What a memorable night this was! We were so lucky to have four great Hong Kong bands participate at this debut Jäger sponsored show. The Jäger girls certainly spiced up the evening and I know everyone would have gone home with either a ring or a clip as a keepsake from this show. Have to give huge thanks to Jägermeister for their support and freedom to create a fantastic live music event. The audience was awesome, cheering and dancing to all the bands. It was a night to remember. Thanks always to Backstage live & its wonderful staff. Thanks always to the Underground team and its growing army of interns. 真係難忘嘅一晚！我哋好幸運有四隊好好嘅香港樂隊參與呢個首次嘅 Jäger 贊助表演。除咗有 Jäger girl 為呢一晚增色之外，相信每一位觀眾都有一隻戒指或者夾作為留念。萬分感謝 Jägermeister 嘅支持同自由造就咗意想不到嘅現場音樂活動。啲觀眾好正，為所有樂隊又叫又跳。呢一晚好值得我哋記得。感謝 Backstage Live 同佢哋嘅員工。感謝 Underground team 同成長緊嘅實習員團隊。
love Chris B xx
1. Beware of those who make you suffer
2. Pretty Baby
3. So Much
5. Milky Galaxy
誰會想到The Miners的開場曲竟是《歡樂年年》？這首新年期間在超市 reloop再reloop，油膩兼厭悶的傳統中樂，被他們打造成活力盎然的英式搖滾，帶來與中樂毫不相干的backstage，可見其心思及創意。玩味一輪後正經開場，《Beware of those who make you suffer》以雙擊的鼓點和結他梅花間竹地領航，配合vocal些許不清、慵懶而放肆的英語歌聲，倒也讓人聽得爽快。接續的《Pretty Baby》加添了點點挑皮，歌詞中的「life is never easy」，看來四位看似二十出頭、的年輕小伙子，對生活有不少歷練。其後的《So much》延續了先前的funky style，《Picture》則相當跳脫，比先前幾首風格類近的曲目注入了新鮮感，鼓點和吉他清脆利落，節奏明快，主唱的聲線亦放鬆不少，使不少觀眾隨拍子搖曳，中段vocal「oh, oh, oh….」的間奏，配合愈加強烈的樂器，實在使人忘形，可惜sudden end結尾稍嫌倉卒。最後一首的《Milky Galaxy》前奏有點post rock感覺，鼓和結他先以輕描淡寫的音色，營造了溫婉、甜美的氛圍，接上幾次突然的節拍轉變，使人耳目一新。配上vocal情深且柔和的腔調，的確如歌名所述般「milky」，有置身於光影模糊宇宙中的錯覺，結尾的outro亦延續了整首歌曲的浪漫和空間感。總括而言，The Miners編曲包含不少變化，從搶耳的開首過渡至抒情搖滾，整個編排能引領觀眾投入，如歌曲的結尾再加以修飾甚至延長，定能錦上添花。
– Lily Sung
The Miners introduced themselves in Cantonese and started off with an exciting and happy song which featured chords which sounded all too familiar. Someone told me it sounded like a song called, “Darkness Christmas”. I have never heard it personally, or maybe I have since it did sound really familiar. I didn’t care. I was looking forward to the rest of the song, but then it just ended suddenly. It was only later on after talking to one of the band members did they clarify it was just an intro. Fair enough.
So, when the first song, “Beware of those who make you suffer” actually started I was still thinking that this was a continuation of their ‘first song’, but in fact it was something totally different. No wonder the guitar riffs and the chords were heaps different. The vocals were pretty cool to start with. It was an ode to Brit pop, sounding a little like Arctic Monkeys which totally blew me away. He didn’t look like he could produce this kind of voice, but he did.
Their second song was followed by another Cantonese introduction which was kind of weird as he was singing in English, but talking to the audience in Cantonese. Even though I can understand a little I felt like this strategy was excluding the expat audience from engaging with him and the band. “Petty Baby” was a really funky song that had more modern Brit pop influences like Kasabian. I know he is singing in English, but at times I had no idea what he was singing about. Maybe it was his British accent with a Chinese tinge that put me off. In this song it was like he was talking more than singing.
