Sub Terra #1

03-09-16

IMG_9381.jpg ​OMG! The fact that this show happened is all because of wonderful people most especially Jon Lee (This Music Studio) and Simon Ho (incredibly helpful sound engineer). Big big thanks to Charles @ The Hub for collaborating with us to turn the venue into a live house. Huge thanks to the team & interns for various tasks to make it happen: Angus, Calvin, Jenna, Heidi, Laalaa, Harmeet & Sophie. Shout out to Sam Yip for the amazing visuals on the huge video screens. Thanks to Parsons for sponsoring the drum kit, amps & keyboards. Big thanks to El Jay & & Chris & Elson for writing their awesome reviews. Must of course thank the five amazing bands who made it an extra-special night to remember.
OMG! 呢個表演可以搞得成全因爲一班了不起既人,特別係Jon Lee (This Music Studio)同Simon Ho (非常幫得手既音響師)。衷心感謝The Hub既Charles同我地合作將個場地變做音樂演展場地。萬分感謝我地既團隊同實習生(Angus, Calvin, Jenna, Heidi, Laalaa, Harmeet同Sophie)幫手做唔同既工作令到呢個活動能夠順利舉行。感激Sam Yip做左個好有視覺效果既視頻熒光幕。多謝柏斯琴行贊助一套鼓樂器,擴音器同電子琴。衷心多謝El Jay同Chris同Elson幫忙寫好正既樂評。當然必須要多些5隊出色既樂隊帶俾大家一個格外特別的夜晚。
love Chris B xx​


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Asyndeton

1. Ascending Heaven
2. Falling Through
3. Bones (Young Guns cover)
4. Gold
5. Warrior
6. Stop The World (Arctic Monkeys cover)
7. Paranoia
8. Misty Eyed

Asyndeton opened proceedings for the very first Sub Terra show at The Hub with some Arctic Monkeys-inspired Alternative Rock. ‘Ascending Heaven’ began with some soft vocal refrains by singer Benjamin Man, before the rest of the band crashed in with their muddy Drop-D grunge rock.

Falling Through’ could easily have passed as an early Arctic Monkeys track, whilst a decent cover of Young Guns track ‘Bones’ instigated a lively call and response between Man and the audience in the choruses. ‘Gold’, which was written about Man’s best friend, offered more variety, with Jack Johnson-infused guitar chords by Harmeet Bhatia, allowing for the Adam Levine-esque vocals from Man to fit comfortably in the mix.

Warrior’ came across as a rough and ready number, and the band continued to wear their main influence on their sleeves by covering Arctic Monkeys song ‘Stop The World’ confidently. ‘Paranoia’ was “written in about 15 minutes” according to Man, providing a brash, if not generic Blues/Rock riff, and drum pattern that drew comparisons to The Fratelli’s ‘Chelsea Dagger’.

Considering the age of the band, and the fact it was Joshua Francis’ (bass) first show with them, Asyndeton delivered a promising performance, with a few impressive and intricate solos from Bhatia thrown in. At various points, all members looked nervous, with a few noticeable mistakes creeping in. However, Benjamin Man’s vocals stayed strong and on-pitch throughout, with occasional vocal inflections causing cheers of admiration from the young crowd.

As a live band, the rhythm section could be tighter, and should start to branch out stylistically to accommodate Man’s vocal style. If they address these aspects, this young band could have the potential to be quite formidable in the local indie/rock scene.

– Chris Gillett

不知道Asyndeton是否The Underground有史以來所邀請的樂隊之中最年輕的一隊呢?這隊四人組合成立不足半年,台上台下的大多都是中學生,筆者在中學年代也曾組過樂隊,故事有點尷尬。然而,Asyndeton的表演能力絕不遜於接下來的「大哥哥大姐姐」。他們立足於南島中學、英皇佐治的小型藝術表演,向七人欖球賽、AIA嘉年華等中型舞台進發。下一步,會不會是Clockenflap?

