Woooohooo!! What a fantastic night! We came up with the concept of “Underground Legends” – meaning bands who had performed at least SIX times at The Underground and tonight’s line-up was ROCKING. Thanks to The Hub for hosting this event. Thanks To Jack Daniels Cola for keeping us refreshed. Thanks to El Jay & Dan for the reviews. BIG THANKS to the team working that night: Raymond, Bun, Dixie, Ally, Leon and Yo. Thanks to Diego for the artwork. Most of all, thanks to the amazing bands who keep returning to The Underground’s stage.
Woooohooo! 真係一個精彩既夜晚！ “Underground Legends” 的概念其實就係代表樂隊們已經係 The Underground 的舞台上至少表演過六次。今晚的陣容中的樂隊正正就係傳奇中既傳奇！多謝佢地為我地帶來精彩的演出！ 感謝 The Hub 提供場地給我們舉辦此活動。 感謝 Jack Daniels Cola 讓我們十分精神。 感謝El Jay ＆ Dan 的評論。 非常感謝當晚工作的團隊：Raymond，Bun，Dixie，Ally，Leon 和 Yo。 感謝 Diego 設計的Artwork。 最重要的當然要感謝那些不斷回歸 The Underground 舞台的精彩樂隊。
❤️ Chris B xx
1. One More Time
3. Perfect Life
4. Out of the Body (出竅)
6. Close Your Eyes
Returning to The Underground stage for their seventh appearance and first time since 2012, rock outfit AirTub quickly made up for their seven year absence with a highly polished set.
Despite their name sounding like some sort of kitchen gadget you’d buy from a catalogue in the 80s, AirTub proved themselves deft entertainers and rewarded gig-goers who had made it to The Hub on time with an energetic and tight seven songs.
On opener One More Time, a sitar-sounding synth melody gave way to hard rock leaden with guitar distortion. The song’s thrash drums and rapped vocals sounded like Metallica crossed with Alien Ant Farm – with a sprinkling of their own personality shining through.
Self-assured frontman Kenny gave a confident performance, leading a tight set of musicians through a setlist that drew heavily from late-90s and early-00s rock. From the husky vocals and sunny chords of Confusion, the band turned things up a notch with Perfect Life, which drew from the revving grunge guitar of Smashing Pumpkins and had the children in the audience dancing along to a perky drum beat.
For Out of the Body, the band drew from Beyond’s playbook, using theatrical piano and emotive singing to powerful effect as the song built to a characteristically huge rock chorus. Next, a stomp-along beat was joined by distorted chords on Close Your Eyes, which recalled the 00s soft rock of Stereophonics. On this track in particular, the band showed what they meant by their self-described genre name “morphing rock”, mixing in cleanly picked guitar sections, high synths and a tempo that quickened to a climactic, cymbal-crashing rumbling finale.
Opening acts are rarely as strong as AirTub, and it showed as the crowd bellowed for an encore. After a nod from Chris B, the band duly obliged with Breakaway. An articulated thrash riff, a drum and bass marching in lockstep and interesting synth effects made for a dark song dripping with Alice in Chains’ insouciance and a triumphant sign-off. Let’s hope the band don’t leave it another seven years before gracing The Underground stage once more.
– El Jay
Thinking Out Loud
1. Sex Junkie
2. Gonna Be Famous
3. Rock N Roll Machine
4. Wedding Song
5. I Can’t Quit (cover – The Vaccines)
6. The Stranger
7. Moving On
A great amount of excitement surrounded the entrance of Thinking Out Loud at the Legends showcase, owing to an especially familiar face on stage. Starring The Underground’s own founder and MC Chris B, the band sounded like a bunch of friends jamming at a rooftop party and not taking themselves too seriously.
Clad in PVC and sporting a new crimson hair colour, Chris B was every bit a magnetic performer whose charisma commanded the show. Opener Sex Junkie was awash with 1970s riot grrrl vibes, pairing Chris’s roar of “sex freak honey sexual junkie” with a catchy “do do do” melody.
Gonna Be Famous – written “because we thought we were gonna be famous” – paired Mysterious Mr. B’s saxophone parps with sunny, upbeat surfer rock to sound like the intro music to a 90s sitcom. The eccentricity continued on Rock N Roll Machine, a Roxy Music-esque song with husky vocals, interpretive dance hands and manic cackling effects. Mr. B growled and wailed on the mic while Chris W laid down some groovy guitar licks and Matt gave an impressive drum solo.
Halfway through the set, the band was joined by an elusive new member: a keyboardist known only as Shaun B, who took nonchalantly with a technique that recalled Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Billy Powell on a number of occasions. Wedding Song – written while Chris B was attending a friend’s wedding in Mauritius – was a slinking track with plenty of random elements thrown in, such as gravelly singing, Martha and the Muffins-style saxophone and an outro melody that distinctly echoed ABC’s classic Shoot That Poison Arrow.
