With the cold air-conditioning of Orange Peel on full blast, we had an amazing location for Heavy 15! The four bands were more than awesome – thanks so much for giving your 200%. Thanks to Carr for his sound mixing skills. Awesome to have Jack Daniels Cola & Singha beer to keep everyone’s thirst quenched. Huge applause for the audience who kept begging for encores. Biggest thanks to the amazing members of The Underground Team. 在炎炎夏日中，開著大冷氣的Orange Peel，讓Heavy 15 有著一個超棒的場地! 十分感謝四隊樂隊付出２００%的努力帶給觀眾精采的現場演出。同時感謝 Carr 的混音以及Jack Daniels Cola和Singh勝獅啤酒整晚不遺餘力助觀眾解渴。掌聲亦送給多次熱切渴求安歌的現場觀眾。最後感謝傑出的The Underground團隊帶來多麼精采的一夜。
love Chris B xx
2. Watch The World Burn
3. Stand My Ground
The opening act of a night billed as “Heavy” has to set the right tone, and with a name like Pyscho Skull, the crowd knew Heavy 15’s first act’s music wasn’t going to be pretty. The local quintet stepped up to the plate with five songs of ear-splittingly hard rock. However, as a bystander put it, being loud doesn’t always equal heavy.
Delivering a shot at metalcore that was more bland than blistering, the band seemed to lose momentum after first songs 燎原之火and Watch The World Burn. It wasn’t so much as the players’ energy dropped; it was more that the same-y songs began to blend into one another and the crowd glazed over as the riffs and howls blended into an indeterminate haze.
That said, as the most visually arresting act of the night in tight jeans and blood red hair, Psycho gave a theatrical performance. Guitarists Water and Hode held the show together with considerable talent and plaster was practically torn from the roof upon closer SKULL. Considering the band formed in 2015 and haven’t released any music yet, they have a very clear vision of their own identity. Heavy 15 offered them both stomping ground and learning curve, and there’s no doubt they’ll come back with a sharper bite in future gigs.
– El Jay
1. The Boxer
2. Sound and Steady
5. Nothing Left
6. Crossing Lines
7. Until it Ends
8. No Mistake
10. Soon be Dead
It’s been a long while since I’ve experience a good blend of western style hardcore – and I’m not talking about that tough guy Trapped Under Ice / Brutality Will Prevail racket (though I don’t diss it, I dig that kind of stuff too), I’m talking good southern style metal riffs mixed with raw punk energy akin to Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats, a good measure of early Gallows and the like.
Bearded, tattooed giant Danny started the frantic set with a favorite of mine ‘The Boxer’, with the iconic riff tearing into the crowd and getting heads moving. Of course, feet weren’t moving just yet, as instructed by their Facebook announcement “fold yer arms and stand at the front.” Tearing into the set with second song ‘Sound and Steady’ Mira’s ferocious guitar riffs scorched the audience, leaving the crowd’s feet seemingly on fire. A few particularly enthusiastic (perhaps…too much?) members of the crowd get their hips swaying and there is hair flying everywhere – from all the head-banging, obviously. There was no loose hair literally flying about.
The third song ‘Terror’ prompted chants of “This is Terror” from the crowd (okay, maybe just me) and again, the band does not fall short of its catchy iconic riffs. “Victimless” followed, with Mira working the magic on his custom 8 string Jackson, and Danny pouring his heart out into his chilling screams.
“Nothing Left” came after, at which point the band was very much reminding me of a local Birmingham band called ‘Feed the Rhino’, with the same kind of rough, ragged vocals and groovy but technical instrumental work, and this energy followed through to “Crossing Lines”. Most of these tunes I couldn’t find online and it’s the first time I saw them, so I’m guessing these are live/unreleased exclusives we’re being treated to. At “Until it Ends”, the particularly enthusiastic members of the crowd were getting right into it, with squats (???) wavy hand movements (???!?!?) and twisty hips (this is a hardcore show, right?) and even a little twirl (please earth swallow me up now). I can’t blame them for having fun, though. Anyway, head-banging was continuing ever so hard, the topless Danny ripping away into the house microphone and the bar member staunchly telling a crowd goer to ‘not push’ (please, I think I’m going dizzy).
