【HEATWAVE】The Cosmos (TH) Reveals Their Profound Experience in LUCfest 2023 | Pt.2

Dec-23-2023

Moving on to the second day of LUCfest 2023 in Tainan, Taiwan, our goal is to elevate the musical scene in Asia and showcase that the region boasts music of equal caliber to Western and European counterparts. Despite our writer grappling with exhaustion on this day, a surge of relief enveloped him as he witnessed stellar performances from four Thai bands. Additionally, captivating acts from Taiwanese and other international artists added to the eclectic mix. Brace yourselves, as today promises a reading experience that will surely satisfy our hearts.

 


 5 November 2023

 

 

The Tainan Art Museum stage buzzed with anticipation from early morning as Numcha prepared to take the spotlight as the first performer. As the sweet synth notes resonated and she stepped onto the stage, an eruption of enthusiastic cheers filled the hall. Numcha delivered a dynamic performance, showcasing tracks from the new EP such as "Afterglow," "Power Blue," and “Floor." Accompanying Numcha was Yachu, a dancer with previous ties to the band Murky Ghost and a close Taiwanese friend of her, who executed a beautiful contemporary dance to the music.

 

The setlist expanded to include favorites from the full album "Scenario," treating the Taiwanese audience to beloved tunes like "Keep Cold" and "In My White Dress." The familiarity of these songs allowed many in the crowd to sing along with her. However, the pinnacle of the show unfolded when Oh Juhwan from ADOY was invited to join Numcha in a rendition of "Lemon" from ADOY's EP "us," creating an exceptionally impressive moment. This performance is undeniably a must-see.

 

 

Another standout act at the event is Home (JP), a trio hailing from Okinawa, Japan. The band creates a distinctive vibe through the collaborative efforts of its three members. Using drum loops to craft an energetic rhythm, the guitar gradually releases cool chords, complemented by the lead singer's powerful vocal performance. Their musical style carries traces of 70's alternative rock, featuring a captivating blend of cool singing, fuzzy guitar tones, and rhythmic intensity. There's an authentic charm to their sound, particularly evident in the enchanting track "Lucy," which captivated me upon first listen, solidifying my admiration for the band.

 

While their performance may not have been seamless, there's a raw authenticity in how they let things unfold. The band's ability to navigate transitions and discover the perfect drum beat is akin to tuning a radio until find the right frequency. Once they hit that sweet spot, they unleash their music, leaving no doubt that they possesses a distinctive and compelling musical essence.

 

 

Another band that immediately captured our attention upon their arrival at the event was Iruka Police (TW). Despite not understanding a single word of their lyrics, the fervent energy of their youth was effectively conveyed through their playful rock music. Their rock genre amalgamates musical elements from various genres, showcasing a talent that is equally intriguing as other bands present. One notable feature is the harmonious collaboration between the male and female lead singers, a common trend in Taiwanese bands that adds an interesting dynamic.

 

To acquaint yourself with their style, you must listen to "Best Friend," a track that gradually transitions from fun to exhilarating. Before you know it, you're swept away as the guitar intensifies, leading into a powerful solo section. The outro is a wild ride, refusing to let the energy subside. The entire band commits wholeheartedly, openly expressing their love and aspirations through the medium of music, leaving no room for reservation.

 

 

Adding to the intrigue of this lineup is FayeHong (TW), a band that defies easy categorization. Their music seems to tread the realm of post-rock, evident in the length of their songs and the weightiness of the musical arrangements. What captivated many was the commanding vocal prowess of the female lead singer, whose distinctive style sets her apart. The exploration of male and female harmonies adds another layer, conveying profound emotions. Incorporating elements reminiscent of dub, they skillfully use synthetic sounds and electronic elements, infusing an air of mystery into their music and pushing its boundaries. In our perspective, their performances are profoundly musical, taking their audience on a captivating sonic journey.

 

 

A must-see Thai artist for the Taiwanese crowd is Valentina Ploy, and this marked our first experience of her live performance. Ploy burst onto the stage with incredible energy, delivering a stellar show. Adding to the excitement, each backup performer joining her was a member of renowned bands that hold a special place in our hearts. Ploy's musical diversity added a delightful dimension to the overall experience. While the title of the first song with its lively tropical dance escapes my memory, Ploy's drumming skills quickly elevated the crowd into a frenzy.

