Seeing Canadian band Stars play live was definitely one of the shining moments of my music world last week. Their show at Legacy was packed, which caused vocalist Torquil Campbell, who I met up with in Huashan for drinks before the show, to interrupt his non-stop political rant (not impressed with the Harper government in Canada) to exclaim: “This is what we do it for! Look at all these kids. How do they even know who we are, we are half way around the world and here they are coming out on a Wednesday to see us play. That is what it is all about.” Their music was transcendent, mercurial, uplifting, and most of all, entertaining. “In the end,” he said, “I’m no political activist, I’m a fool, an entertainer for the masses.”
More tomfoolery is to be had this week: the Megaport Music Festival (大港開唱) in Kaohsiung this weekend, a mini tour by Roxymoron and Forests, a punk show mid-week with Fucked Up and Gallows, along with the birthdays of Wade Davis and Greggo Russell, two of the founding fathers of Taiwan’s expat music scene.
Davis was too immersed in preparations for Spring Scream to do an interview but you can catch him next weekend at Roxy Rocker (which his Aurora band members were gaga over when they played there last month, in part because of the Led Zeppelin-inspired decor, and in part because of owner Ling Wei’s (凌威) massive vinyl collection available for play by the DJ aftershows). Davis will be playing in Dr Reniculous Lipz and the Skallyunz, with Russell’s experimental post-rock group Collider (a personal favorite of mine), performing in a rare live show in honor of the occasion.
Russell, who has been here for over a decade, plays in a ludicrous number of bands:
“At the moment I am drumming for The Looking Glass, Rough Hausen, Luxury Apartments, Stench Of Lust, Steve Williams & The Alien Residents, Dr Reniculous Lipz and the Skallyunz, Collider and a few other projects that emerge from the dead now and again,” he said in a recent interview.
“I enjoy the different genres of music that I find myself playing. I do not sit around watching HBO or playing Playstation. I like to be productive … music happens to be my number one field of interest. I used to be a keen sportsman, that took a backseat to the drum kit.”
Indie heroin-rock band Luxury Apartments will join them for this free celebration of the births of two of Taiwan’s core live music men.
■ Dr Reniculous Lipz and the Skallyunz, Collider and Luxury Apartments play on Mar. 9 from 8pm to 10:30pm 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 you can catch American indie folk rockers Grizzly Bear at Neo Studio — if, that is, you can’t make it down to see them in Kaohsiung at the weekend-long Megaport Music Festival (大港開唱). After Radiohead invited the band to tour in 2008, things took off for them in a big way, driving the band into a hibernation period of creativity after their album Veckatimest reached the top of the global music charts. They have even supported Paul Simon (who plays in Taiwan on Mar. 20), and they were touted as “incredible” by Jay-Z. Their sound is a mix of musical instruments and electronics, with a psychedelic experimental folk-pop vibe. It’s dreamy music with Daniel Rossen and Ed Droste’s vocal harmonies leading the ear.
■ Grizzly Bear plays tonight. Doors open at 7pm and the band takes the stage from 8pm to 10pm at NeoStudio, 5F, 22 Songshou Rd, Taipei (台北市松壽路22號5樓). Tickets are NT$2,000 at the door, NT$1,800 presale.