Live review from Electronica 3:
1. Not Today
2. Everything Is Amazing
4. Leave It Alone
5. I Remember
6. Matzo Ball Soup
7. 8-Bit Killah
9. The Ballad of Tommy Wiseau
10. Stop Biting Your Nails
11. Fuck You, You Fuckin’ Fuck
12. Tug a Little Love
13. Get Naked
14. (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life
Spirits were high for one-man-band JUNK!’s headline return to The Underground. Producer, singer and, more recently, stripper Glen Lloyd was on top form, buoyed by the recent release of his third full-length album, Hot Mess. With a sound that can loosely be described as comedy electronica, or “performance art”, as Lloyd prefers, JUNK!, a familiar and welcome sight on Hong Kong stages, never fails to deliver a rowdy, fun-filled show.
A collage of photos tracing Lloyd’s existence from nappies to life as a 30-something opened Junk!’s performance, while the wistful accompanying track, Not Today, pondered the passing of time (“Maybe it’s true what they say, the time just flies away/ You wake up old and grey, and then you pass away”). It was a sobering start to the show, but signposted Lloyd’s evolution into an articulate songwriter capable of attaining great depth and incisiveness in his lyrics without sacrificing any of his signature playfulness.
The theme continued to Everything Is Amazing: on first look, an ode to the connectedness and technological privileges of modern life, until lines about being able to eat meat every day without having to kill an animal and having the luxury of being able to look away from the world’s atrocities really kicked in. The increasingly dark lyrics juxtaposed with the ebullient music, a party parade of congos, layered vocals and high-pitched keyboard stabs.
Similarly, Leave It Alone, saw Lloyd getting his rant on about the ubiquity of mobile phones and society’s addiction to checking for social media updates and taking selfies, slickly rapped over 90s hip hop beats and samples. Fertiliza, a song about how babies are made, which drew some of the biggest laughs of the night, featured a rapped verse by Lloyd’s wife, Christelle, amid a sex ed-style animated video that left little to the imagination.
Old favourite tracks followed, including tear-jerker I Remember, the Fiddler on the Roof-sampling recipe rap Matzo Ball Soup, and 8-Bit Killah, an ode to retro video gaming replete with nostalgic Nintendo effects.
Swapping from keytar to mic to laptop, Lloyd swept through the shouty, co-worker hate anthem, Fuck You, You Fuckin’ Fuck, the hilarious Tug a Little Love, which could have been an early 90s TV theme, and Get Naked, a rapid-fire celebration of bodies of all shapes and sizes – ending with Lloyd stripping down to just a novelty elephant trunk thong to whoops and cheers from the sweaty crowd. Final song, an excellent, down tempo cover of (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life showed there’s always surprises with this kaleidoscopic and endlessly creative performer.
– El Jay
Live review from Sub Terra #4:
1. Sesame = Pinball Number Count
2. My Name Is Glen
3. My House
4. Matzo Ball Soup
6. 8 Bit Killah
7. I Remember
8. Fuck City
9. Muthaphukka I Will Stab You
10. Fuck You You Fucking Fuck
11. Never Gunna Give You Up (Rick Astley cover)
12. Nothing Compares 2 U (Sinead O’Connor cover)
Draped in a sparkling silver sequin gown, matching suit, shoes, skinny tie and black sunglasses, not unlike an exaggerated James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, JUNK! took to The Hub stage to both headline Sub Terra #4 and celebrate his 99th show, while cartoon visuals of a ‘Pinball Number Count’ lit the crowd, increasing anticipation levels.
‘My Name Is Glen’ began with a minimal beat and a Daft Punk-esque vocal, while visual projections of Glen from childhood to adulthood captivated the audience comedically, before the song abruptly finished with “My name is JUNK!”. This moved swiftly into ‘My House’, a swaggering nod to Kraftwerk over a simple two-note bluesy riff. The keytar provided piercing industrial drum sounds which continued to build the hype, despite it slightly dwarfing the mix.
‘Matzo Ball Soup’ switched it up again to self-described Australian hip-hop. The song began with distinctive violins over a subdued 90s pop breakbeat. JUNK! then broke out into a rap about the ingredients for his Grandma’s soup in a heavy Aussie accent, ahead of a brash drum’n’bass section, and Jewish folk song-influenced string lines. The performance and delivery was comparable to Flight of the Conchords, but with far more bravado.