“So Much” continued along the lines of the previous song and kept its funky rhythm which Yu on bass and Archvictor on drums had created. I loved the pauses in this song as they made the audience beg for more. This song got people jumping up and down in delight, well, one guy in particular who I realized was jumping around like a jelly bean all night. I want what he was having… haha! This song was a big hit with the audience and when it ended it was greeted with a huge applause.
Their next song, “Picture” started off with some awesome drumming from Archvictor, who is also an awesome guitarist. Mutli-talented! He was later followed by the other instruments. The music gave me the urge to sway from side to side and I enjoyed Mann’s guitar playing in this song. There was good crowd interaction with this song, especially when the vocalist, Lun, sang the “Oh, oh, oh’ssss”.
I am still dumbfounded at Lun’s interaction or lack of it with the crowd in English as he introduced yet another song in Cantonese. So, I never heard any of the titles in English and felt like this continued to put me and the other expats at arm’s length. So strange when he was singing in a Northern English Accent. “Milky Galaxy” started off slowly and was already my least favourite song of their set, little did I know it was their last song. The drums saved this song as the song picked up the pace, and lead into the vocals. But, then once Lun started singing the tempo slowed down again. It is something you would listen to while cruising in your car. I wanted to close my eyes and drift off into a fantasy land. Which is not a negative comment. It was a good song, but I think it was wrong time to play this song at the end of the set since all the previous songs were better than this one.
– Cain McInerney
Stereo is the Answer
3. Pascal 7
4. The trial
同樣是4人樂隊的Stereo is the Answer (SITA)，自言是走modern rock風格，與別不同的是常作如星光般點綴的keyboard。SITA以最為人熟悉的《Re:》起首，來自音樂組合per se的男vocal及女和音兼keyboard手聲線非常合拍，。緊接的《Waltz》以複四拍的琴音帶出前奏，把waltz加進pop rock中無疑是個新鮮的嘗試，中段多次波浪起伏的scale，猶如一片來勢洶洶的暗湧，配合間中的跳音及遞進的鼓點，情緒繃緊。《Pascal Seven》把節奏調慢，只略嫌vocal英語發音稍不清晰，影響觀眾投入度。新歌《The Trial》由迷惑過渡至充滿希望的結尾，終曲《Chemicals》以簡潔的guitar chord貫穿全曲，鼓點強烈而深遂，vocal放鬆的腔調比前面的高唱來得動人、樸實。SITA的vocal line充滿高低起伏，vocal雖尚能駕駁難度不少的高音，但因聲線較薄，常被充滿勁度的鼓掩蓋，聽起來較吃力，幸而流水般順暢的keyboard以及跳脫的bass line為歌曲加添不少質感。
– Lily Sung
Stereo is the Answer is a four piece band consisting of guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, with the lead guitarist also acting as the principal vocalist. They are a very tight group. It is obvious from the start that they have put in hours of practice to maintain their crispness and tightness as a group and each member is very talented with their respective instruments.
The set kicked off with “Re“. Almost immediately it reminded this reviewer of Muse, the slow, heavy chords, mixed with hard drums and heavy yet melodic bass. The singer sang this well, blending his vocals and going from a low tempo to a high melodic sound with very comfortable backing vocals by the young lady on keyboards. Visually though, only the bassist and the drummer provided any sort of visual entertainment, with the keyboard player standing still (and it would become obvious that this would be her stance for most of the evening) whilst one feels the vocalist was limited in his movement by having to play guitar as well – however, during rare solos, he didn’t really move much either.
A very brief introduction and chat with audience by the front man (so brief I immediately forgot what he said) led, via a melodic keyboard intro, into the second track named “Waltz“. Again, this track was very Muse-like though vocally much louder. The main difference between this second track and the opening track was that the keyboard was far more prominent. At times the main vocals felt strained next to the louder sound, in comparison to the opening track. However, overall, it was a very good track.
