Dance rock group P!SCO began a month of shows performing the music for theater production Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which premiered yesterday. Their new video for the song I Wish You Love features some of Taipei Player’s finest who won the Southern Audio Awards for best acting in a music video. The group, who received a recording grant from the government last year has hit a new level with this catchy, fun, and slightly dark song — I couldn’t get it out my head for days (www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3znvJ04XIo).
Harajuko model and vocalist Kiriko Takemura of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, playing Taipei tonight on her first world tour, has received much online recognition after her single PonPonPon went viral in 2011. Her album Pamyu Pamyu Revolution achieved first place on Sputnik music’s Best Pop Albums of 2012.
Takemura’s form of cos-play is better termed cuteplay — a version so sweet it’s like crunching down on a mouthful of white sugar. While watching her music video for Furisodeshon I had to double check that it wasn’t a computer generated image (and sound): big dark eyes and no visible texture to her skin, every hair glossily in place, a huge, perfectly-centered bow on head. Half way through watching it I felt like one does after consuming too many manufactured sweets. That said, I was compelled to finish it. Which made me realize that in this confection of a video, between the repetitive arm-dancing sections, an unexpected plot developed, in three second segments: In the first, she pounds alcohol. Next, she smokes a big pipe and drinks more, then lies on the floor with an empty cup. In the last moments of the video she claps her hand over her mouth, and the final shot is someone patting her back after she’s been sick.
Though perplexing, it doesn’t give you that Lost Highway feeling that you should watch it again to figure it out. Another video, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s Candy Candy is a mouthful — of saccharine. The thumb sucking started at a minute in. That’s when the candyfloss hit the stick and I quit watching for fear of diabetes.
■ Kyary Pamyu Pamyu plays tonight at 8pm (doors open at 7pm) at Legacy, Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914), Center Five Hall (中五館), 1 Bade Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號). Admission is NT$1,500 in advance and NT$1,700 at the door.
When I refer to Collider as wicked dance music people laugh. Which explains why I was alone on the dance floor last Saturday night at Roxy Rocker. Alone in a ravishing soundscape I have been addicted to since the days of To a God Unknown. Rafe Walters, the only constant, uses a guitar and pedals to create another musical climate. When Tom Squires’ bass joins in it adds barometer pressure. But for Collider last weekend it was the unexpected whammy of double drummers, on two separate full kits that pounded the shape of the sound and defined its boundaries. Jon Snowdon and Greggo Russell killed the beats and hung them to bleed.
The group admits that they don’t practice much, but it doesn’t matter. The music flows effortlessly, soaringly, heartbreakingly. The audience may not have danced, but they raved about it later (in conversations, not techno events).
What got people onto the dance floor wasn’t Luxury Apartment’s 90s vibe but Dr. Reniculous Lipz and the Skallyunz (playing tomorrow in Kaohsiung). Though down a hype man, the band had the house up and tables being pushed aside to groove to their funky rhythms, addictive beats (again Greggo Russell) and frontman Nick Sylvester. His word percussion kicks the tempo up, from tumbling rap to the mind tickle of his lyrics and shocking but undeniably catchy choruses.
■ Dr. Reniculous Lipz and the Skallyunz with Point 22 tomorrow from 10pm at Rocks, B1, 219 Juguang St, Greater Kaohsiung (高雄市莒光街219號B1). Admission includes one drink, NT$300 at the door, NT$200 with student ID.
Midweek, Paul Simon comes to this fair nation for the first time. The iconic singer-songwriter has won a dozen Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. We all know who he is, but now he — or at least his tour manager — knows Taiwan.
■ Paul Simon plays on Wednesday at 8pm (doors open at 7pm) at the Taipei International Convention Center (台北國際會議中心), 1, Xinyi Rd Sec 5, Taipei City (台北市信義路五段1號). Admission ranges from NT$1,200 to NT$12,800. Tickets are available through 7-11 iBon.
It’s good to see young and up-and-coming artists putting Taiwan on their tours instead of only legends/pioneers/veterans. First Lady Gaga, now ethereal Canadian musician and artist Grimes, and next? Bat for Lashes? Or Die Antwoord? No, not yet.
But it is a sign of the times to have Taiwan on the map, at least musically. With Go Chic’s tour of Europe, Revilement just back from a tour of Northern Europe, and Chthonic, who have brought their politically-edged black metal everywhere, Taiwan is making a name for itself. Canada has an AsiaMusic Fest, but also has a separate Taiwanfest. America has the Passport to Taiwan festival in New York City.
Refreshing, after seeing this nation referred to as that magical place, that Narnia of the East: Chinese Taipei, in the baseball game last week. Has anyone ever seen a stamp for that country, er, city… uh…place in their passport?
■ Grimes plays March 22 at 8pm (doors open at 7pm) at The Wall (這牆), B1, 200 Roosevelt Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路四段200號B1). Admission is NT$1,700 at the door and NT$1,500 in advance.