FWD Mellow Yellow Music Festival

05-07-19

First off, huge huge thanks to FWD for Title Sponsorship, their generosity made this event possible.
Thank you so much to Trinity Technology Ltd for sponsoring the amazing lights.
Thank you to Summerfest & Central Harbourfront for their wonderful support.
Thank you to Jimmy Chan & The Event Safety Shop.
Thank you to The Flying Pan for providing F&B. Thank you to Volcom, Island Wake & Spirit Haus for their cool stalls.
Thank you to our charity partners: Nesbitt Centre & ImpactHK.
Huge thanks to Yo for making the poster and dealing with many areas of the festival before, during and after the festival. Big round of applause for Ming and Laurence, who worked on the event, before, during and after.
Special thank you to Louise Fung, who created all of the related Mellow Yellow artwork.
Thanks to Martin Ng who designed the Mellow Yellow festival logo.
Thank you to Vivek Mahbubani for opening the festival.
Thanks to our media partners: Young Post and Billboard Radio China.
Thank you to Bun & Dixie for managing the stages. Thank you to Leon & Chi for the photos. Thank you to Ally and Laura for filming. Thanks to Abe, Jacky & the whole sound team for making it sound soooo good. Thanks to our amazing volunteers who either came in the night before, or helped on the day: Sunil, Dicky, Chloe, Ashley, Natty, Zoe, Ming, Tracy, Angie, Heidi & Ying.
Thank you to the amazing bands who performed – I love you all 3000.
首先要好多謝FWD今次嘅贊助,冇佢哋根本冇可能有呢一次嘅活動
多謝三一科技贊助咁靚嘅燈具
仲要多謝中環海濱活動空間嘅支援
多謝The Flying Pan提供飲食
多謝Volcom, Island wake & Spirit haus 咁正嘅攤位
多謝我哋嘅慈善夥伴 Nesbitt Centre 同 ImpactHK.
特別多謝Yo製作海報同埋喺活動入面處理各種事項
多謝Ming&Laurence喺活動嘅貢獻同努力
多謝Louise Fung 為 Mellow Yellow festival設計嘅不同作品
多謝Martin Ng為Mellow Yellow festival 設計logo
多謝Vivek Mahbubani為開幕儀式主持
多謝我地嘅傳媒朋友 Young Post 以及 Billboard Radio China
多謝Bun & Dixie為我地管理舞台
多謝Leon & Chi為我地影相
多謝 Ally and Laura為我地錄影
多謝Abe, Jacky同音效團隊十分出色嘅舞台音響
多謝Sunil, Dicky, Chloe, Ashley, Natty, Zoe, Ming, Tracy, Angie, Heidi & Ying.咁多位義工活動前後熱心嘅幫忙多謝咁多隊樂隊精彩嘅表演
我愛你地3000!!!
❤️ Chris B xx
Instagram @mellowyellowhk
Facebook @mellowyellowfestival
Mellow Yellow: http://mellowyellowmusic.com


MAIN STAGE


Brigitte Mitchell Jazz Trio

1. I can’t give you anything but love (cover)
2. Peel me a grape (cover)
3. Just One of those things (cover)
4. Devil May Care (cover)
5. God bless (cover)

This slick, hip ‘trio’ turned quartet would make the perfect pairing for your wine and steak dinner at a fancy restaurant in Hong Kong. Luckily, they also made for a great opener at the FW Mellow Yellow Festival. The soaring summer temperatures and relentless heat didn’t stop their lead singer from rocking a long black dress and 4 inch stilettos that would make Etta James feel proud. Their music was as smooth as their outfits as they serenaded the crowd with “I can’t give you anything but love.” The space in this song left plenty of room for little piano licks and bass fills that emulated a low tuned guitar. Brigitte’s voice showed great range as she moved effortlessly between tenor and alto while the drummer never missed a beat. This song was understandably safe and the crowd appreciated the time to warm up to their blend.

Their next song however was forgettable, as even the singer couldn’t remember the name of the artist who wrote it. It wasn’t until their next song, “Just One of Those Things” that things got cookin’. The keys player demonstrated his virtuosity during a two minute solo, and the song could have easily been the soundtrack for 007 minus the horns and big band effects. Brigitte’s voice was equally seductive as she lazily and effortlessly moved to each successive note. By their next song, “The Devil May Care,” as a jazz fan, it may have been time to order another drink, but if you were an unassuming family of four just hoping for a good time, you might have been looking for the exit.

