Live Review from Underground Heavy #15:
1. The Boxer
2. Sound and Steady
5. Nothing Left
6. Crossing Lines
7. Until it Ends
8. No Mistake
10. Soon be Dead
It’s been a long while since I’ve experience a good blend of western style hardcore – and I’m not talking about that tough guy Trapped Under Ice / Brutality Will Prevail racket (though I don’t diss it, I dig that kind of stuff too), I’m talking good southern style metal riffs mixed with raw punk energy akin to Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats, a good measure of early Gallows and the like.
Bearded, tattooed giant Danny started the frantic set with a favorite of mine ‘The Boxer’, with the iconic riff tearing into the crowd and getting heads moving. Of course, feet weren’t moving just yet, as instructed by their Facebook announcement “fold yer arms and stand at the front.” Tearing into the set with second song ‘Sound and Steady’ Mira’s ferocious guitar riffs scorched the audience, leaving the crowd’s feet seemingly on fire. A few particularly enthusiastic (perhaps…too much?) members of the crowd get their hips swaying and there is hair flying everywhere – from all the head-banging, obviously. There was no loose hair literally flying about.
The third song ‘Terror’ prompted chants of “This is Terror” from the crowd (okay, maybe just me) and again, the band does not fall short of its catchy iconic riffs. “Victimless” followed, with Mira working the magic on his custom 8 string Jackson, and Danny pouring his heart out into his chilling screams.
“Nothing Left” came after, at which point the band was very much reminding me of a local Birmingham band called ‘Feed the Rhino’, with the same kind of rough, ragged vocals and groovy but technical instrumental work, and this energy followed through to “Crossing Lines”. Most of these tunes I couldn’t find online and it’s the first time I saw them, so I’m guessing these are live/unreleased exclusives we’re being treated to. At “Until it Ends”, the particularly enthusiastic members of the crowd were getting right into it, with squats (???) wavy hand movements (???!?!?) and twisty hips (this is a hardcore show, right?) and even a little twirl (please earth swallow me up now). I can’t blame them for having fun, though. Anyway, head-banging was continuing ever so hard, the topless Danny ripping away into the house microphone and the bar member staunchly telling a crowd goer to ‘not push’ (please, I think I’m going dizzy).
At the end of “No Mistake” the crowd made no mistake to keep the heads banging but the body movements restricted to wiggly hips and tucked elbows. The band finished off the set with the powerful groove of “Hero” and then the aptly named “Soon Be Dead”. Danny ends the set with a brief “Fuck you, Mira” for having to move back to Russia, making this the penultimate Weeper shows indefinitely – I would like to add that Chris B. of the Underground HK absolutely did not scream ‘We love you, Mira’ in response to that.
Overall, Weeper played their furious, groovy blend of US/EU style hardcore punk & metal and got the crowd going, even though I noticed it wasn’t a very big crowd for a hardcore show, but I don’t know how it’d go down if there was a bigger crowd with the bar asking there to be no pushing – I’m sure given a bigger audience, there’d be circle pits, two steppers, mosh pits everywhere for the full metal sound of Weeper, alas we can only hope the HK Hardcore seen to show us what it’s got at the farewell show at The Wanch in August 2016. As they said on their facebook profile, they’re not some cookie cutter typical HK Hardcore sound, nor a band deeply invested in life-changing lyrics or societal problems, but just a down to earth hardcore band that sing about whatever the heck they want, and I strongly suggest picking up a record at their bandcamp for a taste of it.
– Sherman Leung
Live review from Heavy 11
00) Sound Check
01) Laena’s Cupcakes Suck
02) No Mistake
05) In Plain Sight
06) Sunken Eyes
07) Legs Of Gold
WEEPER are one of the really great local hard rock, punkish (okay, HARDCORE) bands in Hong Kong. Comprising of members from a few different local HK bands, with two of the members coming from the dearly beloved THIS IS AMMUNITION. In fact, I lovingly refer to them as THIS IS WEEPER.
Guitar: Mira Petroslav
Bass: Simon Griffin
Drums: Joe Hastings
Vocals: Danny Kostianus
Mira: 8 string custom made Jackson, w/Axe FX2 rack mounted effects, split into two Blackstar HT Venue amps.
Simon: Fender 5 String Jazz Bass w/double humbucking pickups, running through Darkglass B3K Distortion and Tech21 Bass Driver Deluxe, into Ampeg (fashion monkey) SVT w/one 8×10 cabinet.
Joe: Drum sticks and house drum set.
Danny: House vocal microphone, and as Simon so colorfully puts it "sweaty balls".
Worth noting right up front, I really don’t have many nice things to say about The Live House sound mix. There was a lack of the most basic "mix" (actually there was no mix) and with the extreme volume, when the low end came out of the speakers, it sounded like an undistinguishable blurry blob. The guitars were barely cutting through, with the vocals the only piece that was almost clearly identifiable. In speaking with the band after the set, they experienced the same "professional level" sound mix on the stage. I will just leave it at, the promoter and all of the bands on the Underground HEAVY #11 show were left at the mercy of the venue’s sound person being MIA (missing in action).
At 11.56pm, WEEPER opens up the seven song set with the customary sound check (Song #00, which sounded great). Then at exactly 12.00 midnight, WEEPER IS introduced by Chris B, and proceed to rip into the opening number (Laena’s Cupcakes Suck) like a ton of bricks. It was a bit reminiscent of Rage Against The Machine with an attacking syncopated hook, but quite unique to WEEPER.
