Nantou County (南投) hasn’t exactly been high on the list of priorities for bands playing in Taiwan, even local ones.
Sure, Chthonic played a memorable show at Sing-ling Temple in Puli Township (埔里) back in 2011, but when it comes to major events, the mountain-locked county has largely gotten a pass.
That may change, however, with the emergence of a new student-led event set to stage its inaugural edition in a couple weeks’ time. Grind Era Festival (衝突年代音樂節) will bring a slew of local acts to Nantou for what is likely the largest single-day concert in the county’s history.
Headlining the nascent festivities are hometown heroes Bloody Tyrant (暴君). The folk/black metal band got its start in Nantou in 2008, the membership at the time essentially comprising the county’s entire population of metal heads.
In the years since the band’s sound has evolved from a raw form of black metal into a more polished and dense aesthetic, layered with Taiwanese folk melodies and traditional instruments.
Among other notable acts heading for central Taiwan are Masquerader (fresh from the studio following a lengthy hibernation from live activities), Psychopress, Mutation, Armed Judas and Iron Fist. The lineup is certainly tilted toward the heavy end of the scale.
If all goes well, perhaps Nantou will become known for more than just Sun Moon Lake and Mona Rudao, who led the Wushe Incident (霧社事件) .
■ Grind Era Festival (衝突年代音樂節) takes place Saturday May 14th, 2016, at Nan Kai University of Technology (南開科技大學), 568, Zhongzheng Rd, Caotun Township, Nantou County (南投縣草屯鎮中正路568號). Doors open at 10am and bands play until 9:30pm. Admission is free.
SCOTT COOK RETURNS
One of the Taiwan expat music scene’s own returns this weekend with a quick run of shows from north to south.
Canadian folk troubadour Scott Cook spent six years in Taiwan teaching and playing music before diving headlong into full-time musicianship. Since leaving our shores, the man described by David Burke of R2 Magazine as “... one of Woody Guthrie’s children” has been irrepressibly on the move, touring constantly through North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Cook is a throwback to the uplifting, foot-stomping, rubber-to-the-road folk tramps of yesteryear, halting tour activities only to seek occasional solace in the quiet of the country to write songs for another album — a rare true believer with an unwavering faith in music as life-changing catharsis.
Currently, the award-winning singer-songwriter is putting on yet more miles in support of his fifth release, Go Long, coming off four months touring Down Under and through Indonesia.
■ Scott Cook plays tonight at Cafe Vergissmeinnicht, 92, Aiguo E Rd, Taipei City (台北市愛國東路92號). Tickets are NT$200 at the door, and Cook will be on from 9:30pm to 11:30pm. Tomorrow Cook hits Rocks in Kaohsiung, and Sunday he plays at Lei Gallery in Taichung. For full details, check out the tour event page at www.facebook.com/events/1604230236562108/.
RESURGENCE OF HARDCORE AND PUNK
The hardcore and punk scene is also in full effect this weekend, this particular sub-sect of the music community seeming to be in the midst of a much-welcome resurgence of late.
The hardcore end of that equation owes a huge debt of gratitude to the indefatigable Human Brutality (人類暴行). For nearly a decade, the band has been Taiwan’s answer to Hong Kong’s long serving ambassadors of Asian PMA King Ly Chee (荔枝王).