Although it’s Underground 114, this event was in fact our 184th event in the last ten years and we had three great bands who are all new to the scene, playing their original music with creativity & passion. Remember their names & look out for them in the future if you missed this event. Big thanks to the amazing trio of beverages:
Jägermeister, Singha Beer & JackDaniels Cola for powering the musicians and the audience.
Big BIG thanks to The Underground Team & GFM.FM for their support.
love Chris B xx
The night began with some shimmering guitars coming from the guitars of JatBunSing, which I thought was auguring some New Order-type slightly dancey, hooky stuff with 認識. Instead, the band then proceeded to play something distinctly funky in the style of the Red Hot Chili Peppers circa 1984. I was just getting comfortable with the sound when they band changed again to a more Noughties metal, almost nu-metal/metalcore sound, with some of the doom-like tones of System of A Down and their ilk. An interesting mix of sounds that had varying degrees of success as their set went on; however they committed what I consider a cardinal sin in that their songs have very clearly demarcated ‘sections’ in which one hears the style changing very abruptly. It’s almost like signalling “that’s the funky bit done, this is the metal bit”. I found the changeovers between the styles a little clunky and in some songs the arrangements were kludgey and sounded pulled-together arbitrarily. And 記事, honestly, was just too messy for funk which requires the paradoxical qualities of precision timing but that it feel effortless.
However, despite all this, their performance and music were quite listenable, and I suspect that it’s to do with three things. First of all, it’s that the combination of styles they try to pull together, in itself, is rather rare. Secondly, they did this without attempting to make the styles fit a poppy sound (like many other bands here have done before). Hence, despite the transitions not being as smooth as I’d have liked, they still had an unusual musical palette that was not pop-ified, and the band clearly had enough skill to pull it all off. Thirdly, they don’t have what I’d call a “singing” singer; the temptation for bands in HK, by far, is to have someone with far too much training to be a good singer for non-melodic styles of rock music. The result usually is that they totally over-sing songs, sacrificing edge for displays of vocal skill; now I’ve got nothing against such displays but they’ve ruined many a song for me because the singer is clearly pre-occupied with sounding like a good singer rather than making the song sound good. Not this band; their singer is more along the lines of someone like Mark Arm (Mudhoney) or Keith Morris (Black Flag/Circle Jerks). His scream-singing gives the band a much-needed edge, and it certainly helps that he often did this standing with his hands by his sides, paradoxically looking like a small child. In all, I’d love it if the band made their transitions smoother and less obvious in order to get their song to gel, but they’re definitely on to something with their sound and are very much worth checking out.
— Shashwati Kala
由4位本土年青男兒組成的<一般性>在Underground #114迎來了他們第一次的Underground演出。作為當晚第一隊演出單位，他們亦沒有讓觀眾久候，經過簡單的準備後便開始演出第一首歌。第一首歌<認識>非常貼心的給了觀眾耳朵一個熱身，<認識>曲風是比較平實的pop rock ballade。正當筆者以為他們的隊名就是其音樂風格縮寫時，第二首歌<記事>及其後<就算是告別>的intro就奏起令人興奮的funk bass line和guitar riff。樂隊一下子Red Hot Chili Peppers上身，<就算是告別>節拍緊湊的bass前奏甚至找到了Throw away your television的感覺，到了中段主音Jacky也終於按捺不住screamo起來，並為之後的重型hardcore歌作一個引子。第四首歌開始之前bass手LauWong向觀眾簡單介紹了樂隊成員，並預告之後的歌曲將非常Rock! <一點一點>的intro在沈實有力的bass line和零散並帶回音的吉他riff配合下，營造出一種迷離且把人拉進深淵的氛圍。第五首歌<包袱>的pre-chorus亦頗具System of a Down風格，相信樂隊的音樂很大程度受90至00年代的hardcore和metal band影響。但到終曲<勇氣>pre-chorus的部分竟然有點00年代canto pop的味道，配上screamo的chorus時強烈反差的效果比其他歌曲都顯得有趣。
1. Trippy Jimmy
2. Traveling Soul Psychedelia
3. A Discovery
4. Eternally Indifferent
5. Nirvana Trippy
6. What’s On Your Mind?
The next band walked on stage looking like a drunk tour group on holiday in Ibiza; lots of painfully flowery shirts and sunglasses, and a keytar whose keytarist could pass for Zach Galifinakis in poor lighting conditions. However, they drew a big crowd and their crowd knew what to do; they danced their legs off. And why not; Shumking Mansion (the famous name adapted to that of their bassist’s) is a dancey band, and I don’t just mean in terms of music. Pretty much throughout the set, the bassist was on the floor kicking and dancing with the audience, and everyone else on stage maintained a steady energetic jig throughout as well. There’s an element of the new-wave synthpoppy danciness to their music, and a lot of disco beats as well. This was the background against which they basically took a different genre for every song and interpreted it as a disco poppy song; the best example of this is Nirvana Trippy, which took a sort of 1994-era Soundgarden to start and mixed it In Utero-era Nirvana but with danceable beats and a non-depressing motif. Now, being something of a grunge purist myself, this was not to my taste and I prefer the likes of the Presidents of the USA to reinterpreting grunge in this way; however I was very much on my own as the crowd bloody loved it (and I’ll admit, I can very much see/hear why).
