The Underground Festival @ Fanzone


IMG_1611.JPG Thank you so so much to everyone who came to The Underground Festival at Fan Zone last Friday! I was near tears all night at the so so beautiful stage and the amazing sound and how far Hong Kong independent musicians & bands have come in the past 10 years. It was great that we managed to squeeze 9 bands into one night. It was a challenge for me to select the line-up as I have over 500 bands to choose from and I only had 5 weeks to create this event.
Big hugs & thank you to: Michael Denmark and the most amazing Alex Ng.
Thanks to Parsons,,, all the bands who played, all the bands & musicians & live music lovers in the audience on Friday. Love to The Underground team members who support all my crazy ideas, their friendship & help is very much appreciated. Biggest love to my mother, brother, husband & my children
love Chris B x
謝謝所有到場支持上星期五的Fan Zone The Underground Festival!見到香港獨立樂隊同音樂家過去十年間的進步,在大舞台上優秀的演出,我非常之開心有這樣的發展。對我們來說成功把9隊樂隊組織成一晚的音樂演出十分不易。要於超過500隊本地樂隊選擇演出樂隊,而且只有五星期準備時間實在是一個挑戰。在此特別多謝Michael Denmark同最好的Alex Ng。多謝柏斯琴行、、,所有星期五晚參演樂隊、樂手、觀眾。感謝The Underground成員支持我瘋狂的想法,他們的友誼、幫助對我來說十分重要。最後當然還要多謝母親、弟弟、丈夫同女兒。
Love Chris B x

IMG_9306.JPG IMG_9322.JPG IMG_9365.JPG IMG_9394.JPG IMG_9430.JPG IMG_9437.JPG IMG_9449.JPG IMG_9454.JPG IMG_9481.JPG IMG_9486.JPG IMG_9488.JPG IMG_9490.JPG IMG_9492.JPG IMG_9493.JPG IMG_9497.JPG IMG_9499.JPG IMG_9501.JPG IMG_9503.JPG SHS_1007.JPG SHS_1039.JPG

Helter Skelter


  1. Let Me Love You
  2. Roadrunner
  3. All Your Love
  4. Ain’t No Sunshine
  5. Something Like Olivia
  6. Mary Had A Little Lamb
  7. Crossroads

The interaction between the band members and their instruments are always a point of interest in live performances; some slow dance with them, and some brandish theirs like a weapon. Helter Skelter caresses theirs with a firmness and familiarity like an experienced lover who knows their partners every curve, every wrinkle. As the first performers of the evening, the band was faced with a crowd that was only starting to warm up halfway throughout their set, but they were confident, unfazed, and comfortable with just doing their thing onstage throughout – professional would be the word. Roadrunner was an incredibly groovy piece with a highly danceable motif that works great with the Vince’s classic-sounding vocals; by highly danceable I mean that despite the slight awkwardness that still pierced the air of an early crowd, the audience actually went through a transition of wearing that “Okay I really want to dance to this” expression to “Can I dance to this? Am I allowed to?” and finally “I’m going to dance like no one’s watching” in a matter of minutes. All Your Love and its “Are you loving pretty baby” was good ol’ head bobbing blues; Ain’t No Sunshine was a slower and more melancholic piece, with a sultry desperation in “I know, I know, I know, I know” that worked to its effect. Something Like Olivia’s constrasting lightheartedness almost reminded me of a Eagle-esque country rock. Mary Had A Little Lamb was cheeky and had one of the best guitar solos in their set. The last song was a cover of Crossroads by Cream/Eric Clapton; this prompted a loud cheer of “Yeah!” from the audience. Oddly enough, the act is somehow reminiscent of the scene where Marty McFly/Michael J. Fox covers Johnny B. Goode. Overall, I’m admittedly not educated enough in blues to provide a more comprehensive or in-depth review of their sounds, but they were a great band to start off the night with: groovy enough to heat things up and prep the crowd for the craziness to ensue, but not coming on so strong that it would startle a you that came here straight from work and likely to be still in a semi-zombielike state. Those boys rocked!
– Karen Cheung

