Message from Bone Table about CD 2 Launch Party A:
It was great to be playing at the launch of the Underground CD #2. Of course we missed having our fourth member – Mr Robert Prevendar, but it was good to play and celebrate being on the CD! We felt pretty good after the gig and certainly we enjoyed watching the other bands as well.
The Underground has supported us over the past three years, and we’ve always enjoyed our Underground gigs at the Edge, The Cavern and Club CiXi. The Underground has done more to support local Hong Kong bands than anyone else in Hong Kong. We hope you can continue for another 5 years and get more bands to have a go and make a noise.
Our setlist for the show was:
Bullet Proof Black Sedan (on the CD!)
Threw It All Away
Taxi to Wan Chai (also on the CD!)
Live Review from Underground 70:
Another 80s sounding band. Bone Table has the star-quality look, blues in their bassline, a post punk edge and a Nick Cave roughness. They immediately drew a crowd, and I immediately enjoyed watching Maggie Chang, the bass player, swinging behind the raunchy duo (the two frontmen both sing and play guitar) Robert Prevendar and Adrian Furby. Well, I know for a fact that Maggie also plays bass in El Destroyo, local surf-music rocker, so the country swing should come naturally. Their influence are marked clearly on the sleeves, 80’s post punk weird stuff, moving to a 60s psychedelic number like an updated Door song, then a ballad that sounded either like it’s from the deep south of the US of A, or from U2’s Rattle And Hum out-takes. They also have on their portfolio a song about “taxi taking me to Wanchai”, sung by the drummer. Bone Table is a versatile great fun band, excellent skill and clearly very experienced. I assume they expect 5 out of 5 most days, and on an off-day, 6 out of 5 just because they could also be weird-ish.
Live Review from Underground 53:
- 1. Bullet-proof Black Sedan
2. Giant Electric Flying Insect
3. Takamatsu Joe
4. Like A Man
5. You’re Wrong, You’re Wrong
6. Taxi to Wanchai
7. Get Moving On
8. Sugar Baby
If I was considering becoming a female homosexual from the Isle of Lesbos for the first band I quickly clambered back over the fence for the strong male presence emanating from this band (No offense to the sole female member. I saw you, too.) Clad in western cowboy shirts, holding beautiful Gretsch and Rickenbacker guitars and surrounded by a stylish group of followers, the musicians immediately signalled themselves as twisted sticks of dark, sexy genius. (BTW, it’s worth checking the Internet for the bands associated with Rickenbacker guitars- The Beatles, the Byrds, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Steppenwolf, Tom Petty, The Church, REM, The Jam, The Smiths, etc- and Gretsch guitars- Eddie Cochrane, Elvis, Chet Atkins, George Harrison, The Velvet Underground, The Stray Cats, AC/DC, The Living End, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, The White Stripes, U2, The Cult, the Raconteurs etc.)
If Bone Table were a film, they wouldn’t just be a classic Western. They’d be a hybrid mixed of genres underpinned by black satire. Like a Coen Brothers film, the surface looks deceptive, just a bunch of cowboys and cowgirls, clean and simple country folk doing an honest, Christian days’ work. Then they play. Primal forces, counterculture philosophies and black humour see them evolve into dark, blasphemous fiends. The binary opposites of the Western film genre are at play – good vs evil, wild vs civilized, the community vs the lone outsider, violent men vs castrating women – but so too are the grotesque elements of the horror movie, comic farce and the weird truth of the avant-garde. Translating this to music, I have my theory about just how come Bone Table make music they way they do. (*It starts with a UFO crashing in the Arizona Desert some decades ago. Three life forms emerge and take on human forms, 3 men and 1 woman.*) The rest is hidden deep in their songs. You just have to know how to read them…
Bullet-proof Black Sedan was loud, growled and mean. Supported by some brilliant noises from drums and bass, Rob on vocals scared the hell out of me, but I loved it. (*The aliens must have met Jim Morrison on drugs in the Arizona desert, together with some of the Beat poets and Hunter S. Thompson on Highway 63.*)
Giant Electric Flying Insect had an ominous a narrative as the title suggests. Moving from the mundane of ‘his baby last Saturday night’ to an alien creature ‘from another world’ (*a topic they would have intimate knowledge of*), complete with weird wah-wah pedal effect for the supernatural connection, the dark ones weaved and spun out their unique musical tapestry. A bizarre blues punk mix I choose to express somewhat simply because it’s hard to find words for complex things – interesting , dark, unexpected, good.