Arguably the highlight of the entire night was ‘Fertiliza’, an R-rated Soft Hair-esque squelch funk track, with highly graphic images which may linger long in the memory. The song depicted how he accidentally got his wife pregnant, and included a cartoon sex sequence of “how babies are made”. Sperm, bizarre multi-coloured dancing babies and nude Simpsons-inspired characters dominated the screens, whilst JUNK! walked out into the crowd playing soft pad chords and high octave vibrato synth stabs with incessant baby noises growing louder with each beat. JUNK’s wife also appeared in the song, rapping with the couple’s baby, and raising the bar to laugh out loud moments.
Throughout the set, JUNK! had been having a few issues with microphones cutting out, but allowed it to play into part of the show. Before ‘8 Bit Killah’, he had trouble fixing the microphone back into place. The lengthy fumbling felt like a musical version of a Stewart Lee sketch, garnering sporadic chuckles. The song itself was bit-crushed to the max with 80’s and 90’s arcade game sounds building the beat. More samples were added on top from a gaming controller, and classic games, most notably Pac-Man, featured behind him.
‘I Remember’ took a left-turn into love song territory, layering xylophone over “oohs” and a tribal beat. Lyrics had been included on screen to create a group karaoke as JUNK sang in falsetto. The sing-along refrain of “I’m gonna learn from my mistakes” repeated to the end, with it’s emotive frankness reminiscent of The Street’s ‘Dry Your Eyes’. Meanwhile ‘Fuck City’ brought the tempo back up, as a Vengaboys/Hot Butter’s ‘Popcorn’ synth line danced over an electronic 80’s backing and female harmonising vocals. The song sounded familiar, then quickly burst into the Haddaway classic ‘What Is Love?’, with the crowd equally bursting into song.
JUNK began a beat boxing loop before cutting it off abruptly for “not having the patience”, and moved onto ‘Muthaphukka I’ll Stab You In The Face’. He was out in the crowd once again, this time with a toy knife and shouting down the mic, delivered vaguely like Zack De La Rocha. The song culminated in him playfully stabbing an audience member, and eerie Halloween footage created a perfect backdrop for the theatrics and intense Prodigy sonics.
‘Fuck You You Fucking Fuck’ also proved to be highly memorable, with guest samples of Arnold Schwarzenegger cleverly triggered by an X-Box controller. His voice was being warped and pitch shifted with the various buttons, before the verses vocally hinted towards David Byrne. The chorus was carefree, jumping around the stage shouting the song title repeatedly. And the middle section simply went “blah blah blah, blah blah blah” adding to the obscure hilarity. Again, JUNK! got the crowd involved in the show, giving a controller to an audience member and essentially having a ‘Fuck’-off battle with Arnie’s voice as the weapon.
The crowd had to choose one song from a selection for JUNK! to cover for his closing track, and Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ won by a landslide. He handed out lots of tambourines, and danced into the crowd, invoking call and response sing-alongs in the middle section. Following a raucous response, the encore was a heavily sped up version of Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, sending the crowd off buzzing, talking about their favourite moments from the set.
– Chris Gillett
聽完三隊嚴肅嘅樂隊之後，Sub Terra 4嘅觀眾迫切需要接觸一d真正嘅純娛樂，而當晚嘅最後一場表演，正正達到呢個要求，令到場地即時變成舞場。Junk玩咗一set派對電子音樂，但係神奇嘅係，裡面幾乎所有拍子／節奏嘅聲音，都係由電子遊戲摘取出黎。當時我睇唔清楚，但係佢所使用嘅樂器好似正正係一個xbox嘅控制器。JUNK!又為自己每一首歌都製作咗一個音樂影片，以快速剪接、二次創作為主，好似提示緊大家，影片先係藝術上嘅主角，音樂只不過係配角。到最後，觀眾未夠皮，為佢點咗兩首hit歌翻唱：竟然係Rick Astley嘅Never Gonna Give You Up同埋Sinead O’Connor嘅Nothing Compares To You…
– Elson Tong
Live review from Songs Without Words II:
3. Feel It
5. Fucking drum patterns
6. The Opener
8. It’s Your Call
As Omicron’s shredded guitar and dirty riffs faded into the night, it was left to one man to usher in the twilight hours and bring Songs Without Words II to a close. It was a happy surprise to see Underground favourite JUNK!, AKA bonkers MC Glen Lloyd, as a last minute addition to the bill. Instead of his usual loud and colourful live show, JUNK! was trying out a new musical guise – one without words.
It was a risky move giving a headline slot to an artist not only playing untested songs, but looping live. JUNK! just about pulled it off though, with a danceable – albeit unpolished – set.
