Up and raving to go for the second night of the Golden Melody Festival, I was introduced to a few handbanging and earth-loving acts which completely blew my mind, and for the most part, gave me a greater insight into the unique and beautiful way Aboriginal Taiwanese perceive the world around them.
Golden Melody Award-winning band Monkey Pilot were the first to take to the stage, producing a performance that was as electrifying as it was eardrum-splitting. Their third song “Wa Li Ah” especially caught my attention for it’s sunny yet memorable rock feel to it. I found this ‘rock and nature’ theme weaving itself through the rest of their set, appearing in songs such as “Summer Day” and “Sun”; challenging the traditional notion of Rock as something that is heavy-hearted, replacing it with messages of nature, relaxation and positive energy. Songs such as “The Doers” leaned more towards the traditional rock genre except with a rap element, getting the audiences on a natural high with wailing guitar solos that paid homage to Rock in its purest form.
Second up was the uniquely talented Chalaw Baliwali who took his Aboriginal heritage a step further, collaborating with Madagascan and Spanish band members to create an eclectic, folksy sound. Many of the songs such as “Girlfriend” and “Don’t Force It” interestingly enough leaned towards a Spanish/Latin influence; illustrating the hidden layers of meaning and perspective of the Taiwanese Aboriginal community. Relaxed and easygoing, Chalaw’s stage demeanor was demure; but his passion truly exposed itself through his musical performances. A favourite of mine was his duet with bandmate Kilema on a song “Mena” which was like a shot of green juice in the arm; creating an atmosphere of peace and warmth as the audience sang along together with the tight-knit trio.
Third up were Japanese pop-rock band Passepied who didn’t let language barriers get in the way of showing the audience a good time. Vocalist Natsuki’s anime like vocals were far from the norm ; shrill yet adorable as they sang and rocked their way through a seven-song set, including songs such as “Chinatown”, “Meditation” and “MATATABISTEP”. Their unique sound and Natsuki’s interesting dance moves and hand symbols rendered the band to me almost like Sailor Moon; mystical and magical but with a passion that is oh-so-relatable.
Last, but not least was MATZKA and his amazing band, who re-energised the audience with his Reggae grooves to no end. Infusing many tracks with a Jamaican feel, his throaty, booming vocals and heavy-hitting rhythms had the room up on their feet dancing in no time. One of the highlights of his performance was his song “Ah Yi” which was about his people and his culture, expressing his sadness about the world around him. Although the beat was grooving, his sadness as he sung was almost tangible in a weary, yet ‘the show must go on’ way. Another song of his, “UAU” which was originally sang with songstress A-Lin caught my attention as the jokester pretended to welcome her onto stage before instead launching into a solo version of the song. With an unmatchable flow and a complicated yet catchy rhythm, the song perfectly encompasses the feeling of a breeze passing over ones’ skin when A-Lin sings the hook, before being grounded by MATZKA’s grounded entrance. My only gripe was that I wished A-Lin could have been there for real! He and his band absolutely brought the house down, and I was truly lucky to have seen it.
After yet another awesome night, I’m looking forward to the last and final showcase tomorrow. EDM and Hip Hop, come at me!
Photos courtesy of Golden Melody Festival 2016.