Underground 116


U116 002.jpgWe had a great time back at Orange Peel for this show. All the bands gave 200% to their performance and no doubt won new fans that night. Thanks to Carr on sound and all the other wonderful staff especially Dino. Thanks to our dedicated reviewers. ​
Thanks to our lovely drink sponsors Jack Daniels Cola and Singha beer, certainly kept everyone feeling refreshed. See you all at the next Underground event.
相信大家都在Orange Peel渡過了一個愉快的晚上。當晚每隊樂隊都為大家獻出了200分的表演,相信他們當晚都吸納了不少歌迷。多謝Carr在音響上的幫助,以及其他工作人員的幫助,特別是Dino。多謝當晚幫過我們的樂評家。
另外,感謝我們的飲料贊助商Jack Daniels ColaSingha beer,令大家都可以以清爽的狀態下欣賞表演。​
love Chris B xx​

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per se

1. Lost, Found & Now?
2. unSWEET, deadbeat
3. The envelope line
4. Wonderline
5. Petals
6. Moments

Per Se is pop rock band consisting of Stephen Mok on guitar and Sandy Ip on the keyboard. Per Se blew me away with the fullness of their music from the very beginning of their set. I really liked the combination of the keys, guitar and vocals. In their first song, “Lost, Found & Now” Stephen sang while he strummed along with his guitar. His voice sounded similar to Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, not when he is screaming. The whispering kind of singing that is soft and gentle. Sandy’s backing vocals complimented Stephen quite well. It was evident the crowd liked them as there was a big applause at the end of the song.

unSWEET, deadBEAT” started with some impressive guitar picking and was soon followed by the keys. I started to think this was going to be an instrumental song as it took awhile before I heard anyone sang. When Stephen did start singing again a friend told me that his voice sounded more like Billy Corgan from The Smashing Pumpkins. This guy has good taste.  It was whiney, yet sweet.

In the third song, “The envelope line” Sandy was the lead vocalist and then Stephen started to sing while playing their instruments. They began to have what was like a sung dialogue. I couldn’t work out exactly what they were talking about, but I really liked how the duet sang together. The chorus was even better when their two voices melded into one to create a perfect harmony that was pleasing to the ear.

The fourth and fifth song were “Wonderline” and “Petals” which seemed to meld into one after the previous song put me into a state of complete relaxation. So, I am not sure what song I am referring to, because at the end of their performance I really thought they only played five songs, not six. Ha… ohwell. So, this song was much slower than the others. There was no chugging guitar in the song.  Their momentum was lost by this stage, it had started so well and then we had reached a ‘lull’ in the performance. I was happy when the tempo increased again, but was this the start of the fifth song? No idea. It was the start of the night and I hadn’t drank much yet. <Play mysterious music>

So the last song, “Moments” was the first song that I could hear Stephen introduce. No wonder

I am lost. He said his thanks to the Underground as he introduced their final song.  The dynamics of the keys to guitar in this song were really good. It was also another song where the duo traded verses with each other. The song finished with a wonderful crescendo and they left the stage, setting the bar really high for the remaining bands. The night was only just starting.

– Cain McInerney

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The Fat Jokers

1. Shall we Chat
2. Roll a joint
3. Get laid
4. My Girlfriend stands behind
5. Be a fool
6. Cruising
7. Love is Blind

An alternative rock band with a brass section and a harmonica?  Now I was really interested to see how rock they were. The Fat Jokers didn’t waste any time getting into their first song which started with a bang. They got the crowd’s attention with their song, “Shall we Chat”. Conversations stopped and people could only sip their beer as they were too enthralled by what was going on, on stage. The music was fantastic, not quite rock. Actually this first song was quite funky, but the only thing that seemed out of place was Adam’s vocals. Maybe I am being picky and I have something against a local accent singing in English, for me and many others it was abit of a drawback. But then, out of the blue, Adam draws out his weapon of choice. A megaphone. It added a new dimension to the song and I began to like the song even more.  He only used the megaphone in this song if I remember rightly. It was hard to see, the place was packed!

The Fat Jokers encouraged us to “Roll a joint” in their next song. I had no idea of the song title at the time, but as I think back to this song it fits. This song felt more rock than the previous one and it had a really groovy bassline. The vocals sounded better in this song, but I still couldn’t stop thinking maybe he might want to a vocal processor because he sounded so good through the megaphone. By the end of the song there was a huge applause as they wrapped up the song with banging keys and horns.

In “Get Laid” the Fat Jokers give us that funky feeling again and putting us in the mood to dance. The guitar and bass in this song really stood out. There was even a harmonica solo in this song which really did it for me. It was the harmonica’s time to shine, yeah baby! The crowd applauded generously again. But, you could tell that their previous song was the current crowd favourite.

My Girlfriend stands behind” sounded quite familiar, or is it that I am so picky that I am trying to find a reference point. Anyway, I couldn’t work out what song it sounded like. Then it hit me. It had elements of the famous Cee Lo Green song where he curses lots. You know the song. The lyrics and the vocals melody were totally different, but the backing instrumentals for the verse sounded exactly the same for me. By this time I had a few more Jack Daniels Colas. Thanks Chris! The chorus took a different form and strayed away from the similarities of the verse to the Cee Lo Green song. Did I mention there was a really nice guitar solo in this song. Nope. Well, I did now.

Were the guys tiring because the next song started with what sounded to me like a slightly out of tune guitar, but maybe that was the effect they were going for? It just didn’t sound right at the start and was really slow and soft compared to their previous songs. “Be a Fool” was more like a ballad where we could actually hear what Adam was singing now. I almost wanted to sing along.

