These guys were, and are, tops. Three gigs in particular stand out. First up is the New Year's Eve show they did with She Bang-A 死蚊子 at Underworld. I think there were only about 10 people there aside from the bands and staff. But the music (from both bands) was full-on and I couldn't believe a) how empty it was, and b) how great it was.
Next was a wild night in May at Revolver, also featuring She Bang A 死蚊子 and my band Flöaty. Beyond wow. That was the pinnacle, the peak, the shit. Everyone was dancing, singing, sweating - loudly, gloriously possessed. Fucking fuck yeah.
I also have an indelible memory of an Underworld gig, probably in July just before the bar was to close - the place was packed, and fans & friends disregarded the conventions of stage/audience, dancing, singing, sweating all in and around the band as they played. We were all as one.
Forests. Yes, oh yes.
Ladybug proved timelessness and time travel are both real. And for any cynics out there, they irrefutably demonstrated love is real, too. Ahhhh.....
My favorite Formosan festival. I was psyched for my band Flöaty to play and proud of how we performed - definitely one of our best shows. Human Beings were incredible. OCD Girl and Roxymoron were awesome. The White Eyes were... memorable. Friends were plentiful. The weather was great. That all adds up to Beautiful. I love Beastie Rock.
I went to Legacy to catch a 4-band bonanza called the People's Party, primarily to see The Naked & Famous. While they were really, really good, headliners Metronomy blew me away. I hadn't heard them before but left the show amazed and fully converted to their gospel of Neo-Talking Heads-ism. Bombay Bicycle Club, also on the bill, made a good impression on me, too.
About 15 minutes before they hit the stage, I got a message from Underworld's management that the bar would be closing in two weeks.
That I could possibly survive the night while my heart was dying, it would take a miracle. That Anvil got me through that moment, and even made me forget the devastating news... that they, in fact, brought my heart back to life with a smile almost as big a Lips himself... damn, what's beyond a miracle?
They were that good, fun, and comforting in what was a most personally painful moment. Anvil made a poignant statement on how powerful music can be. Anvil rocked me in my hour of need and I'm forever grateful.
(Chthonic's December gig at Neo Studio was pretty hot, too)
Dinosaur Jr. / Thurston Moore / Trail of Dead - I'm a long-time fan of both Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth, and a recent fan of Trail, so I had big expectations that thankfully were delivered in a perfect show. Earwax, the promoters pulled off another doozy - well done! Special mention to the impromptu jam by Trail of Dead members, and road-crew at Roxy Rocker - an expectedly awesome end to the night.
Ken South Rock - This duo rocked their asses off all 3 times I saw them; at Beastie Rock, Revolver and finally at Pipe Livehouse. The encore of the latter show devolved into an all-out jam with audience members taking to the stage banging whatever they could find, clapping, dancing and screaming. Beautiful chaos.
Napalm Death - I'd always dismissed them as being too metal for my tastes, and while I don't know if I'll ever buy an album, I was totally blown away by their life show. They (and frontman Barney in particular) are a lot more old-school hardcore than I'd imagined - sincere, political, conscious, high-energy hardcore. Much respect to Napalm Death for doing this, and staying true for alI these years!
The Horrors - Oh man, this band is amazing! I was totally intoxicated by their sound and enraptured by their presence.
Manic Sheep w/ Dreamhats at Bobwundaye - an unexpectedly great show. Small crowd, intimate venue, but it sounded fantastic!
BHD at The Wall - With their polished sound and beautiful projected visuals BHD really are a mesmerising experience.
No Age (Second Coming) - They're a great band. Loved their Black Flag 'Six Pack' cover. Amazing visuals provided by local artist Reach too. Solid!
Big Breakdown Age Festival - A really fantastic weekend of music in the sunny outdoors at Taipei Artist Village.
Ladybeard - Easily the best cantocore*+karaoke+wrestling+crossdressing+puppetshow out there. Must-see! (*Cantonese hardcore)
Also, pretty much every show by Forests, 人 Human Beings, Sleaze, Bowz Tiger, 88 Balaz, InhumanBand...
“Rock Every City”
It's been a busy busy year of gigs and I managed to break my own record from last year! Yah!
Toe at MegaPort Festival in March.
This is the most indelible show for me. It was raining quite heavily, but the audience - many without any rain gear - didn't care, they were there enjoying the performance, and I too was soaked in their music and atmosphere.
Forests / Roxymoron at Revolver aka Jez's birthday party in June.
Another incredibly delightful party - unlimited alcohol, unlimited fun! Definitely one of the best ever.
Universal Jam League: Sleaze / Hang In The Air / BOMBORI / Scattered Purgatory / TheJUNK at Pipe.
You will know what fun it was if you were there. ;)
The White Eyes / Wayne's So Sad played at Beastie Rock in August
Moshing is always the necessary element in my definition of a good show.
Though I ended up with a pair of muddddddddddy shoes after the show (which I had to throw away), I had more fun (what's more, I'm sure I burnt so many calories).
Sleeping Brain / Flux / Formosa Romance played at Revolver aka Formosa Romance's debut.
People (friends of performers to be exact) were crazy about Formosa Romance, they kept dancing and screaming during the show.
I swear that was the most boiling Revolver I've ever seen. It was a nice show with an enthusiastic audience, and as for the music of those bands…great, of course!
Also, it was good to see foreign bands in the year 2012, like The Omnipotent Youth Society, Fujirockyu, Marky Ramone, Ken South Rock, The Telephones and so on.
All of wonderful gigs I've seen that make my 2012 solid; I feel lucky and appreciative.
So, let's keep rocking after surviving 'til the end of world!
The Naked and Famous (Jan) – my fellow kiwis kickstarted my year of gigs.
Nintendo Generation Blues at Underworld (Mar) – come back soon!
Slack Tide album release at Revolver (May) – my ears are still ringing.
Floaty’s (the DJ) set at Underworld (Jul) – the “best of” when Underworld was going on hiatus. It was indeed the “best of”.
Ken South Rock (Aug) – So awed that I had to watch them twice the same night.
Sleaze album release at Underworld (Sep) – what a night! What an album.
Thurston Moore and Dinosaur Jr (Nov) - Thank you again, Earwax!
Forests at Revolver (all year round!) – always a good time when Forests plays at Revolver.
La la la by Manic Sheep – still on repeat.
Underworld closing and re-opening – when one is about to lose something important, love for it comes into such sharp focus. I hope we continue to keep that focus in 2013 and beyond.
The year called 2012 was one where I attended several live music shows, and not much more than several. Of those, the most memorable would have to be the Dinosaur Jr. and Thurston Moore performances (I got there too late to catch much of the …And They Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead’s set). I’m a long-time fan of both, and thus had a particular emotional connection that will resonate on and on. Other than that show, I was delighted to catch the shows of several locally-based bands on various occasions and some standouts in my mind are Forests, Manic Sheep, Luxury Apartments and BHD. I’m expecting some great shows by both local and touring musicians in 2013. GigGuide’s the place to find out the whos, whens and what-fors.
Photos of Forests, Anvil, Napalm Death, Human Beings, Ken South Rock, Dinosaur Jr. and Avil by Steve Leggat. Photo of Toe by Wynn Wan. © 2013