Ladybeard (Wu So Lui 鬍鬚女)

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Live review from LADYBEARD returns to Hong Kong! 鬍鬚女重返香港! 16/4/2016

1. Valentine kiss (バレンタイン・キッス)
2. Onegai cinderella (お願い!シンデレラ)
3. Moonlight densetsu (ムーンライト伝説)
4. Den den passion (でんでんぱっしょん)
5. Love trap (愛情陷阱)
6. Tsukema tsukeru (つけまつける)
7. First love
8. Odoru ponpokorin (おどるポンポコリン)
9. Baby

Ladybeard aka Richard Margarey is a dynamo on stage and a warm personality on and off it. In the lead-up to his shows, we were told that he intended to "create moments of joy for people." That was something of an understatement!

I have seen Ladybeard many times in Hong Kong, in fact, I was his manager for the year before he left Hong Kong. HK was just too small for him and it’s great how he’s taken his show to a worldwide audience with such success.

The Ladybeard persona, although very much larger than life, definitely has Margarey’s personality stamped all over it. For this show and the previous night’s, he’s upped his showmanship, added new skills (from when he used to live in Hong Kong) to wow the crowd, including neon day-glo nunchucks and Chinese ribbon twirling. Not only can he sing and growl in Cantonese and his native English, he can do it in Putonghua and Japanese as well! His in-between song patter is highly entertaining and the audience laps it up. It’s an energetic show with the audience told to sing along, Ladybeard reaching out to the crowd both during and between songs and the audience grabbing at him with sheer delight and huge smiles all around.

His female Japanese managers do double-duties as make-up artists and during Ladybeard’s onstage performance, stand at stage edge, head-banging and twirling hair and mimicking Ladybeard’s movements to great effect.

His songs do follow a similar format, syrupy-pop then banging into metal versions and it’s great fun to see if he will or won’t follow this formula with new songs. These backing tracks have great production values and Ladybeard revealed backstage that he would be writing some original songs this year. We look forward to hearing these and another visit from Ladybeard – let’s hope we don’t have to wait four years again for the next appearance!
– Chris B


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Live review from LADYBEARD returns to Hong Kong! 鬍鬚女重返香港! 16/4/2016

1. Valentine Kiss (バレンタイン・キッス)
2. Onegai – Shinderera (お願い!シンデレラ)
3. Love Trap (愛情陷阱)
4. Tsukema Tsukema (つけまつける)
5. Yu Ling Dai Biau Wo De Xin (月亮代表我的心‎)
6. Baby
7. Den Den Passion (でんでんぱっしょん)
8. First Love

The expression “WTF” might have been invented for this act.

There’s a long history of guys dressing up as girls to comic (and lucrative) effect, and Ladybeard has just added a few bells and whistles. Well specifically, a five-year-old girl’s personality and dress sense, spliced with a metal singer. Oh, and a beard.

So what can you expect at a Ladybeard show? OK, this is how it goes down. After the anticipation builds for some time, finally the man (he’s definitely a man) himself appears, in his trademark pigtails, polka-dot miniskirts and knee-high socks, to a huge reception. He’s a big, hairy, muscular guy (and former professional wrestler), so if this is your first time, expect a few minutes getting your head around this visual spectacle. It’s not an easy thing to take in, like the time as a kid you walked in on your mum and dad doing it and only realised what was actually happening years later. Unless you were like grown up at the time? Anyway that’s weird, and believe me there’s enough weirdness without going that direction.

After greeting everyone in pretty good Cantonese and getting a lot of laughs and cheers for his efforts he launches into his first song. Except it’s all sweet and gentle, and … nice, luring you into a false sense of security. For a minute or so. Then suddenly it turns into metal version of the song, with the prerecorded soundtrack exploding into squealing guitars and double kick bass pedals, with LB screaming and growling and headbanging like a proper death metaller (except for the flying pigtails). Until it all finally stops, and he flashes the audience that sweet, million dollar smile, as if to say, “who, me?”

This is ‘kawaiicore’, a bizarre, only-in-Japan cute/hardcore crossover, and LB has got it down pretty good.

And then it all starts again.

