Forming in 1968 with an iron-fisted communist party in control of the Czech Republic, The Plastic People of the Universe have seen their share of troubles dealing with a government intolerant of free speech and artistic expression. Influenced by American avant-garde rock artists like Frank Zappa and the Velvet Underground, the Czech art rock ensemble appeals to the youth of Taiwan's indie rock scene and their appearances on the island have been meant to drawn some parallels between the frustration felt in Taiwan's pro-independence movement and The Plastic People's own struggles with a communist regime.

The Plastic People of the Universe have visited Taiwan twice so far at the invitation of TRA Music to perform at the Spirit of Taiwan festival in 2007 and again in 2008. Organized by Freddy Lim of Chthonic and owner of TRA, Spirit of Taiwan is a largely pro-independence event that also commemorates the February 28th Incident. The group also played in Taipei at The Wall Live House and were the focus of a panel on human rights and communism held at the Xinyi Eslite Bookstore in Taipei. Among those in attendance were members of anti-political rock band LTK Commune, exiled Tienanmen protest leader Dan Wang and notable Democratic People's Party politicians. The talk meandered from the band's history to their involvement in the Velvet Revolution and comparisons to Taiwan's own music scene. Even though the DPP might have ironically taken this opportunity to cultivate an interest in artistic revolution among Taipei's student population, the presence of The Plastic People of the Universe on Taiwan is a welcome milestone for the island's music scene.

Live at Spirit of Taiwan 2007



Rock talks