Live review from 15th Anniversary Party
By far the most polished and rehearsed act to perform at The Underground’s 15th anniversary bash, Senseless led the way with a tight set that felt like a treat to behold. Described as sounding like “the Led Zeppelin of Lai Chi Kok” (or should that be “the T. Rex of Tuen Mun”, more accurately?) by a nearby audience member, the band channeled the best of Eastern and Western rock n’ roll, delivered with personality and flair that recalled their hard-rocking Hong Kong contemporaries Bamboo Star.
Singer Raymond was a natural frontman, imbuing every second of stage time with as many over-the-top, 80s hair metal wails as possible. A clear touchstone for opener 觀音兵 was classic Canto-rockers Beyond, while 男人唔可以窮 was spiced up with some bluesy guitarwork. The tightly compressed rock riff of Green Day’s American Idiot came to mind on 燒雞翼, which featured a deft guitar solo and a neat slap bass section.
兄弟 mixed jangly indie guitar over semi-rapped verses before 無盡OT之歌 brought back the hair metal extravagance best described as a more flamboyant Iron Maiden. The track was pacy and tight, with tempo changes and theatricality that kept the audience gripped. “When I say rock, you say roll,” came the classic refrain as the band belted out final song 請緊握搖滾 without letting the energy drop. Senseless might not be the most original of acts in terms of genre, but their showmanship and professionalism made for a delightful rock show.
– El Jay
Live review from The Underground “Back to its Roots” Festival Part 1:
Heroes on the local scene, Senseless kicks off a carnival set with 如果我去南華’s mix of post-punk rhythms and metal shredding, before the balladic 男人唔可以窮’s is made into an almost campy musical number by Raymond’s Adam Lambert-style vocals.
Mean riffs, on stage theatrics, and bubbling surf rock influences combine to make an uplifting show that was impossible not to grin and bob along to. Long-time friends of The Underground, Senseless live are pretty polished and engaging … that is, until Raymond starts reading lyrics from his phone during 毅行者 (or checking his Facebook updates…)
兄弟 is a sunny prism of poppy guitar, rendered gorgeous with a gurgly vibrato effect. It’s a chance for the charismatic frontman to show off the operatic strength of his pipes, alongside guitarist Kenny Li’s We Are Scientists-intensity tremolo picking. Raymond belts it out one last time on the bluesy 請緊握搖滾, with its glam rock, chant-along “when I say rock, you say roll” chorus, his powerful vocal wails bringing Senseless’ set to close.
– El Jay
Live review from Underground 109:
2. 毅行者 (Trailwalker)
3. 男人唔可以窮 (Man of Steel)
4. 兄弟 (Brothers)
5. 起錨 (Act Now) 6. 請緊握搖滾 (Please Hold, Rock ‘n’ Roll)
The phenomenal Senseless were back on our stages after a year, and it’s like they never left. Aside from every other good thing I can say about them, they have a stage presence like almost no other band. All of them, but in particular singer Raymond, are not only visibly comfortable on stage, they’re so much so that they relieve the bit of tension an audience naturally feels before someone starts playing too. They get a rapport with crowds of all sorts going so easily, that one must wonder if they work on this… They’re funny and charming, and make you want to listen to them, even if you don’t understand the language (as in my case).
Another good thing they’ve done is moved on from their earlier setlist – their set now is almost entirely different from what it was last year, and I consider this a great sign. It’s always good to play a couple of old songs (Please Hold, Rock ‘n’ Roll was still as good as it’s ever sounded) but writing new songs stops the juices from stagnating and preventing further songs from being written. Their comedic punk is as good as ever, and the new songs have all the vigour of the older ones. 毅行者 (“a song about hiking”) is a standout; right from its gunshot drums, the song undulated between slightly different rhythms and textures. All of this is expertly managed by the band, who are very, very tight. The shreddy 毅行者 was something like mid-90s NOFX, made funnier by the brief forgetting of lyrics.男人唔可以窮, however, I thought, was something of a clichéd mid-tempo rocker, which while still pretty good, took the shine off the song for me. 兄弟 was a sit-down spoken-word song, with a really great solo that was full of colour, while also being short. In all, perhaps the best thing I can say about Senseless is this – there have often been bands that I find less good than I remember them after not having seen them for a while; Senseless are actually better than I remember them, and believe you me my expectations were very high. All in all, there’s really no excuse not to go see them if they’re playing – you’ll have a blast; we all sure did.
— Shashwati Kala
Live review from Underground 100:
3. Made in China
4. The Admire
5. Salary Race
6. Please Hold, Rock and Roll
7. Love Trap 愛情陷阱 (with Wu So Lui)
I remember watching these guys a few times, in fact, I’m fairly sure I might have reviewed them before. I have always thought that they had good songs, but their delivery could have dealt with more work. They have however, improved each time I have seen them. At the Underground 100 though, dear GOD did they bring their A game.
It must be noted that these dudes who play a comedic punk rock, as in, the songs are funny, have won the HK battle of the bands award. So you have some idea of the calibre we’re dealing with here.
Now I don’t understand Cantonese if it ain’t directions to my next char siu fan fix, but I have been told many times that these guys are funny. I watched a lot of their set with my buddy Jan, who of course fronts the legendry Qiu Hong, and he too informs me that Senseless are some funny mofo’s, just in case all the laughter in the room wasn’t the give away. He also tells me that he loves them, and rightly so.