At the end of “No Mistake” the crowd made no mistake to keep the heads banging but the body movements restricted to wiggly hips and tucked elbows. The band finished off the set with the powerful groove of “Hero” and then the aptly named “Soon Be Dead”. Danny ends the set with a brief “Fuck you, Mira” for having to move back to Russia, making this the penultimate Weeper shows indefinitely – I would like to add that Chris B. of the Underground HK absolutely did not scream ‘We love you, Mira’ in response to that.
Overall, Weeper played their furious, groovy blend of US/EU style hardcore punk & metal and got the crowd going, even though I noticed it wasn’t a very big crowd for a hardcore show, but I don’t know how it’d go down if there was a bigger crowd with the bar asking there to be no pushing – I’m sure given a bigger audience, there’d be circle pits, two steppers, mosh pits everywhere for the full metal sound of Weeper, alas we can only hope the HK Hardcore seen to show us what it’s got at the farewell show at The Wanch in August 2016. As they said on their facebook profile, they’re not some cookie cutter typical HK Hardcore sound, nor a band deeply invested in life-changing lyrics or societal problems, but just a down to earth hardcore band that sing about whatever the heck they want, and I strongly suggest picking up a record at their bandcamp for a taste of it.
– Sherman Leung
The news that Mensheng 門生 would be playing at Heavy 15 was greeted with great excitement, as the local rockers were well overdue a slot on an Underground stage. Having been around since 2007, the metalcore rockers are practically vintage on such a transient scene and even made their Underground debut at the first Heavy night in December 2009.
A swift yet abrasive set swung into life with 頭上的花朵 , singer Benny Cheng prowling the stage alternating between mid-weight growls and squeaky shouting. Guitarist KC Wong fired out vicious blasts like gunfire, while a thick rhythm section was held down by bassist Heung Pan drumming determinedly on his E-string. Although his at-times wavering delivery occasionally felt like a parody of a hardcore vocalist, Cheng showed off an impressive range that his mic couldn’t quite contain at times – from the hoarse shouting on 扭曲視線 to the surreal, rather comedic soprano closing of 尋色相.
The dense fretwork and heavy riffs of 白色森林 evoked the angst-charged might and squawky fury of Architects, Bring Me The Horizon and While She Sleeps. “This is our final song. Let me see your fists!” he roared like Five Finger Death Punch’s Ivan Moody as a sizeable pit opened for 同門生, a gruff monster of doomy drop-tuned riffing, dog bark verses and scattered, violent drumming – topped off with a neat solo. Mensheng 門生won’t let themselves be forgotten again.
– El Jay
1. Here I Come
2. Lard Aagi Bard
3. Man On My Own
4. Stand Alone
5. Before I Forget (Slipknot cover)
6. Chop Suey (System of a Down cover)
Rap metal is still alive and well, as Heavy 15 headliners Intellectual Morons showed. The hour was late and much of the crowd’s energy had been spent jumping around to Weeper and Mensheng 門生, but the sweaty punters dug deep for one final climactic set. Instead of the strain of rap metal that favours DJ scratches and misogynistic lyrics, a la Limp Bizkit, IM favour a more forceful and directive approach, with most songs clocking in under the three-minute mark.
Here I Come was short and sharp, vocalists Dipen and Suyog performing with the same kind of contrasting energy as Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda – only turned up a lot louder. With word-perfect precision and snarl, rapper Dipen tore through rapid-fire verses, while Suyog took care of the soaring choruses and death growls. The audience quickly crowded the dancefloor for Lard Aagi Bard, and needed no encouragement to jump around and headbang for Man On My Own, a song about “breaking chains” with chest-beating lyrics, furiously galloping tom rolls and Metallica-esque guitar compression.
Stand Alone – a song the band wrote “when we were skinnier” – was a bass-heavy and brutal closer of thrashing cymbals and snappy verses and roared chorus. The night could have ended there, but IM decided to treat the faithful with exuberant covers of Slipknot’s Before I Forget and System of a Down’s Chop Suey. They lacked the polish of the originals, but the overjoyed crowd was too busy singing along and bashing into each other to care. It was a memorable performance – even if only for the novelty of it – and something about all the smiling faces filing out of Orange Peel at the end of the night said it won’t be too long before this band’s surfaces again on another bill.
– El Jay
Photos by Angus Leung.
Poster by Jenna Ho.