Taichung has never been the friendliest place for laowais at dance clubs. There were whispers on message boards about a gun being pulled on a foreigner near a club in 2008 and recent rumors that another club refuses entry to anyone who is not Taiwanese because they cause too much trouble. DJ Enrique (birth name Percy Enrique Guevara Barrientos) and his club X-Cube hope to change that.
“X-Cube is what used to be Xaga, which was the hottest place in Taichung before the government closed almost every place in town. After some research, the Xaga group decided to reopen under a new name, but then there was another problem on the table,” Enrique said. “We discovered a lot of places are not foreign friendly unless you speak awesome Chinese or have deep pockets. At X-Cube we have trained our staff to be as foreign friendly as possible. I had some customers telling me a couple of weeks ago that bouncers were very friendly. It was a nice feeling to hear that.”
Enrique, a 36-year-old Peruvian studying for his master’s degree at Feng Chia University (逢甲大學), has been deejaying for three years and got into it because he wasn’t happy with going out and hearing the same music over and over. “Ninety percent of club music in Taiwan is almost the same, so I decided that the only way to attack the problem was doing what everyone else is not. So I learned how to deejay,” he said.
“I look at myself as an eclectic or open-format DJ,” Enrique continued. “I had them dancing to Bon Jovi and Nirvana last week and James Brown the week before that.”
Although he can be found deejaying at X-Cube any night of the week, this Saturday night is special because of a party called Hip-Hop Wannabes.
“We want to try to do a party where we do our best to stay as far as possible from the 128 BPM and up electro house and pop remixes,” Enrique said. “But if we don’t get the results that we would like, pop music could be back in the picture. That is why I said that we will try to keep it as real as Donald Trump’s hair.”
■ Hip-Hop Wannabes II Saturday night at X-Cube from 10pm to 4am, 41 Daguan Road, Taichung City (台中市大觀路41號). Admission is NT$300 for women and NT$600 for men ( both include three drinks). Admission is NT$100 off for people dressing hip-hop.
On the electronic side of the spectrum, legendary German DJ, producer and Kompakt label owner, Michael Mayer drops into town to play at The Wall tonight. In an e-mail interview with the Taipei Times, Mayer explained why he’s been having a great year. “All in all, 2012 has been a tremendously exciting and busy year for me,” Mayer said. “Most of it revolved around two babies — my newborn daughter and my new album Mantasy. I’ve really enjoyed doing the splits between family and studio and it’s very rewarding to see my daughter taking her first steps while my album hits the stores. It looks like they’re both starting a life of their own.”
Usually, superstar DJs play for two hours, but Mayer is going to play a special four-hour closing set. “It’ll be my first gig in Taipei and I’m super curious about it. First impressions are always the most important so expect me to be in top shape. My sets are always improvised so I can’t really tell you what to expect, except a hopefully Mantastic night out.”
■ Michael Mayer Mantasy World Tour tonight at The Wall (這牆) from 12pm to 6am, B1, 200, Roosevelt Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路四段200號B1). Admission is NT$800 at the door.