We’re used to seeing the Aussie rapper/sonic experimentalist donning a sparkly cape, shouting obscene and hilarious lyrics, and mixing comedy pop with cartoon samples, but tonight the music took precedence (even if Lloyd was dressed in Bruce Lee’s yellow jumpsuit and sweatband).
In a night so far focused on rock, JUNK!’s sound was the most far-removed – with a lulling mix of progressive house and velvety electro. Songs with titles like “Fucking Drum Patterns” bear JUNK!’s sense of humour, but it was a muted affair compared to the usual MO.
The trance-like, pulsing electro was reminiscent of modern video game music – think less 80s 8-bit and more of the celestial, sanguine soundscapes and post-apocalyptic minimalism of Borderlands or The Last of Us. Lloyd’s own distorted yells were incorporated into the mix as he laid down synths and beats recalling influences from Deadmau5 to Crystal Castles.
“It felt really good start something new from scratch – haven’t done that in about five years!” says Lloyd afterwards, before admitting “there’s lots to work on.” Indeed, his usual chaotic approach to stagecraft saw songs often end abruptly with a shout. “I think I like you better with words,” said Chris B. At this stage, we’d agree, but this is certainly a promising foray.
– El Jay
Live review from True to This:
1. My Name is Glen
2. My House
3. FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKIN’ FUCK
5. I Remember
6. Steal All My Thoughts
7. The Ballad of Tommy Wiseau
9. Matzo Ball Soup
10. 8-BIT KILLAH
11. Somebody Teach Me How to Dance
12. Another Friday Night
13. MUTHAPHUKKA I WILL STAB YOU
15. What’s Up
JUNK! Just gets more crazy each time he plays at The Underground. This time besides his Pac-Man jumpsuited dancer, there was also a guitarist to accompany the first few tracks from JUNK! There’s nothing I could say here that hasn’t been said before by any of the other Underground reviewers. All I can say is, if you haven’t seen JUNK! yet, do so, as this fun full-on singing, rapping, visuals and audience engagement will have you feeling good inside and out.
– Rosie Chan
Live review from Summer of Music:
1. My name is Glen
2. My House
3. Matzo Ball Soup
4. 8 Bit Killah
5. I Remember
7. Somebody Teach Me How to Dance
8. Another Friday Night
9. Muthaphukka I will Stab You
10. Fuck You, You Fuckin’ Fuck
JUNK! 在表演當日的前一晚剛成為一個小女孩的父親, 可能是高興的關係, 他帶同了一個朋友做他表演時的舞蹈員。這位舞蹈員, 在我來說, 有點圓潤版里安立度‧狄卡比奧的感覺, 而他在表演前已經好像喝得半醉, 但他在台上的忘我演出卻令我覺得他喝得半醉是必須的。但當晚的主角始終是剛為人父的Glen (JUNK!)。他用第一首歌 “My name is Glen” 跟觀眾打招呼, 順便介紹自己。之後是富工業味的My House。 “8 Bit Killah”有趣的地方在於這首歌曲靈感來自經典遊戲並以8-Bit命名, 但這首歌卻不是8 Bit。8 Bit電音卻出現在之後的 “Julie”。演出的高潮出現在舞曲 “Somebody Teach Me How to Dance”, Glen要求觀眾跟隨他的動作舞動, 帶動起全場氣氛。可是興奮過後卻發生一段小插曲, 之後Glen邀請當晚客串Beatboxer, Hugo一起演出 “Another Friday Night”, 但預設的聲效卻不太聽使, 只播一小節就停了。幸好Hugo的Beatbox技藝高超, 足已彌補沒有了的聲效, 在歌曲完始後Glen亦感謝Hugo拯救了他的演出。最後的兩首個人感覺純粹是胡鬧式的發洩歌曲。觀眾在表演過後, 興奮依然, 一直跟著Backstage播出的80年代舞曲起舞近一小時。算是跟The Underground在Backstage畫上一個長長的句號吧。
– Dicky Kwong
Why put on a one-man show when you can recruit a friend in a crotchless Pac-Man babygro to gyrate alongside you? Crass, crazy and Cacophonous, JUNK! is the brainchild of MC Glen Lloyd, who furnished Backstage’s Summer of Music with the musical equivalent of a kilo of acid-soaked smarties (before Nestle ruined things by taking the blue ones out).
As the second act of the night to twiddle a keytar, JUNK! ups the novelty factor with said dancing friend Lee Jay Heller and a multimedia experience unlike any other. It’s the 80s-tinged electronica of Daft Punk, the madcap sonic experimentalism of The Go! Team, the crude comedy pop stylings of Electric Six, and the shouting rap onslaught and sample-laden beats of the Beastie Boys all blended into one bonkers show.
