Live Review from Underground Legends 2021
Formed in 2007 and still very much kicking, canto pop rockers Wondergarl snagged the penultimate spot at the Underground Legends gig to raucous applause.
Opening track 午夜浪漫, with its beachy vibes and bouncing guitars, was a fitting introduction to the band for us newcomers. Sure, the lead vocalist’s mic was rather low compared to the other instruments, but the digitised geeky anime energy was as infectious as it was refreshing, highlighting the variety of musical styles showcased that night.
Next up, 守武者夢翔 continues the upbeat antics. Rhythmic and anchored by some slick drum fills, the percussion definitely made an impression here. The bass sections thrummed with a touch of darkness, adding new textures to an otherwise peppy tune.
Uptown Funk-laced 放⼼吧！爸媽不在家 brought the party with groovy bass galore. Despite not understanding Cantonese, the unwavering energy of WonderGarl saved it from losing my interest. They played wholeheartedly from start to finish, smiles on all their faces encouraging crowd participation. Their passion for the music still holds true today; they are every bit the “hot blooded teenagers” (as per their Facebook bio) who started the band fourteen years ago.
起勢維穩 got the audience more involved still. On command, the crowd got down low before the music slammed into a crescendo and they jumped to their feet, all the while buoyed by a simple yet savagely effective guitar riff. These guys know their music and their audience, as shown in follow up 紫⾊黎明. Both songs seemed to overlap and complement each other well. This is both a testament to the band’s well-formed sound, but also perhaps shows a risky element of “same same”-ness when it comes to delivering an eclectic, layered setlist.
Finally, 我的⼀⼈前 brought the house down with some heavy snares and jubilant danceabilty. A smattering of samba spice to round off a pacy and up-tempo set, this was the perfect way to get
the audience amped up for the closing act of the night and offered something a little bit different to the norm.
It was a hit night for WonderGarls in all respects. Spirited and effervescing with joy, their commitment to a killer performance made up for any language barrier.
– Jasmine Gould-Wilson
Live review from Sub Terra #6:
Some bands need a few songs to get warmed up, but Wonder Garl leapt into their set with exuberant energy. They kicked off with rousing, upbeat opener 跑線, featuring some particularly energetic drumming and dual guitars entwining for a retro power metal feel. Despite their “indie” billing, it became clear Wondergarl was more towards hard rock, while the lead singer’s clean tone was decidedly Cantopop. One of the guitarists, who was wearing a hat, laid on the metal histrionics with a shrill finger-tapping solo.
At the start of 絲打與貓, the lead singer invited everyone to dance and many obliged. The style was classic canto rock straight out of the 80s – lying somewhere between rock music and a musical in its theatrics. The song was peppered with nice little synth diddles. The other guitarist, who was wearing tartan trousers, laid down distorted chords from a busy pedal board.
起勢維穩 used a harpsichord keyboard effect for a cheesy, genre-blending sound. The tartan guitarist powered through fancy fretwork as the singer gave a big, Sinatra-style showman performance. Sharing the spotlight, the guitarists alternated between soloing and rhythm work, putting their unique stamp on each section.
Mr Hat got funky on his wah-wah pedal on 一招收你皮, and the other guitarist began playing in a Niles Rodgers style over a disco beat. Trumpet synth twiddles danced around a clap effect played from the keyboardist’s phone.
For the encore, the keyboard created a swirling space effect and a rock disco track kicked in. The bassist came into his own with punchy fretwork, channelling an Eye of the Tiger vibe. It had all the awesome impact of an overblown 80s action film soundtrack training montage – high energy and uplifting. The hat-wearing guitarist played an intense finger-tapped solo, leading to a clap-along section. Everyone jumped around as the singer’s vocals soared, before Mr Hat brought it home with a pitch-shifted climax.
Though their set erred on the tacky side, Wondergarl were a fun, energetic warm-up for the metal madness of Bamboo Star.
– El Jay
Live Review from Planetrox China Final 2014
Wonder Garl was last up, and coincidentally the last (and first) time I saw them, they also played with Les Gromechkos… Again, this has to be some form of witchcraft, surely! Two years on, they’re still rather punky, but in the final act of possible magic during the night they sounded even more like Senseless because (and this is good) they had the guitarist from Senseless playing with them!!! This time, their outfit was much closer to the standard formulation of band make-up, as they’d shed the second dedicated singer, and had kept the rap-ish bits to a minimum. They’re very pop-punky, but with heavy second guitar that sounds more like Aerosmith, because of the high and grand-feeling bits that are played, all wrapped up in a nice danceable package. They also, evidently, are moving in a more Senseless-like direction in that they have some political songs now, such as 起勢維穩 being about propaganda from the Chinese government dressed up as “societal stability” (it’s entirely possible, though, that they always have been political but I simply hadn’t the wherewithal to determine this) which is always a good idea. While this was a positive, I do hope, though, that they don’t end up turning into a mere Senseless clone, and that they do instead find a unique voice and style of their own, for the music scene will be better off were that to happen. Their set this time was also much more consistent that it was last time; there wasn’t any feeling of them doing a shtick, but felt more like they’d found their voice. Having said that, they only played three songs, so it might be more a result of that than any major change in direction. By 一招收你皮 the energy had built up, and it was the most high energy song of the night, and featured a really great guitar solo. It was a great, very enjoyable set and, most importantly, focused set, and in hindsight they were deserving winners of the night.
