First, please raise your glasses to Innonation and Justin for hosting our first-ever livestream and making it sound so great. So much love to the musicians who filmed clips to share their Underground experiences with our worldwide audiences – Wolf, Bamboo Star, Keith, The Sleeves, Kelvin, Wondergarl 神奇膠, Boogie Playboys, Jasmine Kelly, The Folk ups, Eunice, Electricious 輕觸。点, JUNK!, Adrian (Brothers of Roadkill, Adrian Fu 符致逸), Koya San (Very Ape, Sea Monsters, Helter Skelter), Bryant (Spodac, Shepherds The Weak) and Joul (Dr Eggs). Super thanks to Ally for editing and preparing all their videos. Big thanks to Dicky & Janita who translated the subtitles. We must thank Janita who worked tirelessly on the poster and all the supporting images for this event. Big thanks to Sunil and Vivek for all the website updates! Love to Bun who is very very good at keeping me focused! Please heap lots of praise for our reviewer, Jasmine and our wonderful photographer Leon. Thank you to the wonderful Hotel Icon for sponsoring the gift lunch for two at The Market. To Andy is typing… and ShumKing Mansion – you guys showed the WORLD how great Hong Kong bands are and I am your #1 fan for life.
Last but not least, HUGE thanks to the AMAZING WORLDWIDE AUDIENCE – YOU guys – for your cheers, your excitement, your donations, throughout the event. The event can be experienced over and over again on youtube. Meanwhile stay safe and healthy and look forward to seeing you all soon.
首先，首次的直播活動由Innonation和Justin主持，他們令活動進行得完美順暢。我們亦非常感謝曾拍攝片段的音樂人，好讓更多聽眾能夠得到絕佳的The Underground體驗。感謝Ally剪輯及準備所有影片，感謝Dicky和Janita翻譯字幕，Janita亦費盡心思設計海報及其他活動相關的圖片。心思設計海報及其他活動相關的圖片。感謝Sunil和Vivek更新網站，以及努力幫我踏實處理事情的Bun。我們亦非常感謝樂評人Jasmine和攝影師Leon。非常感謝唯港薈的贊助，給予於The Market享用免費二人午市套餐的機會。Andy is typing…和ShumKing Mansion向全世界展現了香港樂隊精彩出色的一面，我永遠會是你們的頭號粉絲！最後，我們亦非常感激來自各地的聽眾，你們的歡呼、盡興和善心捐款，都使活動變得更完美。是次活動可以在Youtube上反覆收聽。希望在這段時間，大家能保持身體健康，我們後會有期！
❤️ Chris B xx
Andy is Typing…
1) Take a Break
2) 3:1 II
4) Seoul Pretty
5) Don’t Believe
6) Lost Pearl
7) Forget Me Not
8) Yesterday Was Sweet
Opening act of the night, Andy Is Typing… proved that the only limitations of livestreams are the ones you put there by yourself. Performing to the camera as well as a modest crowd of eight as if they comprised an audience of 100 strong, these boys aren’t going to let a small thing like a pandemic get in the way of the music.
First song on the setlist was Take a Break, a heavy dance pop anthem replete with a slick slap bass line. Battling against the teething problems of various technical difficulties, the guitar was virtually inaudible from my seat in the studio. Somehow this hardly mattered, as the lead guitar player Manking’s passion was palpable despite this. Props again to Andy (bass) for keeping the melody going!
Next up, 3:1 II combined elements of nu-metal and dance to create a unique blend of pop-infused rap rock, harkening back to the alt synth heyday of the 2010s (see: My Passion, and more recently From Ashes to New). This song saw bassist Andy stepping up to the plate as backing vocalist, complementing frontman JKY. He is a master of showmanship, performing not only to the in house audience but straight down the cameras to the audiences at home- truly the mark of an excellent lead vocalist.
Soft piano-laced ballad Karma aimed to dial back the intensity. A Latin-esque drum track serves as an unusual (though not unnecessary) touch to an otherwise slower tempo tune. By this point in the set, Manping’s amp had kicked in properly, allowing him to jam with Andy and Kelvin (drums) and explore the stage space fully.
Groove rock Seoul Pretty grows in aggression as it progresses, starting off as a funky keyboard oriented tack and building its texture. It seems a fitting preamble to Don’t Believe, a heavy ode to more traditional forms of modern rock n roll circa the 90s and early 00s- think Black Stone Cherry meets Korn. The boys displayed excellent command of audience participation, leading the studio and remote crowds in clap and sing-alongs before a sweeping guitar solo. This track featured some of the most impressive, intense drum fills of the evening – so much so that I believe Kelvin managed to put a stick straight through one of his drum skins!
Lost Pearl, an emotive homage to Hong Kong, tapped the vein of soft rock. Filled with plenty of high falsetto notes and a guitar solo played very high on the fretboard too, everything about this track seemed steeped in rising above and holding on to your hope.
