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A Search for "The Real Thing"
Original (Grass Roots) Music in Taipei

By Selena Huang Translated by Melanie Hou

     "The band generation is coming!" declared Ascent, the lead singer of Luan Tan. The prophecy, made two years ago, still rings in my ears even though big names haven't actually crossed the threshold yet. That doesn't matter, really. The important point is I sat up and took notice.
  I was ready and waiting, eager to experience "the Real Thing", live original music with its own unique blend of style and energy. If you're caught under that spell, or if you want to make your own waves, then Taiwan Fun has some tips for you! Read on.....

Live Music
       Do you want to feel the energy that only live performances can generate? Then don't miss Underworld (45, ShihDa Rd., B1, Taipei; Tel: 02-2369-0103). Famous names and newcomers play here for a musical surprise every week. The interior design is pretty standard which is okay. It's not over the top, so nothing gets in the way of the music. Zeitgeist (122, ZhongXiao [ChungHsiao] East Rd., section 2, B1, Taipei; Tel: 02-2394-3004) is larger with great acoustics, plus, there's no restriction on age. Inside Zeitgeist is the Bunny Record Shop, which sells independent and import labels. Riverside (2, Lane 244, Roosevelt Rd., section 3, B1; Taipei. Tel: 02-2368-7310) offers live rock and jazz. You'll find easy listening, unplugged bands and solo performers at Witch House (7, Lane 56, XinSheng [HsinSheng]South Rd., section 3, Taipei; Tel: 02-2362-5494) and Peshawar (3, Lane 80, ShihDa Rd., Taipei; Tel: 02-2362-2218).

Instruction, Instrument Sales, Studio Time
       Wanna make some waves? Let your creative juices flow and try writing or producing your own scores. Caves Music (1, JianKuo North Rd., section 2, Taipei; Tel: 02-2508-0066), APA Studio (127, HoPing East Rd., section 2, 2,3F, Taipei; Tel: 02-2704-3945), ATB (18, Lane 308, HoPing East Rd., section 3, Taipei; Tel: 02-8733-1100) and Jack Studio (107, XiNing [HsiNing] South Rd., 8F, Taipei; Tel: 02-2389-0188) offer instruments for sale, classes and fully equipped rooms for practice and recording sessions.

       There are plenty of live jams around the island, like the ever-popular "Spring Scream" which takes place on the beach in Kenting, or the "Ho Hai Yan Fu-Lung Music Festival" held at Gon Liau beach in north Taiwan every summer. "Formoz Festival", another annual event, attracts musicians from all over the world. "Say Yes To Taiwan", as the title suggests, carries a message with each musical performance; bands share their views on political tensions and cross-strait relations. And, last but not least, the long standing "Yamaha National Music Competition" has ushered many bands into the limelight as well as the industry's most respected instructors.

       The boss of a rock record store said recently, "Original recordings are infectious". If you're bored with the predictable "Top Ten Tune", then try something new...push the envelope. You'll discover sounds that make you think, tease your ears and open your heart.

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