Hailing from Taiwan, Manic Sheep are here having won last year’s Rookie A Go-Go with an awesome set. There’s a decent crowd in for this morning, not least from the sizeable Taiwanese contingent at this year’s Fuji Rock. The band finds their feet instantly, the drums settling into a groove as the guitars weave a tenuous silver web around the rhythm. Chris Lo’s sweet vocals enter for the first time but it’s Joy Chang’s bass that provides the focal part for the song before the guitars soar away.
The band has matured, even from last year’s Rookie set. In their sound there’s more influence from other genres, whether it be pop catchiness or even a rap passage, than last year’s combination of garage rock meets shoegaze. The stage presence of frontwoman Chris has grown as well, with her commanding the stage with confidence while the other members off little to no movement. Shoegaze is still the core of the band’s sound, with Howard Yang providing some spectacular moments and tones on guitar. The atmosphere of the songs is a strange mix of optimistic melancholy, one that makes you happy to be sad and sad to be happy at the same time.
The band’s songwriting is impressive as well. One song grows from a single voice floating alone among a wash of blooming guitar soundscape to the outbreak of an almost rap passage with the transition steered expertly by Shin Huang on drums. Other songs feature a truly ominous backdrop of guitar with dreamy voice that bursts into sound with a raw, singing guitar and calm vocals joining to duet with it. Their final song is ‘La La La’, a five-year song that they play since it has brought them to so many places including here. It’s a fitting way to end their set here. May the song or their new ones continue to take them to new and further places!
Text by Matthew Evans, Photo by Izumi Kumazawa
Posted on 2015.7.26 11:58