THANK YOU to everyone who came down for another superb show!
Thanks to System Kick for making the trip over from Macau & thanks to ATV for filming the bands that night. Thanks so much to all the musicians who helps out on these shows to make it happen – you people are the best! Special thanks to Luke Chow who is a brilliant MC!
love Chris B xx
System Kick (from Macau)
A hearty “Hey, how’s everyone doing?” from System Kick frontman Geoff set the tone for a vibrant night at Underground 29, which was threatened by the prospect of the World Cup keeping live music fans glued to television screens instead of being stageside. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and the bar started to fill as the Macau band offered a fun collection of rock riffs as hearty as the frontman’s hello. Their songs were at first affected by a highly uneven stage sound, but kudos to the soundman who managed to balance everything out through the PA speakers within a few songs. Spacey, long guitar intros to some songs gave the band a certain Dire Straits or Pink Floyd vibe at times, at least until the rock grooves kicked in. Third song Who Am I started with a great crowd-participation intro (that can be heard on the live recording on their MySpace site), but for some reason the chant didn’t quite carry into the song. Anyway, rocking riffs, nice grooves, drummer Fabbio was particularly good. With some more experience System Kick will gel better as a band and solidify their sound.
Hard Candy frontwoman Yanyan Pang has some serious attitude! She put poor Underground emcee Luke Chow in his place when he introduced the trio as “Hong Kong’s sexiest band”, when she butted in “hey, I don’t like this introduction”, before taking things intro into her own hands – “this song is about my boyfriend, but I don’t have one, so fuck it!”. What a rockstar! They then launched into an outrageous set of songs I can only describe as “scream-core”, and with a broken heart in every lyric, Miss Pang is obviously a woman scorned! Third song I Wish I, with its “I wonder how I live through all the days” squeal, was a particular crowd pleaser. Hard Candy have improved immensely on the last show I saw them play. Alex has been a splendid addition to the band, with her adroit basswork locking in well with Renee’s much enhanced drumming, giving Miss Pang a solid groove foundation to do whatever guitar and vocal shrieking she likes over the top. Hard Candy can sound a little off key, and a little off beat, but there’s something about the way they do it that keeps your attention. Perhaps it is Miss Pang’s no-compromise approach? She DEMANDS attention! “This is going to be our last song, but I really don’t want to get off the stage!” she huffs. Sounded like the crowd didn’t want them to leave either. They finished with what I thought was the best song of the night, an instrumental inspired by the late musician Elliot Smith.
they are plenty entertaining, but in a very different sort of way. think shonen knife or the pancakes. the end product is like a stir fry of oil and water garnished with a screaming dead rat. someone please give me a gun. but, that combined with their sincerity make them a good watch if nothing more. their final song though, an extended instrumental one, was awesome. it bridged experimental, trance, and pop all at once. they could quite possibly do well professionally this way.
An id Signal
As soon as An id Signal ripped into their first song, one band name kept repeating itself in my head – The Used, The Used, The Used, The Used. Yep, these guys sound just like Hong Kong’s answer to those American punk-pop Mormons, The Used. And like that band’s frontman Bert McCracken, An id Signal’s singer Leung Wing showed true rockstar charisma from the start, inviting a wall of their own enthusiastic fanatics to the stagefront. But while their following was impressive, the music itself was mostly guitar-saturated noise to me. Maybe I’m too much of a melody junky? If I am then I certainly didn’t get a fix from this band. However, plenty of others did, so the boys must be doing something right. Competent players with a likeable frontman ensuring good bilingual interaction with the crowd, An id Signal was a good band, but lacked a little musically. But if you like plenty of volume, plenty of energy and plenty of screaming, then go see them – you won’t be disappointed.
like smoothed-out coarse grain sandpaper in broad sweeps, they’re masters at the art of drawing you into their back-and-forth rhythm, going from lush to minimalist and back again, all the while carrying you with it like an ocean wave upon the shore. very trance-like but in a slower way. they keep enough sound going at any given moment to keep your attention totally occupied, taking you on an interesting adventure every time. the emotional stories they tell through the performance of their music are simply fascinating and captivating. the sharp drummer keeps pushing the mellow mush of sound forward, eagerly and unrelentingly. you’re never left hanging, even for a moment, there’s always something going on.
Wally Amos Phew, after two sets of scream-death-hardcore-shrieking-angst pain, I’m in dire need of aural relief. “Doesn’t anyone know how to sing anymore?” I asked myself, before Alok31G open with a long psycho-metal instrumental, with plenty of sonic noise – reminiscent of the Deftones, but perhaps not quite as heavy. From this, singer Sean hits the stage and they move into an emo-80s Psychedelic Furs-on-steroids groove that sounds great. Someone’s finally SINGING, hooray! My head’s bobbing at last! However, their third song sounds like Joy Division on a bad acid trip before, thankfully, their fourth song moves into a funk-punk groove that would fit nicely on any 90s alternative dancefloor, a-la Primal Scream or the Stone Roses. Plenty of good musicianship, and it’s not surprising considering half the band is made up of Unixx members. And this, their offshoot project, surfs a fine line between 80s and contemporary styles, and rock and dance music, and comes off sounding quite good. However, I personally find the songs very long and verbose, perhaps because they only played four and needed to fill time? Nonetheless, if they can chop them down into four-minute singles, and write four more, they could be on to a real winning formula.
Above photos © Copyright 2006 by Willem Van Der Merwe