Live review from The Underground “Back to its Roots” Festival Part 2:
– Dicky Kwong
It’s a peculiar quirk of Canto bands to punctuate a set list with lengthy speeches musing upon life’s trials, discussing the band’s musical journey, and thanking everyone under the sun. The carnival was the fourth Underground outing for long time supporters Kolor, so needless to say the speeches ran on.
At face value, the HK rockers appeared to be trying a little too hard to rebel – smoking where it was forbidden; lead singer Sammy wearing a T shirt that reads “Diu” (fuck, in Cantonese) when asked not to swear; and adopting swaggering power stances while locked in metal riffing. It was a tacky, 1980s brand of rock ‘n’ roll … and the crowd ate out of their hands.
Guitars snarled to life like Harleys from the first song 天地會 and barely let up throughout the set, which was soaked in west coast, classic rock optimism. Kolor’s show was full of theatrical bravado – think Airborne, Bon Jovi , Imagine Dragons and Beyond all rolled into emphatic ballads picking from the great buffet of rock, with high-pitched arpeggiation, muscular drumming, and questionable singing.
It was a fun and energetic set, performed by a popular local group that’s adept at connecting with fans, and also touchingly grateful for every break they get. The set – and Back to the Roots Festival – closed on a high with the pop punk 了不起, and the echoes of a crowd singing “na na na na” all the way home.
Their goals? Write new songs; they’ve an album out in June.
- El Jay
Kolor oozes professionalism. From the moment they got on stage, they entertained the audience with a 4 song set of slick, well arranged Canto light rock. All the four songs were “singles” from the past albums/EPs and thus were all well known to the crowd and that was quite clear. As always, Kolor had a great stage presence and engaged the early afternoon crowd right from the start. All in all, a great start to the rainy afternoon.
Live review from Underground 105:
In a strange way, many of the salient musical features I saw in Wonder Garl, I saw in Kolor too, but scaled way up. Returning to the Underground after three long years, they epitomised the slick professional quality of a band that’s as popular as they are. They were nattily turned out, had an absorbing stage presence and singer Sammy really had the banter skills down too. Musically, they are a palette of pop-influenced, radio-friendly sounds that touch bases as diverse as Cantopop, bubblegum pop and light metal. Now, are they musically “interesting” as bands making more risky, strange and out-there music than them? According to this listener- no. However, they do not pretend or claim to be ‘avant-garde’ or hipster-worthy either, so I can’t have a problem with them. They know what they want to play and their objective as a band is to please their audience, which is something they do remarkably well. It’s little wonder that I’ve seen bands react with hints of admiration when KOLOR is mentioned – and the cheer that went up when they took the stage wasn’t a surprise either.
Like Wonder Garl 神奇膠, they sounded very polished and the tones were slick, but to a far greater degree. They were visibly controlled on stage and clearly knew what they were doing. They too changed styles from song to song, but more obviously so; the jump from radio soft rock to different shades of metal made between the first two songs, for instance. However, the general tendency of the guitarist was to play with a mixture of the sort of almost-emotional metal that Steve Vai plays and the tone of a Noughties guitarist, sounding like a less hyper Ray Toro (My Chemical Romance), highlighted particularly in the glam-ish 賭博默示錄, or the remarkably sweet fills he did in 地圖.Their drummer was excellent throughout, keeping them anchored with a solid Noughties rock beat in every song, and even double bass when the song called for it, such as in the Arabic-tinted 愚公.
Their singer, however, was slightly unusual, in that he actually had some rasp in his voice, and didn’t quite seem to favour the high notes; not a whole lot, but enough to make it significant among local bands. He also had the ability not to ham in ballad-ish songs (時差), which is a welcome departure from most singers (not just here).
They must be complimented, too, for clearly having put some time and effort into arranging their songs, for they were uniformly engaging to listen to, without dragging on the attention. It certainly didn’t on the audience’s that night – the encore was inevitable, and the catchy, light rock of 了不起 was a good closer. While not the sort of band I’d usually have chosen to watch, I’m glad I did because all in all, they were tight, interesting and engaging, and I can see why they are popular.
– Shashwati Kala
Live Review from Underground 86:
I must confess I never heard of KOLOR before that evening when I first saw them play. I had read their impressive profile and was really looking forward to see them perform. I was far from being disappointed! KOLOR is the kind of group which can definitely make it to the top, not only because of the coherence of their music, but also because they have the rock’n roll attitude only very few genuinely have. The room they performed in was packed with their loyal following, so it was a halfway win, but still they gave their very best and I am sure it’s what they do no matter the size of the venue. As soon as the first note hit, everybody was on their feet and it was like if an electroshock was sent into the audience. Each member of the band is having its own persona, but instead of overshadowing one another, this panorama of styles and attitudes complement one another perfectly, and reflects into their performance as well. The music was electric and contagious, and the display of energy rarely seen on the HK stages. With Sammy So as Lead Vocals, the show was not only musical but also very visual, especially when guitars were slammed on the floor and mike stand thrown in the crowd. Kolor is one of the most promising band of the HK underground scene and is definitely worth seeing live.