I walked through the open doors of The Venue last night at 8.30 for the first Underground of 2005. Apparently Joe Bananas said the U was not quite their image (they are right there) and thus declined the U’s kind offer for the New Year. In stepped, rather eagerly, the Venue, and all present were looking forward to a rather fun night. First on were Lamma’s answer to A Flock of Seagulls, namely FANTASTIC DAY.I saw them at last year’s Rockit festival and thought them cool. Their haircuts were not so poncey this time. To be more accurate, I think they are aiming for more of a Pulp/Talk Talk type sound, which when it works sounds very nice. The sound was excellent, as it was all night, and each number received warm applause. Their band name comes from an old Haircut 100 number and you can hear their influence too. A good start to the night. For more info on the band check out the Blog website (and see their video).
A short (very short…too short?) interval and ALBINO hit the stage. I don’t want to be unkind, but I think the nerves did get to them. Singing in Cantonese is not a problem at the Underground, but the promised Brit-pop sadly metamorphosed into one loud noise (I sound like my Dad). The lead singer/guitarist undoubtedly has charisma however, and I look forward to seeing them again on another day. Mind you, others seemed to like them so perhaps I know nothing. For more info, see Albino’s website.
A longer interval of 30 minutes and The Flowers of Babylon were welcomed on stage by a healthy crowd for their second appearance at the U. I must say I find the FOB’s (as they like to call themselves) to bring a breath of fresh air to the HK music scene. They may not be the most technically gifted band in HK, but by God they are the most original. This can be seen from the song lyrics, their unpretentious yet commercial sound, and, of course, those videos. It’s not brain surgery…shooting a few home-made vids on a handycam and projecting them on a screen can be done by all. Yet so far as I know no-one else does it. It is supremely entertaining. The videos are often hilarious (the best being likely Kill Tom Cruise) and yet so technically cool too the media savants drooled over them. Mike Peart’s songs are however so cleverly written that they stand up for themselves even without the videos. I Love Jennifer Aniston, a new song, went down very well, as did Patriot, Native American, and Pervert in Disguise The rhythm was solid throughout, and Chris Bowers provided some scintillating guitar sounds and eye-candy (keyboard player Shirley being missing). Bass and drums were spot on, and the band were tight, catchy and frankly wonderful. Pity they are playing in HK where they will be struggle to be discovered. They play every 3 months or so. Try and catch them next time. A FOB’s website will be up and running soon, watch this space. I can certainly say that the first Underground at the Venue was a success…with word of mouth and advertising, it is hoped that the Underground at The Venue will grow into a huge success. Remember, The U is a non-profit making organisation and all monies go towards the provision of better facilities etc for HK bands. Support the U next month!
© Copyright 2005 Photos by Chris B