Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Scream

So I'm gonna start this off by quoting DJ:

"Okay, hello hello. I have been reading and teaching English in Tokyo now for ~4 months."

Well said and I really like the "hello, hello" part. I feel the same, except, I'm not in Tokyo, I'm in Taipei. And it's been ~seven months of general radness, culminating in the raddest weekend so far, 2008's Spring Scream, where I got really really drunk.

So here is my week 1/2 late, very incomplete and belligerently drunk coverage of the fest, condensed to some of the highlights I can remember.

First off, here's some background. Spring Scream was started 8 years ago by two expat Americans and has grown to become one of the biggest music fests in Taiwan, and the driving force for a general migration of rockers and ravers to the bottom of Taiwan every March, and even has it's own Wikipedia article now (WOW!) It's held annually in and around Kenting in the far south of Taiwan. This year they had it in Ulambi, which is the southernmost tip of the island and from where you can see the lush green coast jut out in three directions. Also, seriously every English teacher in the country comes down, and they all wear flip-flops and some of them drink rum out of coconut shells. Just like home. The event is held in literally one of the most beautiful venues possible, with 7 stages stretched out over two sloping valleys looking out into the endless-fucking Pacific and up Taiwan's mountainous coastline.

I had no idea before moving here because I'm an ignorant asshole, but Taiwan has this really fucking good music scene going on with all these indigenous and expat westerner post-rock, electro dance-pop, hardcore and shoegazer noise bands that I've just been generally losing my shit over. But the best of anything I've seen by far is Taipei's White Eyes, with their sleazy, scuzzy, ragged garage rock. It's a 'fuck yes' every time. Guitarist Telecat lays down riff atop grimy distorted riff, but keeps the chaos in check with a crisp razor sharp clarity, like Jimmy Page via Jack White on a really lucid acid trip. Singer Gao Xiao Gao!! shakes across the stage while her voice flies from the deep melodic to a high pitch freakout. And at 2 of the 3 shows I've seen of theirs, ends the set by stripping down to her bra and screaming at the crowd.

No No No - White Eyes

Narcissistic Personality Disorder - White Eyes

Here are some tracks from their brand spankin' new EP, Get My Body if You Want It. Check out their micepace for a bunch of tracks and videos. Here's a link to an earlier post I did about them with some more you tube action. In their Spring Scream vid, you can see Kuech, a dear friend of this blog, pumping his fists and 'woo-hooing' (he's the one in the white T with the shaggy beard - and looks like what you'd imagine an expatriated midwestern kid to look like at a Taiwanese dance-punk show).

Around 9pm Saturday
I was running around the valley from stage to stage with Kuech and others trying to find which stage White Eyes was playing at. And at around 10:30 I snapped these pictures, half blacked out, from the middle of their mosh pit.

After White Eyes, we stumble-ran to the DJ pit where the U.K.'s DJ Shorty was spinning an all Ween set, complete with homemade Boognish masks, and I think my soul left my body and achieved transcendence somewhere around 11:30.

I'm the blur in the front.

At 4 pm that same day
, I was wearing flip-flops and drinking rum out of a coconut shell as I watched our good friend Werner, aka Listen To Spoon, build up a live multi-instrument layered post-rock set, while wearing a pink tie.

At around 3am Friday night I was drinking a vodka grapefruit out of a red plastic cup, watching experimental short films projected onto the side of a white shed. But an hour and a half before that I was watching my last live show of Friday night, The Juicy Bows. Fuck yes I was. This dirty new wave surf rock band from Tokyo held the stage so confidently while chopping out wave after wave of riffed-up feedback and freak-out synth, smirking out at the crowd from behind Mexican wrestling masks. Fuck yes Japan! These are the only links I can find for them. They include one really long awesome song. Dig it.

The Juicy Bows, bio

The Juicy Bows, song

Sunday I went go carting and ate an egg sandwich with DJ Shorty.

Where I wasn't Saturday around 9pm
was watching another really good Taipei band, Go Chic!, because I was somewhere else feeling confused. Although there has been many a synth-rock dance-pop group before, this 5-girl outfit's brand of hard core screamy electro-pop is extremely fresh and so murderously hip you could get a drug problem from it. There first cd's due out this summer, but there's a bunch of very hot shit on their micepace.

Here's there 'biology':

Biology: this is go chic (caution!! we're electro-hyphy-chiks hybridized punk-blues-rock psycho-fatherfuckeeeeeers, jump yr feeeets uppppp!!! or we'r gonna ATTACK u!)

There were also bands with bunny masks, or lab coats, or tennis shorts with matching wrist/head bands who also all pretty much kicked ass but I can't remember their names. So, I guess that's it.


Blogger DJ said...

I am so fucking jealous.

Please shoot me for not going.

April 15, 2008 10:09 AM  
Blogger ohmygodimmike said...

that sounds like about the raddest thing ever

April 15, 2008 10:27 AM  
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April 19, 2008 3:06 AM  
Blogger Laz said...

Awww... "A hug."

April 19, 2008 10:01 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

It sounds like this festival was created with Mazur in mind... noise bands, DJs spinning Ween sets (I have still not met anyone here who has heard of them, including expats), experimental films, mask party And the landscape is fucking gorgeous! It's funny (and great) to picture you drinking fruity cocktails on the beach in the sun instead of sipping PBD from a can in a shitty apartment with a foot of snow outside. MISS YOU MAZUR!! You visiting the states this summer? un abrazo muy fuerte, amanda. BTW- cool shit happening this week: going to see Brazil at Madrid's ArtHouse Cinema (never seen it, sure you have some thoughts on it) then going to see Nick Cave live in Barcelona on Friday. Keep up the blogs!

April 23, 2008 10:50 PM  
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what is your #?

May 04, 2008 3:48 AM  
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