What an amazing night! Eager live music fans were at the Hub to watch the five finalist bands and the air was electric throughout the evening. We all felt like it was one of the most memorable nights in Hong Kong’s live music history. Thanks to the amazing judges: Jordie Guzman (Studio B Productions), Jan Lo (Qiu Hong) and Simon Gaudry (Envol et Macadam) for giving their full attention to the performances and helping us to choose the winning band, who will fly to Canada to perform at the Envol et Macadam festival in September this year. Thanks to Leon for his amazing photos. Big thanks to our reviewer Dan. Thanks to Ally, Laura & Kate for video duties. Thanks to Louise for all the artwork. Lastly, I want to express my utmost gratitude to the team members working so hard that night: Bun, Laurence, Zoe and Yo. I couldn’t have done it without all of you guys.
Wreckage of Progress, you guys are going to CANADA!
真係一個令人興奮既一晚！一眾狂熱既音樂粉絲係The Hub 收睇五隊樂隊既決賽！個晚感覺簡直就係香港音樂表演史上最難 忘既一晚！首先多謝幾位評判 – Jordie Guzman (Studio B Productions), Jan Lo (Qiu Hong) 同 Simon Gaudry (Envol et Macadam) 佢地盡心盡力睇表演同揀出將會係九月飛去加拿大表演既冠軍樂隊。多謝Leon為我地拍攝既精彩照片。多謝 評論員Dan。多謝拍片嘅Ally, Laura 同 Kate。多謝Louise既嘅作品。最後，我想多謝嗰晚好努力嘅隊員：Bun, Laurence, Zoe同埋Yo。冇你地我根本做唔成件事。
Wreckage of Progress, 加拿大之旅一路順風！
❤️ Chris B xx
The evening’s entertainment is kicked off in a positive way by Virt, a young bunch of local guys who boast some seriously impressive chops. Track one Protocol begins with a slow dreamy intro, before funky bass moves into an epic feel that is Muse and Dream Theater in equal quantities, along with obligatory atmospheric keys and all very post-rock. A super guitar solo demonstrating the player’s virtuosity is followed by a quirky piano solo that then develops into a screamo part. Wearing their influences on their collective sleeves perhaps, but with well thought-out parts and spot-on timing it’s nevertheless very accomplished. And that’s just the first track! Track two Weirdo also offers a slow build-up, before kicking into a higher gear with another excellent Matt Bellamy inspired solo. I love the way these guys create a microverse within each song. 3.01 am is jazzy and funky with a cool, smooth feel. Impressive stuff, as is the way they gel as such a tight unit. Quirky and spiky, it washes over the audience before ending on piano. Last track 100% Efficiency is another funky workout, very tight rhythmically if less distinctive vocally, with piano, guitar and drums blending nicely. There’s a long fusion-esque solo which leads to a math-rock mid-8 which is again very accomplished. Nice electric piano and the drummer gives it loads before bringing the set to an end. Good stuff, boys.
– Dan Creffield
Wreckage of Progress
Beneath the Truth
Game of Throne
Such a Liar
When Wreckage of Progress take to the stage, I can’t tell whether the mask one of the guys is wearing is a rather unimaginative Slipknot tribute or whether he’s actually got a bit of a cold. Anyway, combined with their batwing-shaped guitars, I’d bet my immortal soul Slipknot has been a factor one way or another. But these thoughts are dispelled when they kick off with their impressive screamo-inspired set with Beneath the Truth, which is big and melodic, featuring a super catchy mid-8. Good start I though – but the singer seemed dissatisfied with the audience’s level of participation, however, urging us to get “fuc*ing crazy”. To be honest, I was too preoccupied enjoying their set, which was pretty awesome. The energy, great singing and playing, blue guitars, red hair, double-time metal rhythms and synchronised head-banging – what’s not to like? Also a shout out to the sound guys at this stage – they really did a great job in controlling and presenting the best possible mix, never an easy task with this much noise and distortion going on. Announcing the third track, Game of Throne the singer declared, “you’re a shit audience!” – rarely a good strategy for winning judges over. Anyway, all is forgiven for next song Lost, and final track Such a Liar, a huge and bombastic way to go out, in which I can hear Sabbath, Linkin Park and other good stuff of that ilk. Very tight, very melodic, total commitment – Lauren, you missed out! These guys deserve Donnington.
