Fourth up on the line-up at the New Wave Music Festival at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) Drunken Moon Lake was Heartones (新電樂). Despite listing more members and having heard they were much better with a full band, Heartones only took the stage with two members, with their keyboardist and drummer absent.
After a pretty long sound-check — there was a lot of nitpicking there, which is appreciated but so is getting the show on — Heartones started off their set. I’ll admit, I didn’t really “get” it. Everything sounded fine, really, but there really wasn’t anything unifying or memorable. Honestly, the lyrics were fine, but not catchy or witty. The music was a bit looser than what I’ve been hearing lately, but technically it was just fine — hell it better have been after the extended sound-check. I’m going to chalk the lack of real feeling to the pretty thin crowd (again, it was early) and the fact that only half the band was present. Then again, if I was in a band and wanted to make an impression — no matter how small the event — I’d be bringing the whole team, if you know what I mean.
The only thing that was really lackluster was the show itself. And by that I mean the stage presence, which was essentially non-existent. Yes, they were up on stage and performing, but that was about it. There was no action, no teasing the crowd. Hell, there was no interaction with the crowd really. This is one aspect where I’m seeing foreign acts really tear local bands a new one: touring bands usually understand that they need to get the crowd involved.
Overall, though, the music wasn’t bad. It wasn’t a great “show” but it was still decently entertaining; they weren’t exactly bad. They look and sound like they’ve got a lot of potential; hell I’ve been told as much by others. So, I’m going to hold off on final judgement until I get to hear them in a proper venue with a full band. But I seriously hope they bring their A-game for then.
Just like Sonic Deadhorse before them, it was a nice overcast day with nice even lighting everywhere for the Heartones set. Of course, the big table was gone for this set, which made it a lot easier to get nice and close and get decent shots from stage-center. Honestly, the biggest challenges photographically were trying to get shots with any kind of emotion out of the band. The bad thing about such nice lighting everywhere is that it basically means there’s no dynamic lighting or effects to really spice up a shot. So if the band isn’t bringing it, it’s totally not going to show; as is the case here.
Nikon D7000 (Amazon)
Nikon AF 24mm f/2.8D (Amazon)
Nikon AF 50mm f/1.4D (Amazon)
Nikon AF 80-200mm f/2.8D (Amazon)