IMG_9523.JPG IMG_9538.JPG IMG_9540.JPG IMG_9556.JPG IMG_9562.JPG IMG_9564.JPG IMG_9600.JPG IMG_9619.JPG IMG_9640.JPG IMG_9664.JPG IMG_9694.JPG IMG_9703.JPG IMG_9723.JPG IMG_9787.JPG IMG_9788.JPG IMG_9790.JPG IMG_9793.JPG IMG_9795.JPG IMG_9796.JPG IMG_9799.JPG SHS_1065.JPG SHS_1067.JPG SHS_1073.JPG SHS_1085.JPG

Hey Joe Trio


  1. Foxey Lady
  2. 干物女
  3. 頭髮亂了
  4. Voodoo Chile
  5. 三分鐘熱度

The first thing I was struck by was how incredibly young they are; these boys are 19 & 20 years old. And at times, it shows, too; compared to the veterans of Helter Skelter that played right before them, Hey Joe Trio was noticeably a lot less self-conscious of their stage presence. But one thing was certain: they didn’t care how they looked – and in a good way too. They were fully engrossed in playing their music, and you could just tell how much they were enjoying it. This pure dedication to the music was not lost on the audience, who could be heard murmuring their appreciation, when not commenting on how cute they were. Music wise, though Hey Joe Trio also played ‘blues/funk’, the sound was less of the classic blues in Helter Skelter and more Jimi-Hendrix hard rock style. The lead vocals could get a bit screechy and raw at times, though you could tell that he was blessed with a pleasant voice; with a bit of polishing of technique it could very well be a huge asset to himself and the band. At the instrumental bits though, you close your eyes and sway along with the music, you almost can’t tell that they’re this age: they have mad guitar skills, and together with solid bass and drums, the three produce a sound that is very, very solid. 三, 頭髮亂了, and Voodoo Chile are all testimonies of their fingering and shredding talents, and 三 (Three) in particular – a song which embedded both their band composition (three people, a trio) and the Chinese idiom of 三人行,必有我師 – featured an amazing guitar solo. The third song, 干物女, is said (according to the band during a little backstage interview I did with them) to mean ‘an introvert and untidy girl’, though the actual lyrics were lost on me (I blame my poor Chinese). The cover of 頭髮亂了 by Jacky Cheung was a nice metal twist on a Cantopop-ish tune that again showcased the band’s guitar skills. The last song, 三分鐘熱度, deserves a mention for its industrial-rock sounding bridge and a beautifully mellow vocal finish on the words “告一段落”. These boys get a major kudos for the talents they possess at this age (and for sharing the stage with music jedi masters twice this number), and they’re definitely a shining beacon to watch out for in the Hong Kong music scene in the coming years.
– Karen Cheung

IMG_9803.JPG IMG_9808.JPG IMG_9812.JPG IMG_9816.JPG IMG_9819.JPG IMG_9829.JPG IMG_9833.JPG IMG_9836.JPG IMG_9859.JPG IMG_9871.JPG IMG_9896.JPG IMG_9905.JPG IMG_9918.JPG IMG_9936.JPG IMG_9961.JPG IMG_0004.JPG IMG_0043.JPG IMG_0064.JPG IMG_0135.JPG IMG_0138.JPG IMG_0141.JPG IMG_0143.JPG IMG_0144.JPG IMG_0146.JPG SHS_1124.JPG SHS_1131.JPG SHS_1164.JPG

Noughts and Exes


  1. Seasons
  2. In the Eyes
  3. Collisions
  4. Lovely Day
  5. Hearts

I’m admittedly a Noughts and Exes fan, having (only) first discovered them last October when they played a show at my university and being hooked on their music since. In fact, I’m so much of a fangirl that I ran backstage to ask them for a picture the minute the performance was over. The band is always a delight to watch live, not only because of the quality of their melodious, floaty folk tunes, but also because of the spirituality that Alix Farquhar channels in her vocal performances. The six-piece band also features a conglomeration of non-traditional instruments (e.g. violin, melodica) that blends together wonderfully and all in all adds to the freshness and variety of the music that evening (which was, for the most part, harder and heavier than this set). Seasons, the first song they played, was off to a slightly rocky start on the vocal part, though the experienced band was unfazed and quickly back on their feet. Collisions brought Alix to the lead rather than backing vocals, which was a nice touch that allowed for audiences to appreciate her voice more fully. Lovely Day was my favourite of the evening, a track that took on a darker tone with the lyrics “It’s a lovely day, it’s a lovely day to die, die to the one I love”, and a beautiful violin solo. Overall, the band seems to lacking a bit of their usual energy – perhaps it was the end of a long week – but it was a good show nonetheless.
– Karen Cheung

