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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.

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