Bassist Egg gave a confident vocal performance on a cover of The Vaccines’ I can’t Quit, embellished with a blasting sax solo. For anyone initially skeptical about Mr. B’s contributions, the sax player brought a distinctive flavour to the band’s music, especially on The Stranger.
Chris B’s vocals were powerful throughout, but hit new heights on Moving On, which had an almost proggy structure, shifting through tempos and sounds at speed. After a melee of jagged, rockabilly guitar and haywire sax, the show was over and the crowd came back down to earth. What the band might lack in song-naming creativity, they made up for with oodles of personality and originality; the archetype of the kind of act you’d expect to find on The Underground’s diverse, distinctive and always intriguing line-ups.
The David Bowie Knives
2. When In Doubt
5. Take Me There
7. You Want Me Don’t you
As part of its 15th anniversary year, tonight’s Underground Legends night featured favourite bands that have performed at least six times on Underground stages. Which means, as a staunch Undergrounder, I probably should have been more familiar with The David Bowie Knives. I’ll explain why I wasn’t (it’s not a particularly interesting story, natch) – I’ve definitely seen them before but as befits their elder statesmen status they tend to take to the stage a bit later in the running order. Which means by then I’ve usually liberally availed myself of the refreshment tent and everything becomes a bit of a blur. Don’t blame me! If you weren’t so successful I’d remember you more clearly!
In a way this is a good thing – it means I can assess them from a fresh perspective, free of hyperbole. Other than what I’m about to write of course, because they were awesome, and totally justified their reputation as no-nonsense rockers.
Humorous start to first track “Foreplay” with lyrics I could catch – “MTR, Escalator, Wan Chai, Sexual Favours, Causeway Bay, Space Invaders” … difficult to rhyme anything with Sham Shui Po, so high marks for difficulty from the off. Great punky vibe, with singer/guitarist Shaun Martin producing a lovely rasp from his Gretsch. Just thinking though … Space Invaders? When was this written again?
I’m hearing a bit of the pub-swagger of Oasis, Americana rock-ballad acts like Grandaddy and Mercury Rev and even Starsailor (but with much ruder lyrics). You can see why these guys are still local live favourites after so many years – they combine classic rock sensibilities with memorable melodies and great audience interaction. And there’s some great storytelling – “Your eyes are telling lies, but not when I’m between your thighs” – we’ve all been there buddy (OK, it’s been a while).
It was an über entertaining set with never a dull moment, highpoints including “Love” and the aforementioned “Thighs” with its deliciously melancholy country-rock vibe. Inspirational drummer Gabe was a joy to watch and hear and played a major role in the overall vibe while Alistair was not only fluid on bass but his occasional backing vocals really added to the mix. There was even a ‘Free the Nipple’ moment at the end but hey, rock ‘n’ roll! At least Alistair didn’t disrobe – “moobs” he told us – phew!
– Dan Creffield
Brothers of Roadkill
1. Hanging around the clouds
5. I Believe
6. Questions and doubts
I’d never seen Brothers of Roadkill before, but with a name like that I was expecting a Chainsaw Massacre look-alike bunch of death metallers. So, it was kind of surprising when three smartly dressed young dudes took to the stage. If they had been murdering travellers with power tools they appeared remarkably calm about it.
Singer/pianist Adrian is a real talent, and it was no surprise to learn that he is a favoured Canto-pop songwriter for some big local names (you name-dropper Adrian!), Adrian also launched a solo career a couple of years ago as an artist in his own right. With a sensational voice and great keyboard technique though he exuded total belief in his music and really carried the audience along with him.
The overall vibe was jazzy and funky, with a lovely melodic ballad feel. I heard Elton John, bits of Billy Joel, Steely Dan at jazzier moments and even Barry Manilow (in a good way).
Opener “Hanging Around the Clouds” was pure quality with great vocals, sweet augmented chords and great bass and was almost over before it began. “I Believe” was another standout for me with its atmospheric piano and gradual build up – very cinematic, as well as “If”, with its classic 70s vibe and clever jazzy feel. I couldn’t quite catch the lyrics of “Tits” but a melodic jazz homage to boobs (if that’s what it was)? What’s not to like?
Bass guitarist Jackiz Tsang not only took a couple of great solos but had a superb jazz face which simply doubled the joy, while drummer Blue (yes that’s his name!) was on the beat throughout. Super solid and a great vibe. Joyous.
– Dan Creffield
由Leon Che’ Clark攝影。
Poster by Diego Caro Serrano.
海報由 Diego Caro Serrano。