作為首隊樂隊,Asyndeton很明白如何吸引觀眾的注意力。「Ascending Heaven」開始時以迷幻的RnB風格、電子鼓演奏,頭一分鐘最突出的無疑是主音Benjamin Man,他的聲線抑揚頓挫,身體不時蹲下與觀眾接觸,彷彿在台上表演的是Drake…… 片刻停頓後,整隊樂隊急速衝進了一首龐克歌曲。

當然,這隊組合還有空間進步,可能他們成立沒多久,靈感不足,演出中段仍需依靠兩首翻唱曲。然而,四人好像漸漸已開始成熟:他們最新寫的一首歌是「Misty Eyed」,在複雜的結構中,最突出的是結他手Harmeet Bhatia的jazz chords。Asyndeton尋找出屬於自己的風格後,將會前途無限,只希望入大學時不要散band……
– Elson Tong

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TURING APPLES

1. Make Us Feel
2. Pretty in Pink
3. Game
4. Better This Way
5. Leave
6. Machine Gun
7. This Disconnect

Turing Apples elevated the night one step further, with their propelling drums and 90s post-rock edge. ‘Make Us Feel’ and ‘Pretty in Pink’ started the set with the clean picked guitar tones of Hans Schlaikier and Ali Reid reminiscent of Peter Green, and simple but solid bass lines from Rafe D’Acquino. 

Game’ seemed much more moody and abrasive, as if an early cut from The Pixies, and Nicola Parrington’s vocals set her as a dead ringer for Kim Wilde, further cementing that late 80s/early 90s vibe the band was creating. As the set progressed through ‘Better This Way’ and ‘Leave’, Schlaikier and Reid’s became more angsty and discordant, not dissimilar to mid-00’s post-punk bands such as The Young Knives and The Futureheads. Drummer Latif Dilworth included simple but effective fills throughout the set, keeping the uptempo songs grounded, and allowing a solid structure for some slick pull offs and string bends in the occasional yet explorative guitar solos.

Machine Gun’ had three very differing sections, beginning with a Funk/Rock riff scarily similar to ‘Can’t Stop’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, before a jarring change to an almost underwhelming bouncy pop number. The song was further clouded with a middle section dominated by some guitar riffs which could have easily been plagiarising any song from Bloc Party’s ‘Silent Alarm’.

Despite some glaring similarities to specific songs, Turing Apples supplied a slick performance that seemed to improve with each number. There was solid rhythm throughout from D’Acquino and Dilworth, nice interplay between Reid and Schlaikier, but Parrington’s voice managed to stick out most, despite her shy and quiet nature onstage.

– Chris Gillett

Nerd rock是什麼?!?這個標籤在音樂風格上沒有什麼特別意思,卻有助我們認識Turing Apples的性格。在網上,這隊五人組合好像刻意避免鋒芒太露,粉絲不多。在台上表演時,歌手Nicola表現謙卑,不喜歡「曬」自己的才華,他們整晚最興奮的一刻,竟然是鼓手宣佈自己剛辭去了工作。然而Turing Apples的寫作、編曲能力真的是一流,筆者別無辦法,一定要大力推薦這隊樂隊。

表面上,他們的風格與2000年代的獨立搖滾樂隊Arctic Monkeys、The Strokes等最相近。但是仔細聆聽後,會發覺一對結他手Ali和Hans的配合,完美得有點像Rolling Stones,而「Machine Gun」一首歌更令人聯想起Red Hot Chili Peppers的funk結他風格。與一般崇拜享樂主義的酒吧樂隊不同,他們很多首作品—尤其是「Better This Way」—也帶有一絲懷念的悲傷。唯一較可惜的一點是,可能因為當晚擴音器體積不夠大,音質不夠清晰。要真正欣賞他們編曲的細緻亮點,只能上網聽他們的EP(或等待The Underground再次邀請他們出來演出……)
– Elson Tong

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ANDY IS TYPING

1. Wild Heart
2. Fat Machine Inquiry
3. Lost Pearl
4. Karma
5. Yesterday Was Sweet
6. Take A Break

Andy Is Typing began with as much bombast as possible, all dressed in black, low rumbling riffs, and a pinch harmonic juggernaut of an opener ‘Wild Heart’. JKY’s falsetto soars over this dark and menacing music, with vague similarities to Bon Jovi’s vocal style (minus any of that glam rock cheese), whilst Kelvin Ngan’s drumming is intricate and pounding at the same time, with each snare shot sounding like a rifle.

