Some of the best things in life are free.
Revolver’s monthly free gigs are definitely some of the best things in life.
These free gigs happen once a month and are curated by Revolver. They pick some of the finest bands Taiwan has to offer. For July’s free gig night, it was a line-up of BHD, Macbeth and Wake Up! Explosion.
A theme that ran through my mind that night was the different genres represented by the three bands. Each of these bands reminded me of more well-known bands. However, each of these bands took that resemblance and added their own spin to it. What really set these bands apart are their emotive investments in their songs. That is their spin and their edge.
With their complex drumming patterns and melodic riffs, BHD could be described as post-rock. However, to simply paint BHD as any other post-rock band seems to undermine their attempts to progress beyond the clichés of that genre. With three guitars (and the occasional bass and synth) playing in harmony, there is always something to lock into. The amazing thing with BHD is how three guitarists and a drummer with differing musical backgrounds came together to create emotive music. The shift in riffing from guitarist to guitarist helps define the complex emotive core of each song. BHD describes their music as “emotional instrumental rock” instead of “post-rock” and what I witnessed that night attested to the band’s goals.
Macbeth had been in hiatus for a while and it was fortunate for me to catch them this time around. The first thoughts that came to mind were “troubadour and Joy Division”. Maybe it is because their instruments are tuned to the trebly side, all the vocals by the band tend to be low-voiced deep singing a la Johnny Cash or dronish like Ian Curtis. The spin that they add to the 70s synth rock genre is how they incorporate more recent dance-driven beats to rock the crowd. They avoid the drone and depression to deliver an energetic performance. Macbeth showed a lot of promise when they first appeared year ago before having to do the dreaded military hiatus. From this performance, I see that they are returning to their former glory and look forward to more musical progression from the band.
Wake Up! Explosion is climbing up my favorite bands list in Taipei. I am a fan of gritty fuzzed out interpretation of blues (a la Jack White, Black Keys, Jon Spencer Explosion). I did not expect to find that same style of music in Wake Up! Explosion (to be honest, I thought they were a post-rock band). From the first riff, the band hooked the crowd. The drums and bass locked into groovelines after groovelines. Guitar riffs reached out and sucked people in. Growling expressive vocals (from a skinny frame! Go skinny guys!) gave the performance more bite. Heads thumping, fists pumping – the crowd pulsated with the band. The band had the crowd eating out of its hands. When the band wanted more energy from the crowd, the crowd exploded into an instantaneous moshpit with a stompbox of a fuzzbox. Wake Up! Explosion is a captivating band. While their musical landscape is well travelled by the recent fuzz-infused blues reinterpretation, it was still so refreshing to see such an energetic performance live in Taipei. Uber fun.
You will not go amiss attending this excellently curated series of month free Saturday gigs put up by Revolver. Pick up a schedule flyer from Revolver. You might find your next favorite bands.
Some of the best things in life are free, and they can be really really good.