Live Review from Underground Legends 2021
Take a Break
Yesterday Was Sweet
I’m a friend of Andy’s, or at least I think I am, he’s been typing a reply to me since 2017. That was when I first reviewed them anyway. The band was quite new at that point and I was asked to listen to their first album and their single Take a Break. The furious and catchy alt-rock number broke all expectations I had about indie band with a weird phone reference for a name. A few months ago, I was asked by coincidence to review Take a Break again but on a different album. Take a Break (Shelf-Index Remix) was symbolic of how far the band had grown since 2017, being able to work closely with a local DJ to reinvent the song that started them off. The placement of the vocals and lyrics, the mixture of live and synthetic instruments, the song took on a whole new meaning, and a whole new performance style. Andy is Typing… had finished a paragraph in their neverending text.
Their first song, as expected, was Take A Break but not the original alt-rock version, they performed the remix. Not one to cut corners, they had rearranged the remix version into a song that could be played on a guitar, a bass, drum kit and a bit of VOX effects (J.K.Y is a full-time vocalist now) The vocal gasping was new to the remix, but far more powerful live. There are fine tunes to be made; I’m personally unsure about the swapping between falsetto and chest voice, they weren’t as smooth as I had expected. But the fact that this got on stage at all was impressive, what was particularly cool was how they kept parts of the original song – such as the background vocals – in essence creating a third ‘live’ version of Take A Break. Also, the imitation of synthesized rhythms on stage is also impossible without incredible amounts of stamina; the drummer, Kelvin, was not taking a break (next time you’re at an Andy Is Typing… concert, keep an eye on Kelvin, while everyone else gets super dark, this guy never drops his smile).
Take A Break wasn’t the only thing about the band that’s changed. Their whole act has matured. If you YouTube their first music video shot, you see four young lanky musicians jamming out in an industrial building recording studio. They had a slight edgy alternative vibe with everyone wearing black T-Shirts and sporting emo fringes. Their album notes mentioned how some of the band members decided to play instruments because they didn’t want to sing in music class. On stage, they look largely the same – the emo fringes are still there (don’t get rid of them, they look good), the largely dull, monochromatic outfits are still vogue, but their vibe, the air in the room is different. This is now a seasoned band, they don’t just dress together, they are together. They brought with them an entourage so large, so energetic that, even sitting at the front of the bar, I couldn’t see the band. A swarm of black and white t-shirts yelling “Andy! Andy! Andy!” that conspicuously disappearing after they took a bow.
Their music too had matured. Their ability to remix a remix for live purposes is impressive, but what’s more impressive is their shift from good alt-rock, to screamo and punk. Their set list was carefully chosen, showing off their five years of fan favourites but without any apology for their much heavier style – Yesterday Was Sweet (2016) and Take A Break (2017) are both early hits, but now they hit you. Karma (2017) unfortunately stood out because it wasn’t as clean as the other songs. Their choice to use pre-recorded piano and sound effects didn’t fit with their new grungy vibe, it also just simply wasn’t as clean as the live instruments, in any case, we have a piano at Rula.
Amidst the noise, aggression and screaming though was a theme of nostalgia and softness. The rest of the set list included tributes to the late Leslie Cheung and originals like Lost Pearl (2016) and Don’t Believe (2020). With all band members being Hong Kong Chinese in their mid-20s, what they were referring to is clear and it made their relationship with the audience that much closer. The performance was very raw, very heart to heart. When J.K.Y at one point stepped off stage to jump, the crowd jumped with him. More so than many other bands at Legends, Andy Is Typing… felt very much like they were reflecting the crowd’s own anger and anxieties, rather than just expressing their own.
It is now close to the end of their set. I have pissed my pants. I am very scared and want my mom to pick me up. I’m still sitting at the front of the bar (to ‘intimidate the bands’ as the other reviewers jokingly say) but I cannot hear anything anymore. My ears are ringing, my heart is beating as fast as Kelvin’s madly flailing arms and pounding foot pedal. The apocalypse is here. I don’t believe. I am burning in flames and I am not taking a break. There’s background music; a pounding drum kit, wickedly aggressive guitars and a singer yelling his inner demons into a microphone. The world is imploding, literally falling down around us, Andy … Is Typing …
– Cyril Ma
Live Review from Underground Livestream #1
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
Live Review from The Underground 13th Year Anniversary Party:
1. Take A Break
2. Don’t Believe
4. Yesterday Was Sweet
5. Lost Pearl
Tonight’s first band on this auspicious occasion, are greeted by what feels a little more like a carnival atmosphere than just a normal mad Saturday in LKF. Orange Peel is packed to the brim and there’s a really beautiful atmosphere brewing to celebrate the Underground’s 13th birthday.
Andy Is Typing start the celebrations off with their single Take A Break, released earlier this month. It’s so full of energy straight from the off that the crowd doesn’t get a chance to think before being swept up in this bands magic. Andy (who I’m assuming also types) on bass is awesome here, and his bass lines are the centre piece of this song. I’m already compelled to call Andy Is Typing Hong Kong’s very own Muse, such is the similarity. But while there are similarities, they’re still doing their own thing. Jacky’s vocal has a touch of Brandon Flowers about it at times. His falsetto – absolute perfection.