And that’s pretty much it. Except for the wrestling break in the middle, which saw a 300lb baddie rushing into the room to take LB on, to pantomime-style boos from everyone. They get pretty physical for a while, until defeated, the usurper slinks out, never to return (well until the next day’s show, but apparently he got canned).

There’s no question LB is multi-talented – you try dancing and flirting with your audience in several languages while singing crazy, alternately nursery rhyme and metal style songs and throwing yourself around the room. No wonder he’s breathing heavily and hostess with the mostess Chris B screams when he wraps her in a sweaty embrace. Comes with the cross-dressing territory I’m afraid Chris!

After spending a few years in Hong Kong, Ladybeard relocated to Japan, where his side project Ladybaby, a pop metal band which includes two teen girls seems to be going down pretty well, at least judging by the 14.5 million YouTube views their single “Nippon Manju” received.

So this was something of a triumphant homecoming, made all the more special because it was supposed to be a few months back but got cancelled because he came down sick (probably with measles or mumps or some other kiddy illness). So there was a lot of love in the room for the big fella, which he gratefully lapped up, coming back for an encore during which he actually sang pretty sweetly, until – yes, you guessed it. Urrrrgggghhhhhh!

Another high point was his version of Justin Bieber’s My First Love, during which he threw a huge beach ball with a photo of his pigtails and face morphed with Justin Bieber and the words “Lady Bieber” stuck on it (I’m sure Justin would be thrilled if he knew!).

And while only his mother may still call him Richard, this was a fun and VERY different show from a seriously alternative performer.

- Dan Creffield

 

4月16日的晚上,The Underground為香港帶回了一位國際級藝人-Ladybeard。發跡香港的他,近年在日本發展,憑著女裝打扮摔角手形象成功殺出重圍,在YouTube 發佈一年左右的<Nippon Manju> MV已有一千四百萬多點擊率。到處登台的他,今天終於回歸香港,在4月16和17日演出兩場。

演唱會預定在8時開始,但6時半已有觀眾在門口守候。可見香港觀眾對Ladybeard的期待。之後觀眾陸續進場,八時半左右Ladybeard在歡呼中進場。立即唱出第一首歌<Valentine Kiss>,緊湊的重金屬音樂中咆哮,起勢搖頭舞動著頭上的孖辮。完結後即用廣東話少女啌和觀眾說:我好掛住你地呀!全場立即被Ladybeard迷得一陣。Ladybeard的表演就像看著雌雄同體表演,上一分鐘為霸氣金屬狂人,下一分鐘則為可愛賣萌少女,甚至可以在兩三秒的music break中突然啫嘴賣萌。實在難以觸摸令全場抱腹大笑。Ladybeard唱<愛情陷阱>前特別講到自己已經有一段時間沒有表演過廣東歌,叫大家一同合唱,將氣氛推到一個小高潮。

突然一個碩壯肥大,面塗黑的惡人一手推倒台上的Ladybeard,又抓著他的頭髮暴打,把台下觀眾嚇得半死。但其實是特別安排的摔角表演,畢竟Ladybeard除了是重金屬歌手外,還是一個摔角手。Ladybeard初初就是他當摔角手的名號。台下觀眾都很快了解到台上的事情,對著黑面摔角手大喊Boo!Boo! 又大叫Ladybeard起身。未看過美式摔角WWE等節目的我亦覺得過引。黑面摔角手為香港專業摔角手King Michael。Ladybeard不負眾望起身還擊,還將戰事帶到台下。從左打到右,所有觀眾都可以超近距離欣賞他們的搏擊。最後在門口位置附近Ladybeard將King Michael轟出門外,贏得全場掌聲。

摔角之後,Ladybeard在表演<Tsukema-Tsukeru>中拿出秘密武器-雙截棍兩對。跟著爆炸性的重金屬音樂一邊揮動一邊咆哮,應該都不會有人敢上台惹Ladybeard了。

之後Ladybeard表示自己近年學會了普通話,秀了兩句後說準備了一首普通話歌,就是重金屬版的<月亮代表我的心>。又來了一次全場大合唱後Ladybeard就匆匆道別離場,當然是為了Encore做準備。

