Monday, August 01, 2005

today(well, technically yesterday now that it's after midnight) peter and i went to keelung to spend the afternoon hanging out with his friend edward. it was horribly hot as we walked around to various temples and the such. i took a ton of pictures, though i don't have high hopes for most of them.

in the early evening we got back to taipei. peter went home as he was super tired, and eventhough i was also super tired i went to the last day of the formoz music festival. i'd mentioned before that there were two days when bands i'd like to see were playing. well, as luck would have it - the scheldule was changed so all the bands i wanted to see played on the same day on the same stage.

the first band up was a taiwanese band called mrs. something. i never quite caught what the name was as i couldn't figure out the characters for the name. they were ok. they seemed like your typical local band, but at least they didn't immediately remind me of another band.

the second band up was pixel toy. this is a band from hk that i was curious about. when they were setting up their equipment i thought i was going to like them. electric drums, some sort of keyboard(maybe a mini moog?), and this thing that was played by waving your hands over it. it was like a theremin, but no antenna, and it didn't sound at all like a theremin. the laptop they were using also had video game controllers hooked up to it to play it. really cool. if pizzicato five had a more electronic edge they might have sounded like this. from the moment they got on stage they were ready for fun. just full of joy and it was definately infectious. the crowd seemed to really love them too. i bought their cd which has 4 music videos on it along with music. i haven't had a chance to watch/listen to it yet. it's a shame james wasn't still in taiwan for this because he would have really loved it. the cd is on the people mountain people sea label. a few years ago eslite got in some releases on this label, but before i could get my butt in gear and buy them they sold out and they never got them in again. if the other releases on this label are anything like pixel toy, i'm going to want them.

the third band up was the konki duet from paris(for some reason i've often seen them credited as coming from taiwan). i knew a few of their songs from the comp for the grass festival i picked. they had some technical problems(not caused by them) but were quite nice. too bad they didn't play at the grass festival as i think they would have been better suited to that environment. it's not really the kind of music i want to stand up to. they did a song for/about cyndi lauper and a cover of queens of the stoneage. i'm not sure which song, but the cover version wasn't bad. i'm curious what they are doing in taiwan though. i'm sure i've seen them on the mrt here before.

the fourth band up was the aprils. the leader of this band came to taiwan with hazel nuts chocolate. at that time i'd hoped the aprils would have come(eventhough i really dug hazel nuts chocolate). and here, i got my wish. they were super fun. there was one band member that seemed to push buttons in some box i couldn't really see into, but other than that he just seemed to be there to dance along with the two singers. he was a bit on the campy side too - which just made it all the more fun. at certain points in the show they'd try to say something in chinese which usually amounted to something like "we are the aprils we come from japan" or "visit our website". towards the end of the show he talked about how much he loves taiwan and the food. i'd love to see them do a proper show in a club all to themselves. i hope that happens one day.

the fifth band up was ymck. video game music. i know this is a genre into itself 8-bit or something. they reminded me of kraftwerk somewhat. if kraftwerk had a female singer and were doing music associated with early video games they may have been something like this. the show was tightly choreographed to the video projection going on behind them. the music and voices were so synthesized that i'm not entirely sure if they were really singing or just lip synching. regardless it was an impressive show. it'll be interesting to see how it is to listen to their music without the visuals.

the sixth band i forget their name. i left after a few songs. i was rather tired, and i saw them at the grass festival(at least i think it was them - some of the same members) so didn't really feel like i needed to see them again. what i saw felt like a rehearsal rather than a gig.

the shows made me super happy, but sad to think that i have yet to see a taiwanese band that can make me as happy as these japanese and hong kong bands. hopefully one day a taiwanese band will just totally take me by surprise in this respect.