呼叫音樂節── 台灣獨立樂團香江吶喊

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2011 / 11月

文‧林奇伯 圖‧成灝志


9月中旬,19個頂尖的台灣樂團飛往香港,在首屆「呼叫音樂節」中演出,現場歌迷瘋狂尖叫的程度不輸墾丁的春天吶喊。

呼叫音樂節讓香港樂迷見識到台灣獨立樂團的多元風格與表演實力;台灣獨立音樂已從「地下」躍出,這種創新精神,正是台灣音樂繁華似錦的寫照。


9月16日清晨,桃園國際機場的出境大廳異常熱鬧,包括拷秋勤、董事長、草莓救星等19個台灣獨立樂團正準備一起前往香港,現場近200件的樂器行李一字排開,十分壯觀。

特別的是,如此大型活動的主辦單位並非知名唱片公司,而是兩位未滿30歲的台港音樂人韓立康、奧利佛。他們以初生之犢不畏虎的姿態,發揮獨立音樂的精神,用最精簡的人力成就壯舉;此舉也讓近年來大力推廣獨立音樂的新聞局驚豔,主動聯繫贊助,成就了這件美事。

獨立音樂人,跨海交流夢

韓立康是「椰子樂團」的吉他手,奧利佛則是香港樂團「飢餓藝術家」主唱,年初兩人組成「黑市音樂」公司,希望能搭起一個兩岸三地獨立音樂的交流平台;首件作品是發行一張集結台港30組樂團嶄新單曲的〈黑市音樂合輯2011〉。

「沒想到收歌時兩地樂團反應熱烈,把最新單曲都貢獻出來,我們決定更進一步赴港舉辦音樂節。」奧利佛說,香港雖是華人娛樂工業重鎮,但這個城市的土壤卻沒有滋養獨立音樂的深度,樂團人才只有兩條路可走,一是簽約給歐洲獨立廠牌,只做英語唱片,另外就只能邊工作邊做音樂,當作玩票。

台灣環境卻不一樣,不需要商業市場支持,一年一度的搖滾盛會如「春吶」、「野台」、「海洋」等,樂迷每每擠爆現場,凝聚力強,樂團的表演空間也逐步擴大,一幅搖滾盛世的景象,他們希望台灣這種獨立創作的精神也能引介到香港。

沒有太多奧援,5名工作人員幾乎在「不可能的任務」下完成樂團聯繫、場地租借與布置、媒體宣傳、行程安排等工作;香港知名歌手黃耀明、台灣樂團飛兒都特地前來觀賞,當地媒體也很捧場,都想親身感受台灣獨立音樂的現場魅力。

台式前衛搖滾,突破語言隔閡

這天周六,香港九龍灣國際展貿中心洋溢著興奮氣氛,「企鵝熊愛吃雞肉球」率先登場,一女三男的純音樂演奏組合,曲風帶點英式搖滾味道,由歌曲初段的冷靜到大力刷弦,如情緒的高低起伏,帶給聽眾一定的想像空間,原來樂團不一定要有主唱吶喊嘶吼,也能鋪陳出獨特的魅力。

隨後,後龐克曲風的「馬克白」、以KUSO歌詞聞名的「旺福」輪番上陣,1998年成立的旺福是台灣歷史悠久的樂團,玩的是快樂的復古搖滾,主唱小民的吉他演奏技巧純熟,全團很有活力和默契,他們唱得開心,聽眾也聽得快樂。

晚間,2009年勇奪「JPF Music Award」國際大獎的「拷秋勤」上台,結合嗩吶、鑼、鈸等傳統樂器,混雜國台客等多種語言的多元折衷主義曲風,這種結合傳統歌謠與前衛搖滾的敘事體系,更牽引著香港樂迷的情緒。台式搖滾經典團體「董事長」的登場,則讓氣氛引爆到最高點,四位團員以國劇臉譜般的野性視覺裝扮現身,尖叫聲響徹夜空。

樂迷之一的香港理工大學學生成灝志難掩興奮地說,「台灣樂團太有活力了。董事長和拷秋勤居然能用方言演唱出爆炸性的曲風,這在香港以英語為主的樂團文化裡幾乎是聞所未聞,簡直是伍佰的超級進化版。」雖然香港人普遍聽不懂台語和客語,卻完全沒有語言障礙,直接被強大的音樂性震撼。

第二天的節目編排改以輕鬆曲風,白天是帶著雀躍的迷幻電子搖滾,晚間定調為後龐克抒情,包括歌手黃玠的慵懶心情,「草莓救星」吉他手阿尼的每一根弦都撩撥著少女的心。

入圍今年金曲獎的「回聲樂團」則將節奏拉快,主唱吳柏蒼野性中帶著甜膩的嗓音讓台下尖叫不斷。突然,吳柏蒼表演了在樂曲高潮點直直往後倒下的「舞台特技」,更讓現場目瞪口呆。