小休幾分鐘後,Ladybeard就出來挑戰自己極限,翻唱日本六人女子組合 でんぱ組.inc(電波組.inc)的<Den Den Passion>。一人表演六人的份,歌曲又要突然快唱又要邊舞絲帶。即使跳至全身汗流浹背,表演和歌聲也不走樣。令人驚嘆他就是一個為表演已生的男人,Ladybeard在開始表演前曾跟The Underground的組員說過:Best Service是最重要的!這表演就是這句說話的體現。

最後是全晚唯一慢版的歌曲,宇多田光的<First Love>, 但原來下半段都是重金屬化的編曲,讓人哭笑不得。最後,Ladybeard再次用少女啌賣萌地說很掛念在香港的日子,就在掌聲中離場。

全晚的表演沒有半點悶場,Ladybeard在台上十八般武藝盡出的表演實在令人滿足。之重溫Ladybeard早年在香港生活時的訪問,稱希望未來五年能成為一個成功的重金屬歌手,今天看來,他的目標已經成功了。Ladybeard就是一個堅持就能完成夢想的實證。

- Dicky Kwong


Live review from Underground Heavy #5

IMG_6546.JPGSetlist:

1. Shining Kiss

2. 10 Minutes’ Love

3. Where Did You Go?

4. Heng Xing

5. Love Trap

Aaah, Wu So Lui. Not much had changed about his set from the last time I saw him – there’s still the same cooked up drama, the very self-conscious manner of performing, the dresses, and the accomplice who proceeds to get beaten up. A big part of why the act works is that his acknowledgement of its comic basis is implicitly obvious, but never explicitly stated. The fact that he finds it funny and is enjoying himself tremendously up on stage also adds to the entertainment, with all the three ponytails going in different directions as he headbangs and jumps around on stage. This was, of course, the same approach that made KISS and others of their ilk so popular – making any implied femininity a butch joke. Which is good, because if he hadn’t tacitly indicated the joke, the persona would become a lot creepier and make people uncomfortable (a la the New York Dolls). The act is still essentially un-musical, and is hence stationary. There can be little change to its basic contents if the ruse is intended to be maintained; which means that if you’ve seen him once, you won’t see much different the next time. It is purely entertainment for entertainment’s sake.

However, the entertainment quotient is quite high, and people do enjoy the act – and this night was no different. He did the ‘over-earnest-talent-show-participant’ bit while opening Shining Kiss, abandoning it intermittently to do the ‘knees-bent-assaulter’ bit, while screaming the words. It basically remained the same through the other songs, with the oodles of cheesy pop-metal riffs provided his only back-up. This was inadequate on the night, as the volume of the track was way too low for the synchronised singing to be seamless – one kept being distracted by the thin-sounding track. Even though it was made progressively louder through the set, it never was quite enough. Luckily, most people would’ve been watching, rather than listening, the pantomimic activities during Heng Xing, consisting of a guy in a massive panda costume-head and a plant in the audience being ‘beaten up’ somewhat comically. 10 Minutes’ Love even featured a guest vocalist in the form of a petite girl, who could actually sing and scream, and compete with WSL. However, this was not taken advantage of as both singers were separate on stage, and didn’t use the opportunity of having someone else on stage. There was even a blow-up-nurse doll that was crowd-surfed around during the song. The set ended with Love Trap, which had the meatiest and arguably the best-quality backing track, and right up to the end, the audience was in all the way. While I still maintain that it’s not a musical act, it’s still an interesting interpretive metal pantomime (not to mention the only one around).

– Shashwati

二零零一年一月二十九日,是Underground 今年第二個音樂會“Heavy 5″的舉行日子。當晚演出者包括The priceless boat、This is ammunition、The innercore、Trash 21、Intellectual morans和鬍鬚女。 鬍鬚女,一個身型健壯的大男人,一身短裙跟摔角裝扮。當晚不認識他的人,有些覺得驚訝,亦有人覺得有趣或可笑。但當他踏上台表演時,場內的觀眾都為他而喝采。鬍鬚女的演出十分之特出,不僅因為他是一個白人在唱廣東歌,而且他也把香港的流行音樂變成外國的重金屬音樂,令到本地的觀眾都不停地讚好。雖然鬍鬚女沒有樂隊伴奏,但他的氣勢也沒有比其他樂隊弱。他除了是一個俱創意的歌手,也是一個出色的表演者。他會在每一首歌後和大家製造氣氛,也會在演出時大叫一句「let’s mosh!」,和觀眾融為一體,也令現場氣氛大大增加。當晚的音樂會真是令人難忘,我亦相信,如果沒有鬍鬚女的話,當晚的氣氛一定沒這麼好。

