Best Gigs of 2011

by Floaty

Wow, 2012 is shaping up to be awesome year. So far we've got The Naked & Famous, The Horrors, The Vaccines, Opeth, Lamb of God, Yuck, Toro Y Moi, and Marilyn Manson all lined up to kick our ass. And that's just the first three months of the year! Marky Ramone is also confirmed to visit, and here at our fingers are crossed someone can lure Anthrax this way, too.

On the local scene, we can look forward to a new Go Chic album, another edition of Spring Scream, a return of Beastie Rock's summer fun, more crazy parties from Predator Productions, and undoubtedly a great number of other pleasant surprises. 

But before we get ahead of ourselves, we've invited some friends from around the Taiwan music world to share their thoughts on an eventful 2011. We had some damn good fun, didn't we? (the answer is YES!)

All the best to you in 2012, dear readers. Thank you for supporting local music. Let's rock!

Floaty ( contributor, DJ at Fucking Place & Underworld)

Sunset Rollercoaster, Bowz Tiger, Sleaze, Macbeth, Touming Magazine, Wayne Is So Sad, Chthonic, Human Beings
Best Gigs of 2011:

1. Death Angel @ the Wall: As ferocious as ever, I couldn't believe they came here. I got my mosh on and was sore for days - 爽!

2. Mugen Hoso @ Beastie Rock Festival & Witch House / Taiwan tour: Pure joy and energy. True rockers & amazing performers.

3. A tie between Bowz Tiger @Underworld & My Skin Against Your Skin @ the Wall: Two incredible bands completely possessed by their music. Watching them is as powerful as listening to them.

Dream Gig for 2012:

Motorhead / Judas Priest / Slayer triple bill. None of them are dead yet - it could happen!

Arthur Chen (boss at Legacy)

Best Gigs of 2011:

1. 亂彈阿翔 理由:沒有噱頭卻依然憾動人心的純搖滾樂

2. Hurts 理由:現場比CD精彩一百倍

3. 伍佰 理由: 雖已成為主流歌手,但仍能以B-side歌曲搖滾主流觀眾

Dream Gigs for 2012:

糯米團 Sticky Rice
The Horrors

Dave Frazier (Urban Nomad)

Best Gigs of 2011:

Sunset Rollercoaster, Bowz Tiger, Sleaze, Macbeth, Touming Magazine, Wayne Is So Sad, Chthonic, Human Beings1. Go Chic @ Europe + North America Tour: The GIO may be spending NT$2.1 BILLION (!!!) to help Taiwan's pop and indie musicians tour overseas and record CDs, but the three girls of Go Chic (and Winston) achieved way more all on their own - touring Germany, Spain and the US in 2011, befriending Peaches and going to Berlin to have her produce their second CD. Kudos! I was lucky to catch Go Chic at Arlene's Grocery in New York and at SXSW, and unlike the GIO-sponsored Taiwan night at SXSW, they were playing to regular American crowds (i.e. not Taiwanese exchange students) and totally killing it!

2. I.U.D. @ Urban Nomad: I'll admit I produced this show, but if I didn't love the few shows I do, I wouldn't do them. And when in recent memory has Taiwan seen 600 kids in a warehouse for a bizarre mix of noise drumming, performance art and 5-projector video installation of snarling dogs and wrestling lesbians?

3. Otaku3 @ Spring Scream: Otaku3 is a group of four dudes who live year-round in the Spring Scream campground in Kenting, grow their own food, dive for shellfish, and try not to spend any money. They are the closest thing Taiwan has to Jamaican rastas, so no wonder their dub reggae is so jam-packed with happy awesome goodness.

Honorable Mentions:
1. Skerrit Bwoy @ Brickyard in Kaohsiung: "The most daggering I've ever done in Asia" ~ and also likely the last, now that he's given up daggering for God. What?!
2. The smile on Xiao-yao's face at one of Marcus Aurelius's ice skating parties ~ well, that's not a band per se, but let's not forget that the point of all these concerts and parties is supposed to be about having fun!