Each member brings their own signature sound to the mix. Man Ping’s eye-catching Ibanez is controlled with ease, laying down effortless solos that could have been written by Lynard Skynard, if not a touch self-indulgent at times. Bassist Andy follows any low riff from Man Ping perfectly in unison, and works in smooth arpeggios during the verses, without being distracting.

A nice dynamic shift is added when JKY introduces an acoustic guitar from ‘Karma’ onwards, adding a Counting Crows feel, and some lush picking patterns between himself and ManPing. Although JKY is playing his acoustic through a keyboard amp, it has immense clarity, that cuts through, even with a band as heavy and loud as this.

Take A Break’ sees Andy kicking off the song with a Mark King style slap bass, whilst Ngan gives the song pace with a rolling snare and clever hi-hat triplets, evocative of early Bombay Bicycle Club drumming. The chorus shows them at their most anthemic, with JKY following the lead guitar note for note, stretching his vocal range and emphasising the power of their sound.

The entire set came across as well rehearsed and professional, without feeling forced or contrived. Andy Is Typing seemed to be really enjoying themselves, and that feeling transferred to the audience within moments of them taking to the stage. 
– Chris Gillett

與當晚首隊樂隊Asyndeton一樣,排第三出場的Andy is Typing是一隊非常年輕的組合。然而,他們演奏的第一秒已足以令全場氣氛改變。四人很清晰地表明:現在不是2016年,而是1986年。

第一首歌「Wild Heart」的靈感明顯地取自Bon Jovi、Quiet Riot等重金屬樂隊。這首歌曲以萬平的結他riff和歌手JKY的高音聲線為基礎,高調地配上速度快音階高的結他solo。JKY與萬平一齊唱和音的一刻,兩人往同一支麥克風吶喊,場面精彩。到了歌曲尾段,萬平竟然引進了Crazy Train(Ozzy Osbourne)一段有名的結他riff。相信在香港,很難得有機會欣賞這麼經典的重金屬表演。

形象十分整齊的Andy is Typing只演奏了六首歌,有些歌曲是以木結他為主的power ballad,如「Lost Pearl」。但是好戲在後頭:最後的一首歌「Take A Break」只能形容為瘋狂,筆者從未看過速度這麼快的slap bass,鼓手的技巧也令人頭暈眼花。最後jam的一段,歌曲節奏一步一步地加快,音階一級一級地下跌…… 這叫做「技術性擊倒」。
– Elson Tong

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GOODFELLAS

1. Hey You
2. Move On
3. Nothing About My Way
4. Be With Me

Sporting bucket hats, Goodfellas began their short set with ‘Hey You’, a rough and ready blues rock number which ended up with singer/guitarist Po Kei jumping off stage and rolling around on the floor. The song had a sticky guitar and bass pattern which was intended to be a hook, but ended up sounding like a sinister carousel from a Scooby Doo cartoon, and wained on the ears relatively quickly. 

Move On’ was a hybrid of The Vaccines and Jet, with muddy guitars from Po Kei and Angus, racing tempos, and predictable bass lines by Egg. ‘Nothing About My Way’ felt like a more developed song, with ever-changing drum patterns by Jim and an aggressive vibe from the band, likening them to Test Icicles.

Closer ‘Be With Me’ was far less aggressive, and certainly missed Po Kei’s wails in the vain of Pelle Almqvist of The Hives, which were prominent in the previous three songs. It did however satisfy the raucous crowd towards the end, with chant-a-long ‘Woahs’, and the microphone being passed around the room. 