— Shashwati Kala
Wondergarl神奇膠是香港本土粵語樂隊，是一個充滿娛樂性的音樂單位，擁有豐富的演出經驗，在去年剛推出了首張專輯《起勢維穩》，成員包括日新、 762、 Kenji、 Rockgor、 布和 Lo。他們的歌曲風趣反智，風格結集舞曲、Punk、rock、rap等元素，每每令觀眾充滿驚喜。他們的歌曲均取材於本地文化和精神，因此非常的「地道」，而且歌詞幽默搞笑，以玩味且跳脫的手法諷刺時弊，樂隊獨特性非常強。他們當晚壓軸演出，生動活潑的音樂及說話讓觀眾們的情緒一直保持高漲，他們以‘the government is trying their best to keep the society stable’來翻譯他們的歌曲「起勢維穩」更逗得全場大笑。雖然當晚不少外籍觀眾，但神奇膠亦成功用音樂打破了語言界限，使全場投入在他們的節奏感強的音樂中，美中不足的是結他手當晚因家人入院而被迫臨時缺席，雖缺一把結他，在編曲上不能完整的表演，另外若要從雞蛋中挑骨頭，主音在「一招收你皮」的假音位更穩定會更佳，但這些亦無損現場的氣氛和樂手的投入程度，因此他們最終亦順利勇奪當晚的冠軍。若以一句來概括神奇膠，筆者會說他們真是一隊非常「香港」的樂隊，值得一聽！
– Sidick Lam
Live review from Underground 105:
1. 傻豬豬您愛我什麼 (Why Do You Love Me, Silly Piggy?)
2. Super Friday Night
3. 放心吧！爸媽不在家 (Relax! Mom and Dad Are Not Home)
4. 歡樂滿肛華 (Lam Kong Wa Is Full of Fun)
5. 噢!多麼痛的領會 (Oh! What a Painful Link)
6. 一招收你皮 (Finish You Off With One Banana)
Wonder Garl 神奇膠 started off the night with one of the more clever moves I’ve seen in a show: a quick levels check with a song consisting almost entirely of the word “soundcheck” sung repeatedly. And a good introduction it was, not only to their obvious sense of humour and presence on stage, but also to their sound. It is an obviously punky one, sounding much like the polished, slickly-produced popular punk of the 90s. They also have two singers, which made for quite a deep vocal section in all the songs. Their lead singer, however, takes them slightly away from the punk style, in what appears to be (in my limited observation) a distinct tendency among bands in HK, by eliminating any rasp from the voice, and choosing the clean, smooth voice quality that appears to be preferred by many here. This is something of a double-edged sword, because while this does make the music easier to listen to, punk and punk-like music feels somehow lacking without an edgy voice. Still, at their best in this genre, they are reminiscent of one of the local punk scene’s stalwarts, Senseless, with similar preference for flowing melodies, and long syllables held at a high note, as in 傻豬豬您愛我什麼. While these guys do not quite execute Senseless’ relentless assault of energy, both physical and musical, they’re no slouches on stage and were a lot of fun to watch. 噢!多麼痛的領會 was a lightly late-Ramones-ey number, while 一招收你皮 was a more boppy rock song, reminiscent of Hard to Handle. There were some hints of mainstream American rock too, with Super Friday Night sounding like an Aerosmith song, but more playful. I did not like . 放心吧！… much, though, as it sounded like a pop-funk version of Another One Bites the Dust, which seems slightly lazy to me.
I did also feel that there was some lack of consistence between their songs. They have clearly gone through the effort of making each song sound different from the others (which is a common trap for songwriters to fall into) which is great for an artistic portfolio, but structuring a set (or an album, come to that) is a different matter. It felt like they were doing a different shtick in each song, and at points this veered into being slightly disorientating, and off-putting from the good work they’d done building up an atmosphere during a song. Their set being better structured would’ve helped them a lot, but otherwise, it was a thoroughly enjoyable performance.
— Shashwati Kala
Live review from Underground 67:
Their talent of entertaining the audience (as well as themselves) was shown right at the beginning of the set by putting up a “‘cinema’ announcement” played from the cell phone, trying to say “it’s our 1st anniversary” in different languages. I’m not making any comparison, but I love their light-heartedness, which makes me think of JuicyNing, music-wise and lyric-wise. I’m not a big fan of care-free songs, what I’m sure of is they delivered it really well, such as the 3rd song, which the chatty bassist mentioned was their only punk song among all numbers which are more rap-based type. They kept saying they are growing old, but I cannot agree: they are young at heart, with the charisma, energy and the stage dynamic. They made people open up, helping them prepare for the enjoyment for the rest of the night, like me – I was ready to ask for the third Asahi.