Live Review from Underground 111:
- Too Late
- Perfect Murder of the Queen
- Happy Beginning for a Sad End
- Passion of Silence
Velvette Vendetta advertised this appearance as a relaunch of sorts, and I quote: “replacing their previous vampiric ambience with upbeat synth hooks, atmospheric strings and piano pieces” resulting in something self-described as “synthesized heavy rock”. That being said, four dapper gentlemen took to the stage slinging traditional rock instruments, albeit with a keyboard lurking off to the side. Was the reinvention all that had been hoped for?
True engineers avow the virtues of elegant simplicity. Not for reasons of speed or affordability, but because the less moving parts, the less that can go wrong. That might ring true for Velvette Vendetta after a show that was fraught with teething problems which threatened to derail the set, sap band morale and convince the remaining audience members that midnight was bedtime after all. The first track kicked off with feisty palm-muted guitars, but before long there was amp trouble for one guitar, and meanwhile drums and bass struggled to connect with their pre-recorded backing track, each tentatively-struck note sucking energy out of the overall sound. This introduction was followed by a ten-minute interval in which band members and sound crew battled with the misbehaving amp, eventually switching it out for another. The lads put on a brave face and eventually got on with it, but the package continued to sound disjointed, intonation started to become a problem and leaden feet told a sad story.
A couple of tracks in, things began to pick up. The frontman created some interest by moving from guitar to keys and back again, and the back line began to play – and move – with noticeably more power and passion. However, operatic song structures – the band seemed to want to deploy all their tricks in every song, including regular changes of feel and tempo – made the high points difficult to sustain and difficult to place in the context of a song. Tracks seemed to blend in to each other and were only clearly distinguishable when synth sequences had to be reset. Having not seen the band before, it’s difficult to know just how much they’ve changed, but “vampiric” still seems apt to me. It’s more concise than “Muse meets Rocky Horror meets Van Helsing soundtrack”. If this sounds interesting, well, it could be, and I’m sure there’s a market for it somewhere out there. The band’s extensive touring history can’t have happened by accident.
Gigging ain’t easy, and some days just aren’t yours. Velvette Vendetta fought to the end, but summed up their bad day pretty well by finishing with their backs to the crowd and issuing nothing more than a cursory wave au revoir before exiting the stage. Better luck next time.
– Brendan Clift
最後出場的Velvette Vendetta 以重型搖滾作主軸，歌曲長度偏長，融合了多種音樂元素，發展出複雜的曲式結構。歌曲Too Late過後因技術性問題需要調整，可能因而稍稍影響了演出的流暢。Ashes開首用effector把電結他營造出電子音樂聲音，效果有趣，亦觀察到他們對聲音的執著。 Velvette Vendetta演出風格十分注重完整度，成員對演奏的專注力強，雖然與台下觀眾直接交流時間相對不多，但演出時兼顧了視覺（影像投射）及聽覺元素的平衡，令人欣賞。
- Becky Wong
Live Review from Underground 94:
1. Too Late
2. Passion of Silence
3. Black Star
4. Intentions Renewed
5. A Very Pale Rose
6. A Perfect Murder of the Queen
8. [Encore: This is Our Rotten Love
Another set of Underground veterans took the stage, with the instantly commendable set-up of having the drummer in the back-centre stage, with the axemen to either side of the stage. A slap piece was being played on a 5-string bass that was so punk you just wanted them to start playing. Which they did, with the fast-strummed start of Too Late, with off-beat accents, and simple but hard-hit drums in the vein of ROBO. Their method of amplifying the guitar with a mic on the amp allowed for a good bit of feedback to mix in with the highly flanged and distorted opening to Passion of Silence. The keys made themselves apparent, in a deceptively soft song with minimal guitars. The call-response vocals in the chorus allowed to mood to change to a darker, more metal-like mood just before the solo.
Opening Black Star with a loud wave of uncomfortable feedback for everyone, the keys were slightly more dominant here, showing their more melodic side (as an interesting aside, the vocal progression was similar to that of Charlie by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.) Intentions Renewed was introduced as a new song, and opened with almost a croon, moving into an angry yet bright bridge, with military beats.
The bands’ sound can be compared to My Chemical Romance (as, indeed, has often been done) not so much in actual style, which is sufficiently different, but more in terms of how they achieve their sound through a careful concoction of influences; exemplified in the bone rattling bass and sitar-like guitars on A Perfect Murder of the Queen, or the haunting, almost atonal melodies set to a jazzy bass with frequent tempo changes on their 8th song. They walk the line between metal, punk and Noughties-rock with great élan – sure, there’s some Muse in there too, but then again most cakes have salt, so… An encore requested by about 5 people, only served to further highlight their ability to not lose themselves in a variety of sounds, with a moody, downstroked intro, Hendrix-y solo, but Metallica-esque bridge and punky outro. Having proven themselves to be more than a set of influences thrown in a pot, the tired band walked off, ending the night on a high note.