IMG_0149.JPG IMG_0200.JPG IMG_0211.JPG IMG_0220.JPG IMG_0233.JPG IMG_0238.JPG IMG_0241.JPG IMG_0302.JPG IMG_0324.JPG IMG_0333.JPG IMG_0349.JPG IMG_0377.JPG IMG_0426.JPG IMG_0461.JPG IMG_0468.JPG IMG_0476.JPG IMG_0518.JPG IMG_0523.JPG IMG_0546.JPG IMG_0547.JPG SHS_1191.JPG SHS_1197.JPG SHS_1200.JPG SHS_1211.JPG SHS_1217.JPG

Shotgun Politics


  1. Chucks + Pearls
  2. Sunny
  3. Hands
  4. 852
  5. London Town

Even with the excellence that ensues in the form of Galaxy Express or Dr. Eggs, I’d still have to say that the climax of Friday Night Rocks materialized in the form of Shotgun Politics. Not only was their music fantastic, but they also exhibited an enthusiasm that was contagious in the air and infected all the audience members in the crowd. They were very, very good at creating atmosphere; if they had wanted to and had it been allowed, I would not be surprised at all to see us all moshing. One second we were all still sitting on the floor, lazily bobbing our heads to the music; the next Timmy got everyone up and at the front of the stage, crowded at the feets. The band had echoes of influences of the hard rock/metal of Disturbed and Atreyu, and their stage presence was Slipknot-level crazy. The band began with the energy pumped Chucks + Pearls, followed closely by the catchiness of ‘turn it up, turn it up’ in Sunny. Hands got everyone clapping their hands along; the quiet intro showcased the purity of the rawness of Timmy’s vocals, while the song also went on to exhibit a wide vocal range as well as the talents of the backing vocals in an overlapping sequence. “We’ll be alright we got our hands up in the sky”, indeed. 852 was a personal favourite that had everything I enjoy in a good rock song: incredibly catchy but not bubble-gummy enough to borderline on pop punk, solid vocals, and a great guitar solo. London Town was the last in the set, a ‘party song’ that featured an epic finish. Putting together their talents in music and songwriting with their contagious energy in a live performance, Shotgun Politics was, without a doubt, the most fun and enjoyable act that evening.
– Karen Cheung

IMG_0550.JPG IMG_0559.JPG IMG_0562.JPG IMG_0577.JPG IMG_0622.JPG IMG_0656.JPG IMG_0660.JPG IMG_0668.JPG IMG_0693.JPG IMG_0707.JPG IMG_0723.JPG IMG_0734.JPG IMG_0736.JPG IMG_0739.JPG SHS_1235.JPG SHS_1236.JPG SHS_1247.JPG SHS_1251.JPG SHS_1260.JPG SHS_1262.JPG SHS_1264.JPG SHS_1288.JPG SHS_1303.JPG SHS_1311.JPG SHS_1321.JPG SHS_1329.JPG SHS_1335.JPG SHS_1340.JPG SHS_1348.JPG SHS_1350.JPG SHS_1351.JPG SHS_1352.JPG SHS_1353.JPG SHS_1354.JPG SHS_1355.JPG SHS_1358.JPG SHS_1359.JPG SHS_1361.JPG SHS_1362.JPG SHS_1366.JPG SHS_1378.JPG SHS_1274.JPG SHS_1276.JPG

Galaxy Express (Korea 韓國)


  1. 진짜 너를 원해 (You Want It Real)
  2. 오늘 밤 너와 (Together Tonight)
  3. 호롱불 (Flame)
  4. 새벽 (Dawn)
  5. Jungle the Black
  6. Bye Bye Planet

