What a wonderful night at The Hub! Huge thank you to all the people that came along to cheer and watch all the bands. Thanks to the Hub, Parsons and Jon Lee for making this event possible. Thanks to the wonderful team members of The Underground: Angus, Kei, Susanna, Sherman, Desmond and Harmeet. Thanks always to our amazing reviewers and to Sam Sam for the visuals. BIg thanks to my band mates in CHRANG! for making it double happiness for me!
上星期六，我在The Hub有一個美好的晚上！感謝所有前來欣賞表演的人，還有The Hub，柏斯琴行和Jon Lee讓這個活動順利舉行。The Underground團隊成員的努力也是功不可沒，非常感謝Angus、Kei、Susanna、Sherman、Desmond、Harmeet、我們的樂評家及負責視覺效果的Sam Sam。 感謝我的樂隊成員CHRANG！當晚的演出真是令我感到格外幸福！
❤️ Chris B xx
1. Panic station – Muse (cover)
2. Dani California – Red Hot Chilli Peppers (cover)
3. All In
4. Decode – Paramore (cover)
As is tradition at the Underground, a “new” teenage band is invited to open proceedings at Sub Terra. Asyndeton started up the first one, followed by Zero Displacement. Sub Terra #3 was no exception, with Code Red opening proceedings.
Formerly known as Technical Difficulties, the band did indeed look nervous as they stepped on stage at the Hub, and kicked off the show with a cover of Muse’s Panic Station. Drummer Ydis Lopez and bassist Joshua Mellor delivered a strong start with a tight and energetic rhythm. Despite sound issues, singer Mikayla Boonstra leapt into action with soaring vocals that drew applause from the crowd.
Any troubles at the audio desk didn’t show on their faces, where it was clear they were having run. The second song of the night, Dani California by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, with guitarist Dylan Halbroth’s funky guitar fills, struck me as an authentic yet refreshing cover. It was obvious at the outset that the rhythm section was tight, providing a solid base for Mikayla.
Next, the band introduced their original song All In. With a sound reminiscent of early Arctic Monkeys yet containing elements of Paramore-esque pop punk, Code Red really shone on stage, getting the audience moving. Drummer Ydis throwing in a frenzied drum solo and a nifty solo from Dylan added to the fun.
The band really wore their influences on their sleeve for their last song, Decode by Paramore. They really went into overdrive to close the set, administering a heavy breakdown (courtesy of Dylan, Ydis and Joshua) supplemented by over-the-top vocals. A personal favourite.
Considering it was the band’s second show, they delivered a optimistic performance. At various points, all members looked nervous with small mistakes creeping in. Nevertheless; they recovered quickly to start Sub Terra with a bang.
I’d have liked to hear more originals from the band; All In was a promising debut, and the band should branch out more to cover Mikayla’s vocal style. Still, small faults aside, I think Code Red has the potential to really take their music to the next level with practice and time.
– Harmeet Bhatia
1. Wedding Song
3. Other Woman
4. I can’t feel your face (cover Weeknd)
5. Sleeping at your desk
6. Rock N Roll Machine
Chris B, AKA “the tattooed fairy godmother of the Hong Kong scene” as she was once memorably described, has been keeping the flame burning for indie music in the SAR for more years than she would care to remember. Her bands Sisters of Sharon, Guitars & Panties and Thinking Out Loud all enjoyed success on the circuit and when she set up The Underground in 2004 she had the experience to make switching to the role of a promoter second nature.
So it’s great to see her here tonight in her most recent band, CHRANG!, which I assumed was the onomatopoeic representation of a distorted electric guitar being vigorously twanged, but is in fact an anagram of her and double bass wielding sidekick/art director/chief photographer Angus Leung’s names. Who knew? Either way it’s great to see her on the sharp side of the stage, where she seems totally at home.
Alongside longtime partner in crime and Teenage Riot bassist Yan Yan and drummer Matt and you have the making of a pretty potent outfit. Following a successful debut at The Wanch a few months ago, CHRANG! has regrouped, stuck a new cover track in – The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” (you know what that track’s REALLY about Chris?) – and perfected their set of infectious original tracks.
And not just that – according to Chris it’s all it’s all “nu” – nu-jazz, nu-rock, nu-emo, nu-cover, nu-Beatles and nu-rock ‘n’ roll.
However you describe it, it’s an attractive, innovative sound. “Wedding Song” is a slinky, sexy track (matching Chris’s skimpy, blue dress, natch), with a beguiling, throaty vocal. Things take a rockier turn with “People”, which is epic, surfy and super-melodic, with Chris declaring “that was nu-rock with a double bass!”
