There’s been a lot of music happening lately, and more is coming up. On Nov. 21, Sigur Ros totally rocked, apparently. I didn’t go but heard multiple accounts of the moment when everyone stood up out of their NTU Sports Center seats, and suddenly it was a real concert. Then on Dec. 1, Sting, on his third visit to Taipei since 1994, played Taipei Arena, drawing 8,000 fans. The expensive seats were largely empty however, and this led the China Times to speculate that the gig lost money. Both concerts were produced by Very Aspect (有像). The Simple Life Music Festival (簡單生活節) was unfortunately caught in a weekend-long downpour, but still managed to pull a crowd of 13,000, most of them wearing cheap plastic raincoats for local pop stars and a US dance-punk act !!! (Chk Chk Chk).
New on the calendar, several acts are getting indie rockers excited. Japandroids, a very hot Canadian rock duo, will be at the Wall on Jan. 24 (NT$1,000 in advance). The Australian singer Goyte plays NeoStudio on Jan. 28 (NT$1,600 advance). If you’re jonesing for that old-school sonic carpet feel, 90s proto-post-rockers My Bloody Valentine will play NTU Sports Center on Feb. 13 (NT$2,800 in advance). Japanese psychedelic freakout rockers Acid Mothers Temple are at the Wall on Feb. 27 (NT$1,000). Grizzly Bear is scheduled to headline Megaport Festival, March 2 and March 3 in Kaohsiung (www.megaport.com.tw). And Canadian artrock songstress Grimes will be at the Wall on March 23 (tickets TBA).
Lastly, I got an e-mail from Feiwu (廢物樂隊) lead singer Ian Lamont, saying, “There’s a very good chance that Feiwu might be performing in Taipei in mid-February.” This will happen at Legacy as part of its throwback series of shows by early local underground and indie bands. This has in recent months included Sticky Rice (糯米團) and “the last ever” concert by Ladybug (瓢蟲) — that show was a heck of a lot of fun. Feiwu included both expats and locals and probably produced the catchiest underground rock tune of that era, “I Love Taiwan Beer” (我愛台灣啤酒). Lamont and two other former members, Bob Hsiung and Andrew Watson, are currently living in the US. Lamont writes, “Myself and Bob Hsiung already have tickets in hand.” Stay tuned.
This weekend, if you’re going to buy a ticket for anything, make it Spiritualized. When the UK spacerock group played Fuji Rock this summer, it was likened to “an inter-stellar church service,” meaning something like a hand-clapping black gospel choir on mushrooms, not a bunch of tea-totaling Southern Baptists in khakis and penny loafers. To push the metaphor further, the cosmic choirmaster is Jason Pierce, a founding member of the psych-rock band Spacemen 3, who later brought most of its members into Spiritualized following a rift in 1990. At 47, Pierce is however the last of the Spacemen. All the other original members have moved on. He comes to Taipei with 400kg of equipment, two female backup singers and at least six people on stage. Though Pierce was receiving chemotherapy at the beginning of this year while working on the latest album Sweet Heart Sweet Light, he’s toured extensively in recent months and reviews have been outstanding. Shows have been loud, mind-blowing and set lists are primed with favorites, including resurrected Spacemen 3 tunes. Fittingly, the gig is on Sunday.