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Fire E.X

When Fire EX (also called 'fire extinguisher') formed in 2000, all four members were 16-year-old high school students enthralled with the sounds of Greenday and other acts of the punk-gone-mainstream variety. But they somehow managed to combine that raw guitar energy with local strains of Taiwanese rock, and by the time they were in college a mix of pure attitude and Taiwanese inspired melodies had carried them to the stages of Taiwan's two largest music festivals of the time, Spring Scream and the Formoz Festival, where they quickly found themselves as a regular act playing for crowds in the mid-hundreds. While most of Taiwan's indie music scene revolves around Taipei, Fire EX came out of Taiwan's second largest city of Kaohsiung, which is around 300 miles to the south and despite its 3 million population tends to be much more provincial. The language predominantly spoken there is Taiwanese, a Chinese dialect different spoken by most in Taiwan yet different from Taiwan's official national language of Mandarin (also the universal language of mainland China). Fire EX sings in both Taiwanese, Mandarin and a smattering of English, and they are known for easy melodies, many of which combine the shout-along choruses of pop punk (in early songs like 'Let's Go') with revved up, guitar-powered interpretations of Taiwanese folk songs, which tend to be lilting and lovesick country tunes in part derived from Japanese enka. Now, with band members approaching the ripe old age of 26, Fire EX has two full albums under its belt as well as a film soundtrack. The group has also gained considerable complexity in terms of both songwriting and musical arrangements, so while they still play the old rowdy crowd-pleasers, new material tends to be more psychologically edgy. In other words, the intensity is no longer simply about communal youthful abandon, now frontman Sam Yang even goes so far as to claim the influence of postrock, and though that may be going too far, certainly the energy seems much more generated from within.

My Artists Sessions

Friday, March 18

11:00pm CDT