Live Review from Underground 84:
Velvette Vendetta got onto the stage next and started off with one of their signature VV songs. This immediately gave us a taste of their intensity and their raw talent. Often they have been described as Muse-esque because Jacky’s vocals have a similar sound and range. These guys are very dark electronica goth rock. They have so many band members (five) that they can’t all fit on the stage. The Bass player, Ken, had to play on the dance floor.
The next two songs they played were off the Underground Compilation CD no.1. In the song, ‘The Night Before the Storm’, Jacky gets to show off his talent with his unique quavering yodel-like voice. The other song off the compilation ‘This is our Rotten Love’ has a great intro and amazing guitar riffs. It is quite a heavy song and it did make me feel like getting up and back onto the dance floor. Actually, during this song I was being coaxed back to middle of the dance floor by a VV enthusiast who wanted to start up another moshpit. I think he thought that I might be able to get the crowd moving again. But at this stage I wanted to write more notes about the band before I started to enjoy myself.
I was enjoying the music so much. These guys are really entertaining to watch an they always put on a great show. I was half waiting for them to start destroying the stage like I have seen them do in the past. I have seen Jacky jump atop the drums and start head banging until he tipped the drums over. What a sight. So, I was kind of hoping for a repeat. Wouldn’t that be cool to write about. But, I doubt these drums would be able to handle his weight, they would probably just crumble and Jacky would be in a lot of trouble. So the shenanigans never transpired, maybe they weren’t drunk enough. Get them some more piss I thought.
But maybe Jacky was drunk because he said when I say ‘Fuck’ you say ‘Fuck you!’. So, like little sheep we followed and sent curses out into the middle of the night. He only did it the one time which made me feel a little bit bad because I screamed ‘f’ you in a pause of the song as I was writing because I was still caught up in that moment. I hope they didn’t think I was directing it at them. Haha.
Well, that was it. I had enough writing. The best way to enjoy the music and tell you of my experience was to be in the midst of the commotion. So, that’s exactly what I did. Once again I can tell you to take a look at the photos. As soon as I got back to the dance floor familiar faces joined me with much enthusiasm and we started to push and shove. At one stage someone pushed me so hard that I almost fell over and grabbed some girl by her umm… well, I didn’t. But, I might of brushed them by accident. I needed to grab something to stop me from falling. Anyway, I apologised to her afterwards and she was all cool about it. Ken on Bass started to join in and he rested on the side of the moshpit and we gave him a few pushes and shoves, but that did not deter his guitar playing. Maybe the alcohol was getting to me by this stage because Ken confronted me with his bass and all I could do was get on the floor and pretend to lick the strings. Seemed like a good idea at the time! Made a good photo! I can’t remember how many more songs they played. But, instead of going back to my table to write more notes I stayed in the middle of the dance floor with the rest of the mob and continued enjoying myself until the guys had tired themselves out. This would have been a great end to the night. But, this was only the fifth band. One more to go.
Cain (F.B.I. vocalist)
Live Review from Underground 75:
Cannot remember how many times I have seen Velvette Vendetta (VV) on the stage. The first time we met was about 3 years ago in a band show in Tuen Mun. One thing I really appreciate is VV’s vocalist; every vocalist has to give himself a “signature” style. Jacky’s vibrato is his signature, he was already using it 3 year ago! I think VV’s style is changing, I would say their style sound now is more or less like My Chemical Romance. They are really playing dark classical music using rock instruments. With the audience screaming for an encore when they finished playing, VV then played ! The final song was great!
Rocky (vocalist -Killer Soap)
“First of all, we would like to send our warm regards to Chris B, our ‘Rock Mom’, for putting an awe-inspiring effort on the Underground Compilation CDs. For the past 2 years, since we decided to step our feet in the HK indie scene, we have witnessed tremendous success of Underground shows. However, the best accomplishment in the history of Underground will probably be the Compilation CDs.
Secondly, a heartfelt thanks to ‘Kuma’, Master Koya. No one will dispute that Koya is the easiest person to work with on this planet. He has always been a good advisor, role model and dear friend to us. We will never forget the times we drank booze at Mark-1 Studio and got hot & steamy! Oh and, we’ll keep doing so!
