Underground 28

26-05-06

Thanks to all five bands that played tonight – this HAS to be one of my favourite Underground nights ever! Amazing original music and amazing AUDIENCE and amazing atmosphere! Thank you to all those who love live music as much as me!
love Chris B xx

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Homeless Alien
Newcomers Homeless Alien are an emo-pop band with obvious Radiohead ambitions, with perhaps a twist of Suede. Frontman Guy’s enthusiasm throughout their show was infectious and he obviously loves making music and being on stage. The band should use this earnestness to keep writing, rehearsing and performing as often as possible to boost their experience and confidence. Their vocals need particular attention, so with some hard work, Homeless Alien can reach their full potential. Their mid-tempo melodies, while still embryonic, have definite promise. Good effort, keep working at it, lads.
Brendan Delfino

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Matt Tanaka
Disclaimer: I know youngster Matt Tanaka and his dad Lance well, so I must declare a conflict of interest in reviewing the budding singer-songwriter’s show. However, I’ve never seen the multi-instrumentalist step up and sing his own songs before, add to the fact that his impromptu band of his dad on drums and a friend on bass appeared to be an 11th-hour addition to his performance, and for the better. While restricted to just three songs, Matt showed some promising musical maturity with each of his acoustic-pop tunes sporting a different groove, making it hard to pigeonhole his style. Not quirky enough to be Jason Mraz, and not soppy enough to sound like John Mayer, Matt appeared content to do his own thing, and his confidence and natural talent was obvious. Watch out for this kid as he’s bound to improve with age.
Brendan Delfino

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Monogel
I really liked Monogel. Their offbeat guitar riffs were intriguing and infectious, particularly in their song I am the One. And despite their lyrics being in Cantonese, I quickly found myself humming along to their catchy melodies and adroit harmonies. Damn, if only Canto-pop was this good! They had an obvious and confident presence from the start, despite a few hiccups along the way. Luckily the bassist did well to cover on the mic during their occasional technical problems with the drums, addressing the crowd in English and Cantonese. They also dedicated a song to late Canto-pop legend Leslie Cheung, which certainly excited their followers. If you like your pop-rock Cantonese, catch these guys live soon.
Brendan Delfino

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TheLoveSong
Singer-songwriter Ben Tse and his band the Lovesong have great presence, energy, intensity and some top tunes. Their set at U28 would have been very difficult to criticise had they not taken seemingly forever to set up and get ready to play. Even by the time Underground MC Yan introduced them, the boys still were not quite ready, leaving us in the impatient crowd to wait several more agonising minutes. But it was well worth the wait. The songs are loud, catchy and technically audacious at times, but the band pulled it off like a well-oiled machine. Playing with such intensity, it was no surprise each member was soon drenched in sweat. Fantastic indy-rock. Be sure to buy yourself their new CD at their next show.
Brendan Delfino

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Hardpack
Punksters Hardpack have become one of the most formidable live bands on Hong Kong’s live circuit. After a solid six months of gigging since their high-energy show at Rockit3, bandleader-drummer Kevin and the boys have hit their full stride in confidence and musicianship, and are surely at their peak, growing more adept in their songwriting and arranging, with many pieces offering fun changes in groove and intensity. They have become so ‘pro’ they even bring their own roadies to repair wayward cymbal stands and to collect their guitars after the show! Although most of their music is an obvious tip of the hat to American west-coast punk, like Rancid and NOFX, these boys proudly wear their influences on their sleeve and will never win awards for originality. However, who gives a shit when Hardpack obviously have a great time by giving the crowd a great time? A true home-grown favourite.
Brendan Delfino

A big hands up to the staff of Les Visages and especially to Rommel! You did great guys!

Above photos © Copyright 2006 by Willem Van Der Merwe
Poster by Sheli

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