Sonar Lights (USA 美國)

U0010.JPG Live Review from Sonar Lights Live in Hong Kong

There are times when a band strikes the first riff and you instantly know that you’re in for a treat. Sonar Lights is that band. Despite being jet-lagged, they put all their energy into a performance that begged to be enjoyed by thousands.

Though their set was filled with a few covers including a tribute to Nirvana and Kurt Cobain (his death almost 20 years ago to the day definitely dates me), an amazing rock rendition of Eleanor Rigby that brought a huge smile to my face, and a solid cover of War Pigs by Black Sabbath, the band truly shines on their originals.

The band were incredibly tight and hit all the marks (the drummer did miss the white pants memo, but I digress). Their opening song, Goodman and Oversaturated is just a solid combination of Audioslave and Rise Against riffs and vocals. In the chorus, lead singer George Miadis has that Chris Cornell growl that so many rockers crave but can never quite get.

Their next original, The Enemy Within, was just another addition to a solid rock tune. As a three piece band, Sonar Lights definitely figured out a way to give an appearance of there being more than three members, through their guitarist’s clever use of effects and EQ. Bassist Artell only has a single pedal, but he knows how to use that power and sometimes that is all you need to rock out. Every note he plays perfectly compliments the guitar riffs while simultaneously locking in to the pounding of Roy Oeto’s drums, which btw check out his solo at Guitar Center’s Drum Off.

Game, another rocking original had this awesome Rise Against feel to it. The crunchy guitars coupled by some solid vocal work made for a head banging track and a great return to the set after Rigby and War Pigs. Though Saffron is a bakery and is not the best fit for a couple of rock bands on a Friday night, Sonar Lights, still brought it and made sure that the small crowd that gathered had a great time.

As I am writing this review, I am reminded by how many good songs they had, I instantly regret not running out front to get a CD, however I just went to iTunes so technology saves the day again.

Mr Knowitall, was an angry track, which I am sure everyone in the room dedicated it to resident HK (self-proclaimed) know it all Calvin Wong. Fast, punkish and dark, Mr. Knowitall had all the chords that Kurt himself would have been proud of and the angsty lyrics that bore the brunt of his frustration.

Wardance, their final song started like how 1/3 of Dream Theater songs start but went into all these cool directions that made musicians such as myself pretty giddy. With a crazy drum solo in the first half of the songs that brought the house down, and probably made the cake in the shop suddenly wake up. Wardance isn’t your typical closer, It just builds bit by bit into a deafening finale. And each increasing part, showcases each member’s insane musical abilities but also the band’s togetherness. Vocals also start getting more frantic as the music picks up place and George’s voice starts sounding like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Come to think of it, there is a bit of Serj in a few of their other songs.

Sonar Lights rocked. I could have only hoped that they had a larger audience to play for because they deserve as much. At least there will be more at the Midi Festival so that should be a good representation. Saffron is a hard place to play at and for, but those who were fortunate enough to be there, were certainly treated to a band that is technical, talented and damn fun to watch.

I can only hope that these boys come back again and are given a proper venue and audience, cause they deserve that. I’ll be first in line for tickets.

Jon Lee
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