晚上壓軸,現場瀰漫著渴慕心儀偶像的玫瑰色氣氛。創作女歌手魏如萱以甜美嗓音展現過人的肺活量,牽動全場的心,〈香格里拉〉、〈IF〉等歌曲都變成現場大合唱;激動處,她還平躺在舞台上高歌,樂迷嗨翻天,紛紛舉起相機,頓時相機閃亮的螢幕像是一支支螢光棒。

爾後,陳珊妮和陳建騏合組的「19」樂團登場;「19」是一個全新的音樂組合,由於陳建騏之前做了很多劇場音樂和廣告歌曲,都只有配樂、沒有主旋律,陳珊妮聽到後覺得很有發展性,開始寫詞寫曲、製作錄音,而有了這個樂團,「19」代表青春的意象。被歌迷暱稱為「暗黑公主」的陳珊妮,因其金曲獎最佳女歌手光環和選秀節目評審雙重身分的加持,在香港極具知名度,聽眾很是陶醉在她舒服的微電子曲風中。兩天的演唱會就在十幾分鐘的「安可」聲中,久久不散。

「點了一把火」

主辦人奧利佛認為,這場音樂節為香港「點了第一把火」,由於香港歌迷不是對19個樂團都熟悉,為避免歌迷只挑自己喜歡的樂團聆聽,呼叫音樂節在演出當天才公布出場順序。

這招果然效果奇佳,香港歌迷不熟悉的樂團,如馬克白、皇后皮箱、草莓救星等,反而迴響最為熱烈,帶到現場販售的幾十張專輯全部搶購一空;事後還不斷有樂迷在臉書上向主辦單位詢問購買方式。

香港獨立樂團「小美麗牌」前主唱蔡煥婷感慨地說,1980年代達明一派、Beyond也曾在香港引起獨立音樂風潮,但後繼無力,呼叫音樂節讓香港重新見識到樂團的風采,「大家私底下都發憤表示,要開始努力練團了。」

台灣音樂人陳建騏分析,呼叫音樂節的觀眾人數不夠多,是有待加強之處,但「音樂節」本來就需逐步累積聲譽,像春天吶喊、福隆海洋音樂祭等,都是經過多年經營才奠定現在的地位。

「香港樂迷習慣紅磡體育館的『大型秀』演出,呼叫音樂節若能讓他們發掘出內心深處對獨立精神的熱情和渴望,體會到音樂參與和創作的精神,才更可貴,」陳建騏說。

台灣和香港隔海遙望,距離不遠,音樂人卻對彼此間有一種混雜著驕傲和艷羨的矛盾心情,「呼叫」過後,香港是否也能發酵出全新的音樂養分,更令人期待。

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EN

Taiwan Calling 2011─ Taiwan Bands Rock Hong Kong

Eric Lin /photos courtesy of Vic Shing /tr. by Geoff Hegarty and Sophia Chen

In mid-September 2011, 19 of Taiwan's top rock bands flew to Hong Kong to perform in the first "Taiwan Calling" music festival. The fans loved it: Gauged by the amount of roaring and screaming, the enthusiasm generated was almost equivalent to that of Taiwan's Spring Scream Festival in Kending.

Hong Kong fans attending the festival witnessed not only the diversity and high degree of musicianship offered by Taiwanese bands, but also the blossoming of Taiwan's independent music scene. The spirit of dynamic innovation behind the festival is precisely what drives this part of Taiwan's music industry.


In the early morning hours of September 16, the departure hall at Taoyuan International Airport was jam-packed. Nineteen Taiwanese bands, including Kou Chou Ching, the Chairman, and We Save Strawberries, were taking the trip to Hong Kong with their nearly 200 pieces of equipment.

Surprisingly, this major musical event wasn't the result of planning from a major record company, but simply due to the enthusiasm of two young musicians (both under 30), Han Likang from Taiwan and Oliver from Hong Kong. With their entrepreneurial attitudes and passion for the spirit of independent music, they have achieved amazing results with limited manpower.

Independent musicians

Han Likang is guitarist with the Taiwanese band Coconuts, and Oliver is lead vocalist in the Hong Kong band The Hunger Artist. In early 2011, they set up a company called Black Market Music Production, hoping to create a platform to launch independent bands from Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China. The company's debut release, Black Music Compilations 2011, includes 30 bands from Taiwan and Hong Kong each contributing one song.

"I was amazed at the enthusiasm shown when I was collecting the latest material from participating bands, so we decided to go one step further and put on a music festival in Hong Kong," says Oliver. Although Hong Kong is known as the hub of the Chinese entertainment industry, its creative forces generally offer little support for independent bands. They really have only two choices: either get a contract with an independent European label and produce only English-language material, or remain amateurs and make music just for the fun of it.

The situation in Taiwan is different, however, because independent music doesn't need commercial support. Annual rock music events such as Spring Scream, the Formoz Festival and the Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival have all attracted huge audiences. And opportunities for bands to show their stuff are multiplying: the independent music scene is flourishing, a growth that those concerned hope can be extended into Hong Kong.

