One great night from top to bottom. Technical difficulties aside, this Underground definitely showcased the great music available in Macau and Hong Kong. Thanks to the audience who brought their enthusiasm, and the bands that raised the bar once again. And again, thanks to Vic, Stephano, Jake, Cintia, Ada, Angel and the rest of the team for helping make this work. See you at the next one and stay original!
Soundproof and Carpet
After some technical difficulties, Soundproof and Carpet took the stage, and they quickly became one of the big surprises for the evening. With heavy drums and strong rifts, the band sounded too tight to be so young. Musically, they wore their influences on their sleeve, from AC/DC rifting to a cover of Guns n Roses cover of Knocking on Heaven’s Door. The vocals are still a little rough, but there is plenty of effort to push them out in good old rock n roll fashion.
Granlund, Garnier and Murry
For a band making it’s debut, Granlund, Garnier and Murry certainly brought a large fan club, but this is probably not surprising as both Victor and Ray are well known in the local music community. Victor, after all, is the regular sound guy for Underground Macau (Full Disclosure!). This in itself lead to technical difficulties, as Victor ran back and forth to correct sound on the mixing desk, always with the perfectionist’s ear. Once the sound was sorted out, however, the music took it’s own journey, lead by Ray’s Monty Pythonesque chant “And now for something completely different”. The music bounced from ambient electronica, to old school blues, to 70’s fusion ala King Crimson or John McLaughlin, with each song pushing setting off for the hills and taking the appreciative audience with it.
Now if only we could clone Victor so he could be in two places at once.
The OTO Band
If ever there was a band that defines evolution in Macau, OTO would be it, and the old days when OTO was a teen pop act has long been left for dead. Drummer Fabio has well and truly taken over the frontman duties, injecting healthy doses of RnB, Reggae and Hip Hop into the band. It helps that he is backed up by such tight musicians, proving that blood is thicker than water. (Jool’s the bass player is Fabio’s sister, Shelly Grace, the keyboard Player, his mother). The only thing still betraying his age would be his audience banter; his B-Boy “y’alls” often conflict with depth of the music. An acoustic section in the middle of the set brought a Kaki King feeling to the set, albeit one with a few technical hiccups, which they followed by bringing local kid made good, MC Kelse, out of the audience to rap out the set, much to the cheers of the TIS audience. All in all, they made it hard to be the next band to play.
Supper Moment had a uphill job, with the bar raised so high by OTO, but they managed admirably. Their music managed to be both tight and controlled, and soulful and heartfelt at the same time. Sunny proved to be a perfectly comfortable vocalist and front man, and it was easy to see how they won the 2008 TOM Lee Acoustic Band competition. The John Meyer influence was easy to spot, although it was harder to spot the Sigur Ros and Jimi Hendrix influence they mentioned on their AliveNotDead site. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; Supper Moment is a band that does pop-rock well. They probably would have benefited by being at an earlier point in the evening, as by this late in the night the audience was getting rowdier, but overall Supper Moment held their own and made Hong Kong proud.
Just before midnight and Blademark took the stage. Unfortunately, their set was cut short, as the show ran long with technical difficulties, but Blademark once again proved to be the perfect band to end the night. The band brought their trademark brand of nu-metal and turned the volume up to 11, and the crowd responded enthusiastically. The addition of a Guzheng player to “Battlesong” proved that the band wasn’t scared to move beyond their roots and experiment a little, and their short set climaxed with the one-two punch of “Darekong” and, my personal favourite, “BandAge”. It’s just a shame their set had to be cut short, but they left the crowd happy and wanting more.