Mango Jam

Live review from 20th Anniversary Festival Day 1 星期五:


If you thought Canto-pop/rock was an overmined seam (and I did), these guys are definitely here to re-educate you! Matching tropical shirts chime with the band’s overall super professional approach to their work – these boys have sweated blood and tears on their sound and set, and this definitely comes across.

Singer Rudy has a hell of a set of pipes, which he needs, singing over two guitarists both as capable of jazz-funk as they are syncopated, harmonic lines and big, anthemic riffs. Overall it’s a big, fat, rock sound à la The Strokes/Franz Ferdinand.

With an all-original set primarily in Cantonese, I struggled with the lyrical themes of the songs, and couldn’t really work out what Rudi was on about. But it was clearly very important to him. And if it was important to him, it was important to me, and the rest of the crowd, who were energised and enthusiastic throughout.

Highlights included the second track, which came over like Batman’s favourite rock song – dark and heavy – and the following track, which again featured an excellent vocal, with harmonies from the band. The next track had a more soulful feel, and an anthemic chorus which put me in mind of Taiwanese rock band Mayday and their catchy hooks. It’s also got a bit of a superhero movie soundtrack vibe – immediate and compelling.

Yes, it’s occasionally a bit of a dated sound – sadly, most rock bands now are – but they attack it with such vim and vigour they make it fresh and fun. This was next-level Canto.

If only they could be reborn 20 years ago they would probably find a bigger market. This hasn’t stopped them putting together a brilliant, original set for which they should be congratulated – it’s a fantastic achievement. Make no mistake – these boys are rock stars.
Dan Creffield

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Performances by Mango Jam: