Thanks to everyone who came to check out the bands! Thanks to Manek & Yan for taking care of my eMCee duties whilst I was ill. Thanks to LES VISAGES for supporting original local music! Thanks so much to the bands that made the night unique!
Thanks to Anastassia & her crew for filming & writing a story about indie music in HK!
love Chris B xx
My Stoned Playground
Opening act My Stoned Playground soundcheck noisily. Scratchy beeps and alarms melt into pounding drums, loudish bass and blasts of distorted guitar. The sound is either great or grating, depending on your POV regarding the noise vs melody issue. This also applies to J Fung’s vocals, which are strained, but then, there’s always William Shatner or the Legendary Stardust Cowboy for comparison.
Anyway, My Stoned Playground finish a short set that sounds like Emo remixes of Cooper Temple Clause electronics, merged with Flaming Lips “Yoshimi”-era whimsy and some of the MC5’s more unhinged jazz-rock improv riffs. In some ways, they’re the most “out there” band of the night. In other ways, they’re fuzzy and un-coordinated, but the drummer rocks. Can Do Better, I’m sure.
There’s about 80 punters in the crowd as The Pliable take the stage, and another video crew is present, filming a short documentary. ATV don’t seem so interested anymore. Wonder, which rock-doc will burst first into the public arena? The Pliable’s opening songs are sorta mid-80’s Bowie meets Franz Ferdinand choppy chunka chunka bass/drum rhythms. Hints of Ennio Morricone (“Good, Bad, Ugly” s/t) in there among the echoing guitars. They sing with more verve than MSP and surprise me with a drastic mid-set change of pace. The 2nd guitarist goes for a pee and the other three promptly turn into The Who (well, except for kicking over the drums, breaking the screen, microphone twirling and fisticuffs). Black Sabbath power-chords aplenty, some reverberatory guitar like Terry Bickers from The House of Love and the loud/soft/loud dynamic of classic grunge. The drummer rocks. Two ladies, Linda and Solange, who are sitting with me,are loving it enough to earn themselves a mention in the story.
Transnoodle should have been the 3rd band tonight, but they had to withdraw because their baby is having a vocalist (or something like that). Their name is still on the TV monitor, but the fliers show that Lazy Susans are the late replacements.
The quintet, with new bassist Eunice (phwoar!) who is in The Ember, look like they’ve just seen a triple-bill of Repo Man, Reservoir Dogs and The Blues Brothers. Some brief Steve Cropper-style funk-wah guitar playing is about the extent of the B.B.’s influence. It’s more power/punk/pop, some close harmony “lalala” vox, and a Canto-rock ballad. The final tune, dedicated “for our bosses” is a real piss-and-vinegar wake-up call. There are some cool 60’s psychedelic touches by guitarists Angusand Franky. Singer Dan struts the stage, while leaving room for the axemen to swing. Wing, the drummer rocks and the applause is sincere and sustained.
Nick, Eunice is not new, she’s the founding member of Lazy Susans! – Chris B
Rusty Cross bludgeon about 20 or so adoring head-bangers, fingers jabbing skywards, into submission. The fans include a couple (?) of members of dark metal/gruntvox band Entracura. Good theatrics too. R.C. make a r.s.r. as well, speedslamming through their repetoire as the fans turn the dance floor into mosh pit h.q. The singer exhorts everyone to higher levels of response in what sounds like fluent Goblin. My mate, Digger the Ligger, thinks the guitarist is overstretched a little, trying too hard to reach some notes. Gang of Four used to do that all the time as well, but they were probably being post-ironic. Practice always helps. Some of the guitar solos mine the same distorted, echoing, fuzzy, reverberating wah wah sounds that have been a feature of all 4 bands tonight. The drummer rocks. Willem smiles as he snaps his final pix and promptly removes his earplugs. It’s been another analogue night of music, mistakes and merrymaking with minimal mayhem and over 100 people in attendance.
A big hands up to the staff of Les Visages and a special thank you to Rommel! You did great guys!
Above photos © Copyright 2006 by Willem Van Der Merwe