Third track “Other Woman” has more of a balladic and plaintive, melodic feel and a huge ending with great drumming from Matt. Track four is a bossa nova-tinged verse of aforementioned “Can’t Feel My Face”, and while Chris suggests the next track “Sleeping at your desk” (very Hong Kong theme) is inspired by the Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week” it sounds more like every classic rock track you’ve ever heard, from The Stones’ “Satisfaction”, to The Jam’s “Going Underground” – punky and upbeat. Final track “Rock N Roll Machine” is a nice slab of hypnotic psychedelia with a nagging bass line and brings things to a superb climax.
It’s great to see Chris still as keen to make the impact as a musician as she has a champion for the indie scene, and with this new line-up she appears to have all the tools at her disposable to take it as far as she wants. Nu-awesome, CHRANG!
– Dan Creffield
4. Stop talking
7. The wind
As they take the stage these guys come across as pretty ordinary (OK vocalist/guitarist Eric Chu has something of a pretty boy-Korean drama star look to him, the main girl’s older brother kind of thing, who meets the right girl, takes off his glasses and suddenly – look! He’s hot as well!) but they’re kind of unassuming. And so’s their music, especially the first track “Sing”, which is not much more than a bluesy workout. So far, so what.
But then they switch gears and suddenly become a LOT more interesting, and it’s obvious that first track was more of a sound check. Hopefully. But yes! Next song “Kerrie” is really sweet blues-rock with the two guitars meshing together beautifully.
“Remembering lyrics is the weakest point,” admits singer Eric – but with words (as I caught them) such as: “On my 16th birthday they gave me a plastic bag” I can see why. Surreal and meaningless or sincere, bitter teenage memories, Eric? Hmmm …
On with the show, and with anguished, augmented guitars from other guitarist Jeff Mok, “Run” is a driving tour de force with tons of delicious classic rock influences. Then follows a seven-minute “prog-rock” track as described by singer Eric, in different sections, chock-full of lovely delayed guitar lines, syncopated beats and great drumming and soloing and plenty of surprises. I honestly didn’t want it to end.
Last track “The wind” – “has elements of rockabilly”, says Eric, but given the Mocking Bullet treatment, with a great vocal and guitars, including very creative rhythm work from bassist Jeff Mok and drummer Dave Wong it transcends that genre.
This was quite a show from four understated and unquestionably talented guys. Their Facebook may describe their sound as “rock with a scent of folk and grunge” but most of the crowd here tonight agreed I’m sure that on top of this rather matter of fact statement there’s something a bit special about them.
– Dan Creffield
The headliners for tonight was the band Carrier, a Hong Kong canto-rock band that was lead by Lung Siu Kwan. I heard a rumour that she was semi famous and had done some acting on TV. She was surrounded by excellent musicians who you could have mistaken for a house band that played for TVB. I wouldn’t be surprised as these guys exudes so much stage presence that even their set up was interesting to watch. I don’t mean I couldn’t stop ogling the female vocalist who is a stunner! Not only that, the guitarist was very charismatic and he sported a Grestch guitar which sparked some people to wonder whether they were going to play some rockabilly. It turned out that the guitar was just for show and he could play anything he wanted. Lung Siu Kwan sang in Cantonese, hence my Canto-rock/pop label.
Their first song, 我哋, tantalized everyone’s taste buds with synth keys and the sweet sound of the wah pedal. This was Canto-rock at its best supported by strong female vocals. Their stage act was super polished and they played with the confidence of a seasoned band. Up next was a slower song that began with the drums and was joined by some soft vocals. 雨傘花 was the kind of song that you would hold hands and sway to the music.
The pace picked up again with 有病 which was the kind of song that you just wanted to jump up and down to. The vocals in this song were quite quirky. I mean, I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this song was used for a TV commercial. Kei on the keyboard wasn’t needed for this one, so he jammed along with the tambourine. I have never seen someone play the tambourine that damn good, it just showed that they were quality all-round musicians.
The vocals continued to mesmerize me during 繼續追. It seemed like a love song and had a familiar tune to it. 繼續追 was a more upbeat song which the chorus of this song relied a lot on the slide synths. I could just imagine it used for the end credits of a cartoon series. Quite a few people got up and danced during this song. It was so contagious I even had to boogie.
Carrier’s last song for the evening, 硬仗, was propelled again by the tender and sweet vocals of Lung Siu Kwan and undertoned by a gentle music accompaniment. I really enjoyed Fa’s guitar solo in this song as it was very dramatic. It was another song that could have been the theme song for a TV show.
The fans that stayed until the very end took pictures with the band after the show. It was a really great show that topped off a nice evening with good friends and great music.
– Cain McInerney
Photos by Angus Leung. (Except CHRANG! by Arko) 由Angus Leung攝影。
Poster by Angus Leung.海報由Angus Leung.