– SuperW

Global Battle of the Bands Hong Kong 2010 Special Guest PerformerLive review from GBOB HK Final 2010 GBOB_HK_final_359.jpgThis was followed by Wu So Lui, who was, as always, fascinating to watch in all his dressy glory, and cool to listen to, singing to the cheesiest, most awesome-sounding riffs, and his many ponytails spinning as he headbanged. And, as always, the crowd ate out of his…er, her…whatever’s hands, taken in by his immense stage-presence, infectious energy and the riff-laden music chosen for the many antics to be performed against. – Shashwati

Heavy4_146.jpgLive Review from Underground Heavy #4:

Wu So Lui is such an exception he (she?) had to break The Underground rules. On the home page of this very web site, it is said that “THE UNDERGROUND was created in April 2004 as a result of the dearth of live music venues in Hong Kong, and to provide a showcase for the unsigned talent in Hong Kong to strut their original music.” Wu So Lui is such an exception that he has no original music. Not only that, he also does not have live music, only live singing. And you’d probably think that as soon as the music started, the organizer would have kicked him out (not that she could actually kick him at all). Not only that, I was asked by different people throughout the show, prior to his (her?) hitting the stage whether I have seen him (I have not) and to treat his show more like entertainment. So, to sum it up, Wu So Lui is a karaoke comedy performance of his very own style of Cantocore, which is hardcoredized cantopop. Now it’s much more exciting than it sounded, and Wu So Lui would definitely treat you to lots of headbanging and Cantonese interaction (apparently English-speaking folks need not apply) even though he’s clearly (both visually and vocally) a Westerner. Pause. If I write any longer everyone else would probably think I’m serving favouritism. But with no run-of-the-mill background music, you could tell his hardcore music is really quite good. And, really, it begs the question, when is he going to record all these mutant cover songs? - Bun NgIMG_0151.JPG

Live Review from Underground Heavy #3:

Setlist:
1. My Pride
2. Love Trap
3. Let’s Get Wet
4. Love Tutorial

Before I say anything about this act, let me specify that very little in the following portions of text will be about music.Dawn introduced him, but she really had to sweat the nomenclature; plenty of arguments and smart-assed comments mixed with the “intro”, about gender. The “Bearded Lady” had to be coaxed out of his backstage hiding-place (I know…just get used to the rapidly switching gender references) by the audience chanting his name. Out he came in floral, strapless garb that the pepperpots on Python would have been proud of, and proceeded to take the stage in classic Susan Boyle stance. When the first track began to play, a sweet American Idol-esque song began; but the audience was onto him, as chuckles and anticipating banter abounded. Then, as the music got heavier and moved into hardcore territory, the headbanging began, the vocals were spit out, and the audience was rolling with laughter mixed with feeble attempts at headbanging, led by him (which most people were too busy to do, for filming the thing going on onstage, anyhow).Love Trap saw the act escalate, with his partner in crime coming on, and an action-comedy-pantomime-type-thing followed, replete with fake punching, mean stares, pelvic thrusts, and exaggerated 3 Stooges style slapstick. His control of the crowd was remarkable – they were certainly all on …uh… his side, and went along with every beat of every joke that I’m guessing he cracked (I was not privy to the meaning, not speaking Cantonese myself, but it sure seemed like it was funny). He moved between smarmy pop and pissed-off metal-style personas with almost schizophrenic ease. His 3 ponytails were clearly free spirits as well; each moved of its own accord. The thing about the act is, though, it would be MUCH less enjoyable if he wasn’t a good singer, much like Tenacious D. I’ve never seen Jayne (formerly Wayne) County play live (just videos), but I imagine this was a lot like that. However, to add a legitimate musical side to his show, he really should get a band to back him – he’s certainly got the pipes for it. The massive roar that saw him off left no doubt that he had captured the audience’s hearts.– Shashwati

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