Live Review from 14th Year Anniversary Party
3. Queen of Diamond Hill
5. Blue Pill Story
7. Grunge Love
Thirteen years after the first time they played The Underground, indie quartet 22Cats made a triumphant, eagerly awaited return and received an ecstatic response. Singer Chan Lam-por’s vocals were barely audible on opener 真實的嘴臉, which recalled an early REM-meets-Smashing Pumpkins sound with its blasts of distorted guitar, melancholic tone and rough, DIY feel. An unusual proggy mid-section touched upon elements of The Mars Volta in its contrast of loud-soft extremes. The band sounded heavier than Teenage Riot, Lam-por’s other, better-known group, yet was soaked in the same 90s-yearning nostalgia. Guitarist Chan Kwun-kit’s phaser pedal ending sounded extra effective, as was his sinister, unsettling motif on the excellently titled, Velvet Underground-aping Queen of Diamond Hill
The frontman’s off-kilter, low vocals had distinct echoes of Jeremy Enigk, especially when layered with the emo pop punk guitar of 性句號. Adding an underlying sadness and wistfulness to the music, his insouciant drawl grew to shouts of “Liar!” on the 80s post-punk Queen… as the music beneath barrelled towards insanity. From odes to dead cats to letters of love, the band ploughed through seven tracks, including the interestingly structured 如果就這樣離開這世界好嗎?, which used an uncharacteristically upbeat, jaunty melody alongside a rapid, skittering hi-hat, sweeping, sunny chords and creative basslines. On softer number Blue Pill Story, it wasn’t clear if Lam-por was making mistakes in the arpeggios, or whether the melody was deliberately designed to sound charmingly atonal. Guitarists Kwun-kit’s voice was much louder than his bandmate’s, evoking the likes of Dutch Uncles.
Last song Grunge Love channelled Siamese Dream-era Pumpkins with rumbling bass and thick distortion on the chords – Lam-por’s voice even took on Billy Corgan’s trademark nasal quality. The very 90s track featured a deceptive ending, before the brief silence was broken with a final meltdown of an unusual soundscape of effects before an abrupt, well-rehearsed ending. 22Cats’ richly textured set showed there is no end to the creativity of Chan Por-lam and his many musical friends.
– El Jay
Live Review from Underground 83:
This was 22 Cats third performance at The Underground and they did not disappoint. Along with their great fan base, their catchy melodies were driven forward by unique instrumental solos. Their confidence in a live performance setting was clear, easily commanding the stage and audience. Their grunge style provided a darker sound than the previous bands, with their vocals giving way to the energy of their performance. Where they are most successful is in keeping the audience on their toes, shifting tempos and sounds effortlessly. Having first played at Underground 8, their success at Underground 83 shows there are no signs of them slowing down anytime in the future.
Message from 22Cats about CD Launch Party A:
“The garden of Underground is the garden of love.
We feel love.” – 22Cats
Live Review from Underground 30:
A schizophrenic cocktail of widely varied pieces and fragments of music, they all seem to know what they’re doing (but they’re the only ones). the music easily carries you with it into their crazy-land, which is admittedly a pretty nice and interesting place. At times it’s hard to tell if you’re on a carousel or visiting a freak show. One thing is for sure, they’re highly captivating. I keep wondering what could possibly follow what they just did, and I keep finding out, much to my amazement. It’s quite rare for a band to be so unpredictable – bored is the last thing you’d ever be when they’re around. I just can’t figure them out, which only multiplies their appeal.
Live Review from Underground 8:
22Cats, I saw them last year and offered to review their set for Underground 8. It was like a flashback to Rockit for me. Polished, uptempo and tight. Yin on bass must be one of the best bass players in town. 22Cats packed out Venue with their fans. As their set progressed, the band made full use of their space and saved some Hendrix-style theatrics for the finale. This is exactly the band I want to see at an Underground event.