Girls with Guitars #6

08-02-14

This has to be my FAVOURITE theme event that we do and what a superb night of talent it was. Lots of girls on stage wielding guitars & showing their passion for music & fun! Thanks to the musicians, Backstage (esp Abe), Sam on visuals, Ewa on video and I save my biggest thanks to The Underground Team for their seamless hard work to make it all run like clockwork.
love Chris B xx


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Jules O’Brien (England 英國)

  1. In Between
  2. Chopsick
  3. Gold
  4. Bad One for a Friend
  5. He Does She Does
  6. Love Affair
  7. Paperwork
  8. You Won’t Be Down Forever

The night began with Jules O’Brien who, I can say without hyperbole, has among the best voices I’ve yet heard at the Underground. The natural richness of her voice and its mid-to-low range combines to create a smooth timbre that’s immensely pleasing to listen to, something like an Olivia Olson. An huge added bonus (to me) is that she uses none of the all-too-common annoying affectations that are such a plague among female singers; it’s just straight-out singing, that sounds good, and the lack of affectation adds a feeling of honesty and innocence that’s almost impossible to engineer. This is added to by lyrics, of which there are many, and which are said at a rapid pace yet gently. It’s as if she wanted to fill every second with as many words as possible, and this has the effect of giving the songs a bubbling texture, completely aside from everything else. This was particularly well-done on the 80’s acoustic-pop-like You Won’t Be…, or on Bad One for… which was more Latin-y in the vein of La Camisa Negra.
She backs this up with a distinctive guitar style; she occasionally employs fingerpicking, and also strums her chords so that each string can be individually heard, rather than the chord sounding like a more or less united element of music, much like solo folk singers tend to do, or the way the guitar sounds on RHCP’s Breaking the Girl. This, when combined with the way she sings her lyrics, gives a cascading texture to her songs, and the combination is very pleasing to listen to, although she may need to get a guitar that doesn’t keep going out of tune as hers did on the night. There are, of course the slower-sung songs, like the Leonard Cohen-esque Love Affair which sounds a lot like a song you’d hear playing at the back of a crucial moment in a serious film. While she plays to the strength of her voice by having her songs stay mid-range, but the downside of this is that the set drags on you a little towards the end; it would be an interesting addition to her set to have a couple of songs that are ‘up’ moments, and have her sing a little higher, just so that she could play with the dynamics of her show. In any case, it was a very easy-on-the-ears set, and a very good way to start the show.
— Shashwati Kala

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Once

  1. Note
  2. Paper Plant
  3. Forever
  4. Happy Together

4人樂隊Once的結他手均為女性,樂隊理念為發掘平凡生活中的美好。開首的Note建立了十分強烈的歌曲風格,開朗的旋律配合甜美聲線,日式搖滾富旋律性的結他獨奏搶耳度與Vocal不相伯仲。Paper Plant廷續愉快氛圍,充滿活力,結他以幾個主要和弦作中心,轉換不同拍子節奏營造變化,歌詞勵志,陽光活力,主音聲線特別在於即使只聽亦感受到濃厚的笑容,樂隊成員彈奏樂器時表現跳脫,形成了獨特氣氛。Forever一曲以普通話演唱,旋律依然動聽,結他豐富了歌曲的聲音,唯一略嫌不足的是主音咬字發音不夠清晰,影響聽眾的投入度。終曲Happy Together 充斥著大量結他riff, 聽覺上十分爽快,
雖然演唱時的穩定度仍有改進空間,但整體上能簡潔地完整表現出樂隊所追求的joy in everyday life,輕易牽動了現場氣氛和情緒。
– Becky Wong

Once were next up, and the second they took the stage it felt a bit like the 90s (and I know for a fact that I wasn’t the only one thinking this); the band looked like a cutesy girl punk rock band from that decade. They began with an intro that was, to put it simply, very Pearl Jam-y, which was even more 90s. However, the second they started their actual songs, I must confess to being a little disappointed that they weren’t that kind of band. They are a fairly standard-issue pop-rock band, but with more rock than is usual. However, I must also say that unlike many bands I’ve said this about, they’re not forgettable and their songs don’t all blend into one, and this made me truly happy to see. Part of it is their delivery; the band are having a lot of fun on stage and it’s infectious. However, this has been true of a lot of bands I’ve criticised before. I suppose, to boil it down, what probably made them stand out is the fact that their guitarist has a style that’s noticeable and fully realised. She plays a distorted, feedbacky guitar that has some of the soaring feeling of glam, the sweetness of pop and a choppy style that has hints of metal, which has hints of bands like The Breeders. Plus, their singer can actually sing, and that’s always good for a band. They play fast and fun songs, in general, and though they sometimes bleed into sounding like an Avril Lavigne song (case in point: Forever), they generally manage to stay away from that territory, and gave us all a fun set to listen to.
— Shashwati Kala

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Tango & Snatch

  1. PP City Girls
  2. Dingo Ate My Baby
  3. Oh Baby, Baby
  4. Outlaw Hearts
  5. Cocaine Train
  6. Sex Bomb
  7. Howling at the Moon
  8. Kazoo Song
  9. The Haunted
  10. Naked & Afraid
  11. When She Comes

Last up was Tango & Snatch, a band that moved to HK, ALL THE WAY FROM Cambodia. Okay, so it’s not that far, but still. Featuring a bassist and a drummer who are also in other various bands around town that I think are excellent, and a guitarist/singer who comes highly recommended from Mr. Arthur Urquiola himself, this band’s got some pedigree. However, that often is deceptive, as I’ve personally seen happen. Tango & Snatch aren’t, however, in that “deceptive” category; in fact, quite the opposite. They’re simple, as a band – it’s rock ‘n’ roll, with a guy named Billy. Okay, no, but there’s that classic yokel quality to it, with the thumping rhythm, the boogie-woogie-like contours and the immensely tempting singalong feel of the songs. The guitars, live, are very garage-rock, like if King Buzzo (Melvins) and Steve Turner (Mudhoney) were mushed into one person that worshipped Link Wray. In particular, there’s The Haunted, whose… well, haunting yet catchy feel are worthy of the Super Super Blues Band album.
The twisty, grimy, bluesy yet sweet guitar with hints of surf rock is great to listen to, although they do vary the tones significantly in their recordings. The bass and drums are clean and lively, and do their job immaculately. There’s a little bit of overlap with the Tigerbombers’ sound (and it’s not purely because they share a band member), because they do stray into slightly Meteors-esqe (as on Dingo Ate My Baby) territory sometimes, but for the most part they’ve eked out a totally different niche from a band that they could’ve ended up sounding like a copy of, so kudos to them for that. All that said, perhaps their biggest strength is that they have songs that you can sing along to, and it almost seems to be the very purpose of songs like Naked & Afraid, and this is a rare quality for bands here, and it only adds to the fun of watching them live. No matter the number of bands one could name-check while describing them, what matters most is that they have a slightly chaotic feel about them that’s terribly exciting to watch, and very enjoyable to listen to and even more so if you’re the type to dance along to stuff. A terrific set to have played for their Underground debut (and I hope they will play with us again), and a perfect closer to what was a great show.
— Shashwati Kala

Poster by Ananya Kala
Photos by Sunil Khiatani
海報由Ananya Kala。
由​Sunil Khiatani攝影。

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