Taiwan will lose one of it’s seminal expat musicians when Taichung-based saxophone player, fundraiser, organizer, and groovaholic Patrick Byrne departs for Canada after more than a decade playing in bands across the country.
Byrne came to Taiwan in April 2001 to join his sister and began playing within the first week of arriving. In his decade-long career he’s jammed with Milk, Schlumpy, The Moneyshot Horns and ‘Round Midnight, a jazz ensemble with Roger Smith.
“We played all the major hotels and festivals in Taiwan and the highlight was opening Grooveyard [in Taichung]. It was a great place, loads of bands came through and many got their start there. It was very satisfying to be a part of that.”
Byrne said he and his wife and two children are leaving to be with family back in Canada, a country that has the specialized care necessary for his son Fionn, who is hearing impaired.
For the last eight years Byrne has organized and been the music coordinator for multiple charity events. The most recent, a chili cook-off, raised NT$120,000. He also organizes the music for Taichung’s Compass Food and Music Festival.
The music community reciprocated in 2009 when his son Fionn was born prematurely by sending text messages across the nation looking for donations of the child’s rare blood type. When hospital bills became a financial burden, several bands pitched in and held a night of performances and recorded an independently-produced CD with tracks by 14 of the groups, entitled Songs for Fionn. All proceeds went to pay Fionn’s medical bills.
“One of the most moving events here was the support that the community gave to my son Fionn after he was born,” said Byrne. “I am so moved by that and our family is grateful beyond words for the support.”
His all day all night going away party and BBQ on Dec. 8 at The Refuge will feature 14 bands, including Dr. Reniculous Lipz and the Skallyunz, Point 22, Chrome Relic, Aurora, Reid, The Ever So Friendlies and Peaks.
“I wanted to have a bash where most of the people I have played with could come and play,” said Byrne. “It is going to be epic.”
■ Saturday Dec 8 from 2pm until late at The Refuge, 151-2, Donshan Rd Sec 2, Greater Taichung (台中市東山路二段151之2號). Admission is NT$400, and includes one drink.
Reid, aka Reiderband, a trio with Pat Reid on lead vocals and guitar, David Ramey on back up vocals and drums, and Paul Oliver on bass, will be playing two shows in Taipei this weekend: tonight (for free) at Roxy Rocker, and tomorrow at Underworld.
The band relies on vocal performances to “allow the human side of the sound to come forward,” Reid said.
“We focus on making songs that people can have a good time dancing and listening to. We really are just trying to move the emotional nerve inside all of us, whilst also delivering deeper meanings in the lyrics. The music is cerebral and accessible.”
■ Reid plays tonight at 8pm at Roxy Rocker, 177, Heping E Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市和平東路一段177號). Admission is free. Tomorrow at 9pm at Underworld (地下社會), B1, 45 Shida Rd, Taipei City (台北市師大路45號B1). Admission is NT$300 and includes one drink.
The biennial Simple Life music festival this weekend showcases a wide range of bands from Mando-pop to cutting edge indie acts, including My Skin Against Your Skin, Fire Ex, Wonfu and Chairman. MC Hotdog and Free 9, and S.H.E. will be doing unplugged sets, and favorites Matzka, Wu Bai (伍佰) and China Blue and female singers and songwriters Faith Yang (楊乃文) and Sandee Chan (陳珊妮) will also take the stage. There’s also a T-shirt market featuring original designs, a book and craft market and a lecture series.