Underground 80

16-05-09

Thank you so much to another four outstanding bands who played on this exciting Saturday night! Great performances with great crowd. Its always lovely to see a packed audience who desires more for orginal music! Thanks so much to cruftworld for travelling down from Shenzhen. Again thanks to California, JD the amazing soundman and all the staff, for all their help!

love Chris B xxU80005.jpg

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Transnoodle

It’s a very strange thing to have a veteran band start an evening. Transnoodle is an Underground veteran. This is the sixth time they play Underground, and also for the fact that they have co-headlined with overseas bands, they should headline a show like today’s. But they kicked start the exciting evening, which turned out to be exciting non-stop to the end, you’ll see. If you’ve been to California, the first question that should came to mind would be how the hell could all the members of Transnoodle fit on that tiny stage. Not surprisingly, they couldn’t, so keyboardist Matt Steele and singer Josh O’Connor were on the dance floor, and quick frankly, for music of Transnoodle’s, the dance floor should have been packed with dancing folks, but that did not happen. So Josh was roaming the dance floor while singing energetically. I know I should explain what kind of music they play, but I suppose there’s been so many reviews, and Transnoodle does not disappoint, so it’s alright. My mate Eric told me to forget about writing the review, just soak up the music. I promptly did, put the notebook back into the pocket, and could only share with you that, it was rowdy, fun, danceable, easy on the eyes (the female trumpet player Sarah Liegeois, not the singer Josh) and very European (the songs). If you like the details, the other reviewers would have already done them justice. I love to jump up and down to great music, thank you very much. By the way, are you one of those download crazy guys? You are? Head over to http://mp3.com.hk/transnoodle/ More than enough for those of you who love that right-click-save-as-target function.

Bun Ng

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The Sleeves

The Sleeves is a five-piece band with the signature of Iggy Pop/Stooges written all over them. They said it themselves on their own myspace. But it’s true, from the muscle tone, the guitar fuzz to the simplicity of their tunes, it’s obvious they love this sound, which is very Stooges-feel. Nonetheless, it’s all a matter of delivery. Frontman Turkish was a dripping piece of energetic hard rod with the voice of a rock and roll hero, he moved around, dance with their fans, and took off his shirt “as a tribute to Iggy Pop”. One interesting fact about the evening is every band brought a huge pile of fans. With The Sleeves, we had fans wearing home-made band T’s, and cheering on for every song, which clearly gave each band more feedback to drive them harder. Nice. Guitarist Special K wore a white dress and a Thai ethnic headwear, which apparently he wore before in other gigs. He went on to sing a rather poppy tune about love. The Sleeves prepared a long set that first ended with the very lovable “Sex Museum” with the typical Stooges simple chords, and gave back to the crowd with an encore called “Sex & Violence” when Turkish got the whole house chanting sex (women) and violence (men) to his signal. This is rock and roll plus entertainment at its best.

Bun Ng

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Uranus

Uranus has another following. Now I must point out The Sleeves didn’t leave U80 with their fans, some of the members stuck around and danced to the other bands, I assume that meant some of their fans/friends stuck around, too. But clearly, fans were all very respectful. At the arrival of each band, the front of the stage would be given way to new faces. And packed it would be. The respective fans would be cheering on, and interacting with their favourite band. Back to business — Uranus; a friend and I determined that the name was a joke “your …”. And they were also fronted by a sexy man as with all the other bands that night (yes, that included you, too, Josh). William Pfeiffer, the vocalist, has the good look of a mature rock star, and he packed a determined kick that reminded us of The Who’s Roger Daltrey. In fact, the music style itself was relatively retro in the 70’s and 80’s region. They were not afraid to admit that they would incorporate some (note: some, not one) cover tunes to play with the audience’s good old memory. My pal next to me was astonished by the shear quantity of guitars put on an indie stage. There were a total of five! Clearly, these are serious music loving rockers. They moved you with something that sound familiar (they own tune as well as cover tunes), Pfeiffer impressed you with familiar kicks and the rock stance, obvious his own tribute, and by the end of the set, the drummer was playing bass, the guitarist was playing drums, and they’ve used all five guitars! Music must be the most enjoyable thing for them, and it’s infectious! Bravo.

Bun Ng

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Partyolk

I must admit they first time I saw them may be two or three years ago they were probably still young, less impressive.

A Partyolk review could be relatively long. The first interesting fact of the evening was that Partyolk was actually the only Chinese band, the other four acts being all gweilos. Let’s start. First, at seven members, the small stage at California was not going to allow them all squeezed in, so the DJ was standard completely outside the stage, while bass player and singer jumped in the dance hall. Second, they were able to merge as much music style together as they liked. However, mostly, they were hardcore DJ rap alternative rock. I think that’s enough … did I leave out something? And then of course, as a hardcore band, they were not going to let you have the free time of not getting hyped up. The band rapped well, jumped well, grooved well, axed well, and scratched well. What more could you ask for? But I did compare earlier on, didn’t I? It probably was not easy to put all these elements together in a convincing manner, and so I had a less than burning sensation when I first saw them. Time sure does its job and now I have not a doubt Partyolk is practically uniquely Hong Kong, like the third song which is actually a half-Canto-pop half hard rock with scratching. It’s nothing you should just judge by words in a review. I don’t think I was alone in this, I saw Ferdie, drummer of Audiotraffic dancing in the crowd. Did I just name drop? Well, the other bands got a name dropped somewhere, too.

Bun Ng

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cruftworld (Shenzhen 深圳)

cruftworld. was an appropriate end to the show. It was interactive electro music and should cater to an audience that loved to just stick around and dance or even jam with cruftworld. cruftworld. was a one-man performance; his songs were short dj pieces either being a electro-pop composition or a recorded song, which he sang over. It seemed he didn’t mind using any musical source as long as he could make a tune of interest. He did his homework, and found out there are currently only 4 other electro bands in Hong Kong, so cruftworld. is a self-proclaimed top-5 electro band. At that late hour, some of the weaklings had gone home, so the tough ones among the crowd were being challenged by cruftworld.’s energetic pieces like “Why I Am A Very Bad Rapper”, which got the crowd to all went “shit”. A nifty tune, really. He’s got druggy songs, he’s got drunken songs, and even got a mandarin song that was like a puzzle for the Chinese audience. Needless to say, cruftworld. earned an encore, and the crowd wouldn’t let him go. That was when I realized that could last all night, may be I am weak, in the end. Keep going, cruftworld. …

Bun Ng

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Above photos © Copyright 2009 by Angus Leung
Poster by Wain

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