Of course, without the involvement of fellow bands, Underground Compilation CD would not be a reality. Kudos to all the bands in the compilation discs. The tracks on CDs were simply brilliant. That begs the question ‘Why are we still here?’
Last but not least, Thanks to Uncle Calvin, Erik and Yangyang for making Underground better than ever! Thanks to Born to Hula, Sea Monster, Violent Jokes, FBI and other fellow bands that played an excellent show on second #1 Compilation launch gig (I would only consider it a party if there is free booze flowing on the floorJ). Respect and love to our friends; Bun, Ida, Johnny, Sabrina and others who aren’t mentioned, for helping us out throughout the year even though we’re such a pain in the rear.
Lastly, special thanks to staffs in Club Cixi, apologizes for deranging the stage.
We’re going back to Hell!!”
Live Review from Underground 59:
I must state my interest first.
I have been a huge Velvette Vendetta fan for more than six months, which is only 1/3 of their total life-span. I checked my iTunes the other days, and the play count of the Velvette Vendetta songs has reached 70. I would imagine you would not have listened to Plug-in Baby as many times (come to think of it, some of you would). So if they run in the next election, I would vote them. Obviously. That’s why when Chris B jokingly reminded me, when I arrived for the evening, that I was there to write reviews, I caught both the meaning that I was to NOT drink so much, and to NOT be biased. At least not so much.
And they were exceptionally tight from the onset. It was unfair because I knew the songs so well I knew the drummer Andre played the hi-hat lead-in for one more bar, and I knew all the progressions of the songs. I knew how many of the songs have been committed to tape, so I was twice as excited because I was being a fan as well.
Jacky, the lead vocalist, is easily the most handsome man among Hong Kong bands (sexy as well, but not to me). Jacky has a voice that he stretched from angry, low, melodic to high pitch. You might say that’s what any good singer usually has. But you have to reach a certain quality to remotely claim you have the style of Queen or Muse. Even Muse described their own style as Queen, and since some local reviewers have associated Velvette Vendetta with Muse, it has to work that way. Unsurprisingly, Jacky’s writing and singing have fully exploited his singing range.
The guitar column of Velvette Vendetta is composed of Jacky, David (on Gibson Les Paul Gold Top) and Ken on bass. While Ken holds up the rhythm section with Andre, Jacky and David are the blasting force in their songs. If you’ve read their bios, you would know these three guys met in a discussion over unusual guitar pedals. In some songs, you will hear the two guitars battling with their guitar effects; in fact, their dedication to guitar effects is definitely no less than that of many shoegazing bands.
Finally, and I would have to apologize to him one day for putting him in last: Traven, the new keyboard player to Velvette Vendetta in 2008. Jacky’s songs have been written with synth parts, and previously they were not fulfilled. Now the gothic/stadium rock sound is complete. My understanding is Velvette Vendetta will be published in an Underground compilation CD (I know both the band and Underground so well I’m afraid I cannot pretend I don’t know). But it’s the live show that counts! And if you would care to mingle with the band, you would find out that before they were published, they have started collecting fans.
And they were giving out souvenir calendars, too. Have you got one?
Live Review from Underground 50:
I was captivated even during their edgy-drone sound check. They immediately connect with you and deliver a hauntingly beautiful yet mischevious air quite comparable to muse, but a lot more gothic. Slightly swingy and very carpeting lush low guitars set the stage beautifully for the soothingly unsettling story told through the sound of the vocals. Always on edge, always understanding and with you, incessantly grinding your soul against a plush purple sofa, sometimes hard and sometimes softly. Some songs are a bit more like dirty screaming metal, not their strongest area but still excellent. Their non-velvety songs lack the incisive edge of the smoother ones but make up for it in noise and power. it could use a bolder theme though.
Live Review from Underground 35:
Velvet Violet is a new band on the Hong Kong scene, but they still pulled quite a large crowd for their first Underground performance. Their music is alternative, with a nod in the direction of 90’s grunge. Image-wise they are much darker than the average local band, and their stage presence was strong. There is a certain ambiance about Jacky’s voice that adds greatly to their overall sound. However, image-aside, Velvet Violet’s music is not so much evil as slightly creepy. Their performance certainly wasn’t bad, but I do think that they need to work on listening to each other more when they play, as their timing was a bit shaky at times. Overall it was a good show, and they got quite a good reaction from the crowd. As an alternative band they can definitely talk the talk, and I think with experience and time this could be a band to look out for.
Velvet Violet have now changed their name to “VELVETTE VENDETTA”