Live Review from The Underground 13th Year Anniversary Party:
3. Blue Moon of Kentucky
5. 噢! 爸爸
6. Maggie Mea
7. Somethings Else
10. 飛車 . 歌舞 . 樂與怒
The Underground’s birthday party may have been a great chance to discover the newer sounds of the city, but there’s no doubt that Boogie Playboys’ fans represented a hefty chunk of the packed audience. The slick and stylish entertainers, who regularly play at swing and rock ‘n’ roll nights, brought an infectiously fun show that dared punters not to dance.
Harking back to the pink milkshake-tinted memories of the 1950s, the Playboys’ music dipped into the sounds of Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Comets, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, spinning these classic influences with a dose of leopard-printed rockabilly attitude.
The sharp-quiffed five-piece, endorsed by Gretsch guitars, took to the stage to the sound of excited screams from party-goers. Guitarist K13 played his guitar with the genre’s distinctive dry reverb sound. Songs like Blue Moon of Kentucky evoked the same Appalachian-style crooning heard on slower Presley numbers, while 臭格 had a toe-tapping jailhouse rock feel.
The short but sweet 傷心鄉謠, a song about a heartbroken man, layered Cantonese lyrics over American country chord progressions. After “a one, a two, a one, two three, four” from drummer Barry, who stood upright for the song, the band launched into the old bluesy folk tones of 噢! 爸爸 (Oh! Pa Pa). It sounded like a faster version of Woody Guthrie’s timeless This Land Is Your Land, thanks to some neat slide guitarwork.
One of the few tracks the band performed in English, Maggie Mae was short but punchy, showing off guitarist Chan’s considerable skill. Somethings Else had everyone dancing to a classic rock n roll jam as double bass player Bluesman twirled his instrument to the beat and K13 gave an impressive solo.
人情做八舊 was a shuffle-stepping number about the cost of marriage, and effortlessly merged the rockabilly and cantopop genres. It ended with a hilarious discussion between K13 and lead singer Felix asking each other how much money they’d need for a wedding. Bluesman shows off more of his amazing stage moves, playing with his eyes closed during the penultimate song, which had a ragtime feel. Guitarists rattled off chromatic scales to a shuffling, cymbal-clashing beat that evoked Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti.
After thanking The Underground, the band burst into a Rock Around The Clock-style intro, with Bluesman pawing out scales on his bass. Barry sang while playing a rousing cymbal-snare beat, and Chan laid out a beautiful solo while the other guitarists held down the rhythm. The Boogie Playboys brought the house down, delighting the huge crowd and proving why they’re one of the city’s most entertaining and in-demand acts.
– El Jay