Dr. Reniculous Lips & the Skallyunz defies description but gets it done
The first time Dr. Reniculous Lipz & the Skallyunz (白悟空) took to the stage at the 2010 ICRT Battle of the Bands, there were so many people up there that I thought two separate bands were setting up by mistake. However, as they started to perform, it was clear to me that the chaos I expected was not a part of this band's repertoire. The show was tight, the songs were catchy and the band, with all of its members together, made perfect harmonies--and perfect sense.
This is what I (and so many others) like about this band. It's possible for them to play shows with just three or four members, but it's also not uncommon for them to squeeze 10 people on stage for the big shows (which I admittedly enjoy the most). So, the fact that it's hard to say who does exactly what is just part of the band's overall charm--and it's also what makes it unique.
It all started with Sal--Dr. Lipz himself--about four years ago here in Taiwan. After a brief stint as a party MC at one of the biggest clubs in Taichung, the talented MC and beat boxer from London dropped the party and got serious about putting together a group of people who could jam the way he, and they, wanted. By fate he met the group's hype man, Gavin Poole, through a friend and they started going to different bars in and around Taiwan, performing to their backing tracks, which they would record on a CD.
Even then, their MO was anything goes; sometimes a DJ would join them; other times they would be accompanied by a bass player; and there were times when someone just has to press "play". Then, one night at 89K, a drummer named Arlan Bornwick asked if the group wanted to jam with a band, and they did, effectively setting the pace for how it would be for Dr. Reniculous Lipz & the Skallyunz: The band would play and Dr. Lipz would rap.
Today, the group is comprised of no less than nine or 10 musicians at any given time, and their music is as diverse and creative as ever. The group switches from hip hop to drum and bass, mixing old soul and funk with dub and break beats, and Dr. Lipz raps about anything and everything in English and Chinese. To say that there isn't an easy way to define their style is an understatement, so my advice is to make sure you check them out when they come to a live venue near you.
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