Live Review from Underground 84:
This was Dear Jane’s first appearance at the Underground. I thought that this was a little bit out of place because this band is no Underground band. They are very mainstream and have the backing of a well known recording company. If anything, why didn’t Dear Jane play at an Underground earlier on? I know they have released their second album not too long ago and I guess that the Underground is a good platform for them to promote their new CD ‘XOXO’.
So, I have told you that these guys are a mainstream band, but I haven’t yet elaborated. They are a four piece band that sings in Cantonese and are generally a pop rock band. This is something that you do not find very often in the mainstream of Hong Kong music. I know for a fact that one of the songs from their latest album got to number 1 on the Hong Kong charts. Can you believe it? A rock song beat all of the other canto-pop songs. This is a great feat because it opens up the door for more Hong Kong rock bands to try and aspire to become more like Dear Jane… recognition that we are all looking for.
So they are a four-piece: Adam plays guitar, Howie plays Bass, Tim does vocals and Jackal is on the drums. They are a multicultural lot of Chinese guys having lived in Canada, U.S., Singapore and of course Hong Kong. I have been lucky enough to interview these guys in person and I found out that are really a nice bunch of guys. Previously, I have seen a few of their music videos online and I was keen to see what their live performance would be like.
Their first song was really punk and had a rocking start. I was amazed by Tim’s crisp and clear vocals. Adam was flawless on the guitar, as was Howie. Jackal also blew me away with his intensity on the drums. They had a great stage presence which I was very envious of, not to mention that they also had a great rapport with the crowd. The crowd loved them. Their fast paced songs had a great tempo that made me want to get up and start dancing to it, and their slower songs were very melodic and once again Tim’s vocals pulled on my heartstrings. I knew that all the girls were fixated on him. He had it all, the good looks and a great voice. Though I couldn’t help looking at all of the members of the band as their musicianship was so good, I wanted to make sure that they weren’t miming. Haha! It was that good. When they played yet another slow song I was wondering by this stage where was my girlfriend because I wanted to give her ‘hugs and kisses’.
Their fifth song was supposed to be their last, it was yet again another quick paced catchy song. I couldn’t resist it any longer, I had to get up and dance along to it. So, I made my way to the middle of the crowd and within seconds of me bopping up and down, the people around me began to catch the fever too. All of a sudden there was pushing and shoving (the good type) and we had our own little moshpit in the centre of the dance floor. Dear Jane continued to work up the crowd and they responded by jumping around crazily. Check the photos for proof. The song ended and the crowd cheered for more, insisting that they play one more song.
The band looked to Chris B for the go-ahead and when she gave the nod the crowd went into hysterics. Dear Jane played another heavy song and the moshpit increased in size and intensity. What I loved most was that Tim jumped into the crowd while singing and joined our little moshpit. I was hooked on this song and I found myself singing along in Cantonese without really knowing what I was singing about. Afterwards I asked the guys what ‘fong dai ga’ meant. They told me that it meant a ‘big holiday’. Ah… it made sense to me now. ‘Fongga’ meaning holiday and ‘dai’ meaning big. This was definitely a highlight of the night for me. I will definitely go to see their live performance again. You shouldn’t miss it either. Don’t worry about not understanding Cantonese because their songs break through all communication barriers. They really get across their message very well… hugs and kisses xoxo
Cain (F.B.I. vocalist)