– Dan Creffield
Two of Us
Misnomer alert – noisy is a relative term, and compared to the previous chaos these guys are positively demur. But rock is littered with inappropriately named bands – Thin Lizzie? Not thin and no Lizzies. Metallica? OK that one works. Noisy Charlie can really play though, in spite of the Gretsch-wielding guitarist’s broken arm. First track Two of Us is perfect Canto/indie-pop, helped out greatly by the singer’s soaring vocals and excellent guitar solo, which builds up deliciously. Insomnia is delicate, mesmeric and beautiful – the ultimate shoe gazing experience. And what a voice – like a screamo Pavarotti. Last track Split has a lovely trip-hop guitar motif with perfect tremolo effect, with the singer holding a knowing finger to his lips for the audience to delay their applause until the song comes back in for a final refrain. Cute. And while they may be the least impactful visually – they kind of look like they just strolled out a 7-Eleven – and there’s plenty of trendy polymath trickery, beneath which is real soul and emotion … I was blown away. These guys should be at Glastonbury, or at least Clockenflap. They are also kind of sensitive muso types – if my daughter had to date musicians (perish the thought), I may give my reluctant approval (obviously not with all of them, she’s not that kind of girl) – certainly ahead of the previous “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter” guys anyway.
– Dan Creffield
A Little Piece of the Sun
Better Than This
The Malevolent Shadow
I saw Cracklebox for the first time a few weeks ago at Grappa’s Cellar (save Grappa’s!) and thought they were awesome. And tonight, with singer Tim resplendent in satin red shirt and tartan trousers, there was really only one winner for me. The guys had to impress the judges with their music, however, not only me with their wardrobe. But seriously, Cracklebox is in a different league, exuding pop nous like Chanel No 5 (or Brut more likely). Infectious, bouncy, melodic, lyrically strong, A Little Piece of the Sun is a pop classic and would grace any stage in the world. Track 2 Risk Factor is a funky pop number in a minor key with a bit of an 80s feel – nothing wrong with that. Huge and catchy, it even reminds me of Pink Floyd in places. Better Than This is a little rockier, with a bluesy touch and super melodic piano. Sweet. And to bring things to an operatic conclusion, The Malevolent Shadow is a lovely slice of melodrama with a touch of the Andrew Lloyd Webber about it. Could listen to these guys all day.
– Dan Creffield
Second time Planetrox finalists Sagas ply a knowing line between classic Canto-pop and indie – a recipe always sure to find favour in a city weaned on a diet of Anita Mui and Alan Tam yet keen to savour a wider menu of more sophisticated musical dishes (OK enough of the food metaphors). With strong stage presence they explode into first track Black Sheep which immediately gets the audience’s attention, boasting strong beats, memorable singalong bilingual chorus and plenty of attitude. Nice. Second track Oh Why is equally catchy, heartfelt with some great lead guitar playing. Third song Paradise Falls starts as a piano ballad but quickly develops a cinematic feel, which makes sense when you learn it was apparently inspired by the Pixar animated film “Up”, and the band end on All Alone, a spiky, funky well-orchestrated piece again incorporating flowing melodies and their favourite themes of love and redemption. You can see why these guys have now appeared twice at this event – they definitely have something distinctive and special. Keep at it boys, I sense that your time will come.
– Dan Creffield
Winners of Planetrox China Final 2019 Planetrox 2019 中國總冠軍 － Wreckage of Progress
Congratulations to Wreckage of Progress – crowned the champions through a unanimous decision by the judges and public votes, they will be going to Quebec, Canada to play at indie music festival Envol et Macadam with their expenses covered!
恭喜 Wreckage of Progress 在通過評判的決定及大家既投票所得出既賽果之後獲得冠軍，並將會前往加拿大魁北克市參與獨立音樂節 Envol et Macadam ! 他們的機票連食宿費用更是全免！
Photos by Leon Che’ Clark. 由Leon Che’ Clark攝影。Poster by Louise Fung.海報由 Louise Fung。