Thanks so much to everyone for dressing up. We all agreed Shower Man deserved to win a prize & Foxy Brown too lol Amazing photos by Angus – thank you! Thanks to Club Cixi, Asahi, The Underground crew for making the night so intoxicatingly special. Now over to our guest reviewer Raymond…
love Chris B x
There was enough going on in this Halloween Underground show to convince me that the Hong Kong indie scene isn’t just indie-cantopop and Britrock tribute bands.
It was the night of Halloween and fear stalked the land but the fans of indie rock were not afraid because their god was righteous and he had some kickass tunes.
We were gathered in Club Cixi to throw a few cantopop albums on the fire and celebrate the joys of original and,(as the night wore on), very loud rock music.
Albino kicked off the Halloween show in a pleasingly noisy garage punk kind of way before launching into the more melodic ‘Read My Book’ their current single(available to download at the band’s site),quite catchy with its upbeat mood and dual lead guitars creating a platform for Albert’s shouty but melodic vocals .The highlight for me was ‘Never Together’,a Suede-like Britpop song with its classic rock themes of yearning and isolation.The vocals could have been stronger but I really wish this band’s set had been longer and I really liked the big, driving guitar sound.
OnelastFall like a mix of sounds and styles , their myspace page describes their music as’ like all your favourite bands in one ‘and that might make it difficult for first time listeners to get their sound ,the female singer’s sultry vocals mutating from smooth nusoul through indiepop to punkish yelp ,overlaid by fuzzy guitars,crashing drums and bass.The band’s influences seem to be hardcore and rock like Incubus,Queens of The Stone Age. The sound is by turns confusing ,beguiling and passionate in equal measure. At the moment it looks like the band are in transition so it will be interesting to see how they develop.
Tai Tai Alibi
Tai Tai Alibi won’t scare you unless you have a phobia about well crafted rock wearing it’s grunge influences well. The band play uptempo rock and kicked off their set with two of their best known songs from the Underground compilation CD, ‘Cycle’ and ‘Autocrat’. Things are going well for this band with a debut EP and a spot as support act for the legendary Manic Street Preachers when they play HK this month.
Tim’s voice is well suited to the self- penned material about 21st century urban living. Standout songs were ‘A Little More Empty’ and ‘A Million Miles Away.’
The band had the longest set of the night by popular demand of their many fans in the crowd.
The David Bowie Knives
The David Bowie Knives may not be the best band in Hong Kong but they claim to be the sexiest with their heavy britrockish sound reminiscent of classic bands like The Happy Mondays and Oasis. Ok,this was a fun set from a band who like to entertain with some obvious influences from Britrock. On vocals Shaun has a snarly, Liam Gallagher type voice that suits the material well and is backed by a strong rhythm section. The band really entered into the Halloween party spirit with their crazy costumes and a surreal appearance onstage by a guy in a shower playing with his loofah! The band played hard rock that’s perfect for this type of gig with standout versions of ‘Gastropod’ and ‘You Want Me, Don’t You?’
At the end of their set was a Halloween costume contest with lots of crazy outfits on stage worn by Tiger Lily, George Harrison, Mother Goose and lots more but first prizes went to the guy with the most surreal getup ‘Man in a Shower’ and the incredibly cute Foxy Brown.
Yes, there’s more to life than jangly indie bands and songs about love and alienation, there’s also headbanging and no Halloween show would be complete without some metal.
First of the young pretenders into the metal arena were Reverie, not a misty-eyed, ambient postrock outfit as their name suggests but a full blooded, hardcore metal band . Virtuoso fuzzy, distorted guitar riffs, frenzied ,larynx-shredding vocals, pounding basslines, crashing drums and 100% energy made this band one of the best on the night. The band is Toki (vocals), Kizui and Hebi (guitars), Kira (bass) and Gaede(drums). Adrenaline levels soared as they blasted through their set, powered by vocalist Toki’s primal yell, metal-flag waving guitar and a kick- the- shit- out- of- everything rhythm section. Riotous ecstasy for metal fans.
Misery strode to the stage like epic guitar-wielding heroes .The songs have a melodic nu-metal feel and a compelling, powerful sound even for those who are not metal fans, with echoes of classic bands like Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Korn. Lead singer Asuka has an expressive vocal range and the songs have lots of pace and power. Lead guitarist Aikiho and bassist Taki blasted out some classic metal riffs and the band’s layered intricate sound had something Gothic about it, making it more accesssible to a nonmetal audience with songs like ‘Laura’, ‘Foolish’ and ‘Monster’. A moody, riotous sound. The band is Asuka(vocals), Hode and Aikiho (guitars), Taki (bass) and Vern (drums). Good to see that this band is getting more exposure on the Hong Kong scene.
‘Kiss Death as you would touch your own body’.(From ‘Suicide’ by Vrank)
Heaviest band of the night were Vrank with an onslaught of sound, jerky rhythms, frenetic drumming, power chords. Dark, menacing and the perfect antidote to syrupy cantopop or sickly indie pop. This was hardcore post- punk metal with stabbing guitars, gut-wrenching bass and impenetrable lyrics with simple but monstrous riffs. The sound is chaotic and confusing but also hypnotic, compelling and a million miles from the commercialised sounds that most would associate with metal. It’s really more a dark, evocative Gothic sound with songs like ‘Moonstone’ and ‘Dark Princess’ and heavy Industrial on ‘Toxic’ and ‘Ripped’, one of the set’s highlights. The band are Vrank (vocals), Phantom (guitar,vocals), and Sheung (bass) and you can check them out at myspace.
One thing more.If only fans of other indie genres could generate as much excitement among their fans as metal bands do. Thanks to Underground and all the bands for a wild and crazy Halloween!
photos © Copyright 2008 by ANGUS LEUNG
poster by Sheli