野豬音樂節

14-03-21

First off, huge huge thanks to The Grounds, AIA Vitality Park for partnering with us to make this event possible. The weather was perfect, the location was amazing and the bands were so excited to be performing live in front of an actual audience!
Thank you to Martin for designing the initial Wild Boar logo and to Bay for all the subsequent artwork!
Thank you to Abe & his crew for all the hard work on providing backline, lighting and sound engineering.
Thank you to Janita for all translating and on-site assistance. Thanks to Bun, our wonderful stage manager. Thanks to Angus for the amazing photos and Ally for filming all day! BIG thanks to our reviewers RG, Jasmine, Cyril & Sherman. Thanks to The Bridge & Music Hotpot; our media partners.
Thanks to Tony at Glow Hong Kong for making my hair so amazing.
Lastly big hugs and thank yous to Michael Denmark.
首先,非常非常地感謝The Grounds, AIA Vitality Park願意和我們合作去推動這次的活動。當日天氣很好,地點一流,所有樂隊都因為能夠真正在觀眾眼前,作面對面的現場表演而感到興奮!
多謝Martin為野豬音樂節所設計的原標誌,以及感謝Bay繼而製作的所有藝術設計。
多謝Abe以及他團隊所付出的努力,包括提供音響設備,燈光及音訊工程。
多謝Janita的所有翻譯內容及到場的協助。多謝Bun,我們優秀的舞台監督。多謝Angus所拍下的精彩照片,以及全天幫忙錄影。
的Ally!超級感謝我們的評論員RG, Jasmine, Cyril 和 Sherman。多謝The Bridge & Music Hotpot;我們的媒體拍檔。
感謝Glow Hong Kong的Tony令我的髮型變得不同凡響。
最後想大大擁抱以及感激Michael Denmark。
❤️ Chris B xx


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Afternoon Session: 1pm to 4:30pm 下午1時至4時半

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Kowloon K

1. 返公司 (original)
2. 体
3. No way (original) rearranged version
4. Yes Girl
5. 為何不一了百了(Original)

Come on, what does the K stand for, anyway? Kowloon Kool? Could be … Kowloon Kooks? Hmmm. Kowloon Kings? Doesn’t work … Maybe the O is silent? Mmmm, how about …. Kowloon Kats? That fits mighty fine – ‘cos damn these cats can swing.

The distinct honour of opening Hong Kong’s first socially distanced music festival was handed to the cryptically named Kowloon K – and it’s hard to imagine a more fitting recipient, the quartet’s brand of smooth, groovy, foot-tapping jazz-pop almost tailor-made to soundtrack awkward mingling, plastic glass-clunking and the army of late, confused punters trying to figure how, where and why they should scan a QR code to order refreshments to their private pod.

Kowloon K’s purist’s roots and serious chops were instantly in evidence from the first bars of opener 返公司’s head-nodding walking bassline and classic swing beat – and its tight double time outro that played out keyboardist Shuijin’s smart, showy solo. Indeed, it’s not surprising to learn the core rhythm section – Shuiji, six-string electric bassist Ho and drummer David – began as a classic piano trio jamming on the jazz standards songbook. Vocalist Charlie Chen and guitarist Justin were drafted in only last year, establishing the contrary quintet-in-flux on display today, clearly caught somewhere between traditions old and new – bop-pop, you might call it, a jazz aesthetic mobilised in service of vocalist Chen’s dulcet tones.

Their most serious stab at original songwriting so far is debut single No Way, sandwiched here in the middle of the set, an earnestly heartfelt meditation on life’s big decisions. “Make it right / Make the dream come true … Feel the pain / Release my mind to flow,” implores Chen in a deliberate, delicate delivery that calls to mind Katie Melua. The original recording’s acoustic treatment has been beefed up and rearranged for the stage, a swaying singalong-in-waiting.

Plagued by the bad sound which is forever the scourge of opening bands (and perhaps a side helping of an equally similar scourge: nerves), the track was aborted mid-way and re-started – “I have no breath,” Chen appeared to complain – an amateurish blunder I hope the band learned from. Note to musicians everywhere: never, ever stop midway through a song, however little you can hear yourself, or breathe.

