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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Underground 55 at The Cavern

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Review with videos ..........

Underground 55 was a mix of jazz from Topao,poprock from Chochukmo and Thinking Out Loud and and postpunk shoegaze from The Yours.
I guess most indie music fans wouldn't expect jazz to be a form of alternative music although at one time it certainly was.Anyway ,it was an interesting opening set from Topao with some excellent big band numbers played in a classic style.

This was my second chance to se Chochukmo and I like them more and more.They started off in a blitz of jagged yet melodic guitar and vocals.Guitar riffs are jagged and energetic but swiftly blen into harmious interludes.Their songs are written in a freeflowing style,with excellent harmonies but this high-energy,jangly indie band seem happiest when they're rocking out.
noisy ,melodic indie along the lines of The Fratellis.I loved the whole set but my favourite was 'Strawberry'.
The band have an EP scheduled for this year 'God save Chairman Mao'-No, God save Chochukmo!

Thinking Out Loud almost put too much into their set and look as if they're still finding their style.The band play raw and gritty rock with a jazzy feel and some flowing lead guitar.Chris leads the band well on vocals and rhythm guitar Songs like 'Moving On ' and 'People' were classic rock while 'Rock and Roll Machine'with the sax player's anguished vocals hinted at something darker followed by 'Fire' a cover of the classic Jimi Hendrix song .The band finished their set with the upbeat indiepop of 'I'm Gonna Be Famous' and the more garage rock sounds of 'sex Junkie.'

The Yours are one of the best young bands on the Hong Kong indie music scene.
Their sets are always different,intriguing and apart from Jack (vocals,guitar) and Nic (vocals,bass),there may be a variety of band members from show to show. Their music is rooted in the shoegaze sounds of Creation label bands like Ride and My Bloody Valentine,although its easy to detect influences from 80s bands like The Cure and Joy Division. Just like those band's The Yours are dark and introspective .Tonight's set was excellent with lots of moody vocals and a new version of 'Black Curse' by Nic.However experimental the songs were ,the band always have a tight,rhythmic core in their sound and the songs always build to a climax.The band never play the same set on any gigs so it's always exciting to see their shows.You must check out this band live if you love the darker side of indie especially 80s bands like The Cure,My Bloody Valentine..

Another great set from the band and some signs of the new,more experimental direction the band are taking.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Underground 54 at Club Cixi Hong Kong

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Saturday night in Lan Kwai Fong.A chance to check out some new indie music from Hong Kong .Underground 54 gave us high energy rap from Leo 37,fuzzed out indie rock from Hazden,numetal from Zoundz and polished britpop from Skindeep and David Bowie Knives.
Underground fans are an eclectic bunch, just like the bands that play there.At Underground 54 we had everything from rap to britpop with some numetal too.Maybe we didn't love all the bands but we had a chance to find out more about the new indie music scene in hong kong.Often the opening acts here ease us gently into the main show.Not this time with Leo37 ,a young Canadian rapper full of energy ,charm ,an amazing gift for improvised lyrics with the help of 2 turntables and a microphone.At the start the crowds were barely arriving and he moodily yelled something about it being 'livelier at his grandmother's'.However as the place began to fill up ,and his song/rap 'Move It!' got us going the place started to come to life.Leo was like a combination of Kanye West with the funk of LLCool J .In fact he was so good that he was asked to do an end of show encore with Hazden!

Hazden were a revelation.In spite of the fact that they were second on,they amazed me and a lot of the audience.Faye's vocals are excellent with good range and she can move from chilly,etherial to full power rock style in a way that combines well with the band's discordant,raucous,fuzzed - out guitar sound.I think the songs ranged from subjects as wide as surfing and suicide and her vocal style fitted well with the fuzzed - out ,slightly punk sounds of Cheong on lead guitar,Yiu on rhythm,Lun on bass and Lok on drums.This band were also so good that they came on again at the end of the show!It's amazing that the band only formed a few months ago-I'd love to see more of them.

Next on was numetal band Zoundz who besieged us with some raw heavy sounds,anguished vocal yells from Ivan,high volume fast guitar from Frankie,David and Wil and crashing drums from Ray with a whole range of influences from Korn to Incubus on display.
Zoundz are Ivan (vocals),Frankie(guitar,David(guitar),Wil (bass)and Ray (drums).They played a raucous set with classic metal riffs and touches of punk on songs like 'Hate You,Hate Myself'.

Skindeep consists of Nick (vocals,guitar,keyboard ),Mike (lead guitar,vocals),David (guitar,bass),Brendan (drums.The band experienced and have a smooth,polished sound but still maintain some darker elements like bands they cite as influences,Del Amitri and The Killers as some of the song titles might suggest like 'No One's In','Leaving','Twist of Fate'.The band had some good britpop style songs and a rocking sound.The band are Nick (vocals,guitar,keyboard),Mike (lead guitar,vocals and Brendan (drums).

David Bowie Knivesare Brendan (vocals,guitar),Shaun (vocals,bass) and Gabe (drums).
The band has a polished ,britpop sound with just enough of an edge to keep it interesting.The Knives had a pleasant sound and their songs like 'She's The One'(fortunately not a Robbie Williams cover!),Nice Problem' and 'You Want Me'ended the evening on an upbeat indierock note at least until the endshow when Leo37 and Hazden gave us some freestyle jamming and rapped(!) up another Underground.