WEEPER’s style, feel, and overall song and sound composition are really quite unique and interesting. They intertwine a straight forward rock/metal/punk/hardcore style with sometimes complex, very interesting guitar parts. Seeing the live set and hearing their song writing and arrangements, the audience is presented with lots of musical surprises. The pounding, driving drums and bass hold down the bottom end, adding in the very eccentric, technical style and difficult to play 8 string Jackson guitar and screaming, passionate vocals, in a word, this is WEEPER!
As they moved into the next song No Mistake, the WEEPER song composition took a melodic turn. They were mixing a standard rock feel with some very cool obscure musical passages. The vocals of Danny Kostianus started to become introspective and deeper, with more range and melody.
One thing that started to immediately become apparent was the very unique, interesting style of Mira Petroslav. To be able to play his 8 string guitar would take some general musical gymnastics. But to play these very unusual guitar cording and patterns on that guitar takes a real technician. Lesser men would have crumbled with faced with this challenge, and for certain, he is a better guitar man than I. And I kept watching him, thinking about and wondering how it all made sense musically, and what the heck is he playing and where is it coming from. But when it comes out of the amp, it all makes perfect sense. Again and again through their set, I found myself very intrigued and enamored by this guy.
Next up was Victimless and Terror. Victimless included a very non-standard musical rhythm, and a mixture of older style hard rock with a hardcore twist.
Then Terror turned the tables completely. It included vamping on a few cord patterns, then split the rhythm into a half-time pattern. The style was something I had never really heard before. If I had to define it, I would characterize it as SURFCORE. A mixture of surf music with hardcore (especially the second half of the song), it sounded totally bitchin’. And remember, you heard the music genre term "SURFCORE" here first…!
Continuing the set, the next two songs were In Plain Sight and Sunken Eyes. In Plain Sight created a somewhat complex, great feel. It’s very intriguing, and very hard to describe, but I know I enjoyed it.
Then Sunken Eyes, continued to elaborate on similar cool themes as earlier in the set. Very straight forward ROCKCORE, weaving and transitioning back and forth between very unique guitar patterns and arrangements.
Last up was a WEEPER classic, Legs Of Gold. If it were possible to categorize one song from the set as "guitar driven", this would be the one. Very straight forward, WEEPER style, unique and interesting. With Joe and Simon solidly holding down the fort, Danny rippin’ away on throat, and Mira letting loose again with some very difficult, creative guitar playing, the volume is turned up to "11", and it was the perfect song to close the set.
If you’re a hardrock, punk or hardcore fan, and enjoy something interesting, creative, different and loud, make sure to get out and see and support our local Hong Kong WEEPER!
And as always, many thanks and much respect to The Underground for their tireless hard work helping all the Hong Kong bands, and for their eternal passion to create and give the public a music scene we can be proud of.
Gregory J. Tancer
Live review from Underground Heavy #9:
2. Savage Age
3. Built to Be Last
4. Grow the Balls
5. Hero for Heroin
6. Legs of Gold
9. No Mistake
The third band on were Weeper, who were formed from the separating factions of This is Ammunition (a band that I do not make any bones about liking very much indeed). I won’t dwell on the history, for it’s not a productive use of anyone’s time, but certain aspects of Weeper were also essential elements in TIA, and I feel they’re salient enough to point out. Most obviously, the instrumental lineup is identical, so there’s a lot of continuity in terms of style. There are short riffs galore, around every corner, from guitarist Mira, and the very hardcore-punk rhythm section are solid as ever. The general style of music is in the same ballpark. Weeper, however, is a very different animal from what TIA used to be, and splitting hairs about how this is so is enlightening (and fun).
For a start the guitars have somehow gotten more intense in their texture – for most of the songs sound like guitar fury raining down ceaselessly on the ears, but in a really good way. The rhythmic, snaking riffs are not just as plentiful, but (more importantly) as good as ever. Sounding like a mix of the pummelling feel of bands like Agnostic Front and of Suicidal Tendencies, this is powerful stuff. Singer (well, let’s be honest, ‘screamer’) Danny is remarkably good at screaming, and powerfully, and this mixes with the music to sound like the band are descended from Rudimentary Peni and Fear, which is always terrific. The subject matter of the band is decidedly on the seedier side, and they have songs for/about everyone; from “hookers” to “hardcore junkies”. Okay, so perhaps not quite everyone.
Considering that this was the band’s first show in a while there weren’t any mistakes big enough to be noticed by an audience member (having said that, expectations of musicians as good as the ones in Weeper are much higher than “let’s hope they don’t fuck all of it up”). They began by sounding like they’d mixed The Strokes with Anthrax, and it only got better from there. The wonderful glammy lick at the start of Grow the Balls was particularly awesome to listen to. Legs of Gold was more in the way of a Black Sabbath song, except for the screaming. Terror had the feel of a Minor Threat song, with its light-speed feel, and the drums on their new unnamed song were super-neat. The only song during which I felt there was something off was Hero for Heroin, as I felt the arrangement wasn’t quite as smooth as it was in the other songs, and it didn’t flow the same way. But that’s barely an issue at all, and considering how fun they are to see live, it’ll barely register to the non-nitpicking listener. If you’re looking for hard-hitting punky metal music, Weeper would be a great band to start with.
(As a very minor aside, there are small portions of a couple of songs that reminded me of the Defiant Scum song Every Day is the Same. This is purely a tangential observation that I thought was funny and a point of intrigue. Completely incidental but pleasantly surprising, I thought. Don’t you?)
– Shashwati Kala