If you’re anything like me, the month of January has been spent trying to salvage whatever is left of my New Year’s resolutions. Any glimmer of hope for a quiet month indoors has vanished with sunny Saturdays leading into hangover Sundays. Just the same, what is usually the slowest month of the year for clubs is turning out to be exactly the opposite.
Luxy boss David Hsia (夏天浩) says the club has seen its busiest January in years, and a packed dance floor inside the club’s tiny electronic room, Pulse, attests to this. Maybe it’s just the weather, but I think it’s a sign that Taipei is creeping up on cities like Hong Kong and finally making itself known as a hotspot on the Asian electronic circuit. With AN21 and Max Vangeli (think Swedish House Mafia) playing at Luxy tonight, and trance legend Sasha at ATT Showbox on Feb. 1, 2013 is already off to an unusually loud start.
True, a big club and a big DJ will always pack a venue, but what we’re starting to see happening is smaller DJs filling rooms. It seems clubgoers are starting to care as much about the sound as they once did a name. Riding on this wave, independent promoters have begun booking DJs that might never see even the very bottom of a top DJ list. And Taipei is responding well to this.
On Wednesday night, Breakbot and Irfane played to a sold out crowd at Opium Den. Stellar promotions made this event hard to miss, but for those not connected to a social media outlet, Breakbot is a French underground electronic DJ on the Ed Banger label (the illustrious label that Justice calls home). Breakout promoters Cliche Records, who also operate out of Hong Kong, sold over 500 advance tickets to the event. Selling that many advance tickets for a small-scale show is practically unheard of in Taipei, and on a Wednesday to boot.
Sometime over the last few years, promoters have managed to bridge a wide gap between local music-centric indie parties and foreigner fused club events, because Wednesday night saw a perfect blend of the two worlds dancing side by side.
Just a few years ago, these kinds of parties were reserved for the dark corners of the Wall. Now, club owners are doing whatever they can to reformat their music direction and go underground.
Turtle Wen, one of the men behind Opium Den, wants to step away from the typical top 40 club format and offer Taipei something different. Wen knows that if he is going to open another new club in Taipei, he needs to offer something that other clubs aren’t doing. And it seems that’s clubgoers in Taipei are not only ready, but they are desperately in need of that something different.
■ AN21 and Max Vangeli, tonight at Luxy 5F, 201, Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 4 (台北市忠孝東路四段201號5樓), Taipei City. Tickets are NT$800 before 11pm and NT$1,000 after; includes two drinks. Sasha performs Feb. 1 at ATT Show Box, 7F, 12 Songshou Rd, Taipei City (台北市松壽路12號7樓). Tickets are NT$1,600 at the door.