In the first ever show of its kind to grace Sydney, Taiwan’s hip hop super group G.U.T.S performed at Olympic Park Sports Centre on Wednesday night.The question is, would this genre of music which has exploded in the Chinese speaking world take hold here in Australia?
The group G.U.T.S comprises Chinese hip hop legends MC HotDog, A-Yue (Chang Chen-Yue) and members of MJ116 (Kenzy, Muta and E-So). The group, formed in 2015, released the album Fly Out the following year and then announced the “Sunset Black Party World Tour” which included stops in Sydney and Melbourne.
Taking cues from hip hop acts from the US, G.U.T.S is backed by an eight piece band. The scale of production which went into G.U.T.S world tour would embarrass most hip hop acts from the western world (of course this is offset by the higher-than-average ticket prices). Playing to a predominantly Chinese audience, the Mandarin language group displayed swagger and an urban attitude that is expected of their super group status back in their homeland of Taiwan.
“We party like a Rapstar!” is befitting of the supergroup. Rapping about social issues and geographical identification like Taipei South follows the US tradition of identification of place.
With musical similarities to Limp Bizkit, a night with G.U.T.S is part rock show, part rap show, which deviates from the usual MC and rapper routine seen in many western hip hop acts – an outfit like Linkin Park being an exception to the rule.
The performance of G.U.T.S in Sydney was punctuated with solo performances from each of the five members. Highlights include MC HotDog’s 2006 track “Wake Up” with sampling from The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony”. MJ116 performed their 2014 hit “Jungle”. The trio showed why they are one of the hottest hip hop groups from Taiwan at present. Award winners from 2016 Golden Melody Awards, MJ116 is brash, cocky but maintains a sense of humour – their song “Pork Buns” shows they also have a cheeky and playful side. A-Yue performed his classic “Love Sickness” which brought cheers from the audience. More of a R&B artist than a hip hop artist, this 2007 song from A-Yue is one of his most well known songs judging by the sing-along from the 1500 strong audience.
The highlight of G.U.T.S is MC Hotdog’s stage presence. His close to 15 year career in Chinese hip hop in Taiwan has labelled him as a legend in the Taiwan music industry. Musicallly and lyrically he has touched into a new breed of Taiwanese music fan, with honest lyrics like his decision to enter the music industry “my life is fucked up” “show me your middle finger!” and the struggles of real life vs virtual like “Blue Screen Computer Die”.
The two hour plus concert with a thirty song set list finished up with all five performing members of G.U.T.S performing MC HotDog’s classic hit “I Like Taiwanese Girls”. It was announced during the concert that this will be their second last concert before disbanding. Melbourne will be their last concert together.
Sydney was treated to some of Taiwan’s best hip hop talent and we were honoured to see one of G.U.T.S last performances before disbanding. Let’s hope this G.U.T.S show will convince other promoters to bring out more diverse acts other than pop artists from the Chinese speaking world to Australia.
Photos courtesy of Etone Events and Kelvin Lai Vision.
This review of the G.U.T.S World Tour was held at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on 12th April 2017.