I’m sick of people saying music in Taiwan sucks. It’s just a flat-out uninformed assumption/decision.
Truth is, the music scene here is legit. Very legit. And it has a lot of layers– from bringing in top foreign acts (Radiohead, Tiesto, Snoop Dogg), to providing some of Asia’s biggest pop stars, down to local indie bands that’ll blow the roof off.
Sure, pop gets a lot of play. But isn’t that the case everywhere? Taiwan’s pop scene, for most foreigners, comes off pretty pukey-pink. A lot of Hello Kitty girls and Pokemon boy bands dominate the charts. But beneath that, and even within it, there is legitimate talent.
Now, maybe you don’t want to dive in as deep as I did. I started learning old C-Pop classics to help my Chinese, to help my KTV-scene really. Before I start telling you that Jolin actually has some good cuts, let’s just talk Megaport 2012.
I saw 18 bands in two days down in Kaohsiung’s Pier 2 art district. There were dozens more I didn’t see as I bounced around between the four stages. But take my word for it, I was fully rocked by most of the acts.
So, without sounding like a broken record (pun intended), make sure you check out some local acts. If you don’t know where to start, try GigGuide.tw, an English site with updated lists of shows happening all over Taiwan, including links to band pages and concert reviews.
P.S. If you ever get a chance to see The Telephones from Japan, do it– one of the best shows I have ever seen! (This video doesn’t even come close to capturing how nuts these guys are live…)