 

Ploy's song choices, including the R&B-infused "Really Wanna Know Ya" with its upbeat rhythm and guitar, the irresistibly catchy "Love You Better" that accentuated Ploy's sultry vocals, and the vivacious "Bla Bli Blu," contributed to a highly enjoyable set.

 

What set Ploy apart was her ability to convey emotions through her songs, resonating deeply with the audience. Particularly impactful were "Drunk Sleeping in Taxis" and "I Miss My Friends," written with Phum Viphurit during a recent quarantine period. A noteworthy surprise was the appearance of Jason quicksand bed, who took on bass duties and vocals, providing a strangely comforting yet delightful twist to the performance.

 

 

PUZZLEMAN (TW), a burgeoning beatmaker artist, possesses the uncanny ability to transform nightclubs into vibrant spaces filled with illuminating, soulful grooves. Armed with one MIDI Control Pad setup and an electric guitar, he unleashes a myriad of surprises, seamlessly incorporating tricks such as picking up a shaker. With percussion instruments that craft intricate patterns throughout "Asalato Dance," PUZZLEMAN seamlessly blends Afrobeats and electronic pop with subtle guitar riffs.

 

The introduction of guest singer Dan Hsueh (薛詒丹) to the stage is a mesmerizing moment, as her deep voice harmonizes with drum beats and jazz-R&B melodies. Transitioning to playing theharmonica in the next song, PUZZLEMAN bids farewell with the heartwarming "Love Is The Answer," delivering a charming and endearing performance that elicits both laughter and smiles. The audience, continuously applauding and showing support, joins in singing the hook, "All... I want to say... Love is the answer." In a spontaneous burst of energy, PUZZLEMAN jumps and cheers, engaging with the crowd in a small but lively space. The limitations of the stage size prove to be inconsequential, as his performance exceeds expectations, delivering an unexpectedly delightful and entertaining show.

 

 

The afternoon sun in Taiwan doesn't deter us. Along the way, we decided to take a breather and briefly queued up to catch a glimpse of Queen Suitcase (TW). This musical ensemble boasts an intriguing blend of styles, fusing surf rock with soul and pop vocals, all underscored by a Motown vibe. Settling down to listen, we found it enjoyable to watch the visuals projected on the screen, creating a nostalgic atmosphere akin to the hippie era. Their setlist, featuring tracks like "Dust to Dust," "Keep on Running," and "Dear Friends," felt perfectly suited for the ambiance of Chuan Mei Theater—an old movie theater constructed in the 1950s and 1960s.

 

As the show neared its end, the band invited everyone from the hundreds of seats to stand up and join in for the friendly final song. It was a moment that encouraged camaraderie and marked a delightful conclusion to the performance.

 

 

Stepping into the spotlight, the youthful artist Wadfah and friends injected a burst of vibrant pop music into the atmosphere. Wadfah took center stage, strumming a guitar riff for the song "I'd Probably Die in My Bed." The catchy tunes of "Tue Due Due Tue Due," where “she's in the cage”, and "Come Around" had the audience singing along, charmed by her playful expressions.

 

Wadfah's performance exuded the infectious melodies of the 2000s, blending youthful energy with upbeat rhythms that bring a smile to your face. Whether delving into the tone and content of a romantic movie or delivering melodramatic pieces like "I Hate This City" and "If I Die," the dazzling sound effects and shimmering keyboard soundtrack added an extra layer of allure.

 

The set also featured secret alternative rock guitar lines, unreleased officially, presented with such skill that the room erupted in loud applause. Overall, their performance was not only enjoyable but also genuinely cute, leaving the audience immersed in the fun and charm of their music.

 

 

烏兔 WUTU (TW), a post-rock-ambient ensemble, captivated the audience on this stage with an ambiance akin to standing in a dark pine forest. Their performance, featuring "A House Of One's Own" from the album Lost Innocent Days, gradually unfolded, weaving a tapestry of love for stringed instruments. The female singer's humming and whispering sounds commenced, syncing with the rhythm of the drums, setting the stage for the impending magic that would unfold in the next few minutes. The music, with its mysterious and intriguing soundtrack, subtly infiltrated everyone's senses.

 

Moving into the next section, the set intensified over time, featuring tracks like "Forgiveness," "Long Night," and "Someone Is Dancing at Night." The performance began with the haunting introduction of an analog synthesizer and bassline, slowly building in intensity before reaching a powerful crescendo. The progression of their music was a journey, starting slow and gradually exploding with an undeniable force that left a lasting impact on the audience.

