LUCfest, one of the most significant Music Showcase events in Asia, is held in Tainan City, Taiwan. The event is named to bless music enthusiasts from around the world who gather in this country. Besides being a showcase for talented artists from Taiwan, it also provides a platform for amazing artists from various nations to fully display their skills. The event selects delegates or music industry professionals from around the world to meet with these artists, creating numerous possibilities in the music industry beyond our expectations.
It's safe to say that this event has launched many new artists into the global music scene, including Thailand’s own Phum Viphurit.
This year, The COSMOS team from Thailand was invited by Taiwan Beats to join LUCfest 2023 as a media representative from Thailand. Attending the event personally, we understood why Music Showcases are crucial for the music industry and especially important for Thai artists.
The delegates at the event are experienced professionals in their respective country's music industry. Many are national festival owners, booking agencies, or curators looking for interesting bands to play in different countries. Some own live houses or venues waiting for new artists to fill them with excitement, and others are music label representatives looking to sign the next big headliner.
During the event, there are daily opportunities for artists to meet these delegates. The rest is up to the artists' enthusiasm to seize these opportunities. There's a lot of potential here, and we encourage every Thai artist to experience it themselves.
In our view, Tainan is somewhat similar to Chiang Mai in Thailand. The city may seem quiet. But it's filled with art, creative shops, and good venues. Unlike our town, this city is well-supported by the government, like other cities in Taiwan. The concert venues used for the event are impressive, especially for Thais, as half of them are public spaces maintained by the government, including the Tainan Art Museum, Eternal Golden Castle, National Museum of Taiwan Literature Lecture Hall, and Wan Sha Performing Arts Center.
LUCfest also selects interesting venues to support local entrepreneurs, such as Chuang Mei Theater, Red Bird Night Club, B.B. Art, and Hó Thiann Performing Arts. These places not only host music-related events for Tainan residents but also introduce foreigners to the city.
As media, we had the freedom to explore the city in our own way. Stay tuned for The COSMOS's travel and music articles. If you visit Tainan next time, it's guaranteed to be fun.
Follow the excitement of LUCfest's three days in our COSMOS Voyage:
Day 0 (3 Nov)
On the first day in Tainan, LUCfest hosted a small welcome party for the newly arrived delegates, including city tours through various venues. The highlight was of the day was the center stage that brought together interesting Asian artists. In the first program called 'Focus Indonesia' featured Jevin Julian, an award-winning electronic artist, and Hindia, Baskara Putra's solo project, reflects his overflowing talent with fun pop and aggressive synthpop.
The second program, 'NewEchoes' from Thailand, sent LEPYUTIN and NUMCHA, impressing the delegates. (Read on for their full-stage show)The final program, 'LUCKY 7,' featured さらさ (Sarasa) from Japan, captivating everyone with her gentle yet sorrowful voice.
The evening included an official welcome party and a special showcase stage by Taiwanese artists to watch, like Wendy Wander, Iruka Porisu, Jerry Li, and 250, a famous Korean producer who did a DJ Set.
The first night was thrilling with amazing bands. After grabbing something to eat, we quickly returned to the hotel to rest for a packed Saturday schedule.
Day 1 (4 Nov)
On Saturday morning, we split into two writers to cover as much as possible, starting at Chuang Mei Theater, aiming for Kirinji, a headline Japanese artist. While waiting to enter the movie theater, we saw Taiwanese people bringing their young children to queue for artists they didn't know, I was so happy to see that the people in Taiwan were open to new things. The theater was packed from the start of the first band.
When everyone was seated in the hall, the first band on stage, Famous Japanese (JP), immediately started playing and brought fun to the audience. This traditional Japanese band, with a hint scent of world music, and mixed instruments from various countries, created an exciting and eye-catching performance. In addition to basic instruments like bass, synth, and drums, the band also included violin, Thai flute, saxophone, various percussion instruments, sitar, and even bongo. Their lively music, along with flamboyant costumes, enhanced the unique male and female vocal harmonies, making them an energizing opening act.
Their songs ranged from the playful track 'OSHAKASAMA' to 'ARAB’S KING', Taking the music styles of neighbors and blending them with the skill of changing rhythms. 'SUNTONKYO' showed their impressive musical talents with a variety of instruments.
Andr (TW), a young alternative R&B artist, has a captivating vocal range, blending English and Mandarin rap seamlessly. Her full band performance included solid drum and bass, synthesizers, and electronic beats, with songs like ‘i don't lose sleep anymore’, ‘Night Lotion’, ‘釋迦 Shakya’, and others. Some parts even featured funky guitar riffs, making the rock rhythms thrilling.
After a short break, Kirinji (JP) took the stage, surprisingly with only a guitar, without his band. Seeing this, we can be sure that he must have planned the show well. When started performing, His performance captivated everyone in the hall from the first chord, turning each song into a charming folk version with his warm voice and interesting guitar techniques. His timeless hit ‘時間がない’ was particularly impressive, along with new arrangements of ‘Rainy Runway’ and ‘Running’s High’, adding jazz elements and making them more lively.