I would have liked to see the band take more risks- and although the skatting and improvisation in the middle of the tune was more unpredictable and fun, it was far too self- conscious to fully captivate the audiences’ interest. It wasn’t until band’s final piece ‘God Bless’ that the band finally settled in both the pocket of the groove and the vibe of the event. The e.piano added a groovy flavour that got the kids next to me stomping and clapping to the beat.

A great band for jazz enthusiasts in an intimate low lit setting.
– Kyle Wagner


Ewan Ho & Movement

1.你食飯未
2.老司機
3.最高級的讚美
4.給你唱一首歌
5.等待
6.donkepele

Ewan Ho started his set by charmingly revealing that his band was ‘city folk.’ It was cute, charming and unassuming. It also made sense. Although all three members of the trio (a singer/ guitarist, bongo player and bassist) were from an urban setting, their Ray Bans, white shirts and checkered pants gave them the hometown feel you might find at a farmer’s market. With that said, their music was anything but folk. I would put it more in the category of ‘indie rock pop’ with standard chord patterns and simple, family sing-along lyrics.

During their first song, 你食飯未, they invited the audience to sing and clap along by innocently confessing, “Your clap not good enough. Try again. I trained my whole life to speak English.” The audience laughed and the lead singer knew he was charming. As for the musicianship in the song itself, it was equally jovial and catchy, and made me think of a group of good friends riding horses through the Mongolian steppe. Their second song 老司機 sounded exactly like their first but featured a cute call and response between the lead singer and bongo player. I would have liked to see a b- section or bridge in this song, but unlike the first band, Ewan Ho clearly valued fun and audience interaction over musical virtuosity. And why not? The audience seemed to love it.

最高級的讚美 featured a slower tempo and actually had me anxiously awaiting a more creative melody. But alas, Ewan started with the same “la la las” featured in his first few tunes. I wouldn’t be surprised if song writing sessions for the band featured a group of close friends sharing cheap beer in a makeshift garage.

給你唱一首歌:, their fourth song finally deviated from the predictability of the first four melodies as the guitar held longer chords and the verses slowly built. In 等待, their fifth song, the singer broke into a rap mid-way. If you snapped a photo at this point, it would capture the band’s vibe; earnest, honest and genuinely wanting to connect their songs to more universal themes. Give them some time and they just might reach that goal; however it’s gonna take at least 1,000 more song writing sessions in the makeshift garage to reach a larger audience. Their biggest hit ‘Donkepele,’ came at the end of their set and resembled a similar feel and chord progression to Jason Mrazs’ ‘I’m Yours.’ The one exception was the melody, which as mentioned in the beginning fit the band’s theme of ‘family sing along.’

A great band for fraternity parties and sports bars.
– Kyle Wagner


Mark Tai (戴晉揚)

1. 別說如果
2. 呷醋
3. 認罪
4. 逆流造化
5. 花落誰家
6. 假使世界原來不像你預期 – 方皓文 (cover)

If you looked up ‘singer/ songwriter’ on Google, you might see Mark Tai’s image featured amongst the greats of Dylan, Lennon, McCartney, and Elton John. I honestly thought his songwriting was that good.

He started his 30 minute set by admitting that he usually does ‘Canto-pop.’ And although I admit with chagrin that I am not a Cantonese speaker, it was easy for me to see why his music has such universal appeal. His first song 別說如果, showed off his catchy melodies and great vocal range as he moved from chest to head voice with ease. He blended verses nicely into each chorus, with short and catchy pre- choruses that got the audience swaying their heads from side to side. 呷醋 gave Mark a chance to show off even greater vocal range as he broke into little falsetto licks, with a slight grin as if to say, ‘this is easy for me.’ Mark started his fourth song with a kazoo that hummed out the melody. Had he continued with the kazoo, it might have felt like a circus, but given Mark’s professionalism, he transitioned from kazoo into a peaceful, lightly strummed guitar. 認罪 had a funky Bossa Nova feel that was groovy enough to be different, yet just mellow enough to be warm and inviting.

What struck me most about Mark Tai was his ability to write catchy songs without sounding trite. He sang with passion and sincerity and left just enough lingering in songs like 逆流造化 to keep the audience guessing as to what would come next. His final original 花落誰家, featured on local tv, could be the soundtrack for a number of sitcoms, as it speaks to universal themes of love, longing, heartache, and reimagining.