 

 

Two Pills After Meal, an electronic duo armed with just a keyboard and drums, delivered a remarkable show that was nothing short of captivating. The rhythm of their songs was not only fresh but also infused with intricate details in each beat, compelling the audience to dance uncontrollably. Enhancing the experience were colored lights and a flashing disco ball on the stage, creating a lively atmosphere. Introducing themselves with their latest single, "Moove," the duo set the tone for the performance, exclaiming, "It's time to move on...and move your body, It's time to move on...this is your party.”

 

Continuing with tracks from albums like "First Kit" and "SIDE EFFECT," including hits like "IDK," "Sugar," "Enter," "WEEKEND," and "Mars," Two Pills After Meal showcased their versatility. The combination of vocals and the creation of various parallel synthetic sounds, in sync with the rhythmic drumming, highlighted the synergy between the two instruments. Their return to LUCfest for the second time emphasized the timeless quality of their work, reigniting the crowd's enthusiasm.

 

 

Transitioning to Hao Ting Huang (TW), known for his role as the saxophonist in Sunset Rollercoaster and his solo project, he surprised the audience with a DJ set that defied expectations. His music ranged from 90's electronic with a hint of retro vibes to old-school beats that invited the audience to rap along. The addition of fun saxophone lines brought an entertaining twist, while the DJ showcased his skills by scratching the disc and dropping diverse beats. Integrating piano into the mix elevated the excitement, leaving the audience extremely thrilled.

 

 

Another headline act at the event featured the Folk Princess from Japan, Ichiko Aoba (JP), who had already graced the stage earlier in the day. This time, she returned adorned in a beautiful kimono, later revealed to be a dress her grandmother had lovingly made for her. During the sound check, as she played enchanting notes on an electric piano, a wave of happiness spread across the audience, and smiles instantly appeared on everyone's faces. Greeting the crowd, she responded to a small child's voice with a cheerful "Konnichiwa," eliciting laughter from the delighted audience. Her subsequent greetings and responses, transitioning from a small voice to high notes, were met with a round of applause before she settled in to create music loops without haste.

 

Ichiko Aoba mesmerized the audience from the first song. Her gentle yet luminous voice, blending seamlessly with the synthetic sounds, delivered a performance that surpassed expectations.

 

Whether she was playing folk songs with an acoustic guitar, as warmly as in the song "太陽さん," showcasing her fingerstyle skills in a playful manner, or displaying the beauty of the piano, each moment was captivating. However, the standout moment was her cover of “頼りない天使” by the legendary Japanese band Fishmans. The combination of her melancholic voice and the gentle strumming of her guitar immediately moved the audience to tears. As she returned for the encore, she swiftly played to express gratitude to the fans without uttering a word into the microphone, leaving the audience in contemplative admiration.

 

 

The final performance we caught at LUCfest featured the rock band Sorry Youth (TW), with their stage set in another area of Tainan. As we conversed with the Taiwan Beats team, we learned that the LUCfest event is strategically divided into Showcase and Commercial zones, with distinctstages and sponsor product booths. During the sound check, we witnessed the team's intense preparations before opening the space for the audience to eagerly gather in front of the stage.

Sorry Youth takes pride in their songwriting, specifically in Hokkien, aiming to preserve the local dialects of Taiwan. The band treated the audience to a diverse setlist, featuring the cool guitarlines and melodic vocals of songs like "⻣力走傱." The rocking guitar riffs of tunes like "出巡" and "歹勢中年" prompted the crowd to gently sway and sing along. A standout moment was when theband closed the show with "暗流" from the album "兄弟沒夢不應該 Brothers Shouldn't Live Without Dreams." This over 7-minute-long Post Rock-inspired song showcased a bold splash of sound and color. Transitioning to the final part of the show with "兄弟沒夢不應該," Weni (guitarist) delivered a heartbreaking guitar solo before Giang Giang (bassist, lead vocalist) and Chung-Han (drummer) joined forces in a harmonious vocal performance. The show concluded with the most exhilarating song, “你愛咱的無仝款."

Following the performance, we had the opportunity to interview the band, and you can catch their insights on the COSMOS eXplorer program on CD COSMOS' YouTube channel!