Quiet deference is probably not what King Krule expected to encounter from the crowd at NTU Stadium, but as the opening act of Hostess Club Taipei’s second night, that’s what he got. At times you might have heard a pin drop if the floor hadn’t been carpeted. The Londoner’s blend of cocksure swagger and angry lyrics are hard-hitting and it took him a few songs to thaw out the frigid response from his audience, but by the time he thrashed out the opening notes of ‘Easy, Easy’ there were distinct signs of life among the crowd, some of whom braved a hoot or two. King Krule’s raw frustration and intensity are reminiscent of Johnny Rotten but his juxtaposition of these qualities with a more mellow, jazzy accompaniment make him quite a surprising act. Finishing with ‘Out Getting Ribs’ was a classy end to the performance, revealing his softer edge and cleverly leaving the crowd wanting more.
Daughter were always going to be far more to the taste of Taipei’s punters and they didn’t disappoint. The lighting engineers were on top of their game throughout this act, and as the band opened with ‘Still’ they were bathed in a lush red aura, which matched their sounds seamlessly. Guitarist Igor Haefeli had obviously taken a leaf out of Sigur Ros’s innovative book and he elicited some truly haunting sounds from his instrument with the help of a violin bow. Daughter sounded so mature, so polished, and their stage act was so accomplished, that it’s hard to believe that they have only one album. The range of musical parallels – Florence and the Machine, The XX, Of Monsters and Men – are obvious but the band’s originality was still easy to hear. As shafts of blue light reflected from the guitars and sent light-sabers shooting towards the ceiling, it felt as though everything Daughter did, every chord they played, and every note Elena Tonra sang was perfect.
Perhaps only a band of Mogwai’s stature could have followed Daughter and kept the crowd happy, and that they did. Testing the speakers to the limit, their set made plenty use of tracks from their Rave Tapes album as well as classics like ‘Auto Rock’, and ‘Ex-Cowboy’, and the venue proved a good place to hear their newer soundscapes. Bands like Mogwai seem to exert an effortless power over their audience, and this gig was no different: their final song was immediately greeted with calls for an encore, and even more frenzied screams when they finally reappeared. By the time they played ‘Remurdered’ as their final encore Mogwai had the audience completely under their spell, jumping, grooving, and (in sporadic patches) moshing with more energy than at any other point in the night. Job done. Deafened, wowed, and inspired, we headed reluctantly into the cool Taipei night.