Two contrasting covers by contemporary Japanese acts offered more mature moods – the languid, almost soporific groove of Tokyo Jihen’s 体 anchored by a thick backbeat and perked up by a stop-start chorus, while Naruyoshi Kikuchi’s Yes Girl showed off the band’s chops with a series of assured solos from Shuijin and Ho; only Justin, perhaps the least naturally jazzy player, took a few tentative bars to work up his improvisatory ideas.

But it was the two swinging originals bookending the set that cooked hardest; by closer為何不一了百了the quintet had found their step, locking into a squelchy funk around Ho’s bold bass groove in the Jamiroquai mode, and building to a stunning sci-fi synth solo and only slightly awkward audience slow-clap breakdown. Throughout the playing felt assured, if reserved; at times during the instrumental sections one is left wishing the soloists undo a button or two and let rip – dig deeper, groove harder, play longer.

At present, Kowloon K appears as a group in transition – both in the thrall of their traditionalist bop background, and restlessly open-minded to pursue poppier sounds – and the larger audience they will likely bring. This is no bad way to be at all, with the players’ ample musicianship the foundation future successes can be built on. And hey, jazz gigs pay better, too.
– RG


WHIZZ

1. 心花怒放
2. Reality
3. Summer Sea
4. With the Flow
5. Let’s Keep Dancing Tonight

All that was missing was the sun. WHIZZ’s brand of shimmering guitar pop should forever appear basked in the nostalgic summery glow of freshly cut grass, young love, ripe hormones and sepia-tinged sunsets – and the fact the sun couldn’t get itself together to peek from behind the cosy clouds in time made it the biggest (and hottest) party pooper of all time.

Staged a few days after International Women’s Day, the organisers of Wild Boar might have figured it was important to have an all-girl band on the bill, but WHIZZ (reckless capitalisation optional) really don’t need to rely on regressive tokenism to get ahead. The quartet’s hummable hooks, inexhaustible optimism and road-tested live delivery are more than enough to put them towards the heart of Hong Kong’s indie-schmindie scene – indeed the outfit has already represented the city at a festival in Taiwan and bagged a slot on a US band competition.
At the quartet’s core is the contrasting/complimentary guitar sonics of two frontline players – at times it felt like the whole set might have served as a Fender advert, lead guitarist Moo’s twangy, trebly lead lines the foil to frontwoman YuShan Wong’s block-sized strummed barre chords – all crystalline, glistening with that clean all-American shimmer only one guitar-maker can lay claim to (cough, this is not a paid endorsement).

After the breezy, beachy opener 心花怒放 – the sole Cantonese-language number, an arresting smokescreen of ringing suspended chords and shifting rhythms more clever than they sounded – followed the grungier, autumnal Reality, a patch of shade amid the lazy haze, which brought out a darker, lower delivery from Wong’s otherwise effervescent vocals. Dressed in a long white dress, the lead singer’s quiet composure but commanding vocal performance could be what sets them apart from the average guitar-pop band’s more typically maudlin, self-reflective milieu.
The set peaked midway with the irresistible debut composition Summer Sea – less than a year old, too – the uncomplicated, open-hearted, arena-sized chorus tune balanced by a nodding disco-lite groove that was just the right side of the cool/kitsch divide, deftly delivered by bassist Bowie Ling and drummer Jess Leung.

Deeper, slower R&B moods drove set closer Let’s Keep Dancing Tonight, a smouldering, lust-laden imploration to a potential suitor which perhaps possesses a shade more than a passing resemblance to Whitney Houston’s I’m Your Baby Tonight. Whatever, the arrangement is remarkably assured, perked by sensual stop-start stabs, an intimate spoken word segment and an early breakdown chorus. Thankfully the cheesy, sax-by-numbers solo that bogs down the studio recording didn’t make it to this road version. Indeed – the conspicuous use of keyboard and guitar backing tracks might already be enough to annoy some purists, and frankly a few rougher edges might not hurt Whizz’s live sound if their true target is indie credibility rather than anonymous ubiquity.