After a brief interlude, the fans at home begged for an encore – and so the boys launched into Forget Me Not. Another toe-tapping tune with an infectious dance beat (and…was that a cowbell?), AIT… here presented as strong and unified a force as ever. Finally the guitar volume was loud enough to be properly enjoyed in-house, shown off with another blistering solo. Final song of the set Yesterday Was Sweet wrapped things up with fantastic drum fills, tight interplay between bass and guitar parts, and an indelible chorus hook.
Performing live is daunting enough, and performing via livestream adds even greater challenges to the mix. Andy Is Typing… pulled off a formidable first performance for the Underground HK’s nascent stream series, and set the standard very high for bands yet to come.
– Jasmine Gould-Wilson
3) What’s On Your Mind
5) Strange Memories
8) Auto Dreaming
9) Disco Dystopia (Encore)
Mainstays of the Hong Kong music scene, psychedelic quartet Shumking Mansion brought their distinct brand of funky disco synth-pop to global audiences at home via the innovation of a livestream.
Just like their individual sounds, the band members themselves don’t look like they should go together. With a pink, punky vocalist and guitarist, a bassist who channels the 70s with his zany hair and flared jeans, the mysterious top hat-clad keytarist (later revealed to be aggressively French), and a proud Canadian drummer, it comes as a surprise all these musical elements work in cohesion-even if they shouldn’t on paper.
First track Refugia launched us right into the delightful depths of Shumking Mansion’s oddity. Vocalist Zaid, donning a cutesy pink dress and a Telecaster to match, instantly seizes your attention. From the unruly head of manic grey hair (which I’m sure he doesn’t care to brush) to his classic rock powerhouse vocals, you cannot help but be entranced straight off the bat, and anticipatory of what is yet to come. Much like opening act Andy is Typing…, the Mansion tackled a few technical difficulties with ease, and didn’t let them get in the way of their performance.
As the disco punks slid into Mario, they continued to display their prowess of turning disparate sounds into a harmonious cacophony. From cowbells being used in percussion segments (courtesy of drummer Kent) to a slap-bass solo to the spotlight being shone on keytarist Jem, it is clear that a striking audio-visual interplay is of utmost importance to this band. They are an immersive experience, playful in their ability to be seriously unserious, and an utter joy to witness.
Motley Crüe vocals got a mainline dose of funk in What’s On Your Mind. Even the group’s on stage configuration defied the rock n roll norm, with bassist Shum taking centre stage instead of the vocalist. There is no frontman in Shumking Mansion; each member of the band is a frontman, each exuding a unique attitude which plays off their cohorts in a joyful celebration of sound, energy, and performance.
Distances saw the sound issues start to interfere more perceptibly, with Zaid’s guitar being rendered inaudible for almost the entirety of the song. Thankfully these issues were tended quickly, and the audience could enjoy a blistering solo to close out the tune. That wasn’t the last hurdle of the set, though, with Shum popping a bass string and swapping it out on stage during a brief interlude. Shout out to Andy from Andy Is Typing… for offering up his bass as a backup! We love to see band on band camaraderie.
Heralding our return from a segment break, Strange Memories had the in-house crew (and no doubt the audience at home) itching to get up for a dance. Sporting an 80s pop feel, the Mansion experimented with distortion, delay, and genre conflation. A groovy bass fill moved the song through transition, with drummer Kent assuming the role of vocalist and highlighting the aural dynamism which the band are known for.
A song “about going to outer space and not coming back the same…and also about love”, DD2K is demonstrably a Star Wars nerdgasm translated into music. It opened with emblematic Darth Vader line “You are my son!”, and what followed was a giddy exploration of Mansion’s experimental reach. With Kent taking the reins of lead vocals, the band used guitar and keyboard distortion to achieve futuristic sci-fi soundscapes, taking the viewers on a synth-heavy musical journey. Assuming a 60s-70s sci-fi aesthetic circa the likes of the original Star Trek series, we are immersed in a world of ray guns and robots and interplanetary travel, with Zaid’s guitar pedal and soundboard provided an impressive array of SFX.
Seventh track of the night Toadstool showcased the bass and percussion elements, the guitar playing second fiddle in yet another break from conventionality. This was closely followed by Auto Dreaming, a smooth jazz take on shoegaze which saw Kent and Zaid harmonising in a Bee Gees-esque move. As a motif guitar riff acted as a musical chorus, the bass playing around the root notes and jamming along with the keys and drums, somehow these standalone elements (which could be enjoyed discretely) summed up their vision: a dance party which requires all five senses to enjoy.
Wrapping up with a chaotic encore, Disco Dystopia had the whole studio up on their feet for a celebratory victory dance! Chris B and Andy Is Typing… (as well as the band managers) waved farewell as Shumking Mansion gave the livestream a proper send-off.
Photos by Leon Che’ Clark.
由Leon Che’ Clark攝影。
Poster by Janita.