Underground 118


IMG_1978.jpg Can you believe this event was actually our 211th event by The Underground? That’s an average of 18 shows a year since we started in 2004! In fact one member of Still Minds actually performed at our very first event (Underground 1) when he was fronting Audiotraffic. ​​  Time flies and it’s good to know there’s still great music made by great musicians in Hong Kong. Thanks so much to the four bands, Carr & staff of Orange Peel, Sophie, Angus & El Jay. Big love to the audience who waved and cheered and danced through the entire evening.
大家相唔相信The Underground 已經舉辦第211埸show啦!即係由2004年我地每年平均會舉辦18埸show! Still Minds其中一名樂手更有喺The Underground 1以Audiotraffic姿態演出過添!時間過得真係快亦都隨著時間嘅增長,香港嘅原創音樂亦增加不少!好多謝當晚嘅四隊樂隊,Carr同Orange Peel嘅同事,Sophie,Angus同El Jay。重有所有現場支持嘅觀眾,令當晩情緒十分高漲!
love Chris B xx​

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The Sleeves

1. The Menace
2. Rumble (Inside My Head)
3. Freedom Now
4. The Horror
5. Girl
6. Never Let Me Go
7. (Out On The) Dance Floor (Get What You Ask For)

The signals were clear: indoor shades and bootcut denim. The Sleeves had arrived to rock! Playing songs from their forthcoming album, the four-piece kicked off Underground 118. “This is the most British band I’ve ever seen,” remarked a bystander during the show. Indeed, the band’s sound is a melting pot of Britrock influences from the past 30 years, paying tribute to the great traditions of guitar pop. After the Kasabian vocals and Richard Hawley vibe of opener The Menace, the amps were turned up for the punk Rumble (Inside My Head), with singer Keith Goodman’s shouty “I’m on a knife edge” lyrics. The Horror recalled Blur with its There’s No Other Way intro, while the influences of The Enemy, Oasis, Stone Roses and Travis could all be heard amid the bolshy riffing and ballsy singing.

Girl began with a cool drums-and- bass solo before two revving guitars joined in. The song allowed drummer Matt Coleman to shine – his light touch delivering a big rock sound as the song exploded with bluesy, jagged riffs. Pete Gordon’s clever guitarwork on Never Let Me Go was Parklife meets Shoot The Runner, while joyful, singalong closer Dance Floor finally got the crowd moving its catchy, room-filling chorus. The Sleeves are unlikely to entrance the hipster crowd, but they delivered a set full of feel-good rock ‘n’ roll cheer that will keep them on top of the list of the city’s favourite live acts.
– El Jay


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Still Minds

1. Why
2. Do I
3. Too Many Times
4. Bigger Mice
5. Give It All Away
6. Bond
7. Blues

So new that they didn’t even have a Facebook page yet, Still Minds (the ‘s’ was added after the flyers were printed!) were an unknown entity ahead of their UG 118 show. Lead singer Adrian Da Silva and drummer Masaki came from the thoroughly excellent HK group Audiotraffic, but it was unclear how Still Minds – with their promise of “radio friendly music” blended with “adult-oriented pop” – would sound. Now, we can confirm that the hype is real, or whatever the kids listening to “teen-oriented pop” say these days. It was a joy to behold.

The band’s sound was broadly contemporary blues, rooted in US alternative rock. Da Silva’s rich voice was the best is has ever been; soft, soulful and seductive when it needed to be, with a harsh grittiness only ever a few bars away. Jerry Cantrell, Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder could all be heard in thoughtful lyrics and that lush, intense voice.

First song Why evoked both Pink Floyd and Tedeschi Trucks in its clever guitarwork, twisting solo, and deep, slow, reverberating bass. Lead guitarist Tony shared the spotlight on the Hendrix-meets-RHCP Bigger Mice, a funky track with a more traditional blues spin. “This is a song about 007,” said Da Silva, introducing standout track Bond. “All I have is you, precious you … you can make the sad song disappear,” he sang amid fraught fuzz of anxious guitar before optimistic closer Blues shed sunlight on the emotional gloom with big, summery guitars.
– El Jay


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Shotgun Politics

1. 852
2. 2003
3. Cathartic
4. 5 In The Morning
5. Sunny
6. No Time To Surrender
7. St Denis

Old hands Shotgun Politics steered their Underground 118 show with the kind of confidence that comes from playing eight of Chris B’s nights. After Still Minds’s serious and rather emotionally intense performance, Shotgun’s arrival signalled it was time to shake loose.

Launching from the catchy, shouty opener 852, it was business as usual for the foursome, with a spectacularly fun set of loud, brash songs, big choruses, and earworm riffs. The band’s sound simultaneously straddles the more serious sounds of ’90s emo and the kind of party-starting pop punk associated with Fall Out Boy and Green Day.  5 In The Morning and No Time To Surrender – all choppy riffs and headbang-inducing guitar – were introduced as new songs. With his mesmeric, sparkly green guitar, lead singer Timmy Gunn was a charismatic frontman, checking in with the crowd, ticking off the promo and acting as tour guide through a whip-cracking succession of seven songs. For last song St Denis, Gunn commanded the crowd through a skin-tingling singalong of “woahh woahhhs.” Every single person in the room joined in. It was a melody – and a set – that few will forget quickly.
– El Jay


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Dowa Towo

1. Come In Come Out
2. Let it Roll
3. Forget Em All
4. Laugh Once Again
5. Gimme Gimme

The title of most mind-bending Hong Kong act is constantly in contention, but Dowa Towo playing at UG 118 may have temporarily won the rights with a trippy performance that was over in a flash. With a name abbreviated from “Don’t Want To Work”, the band belie their slacker moniker with a set of inventive and totally unique songs. The wailing lyrics and funky, Prince-style rhythms and guitars of Come In Come Out and Let It Roll introduced a melange of influences, including pop rock, jazz, funk and blues, while giving frontman Wilson Kit chance to show off his soulful, wailing vocal abilities. An unusual, shouty and shrill delivery characterised Forget Em All before the playful, upbeat ditty Laugh Once Again allowed drummer IvO to shine. Last song Gimme Gimme began with bassist Yuta’s bumpy intro, which underpinned introverted, Mineral-esque guitars and snare-heavy drumming. It was a fittingly fuzzy ’90s-inspired finish to an evening of bands that mined the best days of rock and roll past.
– El Jay

Photos by ​Angus Leung.
由​​​Angus Leung 攝影。
Poster by​ ​Angus Leung.
海報由​Angus Leung​.

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