An awesome night despite Typhoon Mujigae battling HK & signal #3 hoisted. That didn’t stop the audience, the bands, the reviewers, the venue and most importantly the Jägerettes :). Jokes aside, it was a wonderful representation of the original music we have, happening here in HK. Big thanks to Jägermeister for working with us and supporting the live music scene. Huge thanks as always to the amazing team of reviewers, crew members and Orange Peel. Let’s do this again in 2016!
love Chris B xx
雖然受到颱風彩虹再加上三號風球嘅影響不過都冇影響到當晚嘅精彩演出!冇野係停得到我地嘅觀眾，樂隊，評論家，當然重唔小得Jäger 女郎啦☺ 不過老老實實，呢個畫面完全特顯到我地所代表嘅香港原創音樂嘅精神。好多謝Jägermeister 同我地嘅
合作同埋對本地音樂嘅支持。 亦都好多謝我地十分出色嘅評論家，我地嘅團隊同Orange Peel。 2016再嚟過！
Love Chris B xx
1 AGAINST ~the Brazen~
5 midnight PARADISE
With a look evocative of the flamboyancy of Japanese symphonic rock, and a name inspired by a vain individual from Greek mythology, Narcissus – or “daffodil” – raised the riff as the first act at the Jager x The Underground show. They find their stride with confrontational opener ‘Against the Brazen’, introducing a musical style that experiments with melodramatic, HIM-style metal and gothic vocals.
Singer 七瀨 is a confident and magnetic frontwoman, whose voice soars between tender canto-pop verses, and powerful Within Temptation choruses laden with romantic angst.
The omni-present synths give Narcissus its sound. It’s clear keyboardist Jasmine is classically trained as her synths glimmer over screeching solos and punchy riffing on hook-led centre-piece ‘Trick’. However, the flutey melodies sometimes seem to be doing their own thing alongside 清’s practically flawless rhythm and the exacting guitar work.
‘Midnight in Paradise’ is a haunted melting pot of styles, beginning with a bar of ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.’ Things don’t get any less creepy as the toyroom keys join shuffling bass and happy chords to morph into a kind of neo-swing frankensong. It’s a baffling note to end on, but shows off the versatility of sole guitarist 輝, whose unassuming demeanour belies serious talent.
At this stage, there’s still something rather ‘battle of the bands’ about Narcissus, but a defiant first billing at Orange Peel signalled there’s a lot more to come from this ambitious quintet. And where better to do it than on the nurturing stage of The Underground?
– El Jay
5. LAST SUMMER DAY
It’s quickly clear that “happy metal” is a moniker Exloud wear with irony. At least one part of the description is true though: Exloud’s live shows are ridiculously joyous affairs, presented by five geeky-looking anti-rock stars who can’t keep the grins from their faces as they punctuate danceable indie with banter and in-jokes.
“We’re having a shot after every song,” says frontman SmallPo Fan at the Jager x The Underground show. The booze brand’s scantily-clad promo girls dutifully oblige and, after five energetic songs, the onstage swaying makes it pretty clear the challenge will be regretted in the morning.
Opener 好想去沙灘 (‘We’re beach boys’) is a jaunty, jangly indie chant-off with a chorus that wiggles in the ears for days. Truly, with the sixties surf-rockers’ singalong ditties, the onstage energy and charisma of The Hives, and the foot-shuffling angular art guitar of Franz Ferdinand, Exloud have got the formula for hook-driven rock spot-on.
The all-American, noughties pop-punk of ‘快樂到死’ (‘Happy the End’) could have been written by Fountains of Wayne, and ‘Last Summer Day’ is a surf jam to end the lamentably short set on a wistful note. A world away from bland canto-pop, far from photogenic boys with guitars, the band are putting on some of the most fun and involving shows in town. And the cheers echo long after they’ve staggered off the Orange Peel stage.
– El Jay
2. The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up
4. Castle In The Sky
5. 4, 3, 2.5
一直都覺得Nowhere Boys是一隊比較正經的樂隊, 但在Jager x The Underground之後, 對他們完全改觀。將原創音樂稱為Cinematic Rock, 開首的<推石頭的人>選曲亦有鋪排。<推石頭的人>一開始只有主音Van和琴/小提琴手Fisher站台, 以Acoustic吉他和憂怨的弦樂伴著Van壓低了的唱腔。吉他手Ken一上台就表演Solo, 最後鼓手Nate和Bass手Hansun進場將歌曲帶至高峰。整首歌就像電影開首, 將隊員一一介紹。慢板又陰沈的<推石頭的人>之後是兩首夢幻的< The Boys Who Wasn’t Grow Up>和<Castle In The Sky>. 前者是講述<小飛俠 Peter Pan>的故事, 繽紛熱鬧又易上口。後者是樂隊向<天空之城>致敬的Folk-Rock作品。如果看電影時, 一直預計到劇情的走向, 其實並非一件好事, 可能玩著Cinematic Rock 的Nowhere Boys亦有同感。所第四首歌開始決定來個估你唔到的劇情大暴走。<狂想曲>就像經典的<Bohemian Rhapsody>所包含的編曲層次實在令人目不暇給, 亦是這曲一下洗走我對Nowhere Boys是正經的印象。瘋狂繼續, 快板Rock ‘n’ Roll的<4.3, 2.5>講述一個男人走進婚禮亂鎗掃射,一個極Cult的場景。最後加入電音的<麥克折射線>將聽眾帶入了一個未來的科幻世界。在短短半小時多, 就像在看多套電影Trailer般精彩。
– Dicky Kwong
NOWHERE BOYS opened their set with and absolutely beautiful vocal, acoustic guitar and violin duet. Truly with a Cinematic vein, reminiscent of the 1988 film Cinema Paradisio. I WAS TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY. Moving into more of a Queen, Styx theatrical set, they grabbed me and never let me go.
Nowhere Boys are one of the best, most appealing bands I have seen in Hong Kong in my thirteen years here. With their very complex compositions, arrangements, musical talent, cool fashion, attention to the small important details, they have a real chance to break out of the all too boring, prepackaged Canto music dribble, and really make a mark on the international music scene.
These guys are unique, unusual, stylish sophistication, deeply passionate, emotionally moving, rockin’, creative, fun, playful. With “Cinematic Rock” as their self-described style, they are in a slightly different way expanding some of the music of the great bands they note as their influences – The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Guns N’ Roses, Queen, Aerosmith, Red Hot Chilli Peppers. It is really musical rock theater.
NOWHERE BOYS are continuously preparing by writing more music, recording and making more live performances. I can see them really starting to connect with the Hong Kong fan base, and playing festivals locally and internationally.
– Gregory Tancer
1. Opening + Tattoo
5. So Sick
Extreme metal bands, let alone those with a female lead singer, are unfortunately few and far between in Hong Kong. Escharotic occupy a niche so tight that it’s unclear whether they’ll ever gain the recognition they’d find in a more receptive market for extreme music. It’s a sentiment hammered home by a blistering set at Orange Peel, in a first for a venue known for its lounge and jazz.
So much female-fronted death falls into the ‘shrieking’ category, but vocalist Summa’s growl shreds through the rapid, down-tuned riffing with refreshing depth, clarity and presence.
After forming in 2009, the quartet, have sustained a local fanbase with melodic, brutal and (dare we say) catchy heavy metal that tips its hat to the songwriting noose of Slipknot, the melodic sensibilities of Symphony X as well as the out-and-out vicious intent of Slayer.
Second song ‘Dissembler’ mixes staccato, barked vocals with gurgling bass and guitars that veer between Iron Maiden gallops and Trivium’s outrageous finger-blurring solos.
The set is dense and atmospheric, yet never feels overwrought. Summa stalks the crowd like a snarling vampire bat, as drummer Chi Wai machine-guns his bass pedal with a precision that stabs through the distorted guitar blasts. Set midpoint ‘Sickening’ coughs out the kind of lyrical poison that would make Randy Blythe cower, before the derision is revisited for blistering closer ‘So Sick.’
– El Jay
Photos by Angus Leung.
Poster by Angus Leung