Whether “they’re incredible in person” or “I heard they suck live”, music lovers know you shouldn’t judge a band til you’ve seen it IRL. That’s where The Underground comes in. But for those who were out of town, home nursing a bee sting or simply forgot to turn up on the night (for shame!), these videos capture a flavour of what went on. Here are The Underground’s top ten videos of all time.
10. Supper Moment – 對岸對望 @ Underground 85, The Melting Pot
Representing Cantonese pop-rock at number 10 are Supper Moment. Their mellow, accessible crooning has developed a sizeable following and they’re looking comfortable on the big stage nowadays, as compared to the much-missed subterranean confines of The Melting Pot here.
9. The Sleeves – Sex Museum @ Underground CD 3 party, The Cavern
Sex sells, a point not lost on Brit rockers The Sleeves. Dating from the era of frontman Shirtless Stew, this video documents their pulsating megahit Sex Museum at its most primordial and visceral – complete with warpaint and disco balls but sadly no Keith in a dress. Can you handle this?
8. Berri Txarrak – Berri Txarrak (Backstage) @ Backstage
Berri Txarrak – “the Basque country” by name and extraction – deliver a sharp, gritty and passionate performance, holding nada back, topped off by aptly noir cinematography. The band has made a name for its polished hardcore but this is joyous, old-skool punk that’ll put a sneer on anyone’s lips.
7. The Cambodian Space Project – Unsatisfied @ Underground 96, Rockschool
Those Googlers who wanted to know if Cambodia has a space program were rewarded with something far more intriguing. This seven-piece, which blends folk and blues with a traditional Cambodian female vocal, must be seen and heard to be believed. Guaranteed to make you smile.
6. Winners of Zippo Limited Edition Lighters (Underground 100) @ Underground 100, Grappa’s Cellar
A video of a lucky draw in the top six? I guess folks wanted to win real bad.
5. Senseless – 愛情陷阱 Love Trap featuring 鬍鬚女 WuSoLui @ Underground 100, Grappa’s Cellar
Headbanging Cantonese metal by Love Trap, who allow their show to be stolen by on-stage guest WuSoLui, AKA Ladybeard – the cross-dressing, pro-wrestling, cosplaying, bearded white guy who really, really digs heavy music. Grappa’s was aflame.
4. Thinking Out Loud – Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine @ Girls with Guitars 5, Backstage
An homage to the transformational power of ROCK that could have been penned by Jack Black but in fact features none other than Chris B, the fairy godmother of The Underground. Speaking as a former Thinking Out Loud drummer (I survived spontaneous combustion) this was always a favourite.
3. Kolor – 回味 @ Underground 86, Rockschool
Another local Cantorock favourite captured at The Underground before catapulting to widespread popularity – nowadays racking up appearances big and small while laying down a new record this year. Look at how those hairstyles have evolved!
2. Planetrox China Final 2013 Documentary @ Backstage
Get to know some of Hong Kong’s best bands in this documentary, which mashes together live footage and interviews with the nice young noise-making folks from Fame, Shotgun Politics, Dr Eggs, Say Mosquito and Synergy, after they made it to the Planetrox regional final.
1. 鬍鬚女 Wu So Lui – 明愛暗戀補習社 Love Tutorial @ Underground Heavy 3, Rockschool
Cross-dressing metallurgist Ladybeard reigns strapless – and almost beardless – in this early appearance from his singing career. With the hairy Lolita now forging his star in Japan after conquering Hong Kong and Taiwan – racking up more than 70,000 Facebook followers in the process – it was almost inevitable he’d take top spot in this countdown.