By Daniel Warren Hill
Heavenly One, do you hear us? / We are shouting with all the voices we’ve got / Heavenly One, do you see us? / We are fighting with all our might / Searching high and low, we seek Thee / If only to hear thou sweet singing
Alternative Rock band Sorry Youth opened the Taiwan Beats Showcase at SXSW Online 2022 with something of a prayer. One of six artists performing showcases at various cultural locations, Sorry Youth is a four-piece band whose lyrics exemplify the history and beauty of Taiwanese culture with a modern rock sound. Sorry Youth’s performance at Wufeng Lin Family Mansion and Garden is as majestic as the contents of the band’s music; comparing the beauty and strength found in nature to the Taiwanese people.
Sorry Youth, along with Elephant Gym, Olivia Tsao, Mong Tong, Sleeping Brain, and DJ QuestionMark seek to highlight a different aspect of Taiwan’s diverse cultural scene through an exploration of genres as much as locations. DJ QuestionMark performs dynamic beats and electrifying flute while on an Electric Flower Car and is seen being driven around the city on this staple of Taiwanese religious and folk culture rigged with neon lighting which acted as a mobile stage. Singer-songwriter and Golden Melody winner Olivia Tsao offers a captivating performance at Chuan Mei Theater in her hometown of Tainan; famous for its hand-painted posters promoting the theater’s current showings. Tsao’s follows an uptempo song rooted in Funk and Jazz with a softer sadder containing more Soul / R&B vibes.
Mysterious psychedelic folk electronic duo Mong Tong perform in the equally mysterious Taipei underground club Pawnshop, where photography is generally not allowed. Viewers are treated to the secret interior of Pawnshop while Mong Tong performs a trippy, groove-filled combination of tracks, “A Nambra” and “Minyo Pop.” Indie Electronic rock band, “leeping Brain brings the mood down to a more reflective and ambient state with their performance in The Venue at WET BASE, located in the Tiaotong business district. Collaborating with VJ Ludol777, the space is transformed into an ambient light-filled art installation reflecting the band’s darker tones.
Instrumental trio Elephant Gym closes the Taiwan Beats Showcase from Kaohsiung Harbor where Megaport, Taiwan’s largest music festival, has been held for decades. Still a bustling industrial area, the location has also become an iconic music scene producing a number of impressive venues, including the Kaohsiung Music Center. Elephant Gym highlights a trio of virtuoso performers: Tell Chang (guitar), Chia-Chin Tu (drums), and KT Chang (bass guitar).
The Taiwan Beats Showcase at SXSW celebrates the natural beauty, stunning architecture, and rugged industrial environments of the performances spaces as equally as it celebrates the diverse music and cultural contributions of the members of Sorry Youth, DJ QuestionMark, Olivia Tsao, Mong Tong, Sleeping Brain, and Elephant Gym. It truly creates a comprehensive and unique audiovisual journey for an international audience, encouraging and inviting listeners to explore even further into Taiwan’s diverse creative landscape.
This and more great music can be found on the Alchemical Records YouTube Playlist. Watch the full showcase below, and find out more about Taiwan Beats Showcase on their website, and, for a limited time, you can find the music available on Soundcloud.
Daniel Warren Hill is an American musician, writer, and motivational speaker. He is best known as the frontman for Washington DC area Alternative Rock band YellowTieGuy, as co-founder of Capitol Groove Collective, and increasing the exposure of artists on a global scale through his work with Alchemical Records.
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