After Shotgun Politics’ major raising of the stakes with their pop-infused rock ‘n’ roll, things were only set to continue in the same vein as Galaxy Express took that stage. And, indeed, they began with a huge hail of soaring guitars to herald their set. Now, I’ve seen them play a couple of times over the years, the first being in 2010. They play, and there’s really no other term for it, solid rock ‘n’ roll. They have little to do with too many soaring notes, or making everything into a harmony like with radio rock. No; there’s riffs galore, with the chugging guitars like early Black Sabbath (but played at the speed of Judas Priest), with some Hendrix-ian bendy solos to top it all off; really, together it kinda sounds like a Diamond Dogs-era Bowie song played fast, but with better singing – and it’s pretty good. From the quick riffing of 오늘너와 to the huge-drums on the mostly instrumental 새벽, they were in pretty good form. 새벽, in particular, saw some really crackling guitars, which isn’t a sound you hear much nowadays, and was nice to hear. Their last two songs, the most anthemic, have been mainstays of their setlist for a while, and the simple straight-ahead rock that they’re based in was executed very well; well enough to perhaps make the MC5 proud. However, I feel that the sound wasn’t quite suited to the setup of the night, which was made for a much poppier band; most of all, their drums are meant to be thumping-loud, but they sounded muted to me, which took away from the impact a bit. Still, they’re a hard-working group, and that always gets through to the audience; and as the Robert Plant-like shouty bit closed Bye Bye Planet, it was clear that they’d certainly managed to do that.
— Shashwati Kala

IMG_0745.JPG IMG_0746.JPG IMG_0755.JPG IMG_0760.JPG IMG_0783.JPG IMG_0785.JPG IMG_0798.JPG IMG_0804.JPG IMG_0820.JPG IMG_0830.JPG IMG_0837.JPG IMG_0844.JPG IMG_0846.JPG IMG_0873.JPG IMG_0881.JPG IMG_0887.JPG IMG_0888.JPG IMG_0890.JPG IMG_0892.JPG IMG_0895.JPG IMG_0896.JPG IMG_0899.JPG IMG_0900.JPG IMG_0904.JPG IMG_0905.JPG IMG_0908.JPG IMG_0912.JPG IMG_0923.JPG IMG_0924.JPG IMG_0925.JPG IMG_0929.JPG

Bamboo Star


  1. Don’t Turn Around
  2. Breaking Limits
  3. Sweet Child O’ Mine (Guns ‘N’ Roses cover)
  4. Careless Whispers (George Michael cover)
  5. Bad Romance

The rock got heavier still with Bamboo Star, as they came on stage with their slick Noughties-style rock. If Galaxy Express were Bowie-esque, then Bamboo Star are Guns ‘N’ Roses-like. Theirs is a sound that has the high, screaming solos of Guns ‘N’ Roses, with the arrangements of Rage Against the Machine, and just a little bit of Jane’s Addiction style bluesiness thrown in there (as on Breaking Limits). Fittingly enough, they did do a GNR cover, and it was solid; they changed the drums’ arrangement a little, which was a nice touch. Not-so-fittingly, they unexpectedly started playing the tune to Careless Whispers as a riff, managing to confuse nearly everyone there initially. But, the audience seemed to go along with it and enjoy themselves. They even played a sing-along game with the audience, which also seemed to be appreciated. One major beef I had with them was how derivative their songs were; they sounded like any random band on alternative radio in the late 90s/early Noughties, and in those terms they really need to develop their own sound. They’ve got the crowd-pleasing guitar tones and stage-presence down already, but it would be nice to hear something a little less like standard-fare rock. Still, they did entertain the crowd and didn’t let the energy of the show go down, which was well-appreciated.
— Shashwati Kala

IMG_0950.JPG IMG_0951.JPG IMG_0959.JPG IMG_0964.JPG IMG_0965.JPG IMG_0969.JPG IMG_0988.JPG IMG_0998.JPG IMG_1018.JPG IMG_1021.JPG IMG_1025.JPG IMG_1034.JPG IMG_1037.JPG IMG_1050.JPG IMG_1053.JPG IMG_1060.JPG IMG_1067.JPG IMG_1101.JPG IMG_1105.JPG IMG_1107.JPG IMG_1108.JPG IMG_1109.JPG IMG_1111.JPG IMG_1115.JPG IMG_1124.JPG IMG_1126.JPG IMG_1128.JPG IMG_1133.JPG IMG_1138.JPG IMG_1148.JPG IMG_1157.JPG IMG_1189.JPG IMG_1202.JPG IMG_1205.JPG IMG_1211.JPG IMG_1213.JPG IMG_1216.JPG IMG_1218.JPG IMG_1219.JPG IMG_1220.JPG IMG_1222.JPG IMG_1223.JPG



