Planetrox China Final 2015

13-06-15

final245.JPGWhat a fantastic night! Orange Peel was packed with eager fans, head-banging audience and appreciative live music lovers. Maybe it was the Singha beer? Or was it the JackDaniels Cola? What I do know is that FIVE amazingly talented bands gave 200% to make it a truly memorable live music night. Shout out to Parsons Music for the lovely gifts of $$ vouchers and 1 of 1 Leather for making an exclusive Underground namecard holder. Big thanks to Envol et Macadam, the festival in Quebec which is giving this amazing opportunity to bands around the world. And of course thanks to the ever-dependable Underground team for managing this event. Congratulations to Bamboo Star for winning!
熱切的樂迷、瘋狂甩頭的觀眾、現場音樂愛好者,這晚同聚在Orange Peel!是勝獅啤酒,還是JackDaniels Cola的威力,使全場瘋魔呢?這五隊了不起的樂隊發出200%精力,共同締造這難忘的音樂夜。鳴謝慷慨贊助現金劵的柏斯琴行、製造獨家Underground皮革名片夾的1 of 1 Leather,還有提供機會予異國樂隊的Quebec音樂節Envol et Macada。當然,還要感謝可靠的Underground團隊,協助統籌是次比賽。再次恭喜Bamboo Star!
love Chris B x


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Seasons for Change

1. Not Enough
2. Anima
3. Rain
4. Sky

為Planetrox中國區決賽打頭陣的是Seasons for Change。他們的歌曲融合了另類搖滾和Pop Punk的風格,編曲等聽起來有點J- Rock的感覺。尤其在〈Rain〉,結他和貝斯的編排十分緊湊,加上以鼓點明快的節奏作引領,充分表現其又Pop又Rock的曲風,充滿活力。〈Anima〉強調鼓點的節拍,令樂曲的節奏有著明顯的層次。主音的聲音高昂有力,穿透性甚高。在最後〈Sky〉一曲,主音以歌聲帶領觀眾隨著音樂飛上雲端,傲翔天際。惟在〈Not Enough〉主音在副歌的部分音準可以更加穩定,令演出錦上添花。
– Jacqueline Tang

Introduced by a very peppy and energetic Chris B, the 5-man band Seasons for Change come onstage with an introduction of beefy distorted guitars, an interesting, pretty sounding intro soundtrack and an explosion of energetic post-hardcore.

Asking the crowd to get closer at the start of their first song “Not Enough”, the band impressed the crowd with a melodic chorus, technical lead, catchy bass melody and passionate singing style. With a tight beat and moving vocals, the crowd was moving and a few heads were rocking by their second song “Anima”.  This was another energetic song with a driving chorus, catchy staccato beats and again very passionate vocals. The singer puts all his breath into his singing and the crowd can see that from his expression and movement on stage – every note he sings provokes a ‘wow’ from the front line of the audience.

The third song “Rain” was headed by a short, playful interlude by the band who introduced themselves and said they were having fun (the key to any good band, in my opinion), and started the song with a synth intro, reminding me of the driving energy of Crossfaith. Again, the vocals were very passionate, this song featuring catchy breakdowns but with melodic guitar all the way through. Their final song “Sky” got the crowd raising their hands in the air to the song, a few bodies were moving and a lot of heads were banging.

Seasons for Change are a very vocally driven band, with a very professional sound. You could tell by their performance that each of the musicians practiced very hard to get this far, and they deserved to be on that stage. In the niche market of Post Hardcore bands in Hong Kong, Seasons for Change are making an impact on the alternative scene in the Underground.
– Sherman Leung