Unfazed by some further technical difficulties, WHIZZ’s wide-eyed cheeriness seemed limitless – the sugary “la-la-la” intro/refrain of 80s-tinged pop singalong With the Flow almost too much for anyone who woke up on the wrong side of bed that day – but a few glimmers of fragility poked their way through the mist. Or should that be strains of cirrus cloud occasionally blocked the onslaught of summery rays? (Oh, sun, where were you?). What the hey, there’s too much downbeat music in the world already, but one does wonder why the slower, brooding new single Sorrowful didn’t find a space in this sun-kissed set.

With such a solid songbook already in evidence – and three pro-shot MVs in the bag to present it in – it’s little surprise how much WHIZZ have achieved in the less than two years on the scene. The next two years will surely offer far greater opportunities, and challenges, but true to their name, it seems certain WHIZZ are going places fast.
-RG


Murphy’s Law

1. Raggafire
2. Red Light
3. Way Out
4. Super Saian
5. Foxy Waves
6. Break Us Again
7. Polish Vodka

The moment Murphy’s Law took the stage, the atmosphere of the festival changed. I remember turning to my fellow podmates – as we were, of course, observing social distancing measures from the comfortable safety of our cordoned-off deck chairs -to gauge their reaction. The festival sitting on the cusp of St Patrick’s Day and having seen a fair few kilts that day, I for one had been expecting some sort of fond homage to Irish punks, The Dropkick Murphy’s.

But this was discernibly different- and a lot more fitting.

Fundamentally opposed to their namesake, with their laid-back reggaeton tunes and biting lyrical flow, it’s hard to image anything going wrong for Murphy’s Law ever – even if the Universe deems it so.

Raggafire was a tantalising taster of things to come, replete with rumbling vocals and rhythmic staccato beats. For the first time that afternoon, whole groups of audience members peeled themselves away from their cosy seats to move, sing, and jam along to the music. Red Light saw the lead vocalist, charming as ever, put down his guitar to move around the stage, interacting with his bandmates and taking full command of the stage. The pared-back tranquility of the music matched their effortless synchronicity as a band; as musicians they are perfectly at ease with each other and with their music, and that joy is tangible to all.

Way Out kicked it up a notch with a touch of aggression in those heavier power chords – a punk rock kid’s bread and butter. At times, this combo of punk attitude and reggae rhythms gave off shades of their 90s lovechild, ska. Super Saian wound down with its grooving bass and crooning guitar solos, cooling the crowd down before getting them moving again for dance-and-singalong masterclass Break Us Again.

If the venue’d had a roof, Murphy’s Law would have set the bar right through it. They are musical embodiment of a cold mojito on a white sandy beach: effervescent, refreshing, classic- with twist of pure grit and artistry. Closing the set with the raucous Polish Vodka, you only needed to gaze around at the sea of beaming faces to think to yourself: yes. Now I’m at a damn music festival.
-Jasmine Gould-Wilson


Good Funk Shui

1. I’m Not The Droid You’re Looking For
2. Do You
3. Taxi Driver
4. Darkside
5. Butterfly in Paradise

Individually talented, collectively overwhelming.

That was my first thought after Good Funk Shui’s set. With a gold-plated guitarist Geoff, whose effortlessly blistering solos stole the show from the opening track (I’m Not The Droid…), to the flute-wielding bongo player Floro who gave me painful flashbacks to recorder lessons, to the jaunty musical theatrics of lead vocalist Megan — it’s a sonic bombshell. I’m no stickler for genre conformity, but these conflating styles posed a question for me: what is their vision? What is their unifying thread, something which every band needs to transform a handful of disparate artists into a combined force of nature? And was this thread being overshadowed by the volume of incongruent sound?

That unifying thread is embodied in frontman and drummer, Nate Wong. The highly adept percussion savant has headlined venues across the globe, as well as having been featured in other bands of all genres (including Hong Kong-based Nowhere Boys). His presence is a positive and permeating one, radiating his passion even whilst behind a drum kit as he takes time to introduce the players around him. His star power is an undeniable lynchpin, vital to the band’s warm reception from the audience as they hooted and waved back excitedly.