  1. 跳制
  2. 趕客
  3. 海膽生無
  4. 我不能忘記你
  5. 異相
  6. 沖口而出

As the guys from ToNick started setting up, I heard someone say “the fan club is here”; and I looked up to see that it was indeed “here”. A really serious crowd had started to throng around the stage, and the expectant buzz had increased in intensity. The moment they began with their fun pop-rock, the pent-up energy was released, as the crowd cheered wildly. It wasn’t hard to see why; ToNick have an accessible, poppy-sound that uses really simple, nursery-rhyme-type melodies with catchy and fun hooks, which is always a recipe for popularity. They veered between sounding like Blink-182 and the girl who sang Hey Mickey (I realise that this sound is more popular nowadays in the Cantonese-speaking music community, but I’ll admit that I don’t have the right references for that, so I’ll leave that side of things alone). 海膽生無 saw the singer singing nonsense syllables and having the audience singing along, something like a rock-singing Cab Calloway, which was fun. In general, while they are poppy and I found them somewhat unmemorable in terms of pure sound (there are few interesting or unusual uses of instruments, or vocals), they did have some nice-sounding textures and undulating hooks. Most of all, they were really fun to watch, and I didn’t even understand most of what they said. In the end, if you’re a funny band that, for instance, writes an entire song about “a porn site” (我不能忘記你, for anyone that’s interested) while also being competent musicians, you’ll charm people into liking you (even me, apparently). They played a fun set that gave everyone a good time, and I think we can all agree that that’s a pretty good thing.
— Shashwati Kala

IMG_1251.JPG IMG_1252.JPG IMG_1273.JPG IMG_1280.JPG IMG_1287.JPG IMG_1322.JPG IMG_1333.JPG IMG_1336.JPG IMG_1345.JPG IMG_1369.JPG IMG_1372.JPG IMG_1379.JPG IMG_1389.JPG IMG_1441.JPG IMG_1443.JPG IMG_1461.JPG IMG_1478.JPG IMG_1491.JPG IMG_1500.JPG IMG_1508.JPG IMG_1545.JPG IMG_1581.JPG IMG_1584.JPG IMG_1592.JPG IMG_1603.JPG IMG_1607.JPG IMG_1624.JPG SHS_1391.JPG SHS_1402.JPG SHS_1426.JPG SHS_1441.JPG SHS_1450.JPG SHS_1460.JPG SHS_1470.JPG SHS_1477.JPG SHS_1478.JPG SHS_1479.JPG SHS_1498.JPG SHS_1502.JPG SHS_1522.JPG

Dr Eggs


  1. Back
  2. Whisky and Passport
  3. Swing
  4. Banana
  5. Sunset Boulevard
  6. Contre Moi
  7. Boost

The night moved on as one of the most professional bands in town took the stage. Dr. Eggs, as always, were all dressed in a super-coordinated manner, and I daresay that the women won; wearing Betty-Boop-like polka-dotted dresses but sporting guitars, they looked cool. The set was, as usual, full of smoothly arranged, RATM-style rock, interspersed with beats of some nature and samples of various songs. There’s a lot of nu-metal in their sound, like on Whisky and Passport, but there’s a punky side to them as well, as on Boost, which brought out their more Faith No More side. The set feature the typical athletic theatrics from singer Joul, jumping every which way and off of everything and dances of various kinds, and was accompanied by the frolicking (there’s really no other word for it) from both guitarists, which was unusual to say the least. In typical fashion, nearly every song segues into the next, so it was a well-orchestrated, solid set. What was less predictable was their take on the Tra La La Song; I did a few whatever-the-aural-version-of-double-takes-is before I realised “Wow, they’re really doing the One Banana, Two Banana song”. They followed this up with the ska-y, Sublime-like Sunset Boulevard which they did pretty well. After the surprise died down, it actually became entertaining to watch and listen to. As they ended their set with a proper goodbye song, it was clear that they’d gotten the crowd on their side.
— Shashwati Kala

