Live Review from Summer Serenade
Summer Romance is usually the one man act of 大森Dai Sum, a character dripping with self-deprecation and deadpan humour; this night, he had two backing members with him, and afterwards he joked on his Facebook page that they were his supernatural companions, since the show had fallen on the same day of Chinese Ghost Festival (we are, afterall, the ‘Underground’…) Summer Romance definitely lived up to his namesake: his folksy, Albert Au-esque songs evokes images of sunlight dappling on a guitar as the wind gently grazes the grass on a prairie, which is as summer-y as a dark room flashing with strobe lights and reeking with alcohol will get. The ‘romance’ element was quickly answered by the first song, 舊情人.
Most of his songs featured simple picking/strumming and clean, at times almost conversational vocals that seem to borderline on a deliberate off-keyness, but always skirts back just in time. The third song, 大時代, was the standout of the set; departing from the sarcastic cheeriness of his previous tunes, the song first took on a melancholic note, then, almost without warning, dropped into broader, angrier strokes complimented by heavy drum beats and bass. As he voiced his commentary on the ruthless stock market in Hong Kong, you begin to really appreciate the layers in the construction of the piece. Having a backing band that night was a good move; it added a quirkiness to the songs that a solo act may not have had otherwise, such as the playful bass that compliments the intro in the fourth song, 管理員的將來.
Summer Romance’s atypical stage presence worked surprisingly well, a strange out-of-place-ness that highlighted the quiet desperation in his songs, and a physical manifestation of his melodic ranting towards the circumstances of Hong Kong. He was often near expressionless, with a guitar pick delicately held in between his fingers as he holds his free arm in a gesture that seems to question, “but why?” Essentially, he was really telling a story in each of his songs, and even the humorous transitions are bits of narration that enables each to flow almost naturally to the next. After talking about stock markets, he continued down the vein of bleakness by singing about a ubiquitous yet near-invisible character in this city – the security guard. Before the last song began, he also added: “I wrote this song and people have no idea what I’m talking about; I’m actually talking about Hong Kong,” as he went on to sing about how he really wants to be able to love a certain someone, but can no longer knows how to satisfy its needs.
My qualm with Summer Romance was that the songs are all musically quite similar, though the heartfelt lyrics, which heavily resonate with the experience of being a HongKonger, more so than any band that night – helps in setting them apart. A close reading or a second listen may be required for the audience to truly appreciate the finer bits, and the crowd was unfortunately a bit too impatient and loud for Summer Romance to quietly work his magic.
– Karen Cheung
為音樂會打開序幕的是一人樂隊Summer Romance夏日浪漫，取名自張國榮的大碟名稱，成立於2012年，曾推出一張專輯，是民搖類的歌手，歌曲都是以幽默的方式描述和評價著生活。初初聽會讓人聯想到my little airport，但再認真聽便不難分別他們的風格，可以說夏日浪漫是麻甩版的MLA吧⋯⋯他當晚帶了supporting band一同演出，但也不失他一貫民搖和田園的風格。第一首短短的《舊情人》像是一個自我介紹，讓觀眾稍稍認識夏日浪漫的曲風和格調。然後第二首的《燒鵝》更突顯他的個人風格，抵死搞笑的歌詞，讓整個場子的氣氛變得輕鬆，而有一些歌曲更帶有跳脫的節奏，增加了可愛和小清新的感覺。夏日浪漫的音樂重點不在於大森的唱功或音樂技巧，而是在於他貼近生活且直白的歌詞，再加上那種對生活中的苦與樂喃喃自語的頹廢感，猶如在逼人的生活當中苦中作樂。歌曲的共鳴感強，加上這樣偏acoustic的表演，為這場夏日主題的音樂會作開始恰到好處。
– Sidick Lam