All in all, this was relatively nondescript garage rock, but their brutish performance and cranked up Orange amps were enough to make their set exciting and entertaining to watch, even if the songs themselves didn’t linger in the memory. 
– Chris Gillett

Good Fellas出道的時候,已算是香港幾支地下樂隊合成的supergroup,曾在皇后大道中H&M的櫥窗前向路上的行人表演。而筆者當時還是中學生,錯過了那個年代的樂壇,只能靠六、七年前上載的Youtube影片回味。

Sub Terra #1當晚,是一場暌違多年的重聚表演。這隊四人組合主打極簡主義的龐克音樂:歌詞易上口,結他和貝士彈著一模一樣的chords,地上也只看見單單一個distortion結他踏板。然而,他們活力充沛,超越了一般龐克樂隊演出時的氣氛,差不多達到The Who等殿堂級樂隊的標準。唱最後一首歌「Be With Me」時,出盡了所有絕招:包括脫衣、吶喊、甚至在人群不多的情況下stage dive!到了最後,雖然只唱了四首歌,但全場觀眾已通通被洗腦。
– Elson Tong

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FuzzCulture (India 印度)

1. Intro
2. Midnight Delinquents
3. Feeble Minds
4. With Open Eyes
5. War Drum
6. Hipster Smackdown
7. Wolf in Sheeps Clothing
8. Lesson Learned
9. Do We Get a Grammy Now?

Headliners Fuzz Culture were rounding off the night with their 3rd show in Hong Kong in as many nights before heading back to Delhi. Arsh Sharma (singer/guitars/electronics) and Srijan Mahajan (drums) pulled everyone in close from the fizzing and bubbling electronics of their ‘Intro’ before exploding into funk strut tracks ‘Midnight Delinquents’ and ‘Feeble Minds’ which both contained the same rhythm and feel as Daft Punks’ ‘Robot Rock’. 

With Open Eyes’ continued the mid-tempo funk, heavily reliant on backing track guitars which included some Indian influence. Sharma whispering “I see you get a little bit colder as I see you get a little bit older” repeatedly before shifting up a gear to create another catchy chorus hook. The vocal effect added close harmony to his voice, creating a thick tone associated with NuMetal acts such as Limp Bizkit or Nickleback, as well as including reverse piano samples to add a sense of Linkin Park to the mix of influences. Meanwhile, Mahajan’s drumming was straight throughout, almost playing the role of Rage Against The Machines Brad Wilk. His dampened snare allowed for a sharp and tight sound, whilst instilling faint ghost notes which kept his parts interesting.

Hipster Smackdown’ and ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ traded the Indian intricacies for heavier synth sounds and glitches, but certainly got the crowd jumping, singing and dancing along. Fuzz Culture concluded the night with tongue-in-cheek blowout ‘Do We Get a Grammy Now?’, a head-banger from the opening bar, with Sharma orchestrating a highly vocal crowd during this high-octane frenzy.

Whilst FuzzCulture’s sound may not cater to everyone’s tastes, they are decisive in making themselves a visual spectacle, and make sure the crowd go away singing at least one of their choruses long into the night, whether they like it or not. 

– Chris Gillett

歡迎蒞臨香港!來自印度德里的FuzzCulture是Sub Terra #1的特別嘉賓,這個組合的風格以電子音樂混合傳統重搖滾為主,可與九十年代的The Prodigy、Underworld等樂隊相提並論。長達九首歌的表演中,基本上沒有偏離這條路線:DJ和結他手Arsh Sharma在一部電腦上玩魔術,鼓手Srijan Mahajan打出十分扎實的節奏,台下的觀眾不顧一切地搖頭,齊整得像北韓軍隊大閱兵。當晚成員數目最少的一隊,竟然炮製出最大聲、最有層次的音樂。

FuzzCulture受到環球唱片的青睞,已跟該公司簽約,拍攝了無數影片,而他們的實力無疑是高人一等。作為一名鼓手,筆者十分欣賞Srijan Mahajan的演出,他打鼓時,節奏準確至0.00001秒,完全沒有誤差。再過幾年,去蘭桂坊開舞會時,播的會不會是FuzzCulture的歌曲呢?
– Elson Tong

Photos by ​Angus Leung.​
Photos of Goodfellas by ​Geoff Wong and Chi Ip​​.
由​​​Angus Leung攝影。
Poster by​ ​​​Heidi Lee​.
海報由​​​Heidi Lee​.

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