A change of singer for Takamatsu Joe saw Adrian both execute the song confidently as well as confess to executing some guy with a knife. The genre borrows from one of those country western and blues narratives where passion or revenge results in a killing which will haunt the perpetrator forever. This was overlaid again with Bone Table’s contemporary weird genius touch.
Like A Man returned to Rob’s growling, dark vocals and music that is a sublime mix of a zillion different musical influences – the counterculture 60’s rock feel with 70’s pop narratives (the tragic story variety where someone ends up dead in a river or the guy/ gal who spurned their one true lover is now very lonely. Nick Cave did a brilliant piss-take of this with Where the Wild Roses Grow and ended up killing Kylie Minogue – yeay, Nick!). The vibes also were very 80’s punk (think The Clash) and revivalist 80’s and 90’s blues/ rockabilly/ new wave. Ominous, snarling.
You’re Wrong, You’re Wrong saw Adrian sing about some woman breaking his heart, slamming the door and walking out on him. A silly, bitter song about revenge that skipped along as a lighter country and western/blues number. You saw every CIA agent in the audience look concerned when Adrian threatened to bring down the airliner carrying the bad girlfriend. (*All evidence here indicates the four aliens must have hitched a ride to Nashville and Memphis and met Elvis.*)
No hint of country music next. A punk-inspired loud, rude and funny Taxi Take Me to Wanchai, perhaps based on the dumb T-shirts you see. The drum guy, James bashed out the rhythms and delivered a barrage of words, while the guitars belted out the punk-inspired chords. (*By now a few songs clearly demonstrate the Bone Table extra-terrestrials went to New York, saw the Velvet Underground and then watched punk emerge in New York and London.*)
Rob’s vocals were heard again on the fast, weird Get Moving On. Tight bass playing and drums, jakka-jakka rhythms and an early 80’s U.S. punk feel. Indie dreams are made of this type of brilliant musicianship. BTW, this guy even looks a bit like John Turturro in O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Sugar Baby was introduced as ‘an American folk song’ and featured a brilliant rock country guitar sound. The dark history of the Appalachian folk ballads full of murder, incest, rape and other dirty dealings came to mind. I didn’t catch the lyrics but it felt like a story of bad stuff going down. A steady, tribal build in the drums and bass leading to some primeval screaming also told me so.
Their final song of the set Sorry saw Adrian having problems with ‘his baby’ again and dealing with it with some loud, fast, carthartic punk rock. I reckon it fixes everything, too. (*The four space people watched New Wave kick in, together with the country/ blues and rockabilly revival in the 80’s. Not too sure what 90’s influences they vacuumed in so I’ll skip over that and then they morphed organically into a band in Hong Kong, whereupon all the sounds held inside just oozed out of their atoms in a big combined goo. This is a true story carefully researched.*)
Bone Table’s music is simultaneously blasphemous and genuine; decadent and simple; traditional and rebellious; mystic and rude; philosophical and childish; beautiful and disturbing. Vicious streaks in this band’s lyrics masquerade behind a sweet melody or what you thought was a known, safe music genre. They catch you off-guard and you try to recover without showing it . Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds used to do this, except Bone Table is missing that homoerotic dimension of the Cave persona. Well, it is Hong Kong. That stuff’s illegal here. OK, shouldn’t have said homoerotic..now I’m thinking of Fiona from Pick Pak Zhai again…
Isobel S. Saunders
Live Review from Underground 36:
Well! What a surprise it was to see Robert and Bone Table back on stage. I have not seen them live for a while, and what a difference those few months have made. It could have been the sound system, but these days the vocals and the music really come together. I feel their sound is a cross between early Talking Heads and your friendly neighborhood blues band. With vocal leads split between laid back blues delivery (Robert) and aggressive rock delivery (Adrian), the band has the flexibility to be quite creative with their song writing. It was the perfect band to go with my last beer of the night