Lloyd sings, raps and beatboxes over a pre-recorded whirlwind of 8-bit bloops, chip-tune chirps, and bass heavy hip hop beats, with occasional effects pad looping and improvisation. Despite all the foolery, swearing, scratch ‘n’ sniff CDs, and glittery leggings, JUNK! shows a shrewd instinct for catchy dance tracks and lyrics sparkling with humour, while recruiting the more sophisticated beatboxing talent of Hugo Sohm for a final Backstage blow-out.
Laced with songs such as ‘Fuck you you fuckin’ fuck’ and ‘Muthaphukka I will stab you’, JUNK!’s oeuvre is largely anecdotal and belted out with as much respect for the eardrums as an electric drill. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most wholesome live experiences to be found in the city.
When miniature tambourines are passed out to the crowd, it could have been the recipe for a headache, but the result is harmonious and pleasingly cathartic. Later, the crowd are invited to pick from a series of videos, including Blondie, Phil Collins, Rick Astley, and He-Man, to accompany another dive into a wonderful portal of weird.
The show closes with Four Non Blondes cover What’s Up. “I just had a baby yesterday,” Lloyd announces. Playing a show on the back of newfound fatherhood – now that’s dedication.
– El Jay
Live review from Underground 116:
1. My House
2. 8 Bit Killah
3. Matzo Ball Soup
4. I Remember
5. Somebody Teach Me How to Dance
7. What’s Up
8. Another Friday Night
What to expect from a nappy-headed hipster wearing disco ball pants, a quasi-futuristic shirt and wrap-around nana-specs? Nothing less than a manic, multimedia maelstrom. JUNK! is a portal into a strange, hi-energy universe through which one man relentlessly dances, armed with laptop and keytar.
Aussie hip-hop, beat boxing, vocoding and golden lyrical nuggets are backed up by perfectly synchronized video – and the guy has a surprisingly proper singing voice too. Reference material spans growing up, dancing out, Grandma’s special soup, sepia-toned Scandinavian karaoke clips, and my own personal passion: obsolete 8-bit technology. I’m hearing bits of Regurgitator, Daft Punk and even Electric Six – never mind Four Non-Blondes – and, at one point, the Housemartins on a Friday night bender at a techno club.
JUNK! isn’t just music: it’s a full-on AV experience and a superior brand of mixed nuts. Don’t miss the next show – on your feet, people!
– Brendan Clift
Live Review from Girls with Guitars #7
1. My name is Glen
2. My House
3. 8-BIT KILLAH
4. Matzo Ball Soup
5. Somebody Teach me How to Dance
6. Muthaphukka I will Stab You
7. Another Friday Night
8. Never Gonna Give You Up (Rick Astley cover)
9. Fuck You, You Fuckin’ Fuck
10. What’s Up (4 Non Blondes cover)
11. Nothing Compares 2 U (Sinead O’Connor cover)
12. Heart of Glass (Blondie cover)
Technically, this was the After-After-After Party, and there were (as promised) no girls and no guitars. There were, however, funny lyrics, the rationales behind which were unexpectedly well-detailed. There was a lot of keytar, and vocal effects, and almost immaculately-timed videos to accompany Mr JUNK! on stage, and it worked quite well for a while. By which I don’t mean the act; that was consistent all the way through. Partly self-deprecating humour, slapsticky songs with big comedic loops in the tunes to overlay the lyrics; the final effects was a little like if Reggie Watts covered a Frank Zappa song from around the Sheik Yerbouti era, with a little bit of the Safety Dance included as well (Fuck You, You Fuckin’ Fuck in particular). The rest of the sound, I’m not equipped to describe owing to my famous (I wish) ignorance of electronic music and its paraphernalia and motifs.
No, what did only work “for a while” was his computer set up, as the computer suffered a nervous breakdown and had to go away for a while, leaving Mr. JUNK! high and dry on stage. He dealt with it with a mix of equanimity, mildly shame-faced amusement and genuine annoyance (which was pretty funny in its own way). But, after quite a few refusals of the crown, Caesar was crowned and the set could resume, which brought along some more revenge from the gods in the form of a Rick Astley cover (aren’t audiences vindictive?). Still, owing to popular (i.e. Chris B, me and one other person) more covers were done, and What’s Up and Heart of Glass were actually rendered with some affection and turned out quite well. After having been punished by the Windows king, Mr JUNK! redeemed himself by not submitting to the fates and soldiering on. In all a funny and very drunk (well, the audience anyway) ending to a great show, despite the irony.
— Shashwati Kala
– Sidick Lam