Getting into the Sound
By Courtney Donovan Smith
Translated by Naomi Lai
429, HeNan Rd, Sec 2, B1-1
Hours: 2 pm-2 am Wed, Fri, Sat; 2 pm-10 pm Thu & Sun
Smoking section after 10 pm. English menu available.
No service charge.
Minimum charge NT$90.
Live original music struggles in Taiwan and, without some often truly heroic efforts, we'd hardly know the scene exists. Thankfully, the three Chang brothers--Yuki, Daniel and Min--and their Sound Live House are at the forefront of this struggle in Taichung.
The entrance hallway to this place is the Left Art Gallery, which showcases a different artist each month, and Sound Live House itself is actually two performance spaces. The first is a cozier area with sofas and a small stage, focusing on smaller acts, performance videos and guest speakers discussing art themes. During the day, people drop by here to pre-purchase tickets, read and drink tea while, at night, it becomes a pub. Although it will be undergoing renovations in June to upgrade the stage area and decor, this area will remain open.
The second room is a large performance space with a good stage setup, including an impressive sound system with huge amps, stage lighting and a smoke machine--all ensuring a good show. They even have a back-stage area, a rarity in Taiwan that is no doubt appreciated by bands.
The bands at Sound Live House are usually local, but the owners do cooperate with The Wall in Taipei to bring in international acts. In addition, Thursday nights feature new-ish bands. Pre-purchased tickets are discounted and prices range in price depending on the band, with international or more famous acts more expensive. But, on average, tickets are NT$250 in advance and NT$300 at the door. COMPASS paid a reasonable NT$150 to catch local act ("Hard Style Black Tea") performing.
Sound Live House is dedicated to what they do. Yuki frequently goes overseas to learn from clubs in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. Besides the good live music, drink prices are almost insanely reasonable. For NT$300, it's all-you-can drink cocktails. For a small beer or shots of tequila, vodka or whiskey, the price is a mere NT$50. For hard-drinking COMPASS readers (like this writer), please be nice and skip the all-you-can drink option, as these men are doing their best for the live music scene and local artists. Instead, please be responsible and choose the very reasonable NT$50 drinks instead. Food will also be available starting in July.
Sound is conveniently located across the street from McDonald's, just off the corner of QingHai Road, Section 3 and HeNan Road, Section 2.