At the corner of Linsen South Road (林森南路) and Renai Road (仁愛路), a truck was parked along the parade route, with large speaker cabinets in the flatbed blasting out “Civil Revolt Part 1” (官逼民反 Part.1) by the hip hop group Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤). The song, which must have been on repeat, is from 2007, but the lyrics couldn’t have fit the rally better: “The government makes life hard! The people can’t bear it! Overthrow the corrupt! Taiwanese revolt!”
There are many reasons why the DPP and indie music have become such good allies. None of them have to do with DPP leaders being the least bit hip. What rock bands and green camp politicians share is the spirit of grassroots opposition.
The DPP has always considered itself a grassroots party and maintains a fundamental respect for other upstart or populist movements. The KMT meanwhile has a natural aversion to anything that emanates from the rabble. Preferring a paternalistic approach, or what Singaporean king-for-life Lee Kwan Yew (李光耀) calls “Asian values,” the party insists on building all the cultural institutions and then forcing all activity to take place under the single roof of the state apparatus. They know that by domesticating culture, they can also stamp out its rebellious spirit. They like safe — and boring.
The Deadly Vibes and 88 Guava Seeds get the vote for the most fun show this weekend. Even better, it is free. Both bands are Taipei scene veterans, and both are known for high energy rock n roll. 88 Guava Seeds has been around since the mid 1990s, has six albums and frontman A-Chiang (阿強) can still do the splits.
The music is 80s punk and 90s rock, but we appreciate the dance moves lifted from earlier icons like Elvis and Little Richard. The Deadly Vibes, dressed to play in a 1950s Texarkana roadhouse, belt out an early rock ‘n’ roll sound, but with newer distortion pedals. The Texas trio are the Marty McFlys of the Taipei scene, with a music that is both timeless and lost in time. They never fail to get the dance floor moving. Excepting Revolvers’ second anniversary last month, the Deadly Vibes also haven’t been playing many gigs lately, and with drummer Jason Copps expecting a baby in March, there are no shows on the immediate calendar. Catch ‘em while you can!
■ Tomorrow at 8pm at Roxy Rocker, B1, 177 Heping E Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市和平東路一段177號B1)