SEPT. 20 When then-county commissioner Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) announced that movie theaters in Yilan County no longer needed to play the national anthem before each showing, the authorities were displeased. It was Sept. 13, 1988, over a year after the lifting of martial law, but the decades-old tradition where moviegoers had to stand and sing the anthem still endured. Of course, Chen sugarcoated his decision: “Considering the environment of the theater, the contents of the movies and the reactions of the audience, we believe that it’s actually disrespectful to play the anthem before each showing. We
In Japan — where they take their cats very seriously — they call Yuki Hattori the Cat Savior. He is so popular that he saw 16,000 patients last year, and crowds regularly queue up to hear him talk about neko no kimochi (a cat’s feelings), while people from all over Japan make the pilgrimage to his practice. Sometimes clients turn up from further afield. “One flew in from Iraq for a personal consultation,” Hattori says, “without his cat, due to border quarantines.” In Japan’s rarefied world of cat doctors, the vet Hattori is very much a superstar — but now there