Peppy folk-funk tunes Do You and Taxi Driver were heavy on the storytelling, a cross between Lily Allen and something from Broadway’s more modern catalogue. The songs’ folksy lilts were accented cleverly with keyboards and percussion however, they did not need a distracting flute soloing over it, spoiling the effect with unnecessary texture. Flute music has its place, but I doubt that place is with poppy, piano-led musical theatre vocals.

Darkside was a personal favourite, and featured another brutal guitar solo amongst smatterings of generic accompanying melodies – including occasional repetitions of what (I am pretty certain) was the intro to Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Not really in the vein of bluesy funk like the rest of the troupe at this point, but hey. Geoff is clearly a classic rocker amongst the pigeons.

Butterfly in Paradise unfortunately felt extremely piecemeal. It was an example of the lack of correspondence between the musicians, with each one vying for the audience’s attention rather than playing as a collective.

That is not to say that Good Funk Shui are in any way bad. If anything, maybe they are all too talented to be congruent with each other. It would be criminal not to point out the deft skill of bassist JackiZ, Jerold’s funky keyboard licks, and the slick jazz lounge aesthetics of saxophone player Chaichon.

On paper, it should work.
In practice, some refocusing and conceptualising would go hand in hand to make it so.
– Jasmine Gould-Wilson


The Naggin Eejits

1. I’ll tell me ma (Shamrock)
2. Streams of whiskey (The Pogues)
3. The Boxer (The O’Reillys and The Paddyhats)
4. Donald’s Where’s your Troosers? (Enter the Haggis)
5. Wagon Wheel (Darius Rucker)
6. Encore: Drunken Lullabies (Flogging Molly)

Trust a kilt-clad Irishman and his band of Celtic folk rockers to get the party started.

The minute that Naggin Eejits took the stage, everyone’s interest was piqued. I’d seen them earlier on my way in- pretty hard to miss them, cutting striking figures with their matching tartan kilts and the broadest grins in sight (and not only because it was a few days prior to St Patrick’s Day)- and my already high expectations were to be well exceeded.

Opening with The Sham Rock’s classic belter I’ll Tell Me Ma, already people were clambering to their feet and clapping along with enthusiasm. It’s a song which everyone knows somehow, even here in Hong Kong, and it set the tone for a set full to the brim with joy, festivity, and all out silliness. There’s something marvellous about people who don’t take themselves too seriously these days, and the Eejits made sure that no one could.

Playful, yes, but the Eejits are also damn good musicians. A banjo isn’t an instrument too often seen on HK’s stages, and these guys knew how to pull it off with ease. Their rendition of country tune The Boxer was a sweetly nostalgic leap across the pond, with beautiful acoustic guitars adding some smooth Southern warmth to the golden hours of the day. We were then warned that the next song would be Scottish in origin – the incredibly entertaining Donald, Where’s your Troosers?, recounting the journey of a Scotsman and his kilt on his journey down in England.

By the time their set was due to finish, the crowd was having absolutely none of it. For the first time that day, every single pod at The Grounds was chanting instantly for “ONE MORE SONG! ONE MORE SONG!”, and their wishes were granted. It was a never ending party right til the band waved goodbye, and even then the boundless, infectious energy which they brought was sure to stay with each audience member long after they’d set off for the Beer Bay.

Celtic bands were never my thing- until now. The Eejits have carved themselves a hefty slice of the Hong Kong music scene’s proverbial pie, and it’s safe to say that their music was a refreshing breath of air amidst all the oppressive madness around us today. I would say we need more bands like the Naggin Eejits, but honestly? I think they’re entirely enough on their own.
Jasmine Gould-Wilson


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Evening Session: 6pm to 10pm 下午6時至10時

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TripleSix

1. 852 echo
2. Honeymoon with you
3. Ten
4. City Waves

Hailing from New Zealand and his first Gig, TripleSix opens the evening session of Wild Boar Music Festival with a confident start, those familiar with the HK Hip Hop scene will recognise the beat “Seasons” from Doughboy’s Solitude Beat Tape, a recent favourite (Kasa also used it in “Bottle of Regrets and What Ifs” also) making the rounds. He throws out a shout out to TXMIYAMA and brings on his good friend Zack Calixtus as he expresses his experiences moving from NZ to HK in his opening song “852 ECHO”. Being the beginning of the evening set, the song served as a good introduction for gig goers just settling into their “personal garden” pods, kicking it back and enjoying the sunset over AIA Vitality Park.