Immediately the band then entered into their third track of their set, strangely named “Pascal 7“, without any sort of interaction with the audience. As with their previous two tracks, again this track was very Muse-like, though a bit more experimental in composition leading this reviewer to think “Muse meets Radiohead-lite”. Though musically the sound was very tight, the vocals seemed to be similar in style to Amy Lee of Evanescence. Sadly, for this reviewer, all three opening tracks were very similar in sound and tempo throughout and the set had started to become somewhat tedious and repetitive.
Their fourth song, “The Trial” was introduced as a new song and making its debut performance. It was immediately welcomed during its introduction as a more upbeat and higher tempo song than their previous 3 offerings. However, possibly as it was the first time performing it, the vocals seemed a little off and, indeed, at times the vocalist showed a noticeable discomfort when trying to sing to a higher tempo track in the same style as the previous tracks. Visually, the rest of the group matched the higher tempo with more movement and energy (including the keyboardist who nodded her head more)
For their fifth and final track, “Chemicals“, the band returned to their Muse-like pace (though again a very experimental sound at times – in fact, at one moment in the middle, this reviewer was suddenly reminded of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android), After the tempo of the previous track, this song felt very dull – perhaps fitting into the theme of last song/closing time. For most of the night, the audience were kept entranced by them, however, scanning the audience during this last track there was a lot more chattering and people walking about for drinks, cigarettes and the loo.
Overall, Stereo Is The Answer is a very talented band but sadly, compared to the rest of the evening for this reviewer, they were perhaps the dullest offering in terms of tempo and style, though perhaps the best in terms of musical and instrumental talent.
– Joe Simon Jones.
2. Asian Fusion
4. Black House
單是一支結他、一支bass、鼓、vocal的無縫配合，已令Tri-accident的hard rock樂曲編制非常飽滿，成員們玩音樂超過十年，難怪甚有大將之風。開首的《Complicated》已霸氣盡現，三個樂器各有春秋，互相配合卻又層次分明，bridge更是華麗得使人神魂癲倒。《Magnetized》由重覆的guitar riff首尾呼應，配合扎實而帶點花巧的bass line，《Black House》是相對標準的rock ballad旋律，成員們加插了各自的solo，讓觀眾一睹各人的精緻技巧。最後的《Hey》是較慢的一首，vocal和吉他有如輪唱般互相呼應，最後vocal連綿且燥鬱的「yeah…yeah…yeah…」帶點grunge rock的氣息。相對不斷展現技巧的樂器，vocal的表現較為平實，但整體表現仍屬超班，極之牽動全場氣氛！
– Lily Sung
Tri-accident started poorly in my books because they took an extra long time to setup. I am not sure what their problem or problems were, maybe they were tri-accidents as their name suggests. But, this is never a good start when you leave the audience hanging too long between sets. Luckily they were given an awesome intro from Chris B who declared them as her current favourite live band. After her comment she was coerced into having a Jäger shot with all of the band members.
I instantly knew why they had become Chris’ favourite live band because their music took me back to the 90s and good old grunge. There first song, ‘Complicated’ reminded me of early Soundgarden and the album Bad Motor Finger… which I love. When the vocalist, Alex, started to sing the song it lost its grunge vibe and became more poppy. On guitar, Johnny Chiu, had some really nice riffs. Then the vocals took the lead and the music was more in the background. I didn’t want the music to take a back seat so I patiently waited for the awesome guitar riffs to return and give the song the kick in the ass it needed. The lyrics “It’s so complicated” were my least favourite part of the song and were sung over and over again. Wait a second… isn’t that an Avril Lavigne song?
“Asian Fusion” sounded like a cover of The White Stripes song, ‘No one knows’. Musically it was a very strong song and in this song the bassist, Zing Chee (cool name!), took control while the vocals took a backseat because I could barely hear the singer. So, vocally it was not so strong, but musically it was awesome. As with an earlier band this evening, he was singing in English but I struggled to make out what he was going on about. Despite this there was a huge applause when the song was over.