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Stereo is the Answer

1. Pascal Seven
2. Re
3. The Dreamer
4. Chemicals

第二隊上台演出的是Modern Rock樂隊Stereo is the Answer(SITA)。SITA是當晚唯一有Keyboard編制的樂隊,一時像流星般的點綴,一時則默默的配合著其他樂器,的確令他們的音樂生色不少,有畫龍點睛之用。〈Pascal Seven〉一開始只用結他作引子,後加入點點Keyboard相和應,再以鼓點和貝斯帶起節奏,像突然打破本來平靜的湖面上泛起陣陣漣漪,令觀眾精神為之一振,亦叫驚喜。及後節奏上的變化時而從容、時而緊湊,亦豐富了樂曲的質感。男主音的聲線運用和唱腔處理也令人注目,高音假音的部分甚為突出,但聲線還是略為薄弱。〈Re〉中間的女和音在帶點頹廢沈重的旋律中清新突出,感覺空靈。〈The Dreamer〉貝斯手以靈巧精彩的Slapping配合鼓點帶出跳脫的節奏,貫穿整曲。整體輕鬆搖擺,玩味甚重,令觀眾容易投入。最後的〈Chemicals〉以較緩慢的節奏帶領觀眾步入另一個嶄新清爽的空間。間奏Keyboard突出,鼓點也有特別處理,惟女和音聲量稍弱,聽起來有點吃力。
– Jacqueline Tang

Stereo is the Answer, a 4 piece band that swept the stage, was a very technical band that seemed to span across some interesting genres. A post-rock like soundtrack introduces us to the slightly math-rock break into an energetic first song “Pascal Seven” that had very catchy breaks, interesting beats and breakdowns, and a very spacey solo. Containing members of another local band (Per Se), the band cuts right into their second song “Re”, a song with very rocky vocals, technical hard-rock style guitar, an energetic bassist jumping around, and nice sounding harmonies from the keyboardist and singer/ guitarist.

The third song “The Dreamer” was another very classic rock sounding song, with a little bit of prog elements that reminded me of Rush. Hands were clapping, and piano sounds added a jazz feel, the tight timing of the song had the crowd moving heads along and a few jaws were dropping in awe of the technical guitar that was taking place on stage. The last song by them, “Chemicals” was a very ballad-like song, featuring a nice warm and clean tone from the guitarist/ singer. What was interesting about this song was that the vocals were still a bit shouty, but the song was still very calm, building intensity as it the song went on, and got the crowd swaying along.

Stereo is the Answer is a very diverse band that manages to fit elements of jazz, post rock, math rock, classic rock, hard rock into their songs while still having their own style, which is a very thought provoking, technical yet energetic sound. A tight beat and moving bass lines support driving guitars and rocky vocals, complimented by shining piano chords and interesting harmonies. Stereo is the Answer is a band to keep an ear out for in the Hong Kong music scene.
– Sherman Leung


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Bamboo Star

1. Ready to Roll
2. Don’t Turn Around
3. Believe In Our Memory
4. Breaking Limits

勇奪Planetrox中國區決賽的冠軍寶座,準備踏上加拿大最大型音樂節之一的樂隊就是Bamboo Star(竹星)。Bamboo Star是本地新晉年輕樂隊,曲風受硬式搖滾及Classic Metal的影響。主音率直並具爆發力的聲線和舞台感;結他手技巧精湛熟練,擅於運用Guitar Riff來強調旋律;貝斯和鼓點則豐富及帶出樂曲刺激熱情的節奏,營造出屬於Bamboo Star的澎湃氣勢。〈Ready to Roll〉一開始主音用擴音器配合結他飆音,煽動全場氣氛,一瞬間已與台下觀眾打成一片,反應熱烈。觀眾們亦萬分投入, 隨著節拍甩頭搖擺。〈Don’t Turn Around〉貝斯和結他互相呼應,結他精彩萬分的Solo令人目不轉睛。舒情緩板的〈Believe In Our Memory〉情感細膩,讓觀眾們欣賞到他們熱血搖滾的另外一面。在柔情過後,鼓聲一起,樂手們立即再次煽動觀眾,不停以最後一曲〈Breaking Limits〉歌詞中的一句 ”All I wanna do is go Faster! Faster! Faster! Faster! Faster!” 跟台下互動,一唱一和,場面熱鬧亦將氣勢秒速重現。為樂迷熟悉的〈Breaking Limits〉 當中緊湊的鼓點,主音熱情的演唱,令人情不自禁地搖擺起來的旋律編曲及刺激的結他solo,將現場氣氛推向最高潮,直到最後一顆音符結束。惟現場咪高峰的接收不太理想,當中有小部分時間難以聽到主音的歌聲,影響演出欣賞。
Jacqueline Tang

These guys have been kicking around Hong Kong for the past two years or so, working and honing their craft.  One of the only real traditional style rock / hard rock bands coming out of Hong Kong (FINALLY!), and I am delighted to see it.  Focus is on cool songs, great musicianship and vocals, a lot of attitude and lots of HAIR!