With a brief interlude (and curiously, asking for a mosh pit), Zack takes some of the lead with some singing in “HONEYMOON WITH YOU”, while TripleSix flows some smooth verses in between, but not before Zack has a little rap moment of his own while TripleSix engages funky dance mode. Segwaying into “TEN”, the trio manage to get heads bobbing along and chilling to a groove, before bringing his guest Mabel (Mabel and Zack both featured on the album) to sing some soothing parts on “CITY WAVES” and TripleSix spitting some bars in between.

Ending with a semi-nervous but confident finish, TripleSix’s future shows are looking nowhere but up, proving he’s able to bring the party when he’s on stage.
– Sherman Leung


Delta T 蛋撻頭

1 斷捨離
2 通心粉
3 土豪金
4 都市Lonely Night
5 Can’t Stop

Starting off with his back to the crowd and getting into the zone, Delta T 蛋撻頭 gets the crowd waving their hands and moving about in their chairs to opener 斷捨離, It comes as no surprise that he’s a frequent collaborator with the prolific POK1吳保錡 and JNY, it shows he really knows how to hype the crowd as he increases his intensity at the end of the chill track, building up his stage presence so he can fully unleash it in his next song 通心粉, a song with attitude, Delta T goes hard on stage with callouts during the chorus for the audience to join in, his frantic energy lighting him up on stage, and catchy sing-a-long sections ribboned in between verses, ending with some nasty quips ending repetitions of “Beep! Shut up!”.

After cooling down, a new song 土豪金 is premiered on stage, with the same hardcore energy as the previous song but you can tell Delta T and his crew had a lot of fun writing as they go crazy with a multitude of animal sounds and the song ending with a nice long wet fart sound.

Coming to the end of the set is a more chill track 都市~LONELY NIGHT~ where Delta T invites his esteemed guest 楊雅餘(Uka Yueng) to sing her parts in this 80’s city pop inspired chill track. Delta T grooves along as the crowd is taken back into colonial era Hong Kong with twinkly synth leads glittering the song and dreamy vocal melodies. As he approaches the end of his set, he gives the crowd another chill song CAN’T STOP, with Uka Yueng shaking her hips on stage, the audience clapping rhythmically along, and Delta T putting in a nice flow when rapping in the verses. While the interlude of the song repeates the lines “I can’t stop thinking about you”, Uka Yueng gets the audience to wave along and Delta T hypes the crowd into a drop, eliciting a chill wave over the audience.

All in all, Delta T took us on a wild ride with his set, with intensity and attitude in the middle and getting the crowd chilled out and mellow at the end.
Sherman Leung


 
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Funkee Tung

1. Swaggerbones
2. Warwolf
3. Let’s Do The Lockdown
4. Judge of Me
5. Roaring 20s

The six-piece swagger filled funk-rock band plays third in the night, giving everyone a smooth mid-evening dance party. With band members and influence from all across the world, Funkee Tung is the self-proclaimed ‘Hong Kong’s premier funk band’. They’ve played previously at the Wanch and at other Underground shows to great feedback and while it was a great time, I found it more chill than exciting and spent most of my time tapping my foot while laid back with a beer and tater tots.

Seems like most of the audience agreed; during the first song Swaggerbones, singer Alan Francis asked the audience to rise…but very few did. Why though? They weren’t bad. They had funk, they had swing, they had rhythm. In my opinion, they were too perfect. Such was the case with Swaggerbones which felt so perfect that certain parts of their performance felt over-rehearsed and so at times lost soul. This was despite the song actually being quite a good rockout!

A highlight of the night was a performance of their newest single Let’s do the Lockdown (another reviewer sitting with me cringed at the name, but I thought it was pretty cool). Much like Swaggerbones, I felt the overall vibe to be a bit off but that the song itself and its performance to be pretty much top notch. On their social media, they marketed the song to be ‘epic sax solos’ and ‘awkward dancing’. Check on both points! And to top it off, great tongue in cheek humour from the lyrics (oh my, oh my we’re all gonna die!) performed with Alan’s brilliantly charismatic facial expressions which really tell you how no one’s going to die and we should all get outside and enjoy the rest of the music festival.

