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Monday, February 11, 2008

Lonely China Day-Sorrow

Go To My Site for a review of Lonely China Day live

Lonely China Day had a good year 1n 2007,and there's a real buzz about the band in Asia and also the USA where they featured in the famous SXSW festival.The band have been hailed as an Asian Sigur Ros but although the texture is definitely post rock there's still a pure rock feel to the band.The album is an exciting mix of folk rock with new age electronica and post rock.Just like The Arcade Fire's 'Neon Bible ',the titles and lyrics may be downbeat but the overall mood is celebratory and upbeat.
The album lifts off slowly with 'Prelude',all delicate synthesizer and wistful lyrics ,followed by 'Thou 'with its brooding electronica and
haunting lyrics about a 'land of wealth,a man begging'.
One of my favourite tracks is the beautifully titled 'Red Blossom of plum and Me'.The song,based on a traditional Tang dynasty poem,is a perfect blend of tradition and modernity and the expressive lyrics are a perfect match for Deng Pei's expressive vocals.'One'is much more simple as if to reinforce the directness of the passionately sung lyrics ;'Land of wealth/A man begging'.


Songs like 'The Future' and 'Foraging China ' are much more upbeat.almost straight indie rock numbers and more like the band's live sets.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Underground 53 at The Cavern

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Underground 53 opened with an excellent set from Pick Pak Zhai who played a freestyle set with influences of jazz,funk and pop.The band are winners of Asia Beat and are Angel/Fiona (vocals)Nick (keyboard),Michael (drums) and Arion (bass).....They opened their set with 'Get Drunk ',a punchy ,funky number and then continued in a more jazzy,Norah Jones style with catchy guitar hooks on 'Out of the Mouth'.Next song 'Impatient ' was upbeat,with an infectious melody.The band then changed mood with 'Winter Swim ',a more romantic indie pop style number with a latin feel over which Angel's vocals lazily drifted.Next song 'Famous People 'was more jazz funk before the band finished their set with 'Without Him ',a bluesy uptempo song with clever basslines,crashing drums and excellent jazz rock guitar.
All in all,an awesome opening set for a band with great promise.

The Ember played a set that was dark,moody and passionate and with a much more rock feel.
The set opened with 'In This Hole' an emo song with lots of passionate vocals that went down well.Next song 'Thursday ' had a slower intro but progressed to an impressively raucous climax.In the following songs ' No One ' and 'Forgive' the pace and emotional intensity picked up and the band left the stage to loud applause.

Bone Table were a revelation to me.They play an accomplished,dark country blues style that reminds me of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.They have some great songs from the bluesy opener 'Black Sedan' through the Clash type punk of' Taxi to Wanchai' to the rockabilly blues of 'Sugar Baby' with Van Morrison style vocals.The band's second song was the 'SF country blues' Giant Electric Flying Insect' followed by 'Takematsu Joe ' a tale of a Japanese yakuza, and 'Like a Man',a tight rocking country blues sounding like the soundtrack to a Roberto Rodriguez western.'You're Wrong ' was more country rock before the uptempo ,punk style 'Taxi to Wanchai '.'Get Moving On ' was country ,bluesy rock before the band hit us with 'Sugar Baby ' ,a racing country rock number in a rockabilly style before racing to a climax with 'Sorry'.

Helter Skelter have little connection to the Beatles song of that name except for a strong desire to rock out.They played a blues based rock that really got the audience jumping after the delayed arrival of their lead vocalist.The band opened with some blues jamming in the style of The Yardbirds or John Mayall on 'Funk Ass Jam ' and 'Ten Past Ten ' but after the main vocalist arrived on stage the set got rougher and rockier like some classic early American R&B and country rock on 'Say You say Love' and 'the rockier 'Delusions'.Keyboardist Adrian took back the vocals on the more romantic 'Don't Wanna Have to Lose You' before the band brought their set to a close with the uptempo rock of 'Hey ' and 'Honest With You' by which point the audience were going crazy with all sorts of wild dancing on the floor.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Underground 52 at Club Cixi Hong Kong

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Les Ailes live at Club Cixi
First band on were were Les Ailes,a local band influenced by Japanese outfit L'Arc en Ciel.They have been around since 2002 but their latest line-up ,dating from 2007 is Marvin (vocals,guitar),Kinyat(lead guitar),Arthur (bass),Eddy (drums) and Sayaka (keyboards).The band played a mixture of indie pop and rock set with a very emo flavour.The sound balance between vocals and could have been better.Favourite songs were Rebirth and their closing number The Simple Days. They look promising in this format but still need to work on their material and live act.

F.T.T. were next on but for me this band were the highlight of the show,even though Transnoodle played a great set.
The band are Po Kei (vocals,guitar),Jonathan,(guitar),Donald (bass) and Edmund (drums).In Po Kei the band have a charismatic lead man and their rhythmic pop,rockabilly style set soon got the audience jumping.Po Kei had great rapport with the audience and was a highly energetic frontman.The band are influenced by 80s /90s guitar bands and they play in a driving rock style very similar to the Strokes but with a lighter feel and the band obviously loved playing their set almost as much as the audience did.The band started off in top gear and kept going with songs like 'Let Me Go','I Feel Fine' as well as some new material.Donald the bassist told me later that the band have lots of songs.Lets hope the band are playing soon so that we can hear some more!

Luxury have been playing together since 1998 and have one EP as well as several other recordings .The band are Leong(vocals),hang (guitar),Kee (bass) and Simon (drums).They opened their set with a fast-paced song with jagged guitar,followed by a radioheadish song with downbeat vocals and melancholic guitar accompaniment.Next song was more upbeat with a driving beat,some great hooks and a big chorus.By this time the band seemed to really be getting into their set and finished with an indie rock song with a driving rhythm and a relaxed,garage band feel.

Headlining were Transnoodle whose brand of ska/punk really blew the crowd away.Just think Madness/Pogues Hong Kong style! punk mixed with reggae won over the the crowd.The band eased into their set with a bluesy version of 'Port Royal' with some Beafheart type gravelly vocals from Josh and excellent backup from lead guitar,rhythm,bass,drums,trumpet and saxophone!With songs like 'Ferry Pier' and 'Hong Kong' ,'Poh Wah Yuen',"Down the Deli' and the band's feelgood,infectious ska
punk mixed with reggae soon won over the audience who were jumping,dancing and generally having a great time!