Lately there’s been some negative energy around live music in Taiwan, what with bar closures in Taichung and the “necrophiliac” comments about Shida Park (師大公園) of all places (bone-pickers: guys picking up girls who are passed out). In over a decade of extensive clubbing and gigging in Taipei, I’ve never seen semi-unconscious girls being taken home except outside of nightclubs and KTVs.
So this week’s Live Wire is about what is live, alive and thriving.
With thanks to DJ Floaty, longtime resident at Underworld, GigGuide founder Steve Leggat, co-owner of Revolver Jez Gray, and several musicians (including the jam night crew at Bobwundaye’s Wednesday open mic), here are some ideas of what to keep your ears to the ground for (all bands and upcoming show times can be found on Facebook or at www.gigguide.tw).
Based in Taichung, Peaks played at Revolver with Blind Acid Date and High Tide a couple of weeks ago. The band, with Andy Goode (formerly from The DoLittles) on lead vocals and guitar, and Chris Bailey (formerly from Three Day Bender) on lead guitar and backup vocals, was a pleasure to see live. Each member was so into what he was doing. The band’s passionate and focused drummer Tim Tucker was an animal singing along with the lyrics as he pounded out the beat. Bailey grooving on his guitar in his eccentric charged way was reminiscent of the Talking Heads’ David Byrne, and Goode’s vocals ranged from sweetly soulful and romantic to joyous shouting, which whipped up the dance floor crowd into a frenzy. Bassist Max Radings adds a punk sensibility to the group. Catch them on June 16 at Night of the Seaman at The Refuge in Greater Taichung.
■ 8:30pm on June 16 at The Refuge, 151-2, Dongshan Rd Sec 2, Beitun Dist, Greater Taichung (台中市北屯區東山路二段151之2號). Admission is NT$300 with costume and NT$350 without
At the last Exposure art show at Taipei Artist Village, Hsinchu-based rock quartet Windy City 4 had the crowd sweating and winded because it’s just that good. The group turned the event from a chilled-out arty afternoon into a full-fledged party from the moment it began playing. See story on Page 13 for details of tomorrow’s Exposure show.
A name that keeps cropping up is Forests, which opened for Death Cab for Cutie in Taipei on March 3. With members from Sunset Rollercoaster, and Boy and Girl, Leggat describes the sound as loud, distorted and beautiful. The band will play at A Rockable Day (rockable.com.tw) on June 30.
Leggat also raved about Human Beings (人), his “favorite new band at the moment” because of the group’s “emo-y hardcore” sound. Topping out his newest picks are Qi Lai Observatory (奇萊山觀測站), which has a gothic sound that is “a revival of genres that haven’t really been experimented with in Taiwan,” he said, and Manic Sheep, a young alternative rock band that Leggat finds “talented, catchy and instantly likeable” and compares to Sonic Youth.
Mainstays on the music scene have formed new bands as well: Taylor Briere, a former Taipei Times contributor, is in a new (as yet unnamed) act that will start playing shows in late summer; they have a powerful early-1990s sound with brooding vocals; comparisons have been made to Radiohead and Nirvana.
Floaty (resident DJ at Underworld since God was in diapers) headlines a new group that shares his name, playing raw, dirty garage and punk, with some surfy tunes thrown in for good measure.