Mar 09 2011

Taiwan’s Bid to Enter Global Hipster Continuum

by David Frazier

Taiwan’s government, it seems, has taken a shine to indie rock. Starting tomorrow night in New York at the Lower East Side hipster den Fontana’s with a gig by the electro hippy chicks of Go Chic, ten Taiwanese bands will start criss-crossing North America before an ultimate convergence at a big Taiwan showcase at the Austin, Texas music festival South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 18. There will also be shows in New York and Toronto.

If you’ve never seen Taiwanese bands before, it’s probably because that 9,000-mile plane ticket is pretty hard to recoup gigging through the North American rock club circuit as an unknown. But this time the government is footing the bill for six of the bands, and four more are jumping on the bandwagon and making it a party. Somehow, I got attached to the tour as an embedded journalist, and if you want to see all the policy implications and how Taiwan will spend USD 61 million supporting local bands over the next five years, check my latest article in the Taipei Times.

Bands on tour include a chick-singer-freakout band (White Eyes), post-rock shoegazer stuff (Sugar Plum Ferry) and alt-piano-folk by a super talented frontwoman Chris Chen (Tizzy Bac). My pick of the litter is Go Chic, which just spent a month touring Spain and Germany at the invitation of Chicks on Speed and the singer Peaches, who let them crash at her apartment in Berlin. Catch them Thursday night at Fontana’s or take a look at their Facebook page for more tour dates in New York and SXSW.

Also check out the Taiwan Indie Showcase (New York) at the Studio at Webster Hall on Monday, March 14 with White Eyes and Fire EX. White Eyes is already pretty notorious within the indie rock scenes of Taiwan, China and Hong Kong for the outrageous stage shows of female lead singer Gao Xiao-gao, who showed up for one gig in Taipei wearing a skin-toned leotard painted to look like she really was buck naked. Music-wise, think Yeah Yeah Yeahs meet riot grrrl. Fire EX is one of Taiwan’s top punk bands, a crew that’s been playing together for ten years since they started out as 16-year-old high school classmates. Here’s some more info below:

Taiwan Indie Showcase (Toronto):

Taiwan Indie Showcase (New York):

Venue: The Studio, Webster Hall (http://www.websterhall.com/thestudio/new/)

Date: March 14 (Mon)

Bands: The White Eyes, Fire Ex.

Ticket Price: USD 10

Taiwan Indie Showcase (SXSW):


White Eyes:http://www.myspace.com/whiteeyeslovesyou

Fire EX: www.fireex.net

all other bands:http://www.sxswtaiwan.com/p/free-sampler.html

Opera Gallery
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
Massimo de Carlo