What a wonderful night! Thank you so much to all the people who crowded into California on a Saturday night to share our happiness at reaching FIVE YEARS of original live music showcases in Hong Kong! Thanks a lot to Epiphone for the gorgeous Flying V guitar that EVERYONE wanted to win, thanks to HMV and Tom Lee for the generous vouchers and thank you to Tonerider for the guitar pedals that all the bands wanted to win!! Again thanks to the wonderful Underground team, I couldn’t have done all these shows without your help. Lets hope we see you all at the TEN YEAR anniversary show!
love Chris B x
Inoffensive indie-pop from a straight-ahead four-piece from Lantau Island.
Great singer with a voice tailor made for the slightly dissatisfied themes of his lyrics. Nice and tall, too, given the low stage at California. The band took a while to get warmed up, and it wasn’t until well into the set that they started to get into the sultans-of-swing of things.
As a new-ish band the Junkiez are a little rough around the edges. The fourth song had an interesting ska vibe, yet it fell to the vocals to provide a rhythm that the rhythm section struggled to match. The final song was by far the best, suiting the strengths of all four band-members’ strengths, and gained them a warm reception from the festive crowd.
The sound of Lantau is more summer than junkie. And perhaps a little more hastily thrown-up Tung Chung than authentic Mui Wo. But miles better than Discovery Bay.
A much heralded return for Airtub, recently lapsed, but one of the bands on the bill for the very first Underground, held at the Barren Rock club in those heady days of April 1841. Not really.Showing the confidence of a group that’s played together for more than nine months, the set began with a couple of numbers that came straight from US radio, all drama and angst. Well put-together songs but not quite loud or angry enough for my liking.
A slightly surprising detour then took us into a much more local and poppy sound, which, again, was done very well. Then the closing song was more interesting still, venturing into new ground, somewhere between the very different influences on display earlier. They should go there more often.
US-2 Evil-0 (Philippines 菲律賓)
Best band name for a while, and best band of the night by far. Music to match the celebratory atmosphere and to, ahem, get this party started. Boy and girl vocalists (think B52s) euphorically singing lyrics like, “whatever, I don’t care, we’ll go home wasted.”Every song was its own little kitchen-sink drama, but with zero hand-wringing and big smiles all round, which quickly spread from band to audience. And great playing too.
Random notes from the rest of the set: ska-meets Sugarcubes; tight as anything; drum fills and harmonies; keyboards and silly dancing. Come back soon!
With music so immediate, it was a shame it took a couple of songs for Hardpack to warm up. But when they did, it all came together very well indeed.
In some ways, Hardpack are the punks from central casting. All the key elements were there, including 1-2-3-4 intros, oi oi oi choruses, plus the occasional welll-chosen detour into melody and harmony. Yet punk clichés are still clichés and two or three of songs lacked that additional dimension to clearly stand apart from parody.
All in all very enjoyable, but kind of hard to follow the exuberance of Us-2…
Topping the bill, Hard Candy closed out the party with challenging but upbeat pop-punk, delivered with enthusiasm. Again, the first song could have been more together (Chris B, perhaps get Red Bull in as a sponsor – or something stronger?), but song 2 really got things going and featured the evening’s first really fuzzy guitar. And the first phaser too. Bonus points.
Central to Hard Candy are the lead vocals – loud, female, strident and relentlessly discordant. For some of the songs this worked a treat, but others could have used a little variation in singing to match the admirable variety of the music. Rockabilly merged with XTC which merged with Talking Heads – and that was just one song.
Hard Candy saved the best song for last, with a great bass line, mounting drama and vocals getting dangerously close to singing. Great soundtrack to a Tarantino movie.
Happy Birthday Underground!