Their later songs picked up the pace, and by that I mean slowed down till everything matched. Alan Francis has a great singing voice; it’s smooth and melodic, suited brilliantly to soulful ballads such as Judge of Me, a beautiful, emotional song with sax duets and George Harrison style guitar solos. Personally one of my highlights, not only for their performance, but the whole evening.

All in all, I found Funkee Tung to be a musically strong band with pretty good stage presence. Their songs were pretty catchy, but I find the recordings a little more ‘full’ than their stage performance. The stage wasn’t commanded as much as I had hoped from a ‘premier funk band’, but it was a damn good time.
– Cyril Ma


Shumking Mansion

1) neon headlines
2) mario
3) whats on your mind
4) orb of fire
5) no shoes
6) refugia
7) disco dystopia

I’m not sure if I’ve seen them before. “They’ve been around forever”, I was told when I arrived. “If you’ve seen them, you’d remember” but I don’t’ remember. Now I’m sure I’ve seen them, but I’m still not sure if I’ve seen them. I am, in fact, not convinced the band were even here. They were in another dimension, maybe another planet, perhaps in another reality. Singer Zaid shows up in a floral dress, keytar player Jem in Dr. X style top-hat and sunglasses. They’re described as ‘Dance pop’, ‘Synth pop’ and ‘Psychedelia’ but these labels don’t really encompass the range of styles I heard just from this one show alone – orchestral hits, chiptunes, classic rock vibes; dance, synth and psychedelia, yes but so much more!

Shumking are on a totally other league from most offerings we normally get at Underground gigs. A mainstay of Hong Kong’s indie circuit, well known at the Wanch and at The Underground, but have also done tours around Europe and at government sponsored shows at Tai Kwun arts center. Tonight’s gig felt fresh, energetic, and as usual, out of this world. Their first song was the ‘soundcheck’, literally the soundcheck (because they can). As a theatre kid, that piqued my interest because apart from a couple of modern Musicals which decided, in a weird artsy way, that even the tuning of the orchestra was performative, no one else seems to be exploring the pre-show as part of the show but of course, you’re already on stage and people are watching. You are, quite literally, standing on stage. A band as theatrical as Shumking Mansion gets it. They owned the stage from the moment they walked on till the moment they walked off; songs blurred into each other, building up from the first to the last in an endless Metrovania infused psychedelic trip where David Bowie and Koji Kondo met on the dark side of the moon.

A couple of songs particularly stood out to me. Mario, one of their most popular songs, was a hit as usual. The fusion track includes Latin rhythms and a chiptune riff. I can’t hear what they were singing – especially because Zaid was incredibly responsible and sang over a heavy mask – but the jumpy, 8-bit riff definitely had something to do with the name. They didn’t really introduce their songs (at one point they forgot how many they had played) but with the audience mesmerized by the energy on stage, it didn’t really matter. Keeping the same vibe, the final song Disco Dystopia refused to end. The final orchestral hit played, stopped, applause, played, stopped, applause for a good few minute. In musicology we call this humour because musicologists tell bad jokes. This is drama, this is using their music as a language to mess with the audience and it’s brilliant.

Oh, and Disco Dystopia was actually the sound check song. Beginning, middle and end.
– Cyril Ma


 
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Nowhere Boys

1. 天外飛仙
2. 狂想曲
3. 小丑
4. 種子
5. 最後的搖滾
6. 我們的航海時代

An Underground show is special because you get new bands, veteran bands, English bands, French bands, marching bands (we did have one) and of course good old fashioned Cantopop bands. But that’s not what Nowhere Boys is. They’re Cantopop, they use ‘old’ music (we’ll get to that), but they’re not old fashioned.

