Fri, Mar 25, 2016 - Page 11 News List

Live Wire: Chthonic to headline Megaport

By Joe Henley  /  Contributing reporter

Chthonic, led by front man and Legislator Freddy Lim, will headline the festivities tomorrow at Kaohsiung’s Megaport festival. The festival, organized by a group headed by Lim, runs until Sunday and will see over 70 bands take to multiple stages.

Photo courtesy of Chthonic

“True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs and finally destroys.” So said Japanese writer, nationalist, possible psychotic and seppuku enthusiast Yukio Mishima.

There has been much beauty to witness in Taiwan of late, within the music scene and without. Within the scene, shows witnessed by this writer in recent weeks have had an energy about them previously found lacking — an energy that is perhaps mirrored in society at large.

That uptick in something that, for lack of a better word we’ll call spirit, could have something to do with the political arena.

January’s general elections seemed to usher in a sweeping change of the prevailing voice across the country with the resounding victory of Democratic Progressive Party (民主進步黨) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Taipei’s fifth district even elected the nation’s first bona fide metal head politician to the Legislature when it chose Chthonic’s (閃靈) Freddy Lim (林昶佐) to represent it over a heavily entrenched incumbent.

All beautiful things. Attacking the ghosts of the past head on, overpowering the old guard, robbing the establishment of the voice it had stolen from the once quietly seething majority, destroying tenets held sacred too long.

This weekend, the celebration of the melding of music and politics will continue at Megaport (大港開唱) in Kaohsiung. The festival, organized by a group headed by Lim, will see over 70 bands take to multiple stages over its two-day run, alongside speaking engagements presided over by Lim and other figures from the political and activist arenas.

Starting out in 2006, the festival has seen its ups and downs, much like the man now heading up the occasion and his band. Now, all seem to be in confluence.

Tomorrow’s highlights will include the aforementioned Chthonic, not least of which for the fact that speculation has run rife that Lim’s political career could see the band’s performance schedule somewhat curtailed over the next four years.

For Lim’s part, he has stated that the band will continue touring, and a new album could see the light of day as soon as next year.

Another band to look out for is Taipei snot-nosed punk/metal protagonists The Roadside Inn. The band’s high-energy live shows and in-house DIY work ethic have quickly elevated the group over and above many of their peers in just a few short years. If you happen to be anywhere near the first three rows, watch out for front man Zoie Liao’s frequent stage dives.

Preeminent Taiwanese Brit/indie rock group 1976 will also return to the stage tomorrow night. The Golden Melody Award-winning band marks its 20th year, passing the two-decade mark no mean feat in a country where the prevailing social constructs and culture eat most bands for breakfast.

Moving to Sunday, fans of the heavy stuff will no doubt be circling the time slot of Taipei melodic thrash band Infernal Chaos. The band has been somewhat quiet in recent years, with only sporadic appearances here and there due to guitarist and founder Jesse Liu’s (劉笙彙) heavy commitments in Chthonic.

With Lim now politically indisposed, perhaps Liu’s other perennial fan favorite will return to a more regular gigging regiment. Expect furious action in the pit for this one.

For something just slightly softer, pop rock band Hush will also take to the stage on Sunday. The band, led by singer/songwriter Hush Chan (陳家偉), attracted the public’s attention in 2013 when the video for their track Lovers In The Sky featured what could well have been the first same-sex love story in Taiwan music industry history.

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