Dream Gig for 2012:

I can't announce the Urban Nomad lineup yet, but it's quite possibly going to be even more mind-blowingly awesome than 2011. The Naked and Famous was one of my favorite bands from Fuji Rock and SXSW in 2011, and they're playing Legacy on Jan. 11. Lastly, NY-based erhu rockers Hsu-nami were the best band at Spring Scream 2011, and they're coming back in 2012, and will also tour the island with Kao Chiu Chin and Chairmen.

Sonia Lai (Go Chic and BounceGirlz)

Best Gigs of 2011:

3. Sunset Rollercoaster album release at Underworld, it didn't actually release that day, but good vibe, talented kids and brilliant music, what else you can ask for?

2. James Blake at SXSW, Austin. definitely one of the best gig I've seen this year, good sound field even in a open space, inspiring live electronic music performance, and... oh right! the heartbroken voice of him.

1. Underworld 15th anniversary gigs, it must be a foul to make more than one gig to top 1. A lot of good local bands and DJs played that series of celebration event, it was a big festivities. Underworld has always meant a lot to me, good to hang out with all my friends, watching cool gigs, drinking and..... drinking.

Dream Gig for 2012:
Tough question, the reunion Stone Roses maybe? They've been my all time favorite, hope their new work won't let me down.

Joe Henley (Hired Goon)

Best Gigs of 2011:

1. Death Angel: This gig ripped because Death Angel were visibly amped up for their first time in Taiwan, and the crowd was just as psyched to see them live for the first time. It's always cool to see a band show up in Taiwan with no idea of what the scene is like here, and get completely blown away by the huge response they receive. That's exactly what happened when Death Angel came to town. They definitely walked away with a story to tell all their buddies back in the Bay Area.

2. Destruction: Destruction are obviously legends in the global metal scene so it was awesome to finally get them over here. Bassist/vocalist Schmier is such an imposing presence on stage with his hulking frame, and he and guitarist Mike Sifringer showed that they haven't slowed down a bit despite getting a bit on in years. This was a wild one and the pit was so raucous you could almost see sweat dripping down the walls.

3. Raw Noise Attack IV (Unholy Grave): Unholy Grave are the godfathers of Japanese grindcore and they absolutely owned the stage on this night. The vocalist is 45 years old and had more energy than most guys literally half his age. They showed everyone what no B.S. grind is all about, and the local bands, Masquerader, Bazooka, Total Disruption, Selfish Sucker, and my own band, Revilement, did an excellent job of representing the Taiwanese metal/punk scene. Did I just void my ballot by mentioning my own band?

Dream Gig for 2012:

Slayer. I'd say we've got about two more years before Tom Araya is permanently immobilized by his 30 years of head banging. Make it happen!

Don Quan (Proprietor of The Mercury Bar, Kaohsiung)

Sunset Rollercoaster, Bowz Tiger, Sleaze, Macbeth, Touming Magazine, Wayne Is So Sad, Chthonic, Human Beings
Best Gigs of 2011:

1.Sebadoh!!: Playing virtually the entire album Bakesale, plus other nuggets/hits as an added bonus was seriously worth way more than the $1000NT ticket price.

2. Dean & Britta play Galaxie 500: More nostalgia, but very influential nostalgia.

3. The Wailers: Ok, so there was only one actual member of Bob Marley's backing band in the lineup, but to witness actual Jamaican musicians playing the real thing was something else.

Dream Gig for 2012:

The Most Serene Republic

Wynn Wan ( translator)

Best Gigs of 2011:

1. Macbeth @ Spring Scream: my first time to Spring Scream and the first mosh pit for a Macbeth show LOL. It was extremely fun and cool, you'll know it if you were there.

2. Touming Magazine + Macbeth + Wayne Is So Sad @ APA 808: first time seeing Wayne Is So Sad. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much but they really amazed me! Anyway, it was a perfect lineup and a perfect audience.

3. YOU&ME 2k11 Concert: a great idea, great execution, great bands, and great title. you&me, indeed, we were having fun till the night. What a wonderful day!

Dream Gigs for 2012:

Two Door Cinema Club (possible?)

