Live review from The Underground “Back to its Roots” Festival Part 2:
1. This is a love song for yourself
2. How to disappear
3. Mrs. Nightingale
4. If I were a Magician
Jing Wong took the stage next and showed us sometimes, you don’t need a full band to keep people engaged. Armed with an electric guitar and an army of pedals, he used his natural inner groove and style to carry the songs.
Wong launched into his first song This is a Love Song for Yourself, A strong early Maroon 5-ish foot stomper and head bobber. You wouldn’t fault him for not moving around so much with his lack of band, but he really owned the incredibly large stage.
How to Disappear could have been mistaken for being a Hendrix song, with his generous use of fuzz. With a bit of Purple Haze, Jimi grit in his vocals you kinda wished he had a backing band. But no need, cause a clever use of looping pedals helped create a bigger sound. A small crowd at this point started looking over curiously at this intense wall of sound coming from the stage.
If you said that Mrs. Nightingale sounded like a Blink 182 song, I’d say you’re not entirely wrong. At this point I had finally noticed that he had been using both stage guitar amps to build his sound. And it worked, as he switched back and forth between distortion, loop and clean sounds, he was able to adequately create an atmosphere of more than one instrument. Though I certainly did wonder if he had had a drummer or a full band, how cool some of the songs would sound.
Seeming like he heard me, an impromptu drummer came on stage for his next, If I Were a Magician. The guitar work was laid back and could have been a bit repetitive, but his Eddie Vedder like voice gave the song character. And once the drums kicked in and the tempo sped up a bit, proved to me that his songs were better served with a backing band.
I had been surprised that up to this point, Wong has been singing primarily in English as for some reason I had expected Cantonese lyrics. But again seeming like he heard my thoughts, 我們 (us) was the next song. A typical Canto Pop track and a bit of a mood changer but as far as Cantonese songs go, it was still enjoyable.
He did have one final English track up his sleeve. For Shipwreck, he channelled his old school bluesy black guitarist for the intro. If you closed your eyes, you wouldn’t picture a Chinese dude which I think is the biggest compliment you can pay. Having the drummer help him close out his set, made for a very enjoyable closer. As the song progresses, you could also hear a bit of The Doors some of The WHO in his singing and guitar playing.
All in all a good day at the office for Wong Jing.
– Jon Lee