Mark’s songwriting is confident and connected, and leaves you feeling good about life.
– Kyle Wagner


CircleGuitar & Fiski

1 Havana + Bad Guy (cover)
2 Skinny Love, Sad Song (cover and original)
3 Attention (cover)
4 Kill This 7 shots, fake love, 7 Rings Mashup (cover)
5 All About The Bass mashup (cover)
6 Someone u loved, like u and down (cover)
7 Free (original)

The main stage at Mellow Yellow was full of delights: this incredible newly created duo is led by Circle, a well-known busker who has over 5,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, with videos that garner thousands of views under the name of CircleGuitar. However, it is safe to say that she is more than your average street performer: combining a loop pedal and her powerful, compelling vocals, she presented a fluid and engaging set of covers and originals with great melodies throughout.

She mentioned on stage that her emotions inspires her original song-writing, while her experience as a busker have made her adept at blending covers to make a show that never feels boring. The first track mixed Camila Cabello’s Havana and Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy, giving a nod to two of the hottest female performers of the moment. Female empowerment seemed to be the theme of the show, which also blended in Meghan Trainor’s anthem All About The Bass and Ariana Grande’s Seven Rings.

With Circle’s newest collaborator Fiski on keyboards, the sound was fuller and added depth to the chameleonic music. It also gave Circle time to mesmerise the audience with her voice, which has been honed by years of performing with a minimal set-up. It is clear that great things are on the horizon for this duo, who bring both girl power and high quality musicianship to Hong Kong’s live music landscape.
– Rosie Chan


12.8 (Twelve.Eight)

1. Hear on my own
2. Take 1
3. Find Out Why
4. Fly
5. 1960

As day turned to night and office workers began to filter down to Central Harbourfront to catch the festival’s evening entertainment programme. 12.8 greeted them with sunny washes of indie pop guitar laced with evocative piano. The perfectly formed pop of the Beach Boys and the emotionally driven songwriting of Mew equally came to mind as the band sailed through five uplifting tracks.

The set’s high point was closer 1960, which combined a shuffling beat with skulking bass, channelling the emotive rock of Deathcab for Cutie. The keys emulated horns against crashing cymbals as a singalong ‘na na na’ refrain echoed throughout the stage. Like a cross between Brendan Urie and Ben Gibbard, the singer was a real showman, leading the crowd in clap-along sections and nailing every note.

In all, the group came across as a really tight, creative unit, sprinkling quirkier elements – like the keyboards – alongside more obvious influences. Testament to the band’s dedication, as soon as they exited the stage, they packed up their gear and headed to the airport to fly to perform at Taiwan’s Wake Up Festival. Make sure you don’t sleep on 12.8.
– El Jay


Another Kitchen

1. 示威
2. 看不清
3. 我不去想
4. 零瑕疵
5. Play Tonight

Mellow Yellow’s penultimate act, Another Kitchen brought the kind of set that showed they are not just another band. Opener 示威 used 90s indies guitar, which carried over to 看不清. Kimi on vocals was fun to watch as she bopped around her three bandmates on stage. 我不去想 was a more soulful song, featuring a fast guitar solo from Charles, bringing a flavour of classic grunge into the mix.

零瑕疵 changed things up with funky guitar and a neat slap bass laid down by Kit, echoing the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. As proof of the band’s danceability, a toddler wearing a superhero cape began dancing at the foot of the stage to the cool sounds oozing from the speakers. Final song Play Tonight brought a touch of ska combined with soaring vocals, which were a little hard to make out in the mix. Another Kitchen are one of those bands who make playing music look like fun, and these four friends sparked joy throughout the Harbourfront.
– El Jay


R.O.O.T (Running Out Of Time)

1. Walk the Walk
2. Boys and Girls
3. Waking Up
4. Fly Me Out of Here
5. Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics cover)
6. Best Part (cover)
7. Para salud (LMF cover)

It felt truly special to be among the crowd at Mellow Yellow, watching headline act R.O.O.T beneath a summer night’s skyline. Fronted by Jan Curious, of Chochukmo fame, the band was as slick and well-rehearsed as you might expect from one of Hong Kong’s brightest indie stars.

With a jazz-inflected, expansive sound, the band mixed originals, such as the rockier Walk the Walk, with a host of well-chosen covers, including the Eurythmics’ classic Sweet Dreams, which came draped in mystique with a superb guitar solo. One of the city’s most capable showmen, Curious held the crowd in the palm of his hand, dancing among rays of light one minute before squatting at the front of the stage to heighten the intimacy the next. Pairing neo-jazz vibes with a chill 90s flavour, the band showed all the flair and charisma of a performer like Jamiroquai.