They opened the set with Ready to Roll.  This song immediately sets the tone of what would be the next 20 minute mini set.  Very straight forward, very cool catchy hooks, and very 1980’s/90’s style great American rock.  It felt a lot like Stone Temple Pilots.  A really perfect song to open the set.

Next they ripped into Don’t Turn Around.  Very heavy solid bottom end holding things, and again really interesting hooks with very cool pulling off guitar patterns and shapes.   Believe in our Memory was a little bit leaning towards a slightly slower almost ballad.  Again, in the traditional STP, there were passages where they cut the time in half giving more of a chugging, little more laid back type feel.  Really loved it.

Finishing the set up with Breaking Limits.  Very aggressive, traditional style hard rock, with more of those very cool, great sounding, great feeling guitar hooks.  The song did have a slight punk feel, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling it “punk”.

Overall, the bass tone and drums sounded awesome.  Driving heavy low end bottoms.  The guitar sounded just great with a slightly thick, slightly over driven sound and thankfully not too many effects and just the right amount of delay.  And the vocals, just right on, very cool.  A little clean, but there is a balance that needs to be struck.  And for a singer, with a short 20 minute set, you are just barely getting warmed up and the set is over…

Lots of STAR fans in the crowd for support.  And overall, they really rocked the whole house.  They were very well received by the crowd.
– Gregory Tancer


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Wan Chai Warriors

1. Dog Eat Dog
2. Don’t Let Go
3. Park Bench
4. Warriors

 

承繼Bamboo Star的騰騰殺氣,Wan Chai Warriors決不讓樂迷們的身體停止搖擺。〈Dog Eat Dog〉開始了一連串的hard rock歌曲,主唱Cain的聲線狀態甚佳,情緒亦非常亢奮,精彩絕倫的guitar riff更是讓人過耳不忘。接下來的情歌〈Don’t Let Go〉整體稍為降低侵略性,輕巧的鼓點雖增加不少輕盈感,旋律卻多是低厚而長的吟唱為主,難道是非常轟烈又悲壯的愛情?〈Park Bench〉原來取材自六年前的活塞男事件,副歌一再重覆「Penis in the Park Bench」,主唱帶點淒厲的腔調彷似那位當事人的呻吟,搞鬼得令人發笑。呼應樂隊名字的終曲〈Warriors〉似乎是要把怨氣怒氣通通發洩,不加修飾的吉他噪音,配上不能自控、時而怒吼的唱腔,以赤條條的力度抒發青年的積鬱。主唱不時遞咪或指向觀眾,互動非常熱烈,而吉他手的技巧亦極為超卓。
Lily Sung

Wan Chai Warriors, newly formed in November of 2014.   I am again, delighted to see some real traditional style rock / hard rock.  No themes of teenage broken relationships, or happy bubbly nonsense songs that don’t make any sense musically.  Just good old kick your ass rock and roll about drinking and sex!

As they open their set with Dog eat Dog, you know that you’re going to dig the next twenty minutes.  Right out of the gate like American Pharaoh, you can immediately see and hear well-schooled professional musicianship from all the players, with raw, dig deep down inside vocals.  The guitar player Vincent instantly catches your attention as a fantastic player with great technique, great chops, lots of fun flashy tricks that keep your full attention.  I would describe Dog eat Dog as bitchin’ traditional rock.

The next song Don’t Let Go  again in general, very straight forward.  With a very interesting composition and arrangement with some unusual guitar chording and patterns which added uniqueness to the song that set it apart from your standard kick your ass type rock song.  Next up was Park Bench, which for all practical purposes should have been called the Penis song.   Cain, the singer always seems to have a way of turning something maybe as mundane as song about a park bench into a sexually driven song about ones penis.  Combine that with a rock-punkish style, staccato vocals, and some very “unique” theatrical stage antics, you have a recipe for anything can happen…  Very fun and amusing to watch!