What first struck me was the violin. Standing in the corner was keyboardist Fisher Kan who decided to whip out a violin for their first song 天外飛仙 (Little Fairy). In their musical video, the band members dress up in classical Chinese outfits and do Kung-fu outside Yau Ma Tei Tin Hau temple, and rock-out next to the Star Ferry pier. They didn’t show up in costume but the whimsical, yet hardcore vibe was just as present. The violin was a little quiet, it could have been the mics, or it could have been their placement, but it would have been great to hear it more.

The second song 狂想曲 (Rhapsody) gave more surprises yet. Released in 2015 near the beginning of their career, the song is an eclectic mix of hard rock, Baroque piano, choir music, rap and more. Nowhere Boys is a band which excels in both recorded and live forms; they understand the difference between the two media and artistically transform themselves depending on what their stage is. In the Rhapsody music video, the band members don different outfits showing the many sides of the band, someone’s the Joker, someone’s a cop, they’re in an old timey Hong Kong style barbershop – then everyone changes roles. The chorale section has very strong Queen vibes and seems to reference Bohemian Rhapsody. For such a chaotic video, the performance is actually incredibly tight but not overwhelming. On stage, however, they change completely. The whole performance is a musical whirlwind. The hard rock starts, pinning you to your seat. Then the baroque piano solo comes in – in the video, it’s underscored by black and white visuals – here the whole band stops and points synchronized at the pianist to great applause. The performance is intense; they’re jumping around the stage yelling into mics but then comes the chorale. Everyone stops and sings in perfect acapella harmony despite having just run a marathon.

There’s something to be said for a Cantopop band incorporating so much classic rock, pop and classical music into their performances. Hong Kong is a city where almost everyone has a Grade 8 in musical performance, but becoming a musician is not a career most people will consider. It’s unrealistic, useless, for a hobby only. Our professional choirs and opera groups are performed in by amazing award-winning singers who are actually bankers and doctors. This means that just in terms of classical music knowledge, Hong Kong really is world class – much of local slang actually comes from musical terminology – but it’s ignored. Nowhere Boys whether they know it or not, is bridging that gap. As a rock Cantopop group, they excel perfectly with creative lyrics, great stage presence and top-notch performance, but more than that, they encompass the musical soul of Hong Kong, telling those that play classical music that the pop world does have a space for them and simultaneously letting popular music fans know that the classical side also has a place. Their creativity and performance style weren’t just for a good show, it was inspirational. At least it was to me – a classically trained musician writing rock show reviews.
Cyril Ma


Ni Liu 逆流

1. 六呎之下
2. 落花
3. 毋忘我
4. 一瞬
5. CAN U HEAR US

Headliner act and prominent HK Metal act Ni Liu 逆流 preps the crowd with a lengthy intro to 六呎之下, with guitars blasting as the song goes into full swing.

The man with a voice as fierce as a lion Kit Lo jumps up and steps up to the monitor, pouring out emotional gutterals while Hala has full focus on his guitar work. Towards the end, Kit gets everyone to calm down in a quiet section, singing his heart out before the band explodes with a final emotional chorus.

After a few introductory words, they start their next song 落花 with a beautiful ambiance, the song is quite well known and everyone is nodding their head along to the soft intro. After a few delicate licks from Hala’s lead guitar the band explodes into a sea of intensity, powerful throngs booming across the lawn, with Kit’s piercing vocals ripping through the air. Soul wrenching singing rings out in the chorus followed by an intense break, with drummer Sann laying down a thick buildup to the iconic ending chorus that everyone knows and gets people singing along. Next up is the song 毋忘我, a song with a slower and softer verse, Kit’s once again heart wrenching vocals in the chorus followed by intense, gut wrenching screams and dragged out lyrics at the end. The emotional part of their set isn’t over yet as they lead into another heartstrings tugging song 一瞬, Kit singing and screaming his heart out at the climax of the song, the audience is captivated by the intense power of the song that seems to wash over them as they sit back in their deck chairs.

Finally, the band gives us a memorable end with a more recent song CAN YOU HEAR US, the verse sounding angry and energetic, and yet again some emotional choruses that get people throwing their hands up. After a djenty breakdown, Kit unleashes another heartwrenching chorus with blistering screams before leaving the crowd in awe as the band builds up to a strong finish.
Sherman Leung


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

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