Cruising” started with yet another groovy bass line and was quickly followed by Adam’s strumming guitar. It sounded good. The brass section really shone in this song as we reached the chorus singing, ‘We like cruising!’ I loved when the two horns took charge of this song and dominated it with their solo. They really made the song. In my notes I wrote that they vocals sounded like someone from an 80s TV show, but I have no idea what I was thinking about at the time. Was it a random comment someone said about the vocals that I had to write down. I don’t know. But it was there. Thanks Jack!

Love is Blind” and so will I be if the night keeps rocking as well as it was. The Fat Jokers last song relied heavily on its keyboard section which followed a simple rhythmic pattern more akin to country music fused with pop. Similar to those EDM songs that have that country influence which are circulating the airwaves these days. There were backing vocals in this song which were so good that I was wondering why he didn’t include them in the beginning. There was a good repoire between the two singers that produced a beautiful harmony. “Love is blind. I want to stay by your side.” What a great way to finish the set. Fat Jokers had been amazing and they are definitely a band I would like to see again.

– Cain McInerney

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1. Ear Poison
2. She’s the Devil
3. Terrarium
4. Fire in a Sweet Shop
5. The Miracle
6. Red Light
7. I Had a Name
8. Evergreen

Operator are no strangers to Hong Kong gig-goers but it’s been a case of long time, no see. Tonight, the demin-and-black-clad rockers stepped out into the spotlight for the first time this year, reprising their Observatory Road set and blowing out a few cobwebs in the process.

They still come packing ready-made hits – always bringing their A-game for “Fire in a Sweet Shop” – and Ben up front and Jon down back supply the energy, a la Foo Fighters’ Grohl and Hawkins. The sound isn’t a million miles from there, either, with “I Had a Name” sounding like a holy union of Nirvana and Superjesus. But they’re versatile, too, plucking “She’s the Devil” from a garage closer to home – sounding not unlike local buddies The Sleeves with appreciably thicker guitars – and then there’s the U2-esque “Miracle”.

There was a hint of rust about proceedings tonight, especially around “Red Light” and “Evergreen”. And when all four members enter concentration mode, as in “Terrarium”, the vibe can shift to shoegaze. Certainly one of the city’s most accomplished internationally-orientated bands, but perhaps looking for some fresh spark.

– Brendan Clift

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11 P.M.

1. Hearts stop Beating
2. Let Go
3. Why don’t you forget
4. Find your way

11 P.M. are an indie rock band who consist of four members; SyKwan (vocals), Lung Ray (guitar/vocals), San (bass/vocals) and Jimmy Fong on drums. I was interested to see how Jimmy played as he recently received the award for Best drummer at the Underground x Parsons battle of the bands while playing with 11P.M.

11P.M. started with “Hearts stop Beating” and they encouraged the crowd to help them start with a clap to initiate their set. The drums kick in and take over the clapping and people began to feel the groove.  Sykwan sings in Cantonese so I had no idea what he was singing about.  It is not exactly conversational Cantonese, so it goes over my head. The style of his voice was something similar to many other Canto-Indie pop bands I have heard in the past. For me he was another version of Rocky from Killersoap; who is definitely something special. SyKwan wasn’t as good as Rocky in my eyes, but he had loads of potential. Maybe this is where he gets his inspiration from. The four-piece really had a great stage presence and they received a huge applause at the end of their song.

Their next song, “Let Go” started with a bang and a really impressive start. Again, the arrangement of the lyrics was so familiar for me. In the chorus there was more variation in his voice that gave the song that something extra.

Why don’t you forget” had another heavy intro and had some sweet vocals that propelled the song. The instruments sped up during the chorus, while being slower in the verses. As we move to towards the end of the song all the instruments and vocals come together in a mass crescendo which even include a few nice screams.

The notes that I wrote for “Find Your Way” had found their way out of my pocket even before I had a chance to take a photo of all of my notes. Luckily this wasn’t these guys first performance and so I was able to re-jog my memory about their last song. It was another song with a prominent drum beat and those Canto lyrics that I really want to understand, but can’t. The music break in this song was really cool and I liked the interaction with the crowd in this song. The screams towards the end of the song topped it off for me. It had been a good night. Would I recommend you see 11P.M?  For sure!

– Cain McInerney

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1. My House
2. 8 Bit Killah
3. Matzo Ball Soup
4. I Remember
5. Somebody Teach Me How to Dance
6. Julie
7. What’s Up
8. Another Friday Night

What to expect from a nappy-headed hipster wearing disco ball pants, a quasi-futuristic shirt and wrap-around nana-specs? Nothing less than a manic, multimedia maelstrom. JUNK! is a portal into a strange, hi-energy universe through which one man relentlessly dances, armed with laptop and keytar.

Aussie hip-hop, beat boxing, vocoding and golden lyrical nuggets are backed up by perfectly synchronized video – and the guy has a surprisingly proper singing voice too. Reference material spans growing up, dancing out, Grandma’s special soup, sepia-toned Scandinavian karaoke clips, and my own personal passion: obsolete 8-bit technology. I’m hearing bits of Regurgitator, Daft Punk and even Electric Six – never mind Four Non-Blondes – and, at one point, the Housemartins on a Friday night bender at a techno club.

JUNK! isn’t just music: it’s a full-on AV experience and a superior brand of mixed nuts. Don’t miss the next show – on your feet, people!

– Brendan Clift

Photos by ​Sunil Khiatani.
由Sunil​ Khiatani​攝影。
Poster by ​Sarah Bowers​
海報由Sarah Bowers。

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