Finishing the set up with Warriors, totally straight forward, hard rock, cool interesting chord patterns, a bit of a Stone Temple Pilots feel, and strangely enough a chorus that felt like a 1960’s Small Faces or something.  It all fit together really well.  I enjoyed the different styles all mixed together for a great outcome.

Overall the Drums and Bass holding down a very solid bottom hard rock foundation, the guitar adding color, texture, style, uniqueness, and the vocals: Cain always sings and rocks from deep in his heart, great control, and always sounds great.
Gregory Tancer


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Horizon

1. Intro
2. 來自天空的花
3. Lonely Day
4. 地平綫

 

一陣陽剛味的洗禮後,終於迎來了一把能溫柔、能魅惑的上海女聲樂隊Horizon。開場曲〈Intro〉端出了小徐呻吟式的歌唱,搭配龐克搖滾的音色,高音間的跌蕩以至編曲甚有Yeah Yeah Yeahs或白目樂隊的烈女本色。(而小徐的舞姿亦相當撩人呢。)〈來自天空的花〉繼續維繫著龐克的味道,小徐卸下結他後聲音更集中且具穿透力。〈Lonely Day〉及〈地平綫〉兩首pop rock作品把場地抹上了昏黃溫暖的色調,歌中滲著樂隊提倡的愛、夢想、積極,吉他溫暖厚實的間奏圍繞著身體,久久不散;簡化了的鼓點和貝斯亦是恰到好處。首次踏足香港的他們表現不俗,大部份曲目皆是easy-listening之作,主音的細膩度及穩定度雖稍為不足,但聲底渾厚的她相信具潛質更進一步。而結他手加入和音後有加強旋律,但宜多調控兩者音量,以免喧賓奪主。
Lily Sung

The expectation is always set a higher than a normal show when you come out to see a band, especially when the winning band will go on to Canada to represent Hong Kong / China at a long-established festival.  So everyone gives it a little extra above and beyond their normal set.

In addition, you may not be familiar with some of the bands playing.  And this was case tonight with a very special little band from Shanghai named HORIZON.  These guys were guitar, bass, drums, and a female front person.  And one of the tricks musically that makes them sound so interesting is it’s not how full they can sound, but it is in the openness and feel of the sometimes missing notes or beats that makes the music so intriguing.

It is very hard to categorize them.  They reminded me a little bit of the Divynals, Pretenders, Cranberries. And they also reminded me most of a wonderful band from San Francisco from about 1979, Pearl Harbour and the Explosions.

They opened their set with Intro.   Very solid power pop bottom end, with lots of open string feel guitar patterns, and a very interesting unique feel.  It really felt like some of the great power pop bands of the late 1970’s.  Their second song 來自天空的花,  again had a very heavy driving bottom end, but with the guitar taking a minimalist approach playing lots of 3rds and 4ths.  Nothing very special, but it was unique and unusual in how he played, with lots of octaves. Really very cool!

Next song was Lovely Day with a really nice, sweet composition and arrangement.  Again, the distinct feel of open space, lots of strange chord patterns and octaves.  Their last song was 地平綫 and the composition and arrangement combined all of the stylistic things that made them so interesting.  But was also quite dynamic, and included some very cool vocal harmonies with the guitar player and lead singer.  This I wished they had done more of during their set.

The band overall were musically and vocally quite solid.  The lead singer and guitar player were both playing some very unusual, esoteric notes, rhythms and patterns that really made the experience of seeing HORIZON quite delightful and enjoyable.
– Gregory Tancer


Winner of Parsons Music Vouchers HK$50​0 柏斯琴行價值500元現金券的幸運得主

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Winner of The Underground Zippo lighter. The Underground 打火機的幸運得主

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Winner of the custom Underground leather card holder courtesy of 1 of 1 leather
由1of1 leather贊助, The Underground特別訂製皮革卡片夾的幸運得主

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Winner of Parsons Music Vouchers HK$50​0 柏斯琴行價值500元現金券的幸運得主

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Last year (2014) winners Wondergarl (神奇膠) 去年(2014)冠軍:神奇膠

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Planetrox 2015 winners 冠軍: BAMBOO STAR

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Photos by ​Angus Leung.​
由​Angus Leung​攝影。
Poster by Freya Kwok​
海報由Freya Kwok。

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