On Don’t Believe, drummer Kelvin is a total superstar. Just like the bass on Take A Break, his percussion is now the centrepiece. Jacky’s vocal is a bit lower here and it doesn’t feel ideal for his voice to me. I think the higher stuff really suits it better. Bassist Andy is now at the back of the stage, clearly his 5 mins of glory at the front is over. I wonder if these guys got a deal on their haircuts, like a buy three get one free?
These guys are really tight, and seem like they’ve been gigging forever. Loving the lead guitar on Karma, way down the fret through the verses. It’s nothing new, but it feels familiar like an old friend I haven’t seen in a long time. Love the change in mood and the uplifting feel of the middle eighth. Strangely there aren’t many takers for an arm wave on Lost Pearl. The acoustic guitar is a nice contrast to the rest of the set up until this point. It gets a little ‘busy’ for me. A bit over complicated. They feel at their best went then keep it a bit simpler.
I’d love to see this band on a bigger stage, their energy and in particular Jacky’s charisma I feel are made for a massive crowd. I’ll be there.
– Simon Donald Jones
Live Review from Sub Terra #1:
1. Wild Heart
2. Fat Machine Inquiry
3. Lost Pearl
5. Yesterday Was Sweet
6. Take A Break
Andy Is Typing began with as much bombast as possible, all dressed in black, low rumbling riffs, and a pinch harmonic juggernaut of an opener ‘Wild Heart’. JKY’s falsetto soars over this dark and menacing music, with vague similarities to Bon Jovi’s vocal style (minus any of that glam rock cheese), whilst Kelvin Ngan’s drumming is intricate and pounding at the same time, with each snare shot sounding like a rifle.
Each member brings their own signature sound to the mix. Man Ping’s eye-catching Ibanez is controlled with ease, laying down effortless solos that could have been written by Lynard Skynard, if not a touch self-indulgent at times. Bassist Andy follows any low riff from Man Ping perfectly in unison, and works in smooth arpeggios during the verses, without being distracting.
A nice dynamic shift is added when JKY introduces an acoustic guitar from ‘Karma’ onwards, adding a Counting Crows feel, and some lush picking patterns between himself and ManPing. Although JKY is playing his acoustic through a keyboard amp, it has immense clarity, that cuts through, even with a band as heavy and loud as this.
‘Take A Break’ sees Andy kicking off the song with a Mark King style slap bass, whilst Ngan gives the song pace with a rolling snare and clever hi-hat triplets, evocative of early Bombay Bicycle Club drumming. The chorus shows them at their most anthemic, with JKY following the lead guitar note for note, stretching his vocal range and emphasising the power of their sound.
The entire set came across as well rehearsed and professional, without feeling forced or contrived. Andy Is Typing seemed to be really enjoying themselves, and that feeling transferred to the audience within moments of them taking to the stage.
– Chris Gillett
與當晚首隊樂隊Asyndeton一樣，排第三出場的Andy is Typing是一隊非常年輕的組合。然而，他們演奏的第一秒已足以令全場氣氛改變。四人很清晰地表明：現在不是2016年，而是1986年。
第一首歌「Wild Heart」的靈感明顯地取自Bon Jovi、Quiet Riot等重金屬樂隊。這首歌曲以萬平的結他riff和歌手JKY的高音聲線為基礎，高調地配上速度快音階高的結他solo。JKY與萬平一齊唱和音的一刻，兩人往同一支麥克風吶喊，場面精彩。到了歌曲尾段，萬平竟然引進了Crazy Train（Ozzy Osbourne）一段有名的結他riff。相信在香港，很難得有機會欣賞這麼經典的重金屬表演。
形象十分整齊的Andy is Typing只演奏了六首歌，有些歌曲是以木結他為主的power ballad，如「Lost Pearl」。但是好戲在後頭：最後的一首歌「Take A Break」只能形容為瘋狂，筆者從未看過速度這麼快的slap bass，鼓手的技巧也令人頭暈眼花。最後jam的一段，歌曲節奏一步一步地加快，音階一級一級地下跌…… 這叫做「技術性擊倒」。
– Elson Tong
Live Review from The Underground x InterNations:
1. Wild Heart
2. Celestial Party
3. Forget Me Not
4. Lost Pearl
5. Yesterday Was Sweet
6. One Two Free Fall
7. Fat Machine Injury
For such young guys – they look as if they might have shrugged out of their school clothes en route to the gig – the brilliantly named Andy is Typing have spent some serious time absorbing rock music of the past 40 years or so.
But they’re not simply regurgitating well-trodden rock classics of yesteryear. The boys have really made it their own, with well-crafted rock tracks which get a great response from a good crowd at Orange Peel tonight.
So it’s a bit of shame they haven’t put similarly diligent research into stage wear –come on boys, you can do better than jeans and T-shirts. You’d never catch Bowie (RIP) and Prince (RIP) in baggy sweaters.
So work needed on the outfits then – but in terms of on-stage panache otherwise, top marks, throwing themselves around as they do with youthful abandon. And yes, great tunes. They come racing out the traps with a big track that has elements of both 1980s and 90s rock – I hear Maiden, RHCP, Def Leppard, Ramones and more. Great stuff.
They’re good players as well. The singer has a fine line in vocal gymnastics while the guitarist boasts some decent chops. And what of their namesake, bass player Andy? I dunno about typing, but he is a picture of concentration, focused on nailing that bottom end. Overall as well they have some nice tricks and techniques, stops and starts, going into double time, building the atmosphere and momentum.
An excellent set with tons of rock credibility for such young guys – definitely one to look out for.
– Dan Creffield