As promised, LEPYUTIN (TH) returned to the Nanmei Village Community Center stage, shaking the audience from the first to the last song. Their set included easy-listening songs like ‘Lies and Shine’ and ‘Bora Bora’, as well as new album tracks in psychedelic rock, progressive, and jazz fusion styles, with saxophone lines that vibrated the stage. Songs like ‘The Second Son’, ‘Habitual Ceremony’, ‘Lep Zepplin’, ‘Hot Box’, and ‘Lost In Translation’ created a festive atmosphere, inviting the audience to join in the fun. The band even introduced a Thai dance step before ending with a fiery outro, cheered on by a Taiwanese crowd, likely friends of the Thai artist, shouting "Very fun!" in Thai.
We continued at Chuang Mei Theater with Lily Chou-Chou Lied (TW), a new wave of the Taiwanese music scene. The electronic trio’s awesome performance was completed with stage lasers which stood out the whole day. Their music, featuring a central drum kit with drum pads, snare, and kick drum, along with two synths and a bass, was particularly interesting. Their male and female vocal harmonies were both cool and impactful. Their live performance of ‘The Foreteller’ was impressive, balancing danceable rhythms with lively synthesizers. The dynamic of the song conveyed emotions while being fun. ‘As Usual’ hit us with sweet synths, powerful drum beats, and soft harmonies, followed by dance music that was irresistibly engaging."
Yokkorio (TW) brought their music from the album 'Moirai Kiss', released in August this year, to showcase their potential filled with a different atmosphere from the audio tracks. With only an acoustic guitar, they created a mesmerizing ambiance, especially during their Acoustic Session. From 'Dive into the blue', 'Now', to 'Lover', and even covering The Beatles' 'Let It Be', Yokkorio captivated the audience. Their special renditions of 'Wake Up Apart' and 'Feather' were particularly enchanting, blending sweet melodies with melancholic undertones.
Next, we move to さらさ (Sarasa) (JP) at the National Museum of Taiwan Literature Lecture Hall. Despite being alone and using backing tracks, Sarasa's performance, including the song ‘朝’, was powerful. Her guitar skills and the beautiful melody of ‘ネイルの島’ and her rendition of ‘Ondo’ in an R&B style were impressive.
MindBodySoul (TW), It's another highlight (in my heart) that we rushed to see. They are a stunning five-piece band incorporating elements of alternative rock, R&B, and psychedelic jazz. From the very first note, they captivated us with key tracks like "People in My Mind" and "I Don't Feel It," showcasing their distinctive guitar solos and powerful bassline drum grooves. In songs like "Don't You Know," there's a compelling interplay between a man and a woman, featuring a pleading keyboard and chorus, with a dynamic so smooth that it's hard to believe the track being played is only a demo version. However, they went through some arrangement shows and rehearsals. Tracks like "Yellow Funeral" and "偶然 (Cover)" have a soft, profound quality paired with an inviting feeling of release, so smooth that you don't want to miss a single note.
Cicada (TW), a quartet at the National Museum of Taiwan Literature Lecture Hall, closed the evening End the night with their neo-classical almost turning into some kind of post-rock. Their music, which included guitar, double bass, violin, and piano, was described as a narrative of nature, wind, and sunlight, creating an immersive experience for the audience.
The piano plays the main role in telling the story, adding various colors to the music room. The double bass and guitar create an atmosphere that carries us away with their music. The violin adds emotion to the peak of the song. They use different techniques like rubbing, plucking, or tapping to create a lively rhythm. In some songs, guitars or violins take turns leading the music, creating an enjoyable dynamic throughout the entire show.
If you can't imagine how beautiful this show was, listen to their latest album, "Seeking the Sources of Streams." I can't put my impression of this show into words, but I can say that after every song, everyone applauded for a very long time. Especially at the end of the show, the applause was so loud it seemed like it would never stop.
At the Red Bird night club, FTK (TW), a hardstyle-jungle music DJ welcomed us with a brief introduction. They usually have a big setup with flashing lights, but this time, they had to shorten it to 40 minutes per set. They were excited about how to capture the audience's hearts in this limited time. However, when they started the first half of the set I was impressed. The unique melody made my body move all the time. For people like us who aren't used to tight beats, it might be a little confusing. Hmm... when is the right time to stomp your feet? But after a while, it wasn't hard to catch the rhythm. The music included a wide variety, from traditional East Asian sounds to jungle breakbeats. It made us feel like the DJ aimed for a breakthrough with the audience.
Following FTK, 250 (KR) or Lee Ho-hyeong, known for producing hits for New Jeans and other K-pop groups, mixed Trot Music and PPONG-JAK with hip-hop beats, creating an energetic atmosphere. The nightclubs are packed in every corner. The entire set had simple but lively rhythms without any breaks. I have to admit that the transitions between songs were very good. On the dance floor, people were full of energy. Everywhere you looked, you saw people moving and grooving. It was considered a lively and humorous end to the first night with fast effects, similar to a carnival in our country.
The first day is done. We'll admit, we’re tired too, but happy and satisfied. Not just because we got the chance to see performances by many Taiwanese and foreign artists we've only written to, but also because of the Taiwanese people in the hall with us. They all listened carefully and focused on every artist's show. I think they might not even know the Thai or other foreign artists, but honestly, I envied seeing that so many of them still come to see so many bands' shows.
We're not sure how much Taiwanese people grasp the Music Showcase, but it's impressive to see the government supporting the music scene so much. They are prepared to offer chances for artists from neighboring countries too. I believe that in a few years, this place could become as renowned as SXSW. I hope Thai artists take the chance and make a mark here.
Regarding LUCfest Day 2, there are more exciting and interesting bands in the next article.