Halloween is my favorite holiday. For the past dozen years I’d spent this celebration of monsters and mayhem at Underworld surrounded by my best friends. I have awesome, treasured memories from each year. Of course, Underworld is gone now, and I have been kinda bummed in the recent weeks, realizing the pain of its closure in yet one more twist of the knife.
But there is ready remedy for the blues, and its name is 旺福 WonFu. This weekend Taiwan’s best pop-rock ensemble came to the rescue. WonFu is always a good time. Guaranteed.
A Halloween party consisting of back-to-back sold-out nights had fans nevertheless lining up outside as early as midday. The first night’s theme was a creature-feature, and I’d assumed night #2, when I chose to go, would be more of the same.
While there were indeed fans dressed as Chinese vampires and other assorted characters, this was to be a costume party with a different tilt. The band entered ceremoniously from the main doors in traditional Chinese wedding attire and pomp, palanquins and zombie escorts guiding their way. Singer/guitarist 小民 famously proposed to bassist Twiggy earlier this year during a video shoot (see video), and tonight was their way to share the wedding festivities with their fans. Thus, we were treated to an evening of love songs. But if you know the band, that doesn’t mean schmaltzy, syrupy pap; it means fun, fun, fun.
Beyond the pageantry that accompanies a good Halloween bash, it was a straight-up WonFu party: a mix of rock concert and variety show, replete with retro sounds, wisecracks, and virtuoso performances. That is one of the many things I admire about the band - they write and perform their own material, and they built their popularity from gigging at Underworld and other smaller venues. They got big, but never got big-headed. You would still see them at Underworld parties, Halloween and otherwise, right to the very end. They’ve earned their success and have never forgotten their roots.
And here at this party, people swayed, bounced, danced, laughed, and sang along to the hits, from Do Re Mi, 迷你裙 , and 印倫情人to newer numbers like 愛你一兆年 and 愛洗蝦米. WonFu closed the show with 我小時候都去Spin and I got unexpectedly emotional.
Back in the day, Spin was in the heart of activity that buzzed in the HePing - JinShan - ShiDa Roads area every weekend or party occasion. Spin died (to be later reborn in yearly Back To Spin dance parties at Legacy), 45 got cut in half to make a parking lot, Roxy 99 has just moved out, and as mentioned above, Underworld got killed off. So I was feeling teary-eyed and mournful again. Too much loss. Too many memories.
But I looked out and didn’t see the death of a time and a place. I saw the entire crowd rocking out, word for word, fists in the air. And I saw that these beloved places hadn’t exactly died. Singing about that 7-11 on the corner and the Red Hot Chili Peppers... it was a night of love in unexpected ways. Even if some of the audience may have never visited these places, these institutions were surely visiting them Right Now. This was not just a WonFu song but also a collective memory and an immediate experience. We weren’t dead yet.
So thank you WonFu, for making me and so many others smile. Thanks for reminding me that our shared histories live on. Thanks for a happy Halloween after all.
And big GigGuide.tw congratulations & blessings to 小民 and Twiggy! May the joy you give return tenfold!