Avant-garde rock

On Saturday, Hong Kong's Kowloon Bay International Trade and Exhibition Center was the scene of great excitement. A music festival was getting underway. Penguin Bear Likes to Eat Chicken Ball, its members comprising a woman and three men, opened events with purely instrumental music with a taste of British rock. From the calm opening notes of a song to its more spirited final chords, the waves of the music carried the audience on a roller coaster of emotion, showing what can be achieved without a lead vocalist screaming his/her head off.

Penguin Bear were followed by the band Macbeth playing in a post-punk style, and then Won Fu, famous for its kuso (Japanese style of camp) lyrics. Won Fu was established in 1998 and is characterized by their jubilant style of retro rock. Lead vocalist and guitarist Xiao Min displayed great skill on his guitar, and the whole band collaborated brilliantly. Their vocals set the audience on fire.

At night came Kou Chou Ching, winners of the JPF Music Award 2009. The band uses traditional musical instruments such as the suona (a Chinese woodwind instrument), gongs and cymbals, and a hybrid of musical lyrics in Mandarin, Taiwanese and Hakka. The combination of traditional folk songs with avant-garde rock music created deep and heartfelt excitement. Later, Taiwanese-style classic rock band The Chairman pushed the atmosphere to a frenetic climax. The four members of the band appeared wearing the traditional facial makeup from Chinese opera, evoking an enormous reaction from the audience with screams rending the night air.

"Taiwanese bands are extremely animated and dynamic. The volatile dialect created by juxtaposing the styles of The Chairman and Kou Chou Ching was incredible, something almost unheard of in Hong Kong, where bands generally sing in English. It's like a super evolutionary version of the style created by [Taiwanese rock star] Wu Bai," enthused fan Vic Shing, a student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Although few Hong Kong people understand Taiwanese or Hakka, and many are not well versed even in standard Mandarin, they are not aware of any language barrier because they're attracted by the shocking and very powerful music.

The second day's program was organized in a more relaxing vein: the psychedelic feel of electronic rock during the day and post-punk lyric style at night. The latter included Dadado Huang's languid vocal style, and guitarist Arny from We Save Strawberries deeply touched every girl's heart with each silken chord.

The band Echo, nominees at Taiwan's Golden Melody Awards in 2011, then pushed the concert rhythm to a faster pace, with lead vocalist Wu Pochang's wild but sweet voice nurturing audience excitement. Suddenly, at the climax of his set, he performed an amazing "stage effect" bending straight backwards, leaving the audience stunned.

At the evening's finale, the arena was filled with anticipation as the audience were longing to meet their favorite idols. Singer/songwriter Waa Wei's sweet voice demonstrated her extraordinary vocal range and moved many of the audience to tears. Numbers such as Shangrila and If became audience participation events. At one special moment, she lay full-length on stage to sing, creating an emotional high for the evening. As the audience raised their cameras to take photos, the flashes from thousands of cameras lit the scene like hundreds of fluorescent sticks sparkling in the air.

Finally came a new musical duo, Sandee Chan and Chen Jianqi, calling themselves "19." The birth of the team derives from an interesting story. Chen made a lot of music for the theater and advertising jingles, but he wrote only instrumentals. When Sandee heard his music, she sensed an opportunity, and started to write lyrics and polish the songs, eventually producing their records. Sandee, nicknamed the "Dark Princess" by fans, a winner of the Golden Melody Award for best female singer, and a judge in a popular TV talent show, enjoys great fame in Hong Kong. The audience became intoxicated with her light electronic music style, bringing the two-day event to a close with lingering encores and applause for a good 10 minutes.

Igniting hope

Oliver believes that this festival has ignited a fire under Hong Kong's rock music scene. Because audiences in Hong Kong weren't familiar with all the 19 bands from Taiwan, the organizers released the schedule only on the day of the concert to prevent fans from only coming to see their favorite bands.

The strategy worked well. Bands such as Macbeth, QueenSuitcase and We Save Strawberries were new to Hong Kong, but got the most enthusiastic responses, with albums selling out at the event and fans later continuing to buy albums via the organizer's Facebook page.

Jay Choi, former lead vocalist with independent Hong Kong band Audrey Lily, says that in the 1980s bands such as Tat Ming Pair and Beyond created a wave of independent music in Hong Kong, but they lacked the firepower to keep the scene alive. So now Hong Kong fans have been able to re-experience the brilliance of independent music through the festival. "Everyone is saying that they're going to start practicing again."

Chen Jianqi admits that Taiwan Calling failed to attract as many people as hoped for. However, a new music festival needs time to build its reputation. The Spring Scream and the Ho-Hai-Yan festivals, for example, took many years to reach their current prominence.

"Hong Kong audiences are accustomed to watching mainstream rock concerts held in the Hong Kong Coliseum. If Taiwan Calling can help them explore their enthusiasm and desire for the spirit of independent music-making, and appreciate the spirit of participating in and creating music, it is valuable beyond words," says Chen.

Taiwan and Hong Kong are separated by only a short expanse of sea, but musicians from the two regions have mixed feelings of pride and envy towards each other. After Taiwan Calling, perhaps Hong Kong will be inspired to generate its own new breed of independent music makers. We look forward to seeing what happens.

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