Live review from Heavy Unplugged #1:
2. Inner demons
4. My heart
6. Beauty out of the ashes
Normally Mockingbird are a bona fide alternative rock band in the same vein as Paramore and Evanescence, I’m excited to see how they tackle going unplugged. They arrive with much hype following their appearance as finalists in the Volkswagen Underground Battle of the Bands this year. They make full use of the limitations of Heavy Unplugged with piano keyboard, electric bass, cajon and acoustic guitar. These guys are another band that strike me as being “match fit”. Having formed in 2013, they’ll have plenty gigs under their belts and which shows on first song of the night Lotus. Very deep lyrics sung with an absolute bang to the chest by lead singer Miki. However, a bit of You’re Beautiful by James Blunt comes through in the acoustic guitar for me. Not something a rock band probably wants to be likened to.
Miki tells us that Inner Demons was the first song she wrote with the band when she joined. Another deeply emotional song, this time with a cracking bass solo. Amazingly, this arrangement really suits their songs. Probably enabling Miki’s vocals and lyrics to be brought to the forefront. Next song Departure starts off with a wonderfully delicate piano introduction by Kelvin who was on cajon a moment ago – showing great versatility. Arthur on bass brings near perfect backing vocals to the song. Miki has a real 2000s sound to her voice, reminding me a bit of Christina Perri. She sings every word with intense emotion, bolstered by Arthur’s backing. The gentleness of the piano just perfect on this song.
As a band normally playing heavier music, with a lot more movement and intensity, you’d think this setting would be uncomfortable for them but I love how engaging they all are. Not avoiding eye contact with the audience at all. Totally relishing it.
Mockingbird deliver a very touching Linkin Park tribute with a cover of Numb. It’s really slowed down and stripped back, almost in ballad territory. A shame that Miki needs her phone for the song’s lyrics, despite telling us she’s been a Linkin Park fan since she was 6 years old. But that takes nothing away from a truly beautiful performance of the song. They conclude their set with a new song called Beauty Out Of The Ashes. Once again, Miki needing a little help from her phone for the lyrics. It’s another emotional song with deep and touching lyrics. It hits its peak with the high-pitched piano after the bridge which sings to my heart.
It takes some guts for a band to completely step outside their comfort zone and it takes some serious talent to do something magical with it, just as Mockingbird have done tonight.
– Simon Donald Jones
Live review from Volkswagen x Underground Battle of the Bands Final 2017
Mockingbird opened their three-song set with Departure – an upbeat chuggernaut with a distinct emo rock vibe. Choruses came crashing in between Evanescence-esque guitar picked verses, although singer Miki was fighting against a barrage of heavy guitars, often straining to hit the higher notes, with the lyrics “Out of a broken dream” being difficult to pick out.
She was still fighting against the wall of sound during Lotus. This song again utilised clean picked verses, but the half time chorus led the band in more of a Paramore direction stylistically. The song gradually built in power, and really highlighted drummer Kelvin’s inventive style.
The 5-piece ended with showstopper Poison (Time To Say Goodbye), which saw the band at their most confident. Again, the picking guitars were more prevalent, although with a little more grit, which soon paved way to a soaring chorus. Miki was finally dominating the mix, and flaunted her vocal ability with flare and precision. It’s just a shame it took them a couple of songs to get into their stride…
– Chris Gillett
Live review from Underground 115:
2. I don’t belong here
Mockingbird’s stated mission is “to let everyone find their true selves deep down” through their music. With such a lofty goal, a musical journey was to be expected. But, unexpectedly, it was Mockingbird’s split personality that dominated the travelogue.
The band kicked off in strong style, the four instrumental members churning out melodic riffs and pounding beats and Winnie wielding the mic like a she-demon. Emo-punk with a sharp, heavy edge and a sense of fun. They cramped up a little when they pulled things back, but they were adept when cutting loose, and Winnie’s wail was the icing on the cake.
Then: Cantopop. Two songs into the set, without any warning, Mockingbird executed a stunning backflip into a parallel dimension. Suddenly we were magically transported to a jumbo karaoke room in Causeway Bay where the Vicodin of musical genres reigned supreme. Cantopop! Wheeee, smile and wave along!
Two songs later, as if to lower us gently back to Earth, Mockingbird said Goodbye with a relatively standard, Cantonese-language, American-style pop rocker. But I’m still not sure where reality is.
– Brendan Clift