I have been to many shows in HK now and seen certain bands on more than one occasion. I have however, not seen a band that has grown in confidence and deliver an execution of a set, in the way that Senseless did at UG100. Hell, I’m tempted to say they stole the show! There were times where it felt like we were at a Senseless concert whose devoted fans loved every moment of it.
As I said, I don’t understand the songs, but I understand good song writing, and Senseless are very, very good at that.
It was our pleasure to participate in The Underground Compilation CD#4! Once again The Underground showed us how well-organized their events are. This event means a lot to us because this is our first well-recorded CD (I want to cry when I first look at the CD)! We had so much fun on stage and honoured to meet so many great bands, especially when we saw so many great female vocalists in one single night! These chances don’t come along very often!
A MILLION THANKS to The Underground team, Backstage, all the sponsors, the audience and of cause, KOYA, for making this happen!
Global Battle of the Bands Hong Kong 2010 Finalists
Live review from GBOB HK Final 2010
Senseless didn’t let the energy drop, with their pacy and surprisingly lively brand of punk. Their music is quite simply really fun to listen to, and it has that vivacious feel of good pop-punk. Their stage presence is infectious yet unforced – it never seemed like they were jumping around or headbanging just for the sake of it, and everything on stage happened organically. I’m also told that their lyrics were really clever and intelligent, containing plenty of interesting views on society – another important layer to for any good band. The combined effect was of a charming band that plays music that gets your toes tapping, while also making you think.
Live Review from Underground 79:
SENSELESS, were next to take the cozy melting pot stage. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but the melting pot’s décor and the mood it creates really does merit another mention. I’m gonna admit at this juncture that I was extremely hung over when turning up and turned down a shocked Chris B’s Asahi coupons. Where I was standing was a good level to hear the music clearly yet not be sonically beaten up by drum kits and guitars. I found myself happy at this, then slightly concerned as surely only old men find joy in such things. I soon snapped out of it when Senseless (Raymond, Kenny, Yuren, Elliot and Sailim) strike up their opening song, which had classic pop punk stamped all over it. When the guitars signalled the song was kicking in, the audience also took the cue to begin bopping their heads. I’m having difficulty making out what the singer is singing, but silly hungover me didn’t realise it was in Cantonese when the delayed brain finally processed it. Note to self, stop being lazy and make an effort to learn the damn lingo. Although I once again wasn’t able to enjoy their song topics, I was happy enough to appreciate the uplifting melodies and the backing vocals spot on harmonies. Now the main problem I have with Pop Punk, is that, you maybe have 4/5 different grooves and bands tend to use all. Basically what I’m saying is, I was hoping Senseless wouldn’t put on a cliché set. All credit to them as this was not the case. Their second song started off with a great little groove showing the bands versatility. One of their songs even contained a country music style break down. Suddenly I was at a ho-down and was tempted to start line dancing, which nobody wants to see. What I really liked about Senseless was that their songs went through different phases which always kept it interesting. Again only a short 4 song set, but I found myself surprisingly impressed. Kudos.
Live Review from Underground 57:
Senseless helplessly started the set in Black Rain warning, even though when they started there was not much rain outside (an hour before the evening started, you could step outside and sing Albert Hammond’s “It Never Rains In Southern California”: “it pours, man, it pours“). The five young men practically played for the enjoyment of the other bands of the evening. It meant the later audience arrivals really missed a great performance.
This is truly a fun-loving band, and their lyrics (Chinese lyrics) show. However, they do show all the signs of a young band. I mean, they look young, they do silly choreographed moves, they are willing to suddenly jump, like they realized that … ooops, we’ve played for ten minutes without jumping, time to jump; now that’s not very rock-star, is it? They play a pop-rock style more borderline on rock than pop, but I wonder if it is intentional, that their instruments are all much quieter than the usual rock configuration, making the vocalist Raymond more prominent (a great vocal to begin with). I call this pop-mix. Normally I would say there is no place in live band music for such nonsense.
But, hear me out. I am a bit uncomfortable with bands who are too conscious of themselves; lots of “action”, and a bit of stylish guitar solo, a bit of bass runs, almost like they are in competition and they know what it takes to win. At times, I felt like suggesting that they pay attention to what they are saying to the audience through the songs (music and lyrics). Still, didn’t I say they are quite fun-loving? Well, their stage show does contain sufficient fun element. A friend was saying to me, how come their words are so mainstream pop? In that respect, they’re suddenly out of place.
But, hey, Raymond the vocalist is a rare treat, with a voice that cuts through the rest of the instruments, which makes it easy for a song to succeed. And on the last song, even the twin guitarists Kenny and Yuren started to jump around. They will grow.
Bun Ng Quote by Senseless:The Underground’s show has always been very well organized. You just sit comfortably at home while all the show’s poster, flyers, stickers and tickets were mailed to your door. Once again, the Underground gave us a great night at the Melting Pot, with great venue, great mood, very helpful and friendly sound man and great audience! We only hope that next time if we have the chance to perform in The Underground’s show again, the weather can improve at least a bit. (We performed 2 times in Underground, both under heavy rain).