Their next song, ‘Magnet Red’, was fast and energetic and it flew by before I could even write any notes about it. Was I distracted by the Jäger girls at the time or was I just really into the song that I forgot to use my pen. We will never know… mmm Jäger girls… I mean shots!
Alex told us to “Check this out!” as he introduced their fourth song for the night. I did appreciate that he spoke to the audience in English and Cantonese, compared to an earlier band in the evening. It was an early Chili Peppers song musically, but vocally he sounded like Blink 182. But, that is being generous. This song sounded very familiar maybe because of that 90s grunge vibe. I liked it!
“Hey” which is not such an original song title turned out to have a lovely intro that kept me in that plane of existence that we call grunge. Oh how I miss grunge! This was not the type of music that you would expect from a Hong Kong indie band. It was so refreshing to hear. I didn’t mind the vocals but other people pointed out that he didn’t quite hit the right notes, but I guess at this stage I was too mesmerized by the performance of Zing, Johnny and Tse. This song reminded me of Alice in Chains. It was like they were imitating them but not quite getting it right. But, still a pretty good effort.
1. 鳥籠 (Cage)
2. 緣起．緣滅 (End & Begin)
3. 悸動 (Palpitation)
4. 燎原 (Blaze)
從Verorigin成員的粉紅色頭髮、黑色紳士帽、長靴，大概會猜他們是走Visual rock/metal的路線吧！其實，Verorigin揉合了metal及alternative rock風格，vocal不時利用震音、高音、delay、哭腔等技巧，亦是全場唯一以中文入詞的樂隊。首曲《籠中鳥》即以渾厚的bass及密集、distort的結他音色，營造摧毀性的金屬氛圍。《悸動》前的心跳特效，加上後段的崩壞感樂曲編制，亦見心思。特別深刻的還有《燎原》，keyboard彈奏出悲傷的曲調，鼓點及結他慢慢提昇至歌曲高潮後，突然靜止只剩傷感的琴聲，充滿戲劇性。作為樂隊第三次演出，演奏尚算穩定，但鼓及keyboard可多嘗試不同變化，豐富歌曲內容
– Lily Sung
Vocals: Raymond NG (HotBlood)
Guitar: Royce LAU
Bass: Raycus LAI
Drums: Rex CHIN
Keyboards: Heiman SUI (Miharu)
VERORIGIN was founded by Royce LAU and Raycus LAI in November 2014. They played their first show in March 2015, and with this Underground Jager show is only their third live performance.
VERORIGIN played a short but powerful four song mini set. The first two songs Cage, and End & Begin, were very similar in composition, arrangement and style. Since they are newly formed, I was happy to see this as they have started to lay the ground work for the feel and style of the band.
Overall musicianship was better than average, with a very strong guitar presence. So much so that it would not be a stretch to characterize them as “guitar driven”. Their sound overall leans towards a harder rock side, mix in with some J-Pop hooks, and the very common classic Canto-Pop verse sections.
Their stage performance was filled with energy and passion. There is a good balance of stage dynamics struck between the very focused, intense style of Royce, verses and the higher energy style of Raymond.
For their third song Palpitation, they took some chances, and with the song moving into a more dark, melodic feel. Nice composition, and melody line with some added drama and dynamics, made this my favorite song in their set.
The last song Blaze, as their closing number, reverted back to a similar hard rock Canto-Pop style as their first two numbers. Again, I was very happy to see that the composition, arrangement and overall feel we consistent with the first two numbers, exhibiting that they are in the beginning stages of developing their own style and sound. This bodes well for their future and this is something that many bands struggle with for years, and it seems that it has come quite naturally to them.
Overall I enjoyed VERORIGIN’S mini set. As this is really the very beginning for you guys, I would highly recommend you guys to get into the studio, and spend as much time as possible working on the song dynamics, execution, and become very very tight. Trust me guys, the hard work will really pay off in the end making you guys better players and a better band overall.
– Gregory Tancer
Photos by Angus Leung.
Poster by Angus Leung