Fri, Nov 01, 2013 - Page 11 News List

Live Wire: Bad ass weekend

By David Frazier  /  Contributing reporter

In performance, the group will put three people on stage. Antipop and 2Square will handle the mix of instruments (bass, drums) and electronic beats, and they will be joined by female vocalist Betty Black, who is featured on their new album and has appeared in songs with Moby and the Black Eyed Peas, most notably the hit tune Meet Me Halfway, which she coauthored.

Telepopmusik plays next Thursday at 8pm at Neo Studio, 5F, 22 Songshou Rd, Taipei (台北市松壽路22號5樓). Tickets are NT$1500, or NT$1200 in advance through

Bad ass brass

In this era of the electronic backing track, it feels almost atavistic to care about actual musicianship anymore. But Taipei in fact has plenty of bands keeping alive the traditions of pre-electronic and even pre-electrified music, playing ska, funk, soul, blues, jazz and much more. These cats are musically gregarious, gigging wherever they can and starting new bands whenever it feels like a good enough idea. The latest to come out of this mix is Bad Ass Brass, a 10-piece outfit is modeled on James Brown’s early backing band and playing everything from 40s big band jazz to ’70s and ’80s funk and soul. The group was put together by actor/singer Brandon Thompson and DC Rapier, a long-time expat who also fronts the blues group BoPoMoFo (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ).

“The idea was to start with classic R&B stuff like James Brown and the Isley Brothers. Then we tossed in a bit of jazz, like some stuff by Bill Withers, and also some ’60s pop tunes, like Gimme Some Lovin by the Spencer Davis Group, with the idea that we can reach a broader audience and qualify for jazz festivals. Right now we’re also working on some later funk stuff, like Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground and Superstitious. We’ve also got some stuff by the Meters and some more demanding funk, like from Tower of Power,” says Rapier.

The band was conceived about a year ago and has been rehearsing for close to 10 months. This weekend is more or less a debut, and tomorrow’s gig at Sappho will be their third ever.

Nearly all of the members are in other bands, and there are several notables. Trumpet player Danny Deysher also performs with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra and Wu Bai (伍佰). Guitarist Fabio Aurelio Moreira regularly backs up Mandopop singers as a studio musician and is also part of the Musa Quintet. Trombone player Andy Francis plays with La Cumbia Balkanska, drummer Juba van Wyke with the dub reggae band Dread Rider, drummer John Ring was formerly with Sky Burial and female vocalist Cat Tsai (蔡佳慈) starred in the musical Title of Show.

“We are just kinda trying to show off our horniness,” says Francis, a statement perhaps worthy of a trombone player. Then following one bad pun with another, he adds, “We want to blow people away.”

Bad Ass Brass plays tomorrow night 10pm at Sappho, B1, 1, Ln 102, Anhe Rd Sec 1, (台北市安和路一段102巷1號B1). Admission is NT$200 at the door.

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