Congrats to the Underground team for booking Hard Candy… I had heard a lot about them, all of it positive, so went along last night with high hopes. I was not disappointed. I have lived in Hong Kong for many years now, and quite possibly can be seen as an old hardened cynical hack. But Hard Candy made me feel 18 again. Took me back to the days of Altered Images with Clare Grogan prancing around the stage with her pigtails to a chainsaw musical background. Hard Candy are a threesome, male bass player Eric, female drummer Renee, and the incredible Yan ( a girl) on guitar and vocals.
It’s amazing how such a powerful scream can come out of such a little girl. From the very first song, the band had the noisy crowd eating out of their hands. Yan charmingly introduced each song, and then off they went, a pot-pourri of pop/punk, Yan’s voice soaring,not always in key but that added to the charm and I think was done on purpose anyway. The bass player jumped around to good effect, and the drummer was excellent too. But nothing can compare to Yan, as Sinead O’Connor may have said once. This girl, and the band if they get a bit of luck, could be huge. “The song’s not finished yet”, squealed Yan when we applauded prematurely. We saw Hard Candy, we fell in love. And not just with Yan. Hard Candy conquered. My favourite band ever in Hong Kong. Go to the website at http://www.hardcandygirl.com/ and swoon.
It was always going to be difficult to follow Hard Candy, but Raze did a good job of it. It was their first gig for months, and the lads admitted to a bit of nervousness beforehand. The very first chords however showed where they were coming from, a beautiful lilting melody, and a good catchy song. And that’s where Raze score…their songs are well crafted , and even though sings throughout in Cantonese, they were very accessible to the western ear. Certainly influenced by Beyond, all four band members took their turn at singing, although Jerry took most of the vocals and did a fine job. Bassist Mark made an excellent rhythym section with drummer Barry , and the interchangeable guitars of Jerry and Boris made for a pleasing rock sound. The lads are currently making their debut EP we understand, it should be well worth buying.
Pok Guys. Not being a Cantonese speaker, I had no idea of the significance of the name, until this rather pretty Chinese girl at The Underground whispered in my ear “wanker”. I stared at her, and wondered how she knew one of my innermost secrets. It threw me a little bit, until I realised that she was talking about the Pok Guys’ name. I smiled uneasily at her, and watched the band. I recognised 2 of the members at least from other bands, which is typical of incestuous gweilo hong kong. But their power-pop/rock went down well enough. Guitarist Andrew shared lead vocals with Brendan, each singing their own individual compositions. It became clear that Andrew leans towards the poppier side,whereas Brendan likes his music a bit heavier. The juxtaposition worked well most of the time, although some of their songs did go on a bit. Their encore of a new Green Day song (album out this week) was brilliant. I smiled at the Chinese girl who had called me a wanker. She told me where to go in no uncertain terms. Charming. I left the bar, whistling that Green Day song. I had a kebab, and went home. A good night.
© Copyright 2005 Photos by Chris B