The weirdest, wackiest and arguably the most theatrical artist of the last three and a half decades landed in Taipei last Saturday and delivered a performance that brought to life her newest album, Biophilia. At 47, Bjork is a mesmerizing force and seeing the Icelandic icon live was an unusual treat for fans in Taiwan.
But since it was her 2011 album that she was promoting, little from the seven albums that carried Bjork through her heyday made the concert set list and the first half of the show was somewhat underwhelming. It’s clear, however, that it wasn’t Bjork’s intention to make her audience dance.
That being said, Bjork is a compelling artist whose voice, just as beautiful and powerful as it was in 1977, was a good enough reason to see the show — or rather, spectacle. Her physical presence was equally strong as she sported a larger-than-life kinked orange mane and electric blue cape that trailed after her as she sauntered and shook her way around the stage.
Her eccentric look was matched onstage with an enormous tesla coil that hung from the ceiling above her and sparked harmoniously with the music. The prop energized the show, but only about three quarters of the way through when she performed Army of Me. At that point, the music got heavier and suddenly, everyone was dancing.
Behind her, more than a dozen sparkly blondes danced, too. Wearing futuristic looking sparkly robes, an Icelandic choir accompanied Bjork onstage and danced barefoot in a freestyle frenzy anytime a beat dropped. Toward the end, lots of beats were being dropped. In fact, I wondered for a minute if I was at a drum and bass show. And indeed, there was a DJ.
Bjork’s newer style is heavily influenced by electronic music. This is likely because she doesn’t play any instruments herself and she has quite certainly embraced the digital era. The whole set list had an electronic music vibe: One wouldn’t be surprised to learn that most of Biophilia was composed on a tablet.
After just a little under an hour and a half, Bjork ended her only ever stop in Taipei with an encore. It was a shame, because by the time she finished an energetic rendition of Declare Independence, the audience was just getting started.
■ Now on to the up-and-coming. Electronic music fans that enjoy craft beer have had something to do lately. DJ-turned-brewmaster Shawn Kidd returned to Taiwan from Canada last year and began pushing his passion for ale in a big way. Residents responded with a thirst for cold and crafty brew and Kidd has found a way to bridge the gap between his two loves, beats and beer.
After a very successful craft beer festival in July, Kidd is adding a splash of fun into his beer-centric events by moving his party poolside. Tomorrow at the Happy World Riverside Pool, Kidd will be serving more than 20 specialty brews of beer from all around the world. He has managed to keep prices low, with beers ranging from NT$150 to NT$200. Select beers will even be served for free at 5pm.
Kid Millionaire will provide live music for the event. The band fuses rave and rock and does it in a way that appeals to music fans on both sides. If the beer isn’t a draw, don’t worry, come anyway. The pool and waterslides are big enough for all, and there is poutine (french fries with cheese and topped with gravy, for all you non-Canadians) for everyone. See you there.
The poolside craft beer party happens tomorrow from 4pm to 11pm at Happy World Riverside Pool (大新店游泳池), 112-1 Huanhe Rd, New Taipei City (新北市新店區環河路112-1號). Admission is NT$300 for men and free for women.