Foals ♥♥♥
Arctic Monkeys...
From Monument to Masses

Gareth Griffiths (Photographer - Kahnagraphy)

Best Gigs of 2011:

1. Blair Witch Imprecation EP Release - Tales from the crypt, fiendishly diabolical malevolence, corpse paint, black leather and vinyl... sensational stuff. Blair Witch are better each time I see them, and the show was a fantastic introduction to the made-up visages of Bloody Tyrant, another coven of doom and gloom merchants. Masquerader's performance was typically pumped-up, and how outstandingly excellent was South Korea's Seed?Sunset Rollercoaster, Bowz Tiger, Sleaze, Macbeth, Touming Magazine, Wayne Is So Sad, Chthonic, Human Beings

2. The month of May - Bazooka opened for Death Angel. Revilement, Intestinal Pancakes, Flesh Juicer and Gorepot had a mini Battle of the Band Names which has left every single Sunday evening since a sad and empty place. Beyond Cure played a cozy opening set for maybe thirty of us at The Wall one Friday night before Japan's MOZ8 ("Hey Henley, whatd'ya call this stuff?" "I dunno... Death Pop?") turned in my personal Most Kick-arse Set of 2011. And Solemn and Anthelion's blackened end to spring left me with a concussion and my camera in the repair shop.

3. Chthonic at the Sing Ling Temple - A trip over the hills and through the woods to get to a show should end with bark-chewing peaceniks sewn together from old bits of sack and hemp cloth being shepherded around a muddy field by DJ Laptop's uplifting progressive house sets, and the easily-impressed serenading each other on acoustic instruments with preachy messages of who gives a shit. Luckily for everyone who made their way to Puli in late October, Chthonic was the exact opposite.

Dream Gig for 2012:

Based on what is getting extensive play on my personal playlist, at the one end of the scale is Absu opening for Behemoth. At the other end, The Walkmen opening for The National.

Elvis (Blogger / First of May Studio)

Best Gigs of 2011:

1. Suede / 2011.08.05 @ 南港展覽館:
保持最佳體能狀態的Brett Anderson

2. Tizzy Bac / 告密的心專輯特演 2011.08.20 @ TheWALL:
Tizzy Bac絕對還在他們的生涯高峰,主唱惠婷掌握聲音絕佳,

3. 巨獸搖滾音樂祭 2011.08.13-14 @ 淡水休閒農場:

Highlight:Hang In The Air、LTK Commune、Unfamiliar Friends Party

Dream Gigs for 2012:

1. Yuck
2. The Vaccines
3. The Horrors

Steve Leggat ( boss-man)

Best Gigs of 2011:

Sunset Rollercoaster, Bowz Tiger, Sleaze, Macbeth, Touming Magazine, Wayne Is So Sad, Chthonic, Human Beings1. Tip Toe Topic + She Bang-a + The Okay Cars + Sunset Rollercoaster @ Revolver: One of those rare gigs when everything goes right and each band feeds off the energy of the previous one. Fantastic performances by The Okay Cars, She Bang-a and Sunset Rollercoaster, topped off by a sublime performance by Belgium 2-piece Tip Toe Topic.

2. Human Beings @ Underworld. Human Beings' EP release show was the dose of fucking great hardcore I've been craving since moving here.

3. Masquerader + Doodle + Forests + No Order + Low Brightness Period + Bowz Tiger + Sleaze + InhumanBand @ Pipe: So many great performances from a bunch of my favorite local bands with Bowz Tiger and Sleaze killing it! I feel sorry for those who missed out.

Dream Gig for 2012:
I'd love to see hardcore heavyweights Sick Of It All or Terror visit Taiwan.

Photos: Mugen Hoso by Steve Leggat, Go Chic by Dave Frazier, Sebadoh by Steve Leggat, Death Angel by Khanagraphy, Bowz Tiger by Steve Leggat

Floaty is an artist, musician, DJ, and writer. He claims music has saved his soul a bazillion times over. He's pretty bad at math, but in this case, it sounds about right.

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