Wow! What a great night this was! I thoroughly enjoyed the impromptu ‘simulated sex’ show during Poubelle International’s set, can your dancers come back for Underground 69??
Thanks to all the bands for inviting lots of fans & friends to the show. It was an awesome fun night for everyone!!
love Chris B xx
From the minute I went into the venue I had had a feeling that it’s going to be an unusual Underground night. I can’t say exactly what it is but perhaps we’ll know later on. The star-crossed writer was soon awoken by Linkup, a 5-piece band with a girl on keys, as they were doing the soundcheck. They have been gigging since last year so there wasn’t any problem drawing up a crowd of audience in front of the stage upon just one request made by the vocalist. Their songs were heavy, in fast tempo, with distorted metal riffs and a taste of emo sounding melodies we expect in the bands of the like. The drummer sounded and looked professional to me and he tried his very best to LINK UP the band in the music sense but somehow they are yet to give me a picture of them playing or interacting as one whole band. It would be even greater if the keyboard could be heard clearly next time – I know it’s not their fault – just a matter of experience compromising between members on their volume level. A short set but sufficiently impressing and satisfying – I finished a bottle of beer and grabbed another one shortly.
Their talent of entertaining the audience (as well as themselves) was shown right at the beginning of the set by putting up a “‘cinema’ announcement” played from the cell phone, trying to say “it’s our 1st anniversary” in different languages. I’m not making any comparison, but I love their light-heartedness, which makes me think of JuicyNing, music-wise and lyric-wise. I’m not a big fan of care-free songs, what I’m sure of is they delivered it really well, such as the 3rd song, which the chatty bassist mentioned was their only punk song among all numbers which are more rap-based type. They kept saying they are growing old, but I cannot agree: they are young at heart, with the charisma, energy and the stage dynamic. They made people open up, helping them prepare for the enjoyment for the rest of the night, like me – I was ready to ask for the third Asahi.
The Dorques (Philippines 菲律賓)
All the way from the Philippines, there is no reason I shouldn’t go see them for more than once. One may find it unfair to have me reviewing them as I’ve seen them thrice, meaning the whole HK tour, by the time I’m writing this. I’ll talk about them music-wise (Calvin would be disappointed for not being able to read about Nina the keyboardist). Continuing the “good weather with plenty of sunshine” style of Wondergarl despite the gloomy weather in the week, the Dorques had a big number of people crowding up way before they arrived – it was worth a wait when you are curious about a Filipino band singing in French or Japanese. With dancing beats, catchy guitar riffs, walking basslines and easy-listening melodies perfecting the lineup, the songs were all good sing-alongs, at least I could catch up the French lines “Je suis desolee”. “Supercool” is my favourite: when Joffy sang the word “supercool” repeatedly like “parkour, parkour”, which means “free-running” in French, it made me wonder if their inspirations are as free as that. I believe I don’t have to question this. Applause was non-stoppable, especially when Nina spoke Japanese in the monologue in “Murasaki Blues” (she explained to me she learnt it from Japanese animes like Sailor Moon), and the audience shouted for an encore. Do you remember when we have ever heard of people asking for encores in Underground gigs? If I’m not wrong, these honoured guests made the franchise. To me, it’s not a good practice to associate bands with another, but I would recommend the following band for further listening: The Little Ones from the US.
I never make empty promises. The next evening after Underground I met them again at Fringe and said I’d write a good review for the guys (I seem to say it to every band). I did not miss any part of their gig except the guest tambourine player having his nipples licked by a hot Thai lady. It’s their second time playing at the Underground (previous one please check Underground 59 review) and they clearly had gained some fame – check the crowd in front of the stage and the Underground chart. I wish Rockit was still organized in town, the group’s powerful rhythm session should make them all the way to any festival – they are garage-sounding – imagine the crowd jumping with the beats when the Subways are playing “Oh Yeah”. However, as a band with only one guitar, I would hope it would sound thicker – more driven and loud. Another reviewer Bun told me there aren’t many garage bands in town, Jesus, why not? Let Poubelle International play a couple of more U gigs and people will start following them and play garage and turn away from “emo” – just like when they turned away from punk/hardcore.
The usual (also cruel) fact about live shows in HK is that there are fewer and fewer people staying when the last slots are playing, but I think this band set another record: it was the most crowded time when they got onto the stage. They had got friends and fans of course, but didn’t imagine it would be that crowded, according to “The later the fewer” theory. They came up to the stage, saying that they are “facing themselves, and to prove they aren’t wrong”. I didn’t get it, but checking their profile with the slogan saying they “express the dark side of human nature, frankness still holds true the other way round”. Yeah, they were frank enough – with the vocalist apologies without reasons and swearing throughout the performance – and kicked start the very tight set. Heavy, distorted guitar rhythm was of course the essential ingredient of metal, with the versatile vocal to become the perfect recipe. The rhythm section was fantastic – I have always liked double-pedaling kicks – that it built up the tension in the songs, which made you suffocated but were attractive enough to keep you there. Though you would never be able to hear what a screaming vocalist singing about in the songs, but I would commend them to the list of good metal bands.
I’d already lost count of how much beer I had drunk, but I started to feel tipsy-turvy. Still I had to hang on there and watch the last band playing. Their professionalism was very conspicuous when they brought their own amps and gears on to the stage – it’s very rare now for HK bands to use their own rigs at shows to ensure the best quality. As a band playing hard rock, you never find it surprising to see them in standard “rock star appearances” – proper black outfit, long hair etc can be summarised into one word: attractive. Again, like most good bands, they have the killer recipe for a good set: the soaring, sexy voice that outshone many vocalists in the night; a very catchy, speedy lead guitar which made the world stop just to listen to him – I would say he was the core of the band who is flawless, and confident enough to deliver the message he gave to the audience; and the very stable rhythm section for the foundation of the music. Everything was so distinct which could be heard clearly, but was integrated as a whole, as if you have your headphones playing their music in stereophonic surround sound. I have to mention their polished vocal harmony is rare in the scene. It means they are somehow trained to make good music arrangements. Very satisfying, but the only thing I would criticise is (surprisingly) their elaborate guitar shredding at the end: a tasty Haagen Daz ice cream is good, but only good with one small scoop. You know what I mean.
photos © Copyright 2008 by ANGUS LEUNG
Thanks to Poubelle International for the very tasty Underground 67 poster!