IMG_1628.JPG IMG_1629.JPG IMG_1634.JPG IMG_1642.JPG IMG_1645.JPG IMG_1648.JPG IMG_1649.JPG IMG_1650.JPG IMG_1652.JPG IMG_1653.JPG IMG_1656.JPG IMG_1658.JPG IMG_1662.JPG IMG_1664.JPG IMG_1677.JPG IMG_1680.JPG IMG_1685.JPG IMG_1696.JPG IMG_1702.JPG IMG_1704.JPG IMG_1705.JPG IMG_1724.JPG IMG_1731.JPG IMG_1740.JPG IMG_1753.JPG IMG_1755.JPG IMG_1761.JPG IMG_1768.JPG IMG_1803.JPG IMG_1821.JPG IMG_1835.JPG IMG_1845.JPG IMG_1853.JPG IMG_1855.JPG IMG_1858.JPG IMG_1876.JPG IMG_1880.JPG IMG_1889.JPG IMG_1894.JPG IMG_1913.JPG IMG_1939.JPG IMG_1941.JPG IMG_1947.JPG IMG_1953.JPG IMG_1961.JPG IMG_1964.JPG IMG_1973.JPG IMG_1988.JPG IMG_1990.JPG IMG_2004.JPG IMG_2020.JPG IMG_2039.JPG IMG_2044.JPG IMG_2052.JPG IMG_2053.JPG IMG_2055.JPG IMG_2056.JPG IMG_2058.JPG IMG_2062.JPG IMG_2064.JPG IMG_2080.JPG IMG_2087.JPG IMG_2090.JPG IMG_2191.JPG IMG_2219.JPG IMG_2228.JPG _HH81600.JPG _HH81603.JPG _HH81621.JPG _HH81656.JPG _HH81676.JPG _HH81689.JPG _HH81695.JPG _HH81698.JPG _HH81699.JPG _HH81701.JPG _HH81707.JPG _HH81714.JPG _HH81721.JPG _HH81726.JPG _HH81729.JPG _HH81749.JPG _HH81759.JPG

Supper Moment


  1. P.S. I Love You
  2. We Are Colourful
  3. 機械人
  4. 無盡

By the time these guys took the stage, the crowd had swelled almost miraculously; they’re clearly a popular band. Proof of this, if any further were needed, was the fact that they were the only band that drew screams from members of the audience that night. They certainly have the stagecraft required to draw such reactions from a crowd; the jumping into the crowd during was a nice touch, and exactly the sort of thing that audiences like. Were they a heavier band, a stage-dive would’ve been warranted, but such was not the case. The sound setup was perfect for them, being vocal-heavy and less so on the rhythm section. Indeed, they had a rich-sounding tone for their set, which was pleasing to the ears. Having said that, it didn’t look like the crowd cared much for things like this – right from P.S. I Love You, nearly everyone in sight was swaying along, and it’s always impressive to see a band that has such an effect on people.
In terms of sound, I’d say they’re in the vein of Coldplay, but with the typical HK-singer sound – lots of throaty high notes with plenty of vibrato, and very arch melodies, creating a light drama with sound. This also means, however, that there’s little to differentiate them from tens of other local bands in terms of sound. What they do do, however, is arrange stuff in the best tradition of pop to sound nice to most people, and the crowd’s reaction to them was evidence of this. Typically, the band are solid musicians, but the focus is on the singer; still, they managed to have a few moments of their own, such as the deliberately messy keyboard solo on 機械人 which sounded pretty good, or the bass runs on 無盡 (which sounded a little like a mix of Aerosmith’s Don’t Want to Miss a Thing and Seal’s Kiss From a Rose). They ended with an extended flourish, to a huge roar from the crowd, and in the enormity of that moment, they really owned it and did a great job of exciting the crowd. And, that’s what the whole night was about, and it could scarcely have proceeded better, or ended on a higher note.
— Shashwati Kala


_DSC6926.JPG _DSC6927.JPG _HH81024.JPG _HH81026.JPG _HH81084.JPG _HH81093.JPG _HH81159.JPG _HH81162.JPG _HH81186.JPG _HH81256.JPG _HH81270.JPG _HH81272.JPG _HH81347.JPG _HH81355.JPG _HH81366.JPG _HH81371.JPG _HH81450.JPG _HH81460.JPG _HH81588.JPG _HH81591.JPG _HH81763.JPG _HH81775.JPG _HH81782.JPG _HH81794.JPG

Poster by iPulse
Photos by Photos by Angus Leung, Steve Schechter, Victor Cheung and Harris Hui PASM Workshop

Be Sociable, Share!