The band tipped their hat to fellow Hongkongers LMF on Para Salud, which paired the rapped section with snapping snares and a repeated piano motif. Attempts at call and response melodies with the audience were met with varying degrees of success, but the crowd stayed enraptured throughout the set. With superb musicianship that made for gorgeously textured, nuanced soundscapes, there was nothing not to love about Root. Here’s hoping there’ll be plenty more opportunities to catch their shows in the near future.
– El Jay


BUSKING STAGE


Dixie Lynne

1. what am I to you
2.better things
3. glass castle
4. can’t let you go again
5. unstoppable (cover)
6. i’d rather go blind (cover)

18-year-old singer-songwriter Dixie Lynne, a YP favorite, was first to perform a spellbinding set of acoustic originals and covers on the Busking Stage. Her angelic voice is like a breath of fresh air – especially on a scorching hot day. Our favorite was What Am I to You, a song which Dixie had only finished a couple of months ago
– Veronica Lin (Young Post)


Gryphon Music 乘鷲音樂

1. 雨
2. 以後
3. Cafe
4. 我堂堂韓國回流男神
5. 告別

From Cantopop to Mandarinpop, Gryphon Music does it all. Lead vocalist Gwen Sze’s voice is absolutely to die for, and her ability to channel her emotions and put them all into her music is incredible.
– Veronica Lin (Young Post)


Charlie Chan & Watergold

1. 習慣了沒
2. 填上空白
3. Just the two of us (cover)
4. Taking a chance of love (cover)
5. 這首歌
6. Yes girl (cover)

Charlie Chan performed at the busking stage at the Mellow Yellow Festival. The young busker composed her own songs to share her feelings in life. One of her songs was for Hong Kongers who are fighting for their hometown, and she encourages them to never stop.

I know protecting Hong Kong is very tiring, frustrating and makes one feel hopeless, but when seeing everyone doing the same beside me I realize that I am not alone. This song is for all the Hong Kongers who work so hard and to show my appreciation for them.

In the song, Charlie expresses her admiration and encouragement for Hong Kong people by narrating the difficulties encountered and the resilience of them.

“Despite all the obstacles and hurdles, let’s stand together to protect Hong Kong,” she sang in Cantonese.
– YP Cadet Chloe Lau (Young Post)


JennaChord

1. 很想討厭你 (cover)
2. 誰叫何里玉 (Cover)
3. 同舟
4. 甜蜜倒帶
5. 為他著迷
6. 告一段落

Review pending from Young Post.


Banyan Bay Ensemble

1. whiskey before breakfast
2. Big sciota
3. Nine pound hammer
4. abeline
5. paradise
6. deep river blues
7. They’re red hot

Review pending from Young Post.


Hunting Unicorns

1: Before you Woke Up
2: Half Asleep
3: Just Me
4: Above my Door
5: Satellites
6: To Fall In Love
7: Demons (Imagine Dragon cover)
8: Proud to be a Hipster

Soul-catching jazz band Hunting Unicorns made a later, but certainly not lesser, appearance on the Busking Stage. Kyle Wagner, frontman of the group, charmed the audience with his catchy renditions and irresistible grooves.
– YP Cadet Taina Puddefoot (Young Post)


SPAM

Yellow (Coldplay cover)
Down (James cover)
A Grace Disguised
Making Out to Jobim
Material Man
Heroes (Alesso cover)
Always Remember Us This Way (Lady Gaga cover)

The Busking Stage’s headlining band attracted a crowd of fans befitting a top-billed act. Opening with a “tweaked” cover of Coldplay’s tearjerker Yellow (“look at how they make char siu“), SPAM embraced the fun and casual feeling in the air that night at the festival. Charismatic frontman Aaron Pan served up some of his infamous banter, cheered on by a crowd held rapt to his every word. As a cheeky nod to his day job at FWD – Mellow Yellow’s sponsor – he even dropped in a few well-timed jokes about insurance packages on stage without feeling cheesy.
But there were moments of heartfelt intensity too: especially during original song A Grace Disguised, which deals with loss, as well as a wry take on consumerism with Material Man, and romantic self-deprecation on Making Out to Jobim. The energy the band brought radiated to the crowd and drew in new fans who had just finished watching R.O.O.T’s slot on the main stage. When it was time to say goodnight, the crowd wouldn’t let SPAM slip away without an encore: they chose to sign off stylishly with the upbeat Heroes, made famous by Alesso, and Lady Gaga’s Always Remember Us This Way. It was, as Chris B summarised: “A fantastic end to a wonderful day of music and fun.
– Rosie Chan


Photos by Leon Che’ Clark & Chi. 由Leon Che’ Clark & Chi攝影。Poster by Yo Ho.海報由 Yo Ho。

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