Traveling Soul Psychedelia actually saw a flamenco dancer come on stage for a while to dance with its vaguely bluesy sound, while A Discovery was a very Noughties rock song with hints of Kasabian, the Killers, and Kings of Leon, and What’s On Your Mind? was like a glam rock song that went beyond the 4/4 beat, so they’ve got a good mix going. Their singer has a very pleasant and radio-ready pop-friendly voice, but I must say he’s an excellent guitarist with a wide range of styles under his command. Traveling Soul Psychedelia opened with a guitar bit that could easily have been composed by Hendrix and anyone who can do that ought to be lauded. Still, the dancey side of things escapes me, they’re a tight outfit who seem to really be able to entertain a friendly crowd (judging by their music, though, this is likely to be the case with almost any crowd they’ll encounter in HK). I will say, though, that I felt a lot of their songs went on for too long with too much repetition at the end, and might be worth some judicious editing. Still, they gave a great performance, and were properly enjoyable to listen to and if you’re the dancing type you’re almost certain to enjoy them.
— Shashwati Kala
時至11月8日， 天氣雖未至嚴寒，但秋風已將夏天的暑氣吹走得一乾二凈。可是ShumKing Masion四子的粉紅碎花dress code卻將夏季的熱情帶回給The Underground #114的觀眾。Shumk Mansion的名字聽起來有點奇怪，但原來ShumKing是樂隊bass手的名字，看來這位bass手是樂隊非常重要的一員。的確，無論在音樂上還是表演氣氛上，ShumKing都令樂隊生色不少。彈跳感強烈的bass line令歌曲<What’s On Your Mind>調皮且活潑。另一方面，富音樂感的主音在處理rock ‘n’ roll 和blues rock風格的歌曲<Travelling Soul Psychedelic>和<Nirvana Trippy>時表現都游刃有餘，帶領觀眾合唱時更有老牌歌手的風範。身穿燕尾服和禮帽的Keyboard手為歌曲添上一層迷幻氣氛。四人合奏的音樂揉合了rock and roll，blues rock和一點Franz Ferdinand式dance rock風格，有些歌曲如<Eternally Indifference>亦不乏流行元素， 容易上口。表演風格上， ShumKing Mansion可算是當晚娛樂性最高的樂隊，他們非常享受和觀眾互動，ShumKing經常跳到台下，身體配合著自己彈出的節奏和觀眾一起跳舞。主音亦時常帶領觀眾拍手和合唱，在第三首歌<A Discovery>更邀請友人上台跳了一少節十分精彩的Mingo。不單台上活潑，四人在台下作為樂迷觀看其他樂隊演出時亦十分活躍。他們與友人不時帶頭moshing，令現場氣氛高漲不少。屬於夏日的粉紅碎花dress code果然跟他們的音樂風格和性格都十分相襯.
1. Brink of War
3. Never Hold Us Down
4. I Don’t Care
5. Nutshell (Alice in Chains cover)
6. Who Are You?
7. Invisible Energy
The night ended on a much heavier and darker note with Other Theories. I’ll say right off the bat that the fact that they even chose to do an Alice in Chains cover scored them huge points with me; however, I do feel their singer over-sang it a little (alas!) and it ended up sounding more like Scott Weiland singing with Alice in Chains. Still, a worthy try and a great choice of song; if the singer can tone down his ‘singeriness’, if I may coin a phrase, it would be amazing in the right atmosphere. Make it a little more Layne Staley than Sully Erna, you know?
Anyhow, they began with Brink of War which was reminiscent of Audioslave on their first album and it immediately brought out one of their chief strengths; their drummer has major groove, and hits hard. Great to listen to at most times, but it’s best when it’s set to a mid-tempo song that would otherwise be like pop-metal. Alone had shades of Hole and was more of a classic rock song, while Never Hold Us Down had a loopy guitar riff that was worthy of one of Jerry Cantrell’s solo albums (eg. Boggy Depot). I Don’t Care was one of their best, with a staccato, choppy riff and a great classically hard rock sound in the vein of Velvet Revolver. Invisible Energy was reminiscent of a mix of Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle and Stone Temple Pilots’ Plush; it was perhaps the best encapsulation of their sound with its chugging riff and skilful singing (although, again, it would massively help to tone down the singing a little here as well). I feel that the band would benefit from going on something of songwriting bender so that they write enough songs to etch out their own sound more clearly – right now it’s a tad derivative and the songs have a tendency to sound very samey (more than one person expressed this opinion to me through their set). Still, a worthy set by them and a great way to end the night.
— Shashwati Kala
Other Theories的五位成員來自不同國家，值得一提的是主音Jordan Delfino在The Underground #114是首度跟其他隊員出show。但Jordan Delfino已經很好的融入了樂隊，他有力的聲線發揮非常穩定，並沒有被樂隊震撼的Matel音樂蓋過。樂團的bass手Sam Huggins的snapping技巧非常出色，那純熟且急速的snapping為歌曲、帶來強烈節拍感的骨幹。主音結他手於、中都奉獻出groovy的trash metal fill in。音樂以外，主音搞氣氛的能力也不俗。他在間場期間問觀眾們喜愛Justin Biber嗎，並即場歌了幾句Baby Baby Baby OH~，引來全場大笑。另外在慢板歌曲期間，樂隊呼籲觀眾揮動打火機，打火機晃動的火光比生硬的電話LED燈來得浪漫多了，構成了一個短暫但醉人的畫面。
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