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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Underground 62 at The Cavern

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Underground 62.
Lots of new music for Hong Kong and a guest appearance by promoter Chris B's band.As well as organising all these great gigs for local indie fans Chris also takes time out to play in her own band,Thinking Out Loud.
Monogel play catchy,Cantonese indie-rock with a bluesy feel but it looks like they need to work on their material to create a more distinctive sound.It's great to see so many new bands on the hk scene but it also means that the standard has to be higher to attract attention.
Monogel live at Club Cixi

Commanches(Commanchas?) were a revelation with their original take on folk rock..They have a big sound and are even (a little) like the Arcade Fire with their intense vocal style and switching of instruments and the massive line-up of three guitarists,keyboards and tambourine gives the band an epic, distinctive sound.and they also have a slightly improvisatory feel .The songs 'Darling' and 'Eliza' and 'Boats' were about relationships and families and had a gentle,catchy jangle rock appeal.I really enjoyed watching this band with their modern,country rock sound.

Commanches live at The Underground

F.T.T. is one of the best new bands in Hong Kong with their blend of fast-paced garage rock popularised in the last few years by American new wave bands like The Strokes.They kicked off their set with 'Sunday Morning' a fast-paced rocker with lively bass and guitar riffs.continued with tyhe uptempo 'KFS' and only slowed down a little mid-set on their new song 'Standing Where I Belong '.As vocalist Keith gets most of the attention but Jonathan on lead guitar and Donald on bass deserve a lot of the credit for the band's tight,rocking sound.The band really came together on the remaining songs of their set 'I Feel Fine' and 'Ride with Me'with their driving riffs and catchy hooks.

F.T.T. live at Club Cixi

Everyone should try Thinking Out Loud.It's quite a noisy activity that may make you get up and dance or at least move your body rhythmically.The band is fronted by Chris B(formerly of Sisters of Sharon) and they play in an easygoing ,slightly retro style that may remind you of The Pretenders or Blondie or some of the early New York punk bands.They eased into their set with 'People',then got progressively rockier with''Stranger',the tongue-in-cheek 'Gonna Be Famous' before slowing the pace and darkening the tone with 'Moving On',before picking up pace.The band switched vocals for The Fratelli's 'Whistle for the Choir',giving the bass player a chance to grab the spotlight.Chris was back on vocals for 'Song For Lovers',a mainly guitar and sax- based bluesy rock number (whose image of 'the bride walking down the aisle' inexplicably made me think of the bloodbath wedding scene in 'Kill Bill)'before bringing the set to a suitably rocking conclusion with 'Rock'n'roll Machine'.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Underground 61


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Underground 61 show featured Harry Hula,Spodac,Tai Tai Alibi,Spodac,and an epic Battle of the bands betwen Ignite the Hope and Innisfallen.
Harry Hula is the singer /songwriter of the better known local trio Born to Hula.I enjoyed the set but it's difficult not to compare this folk rock set to his more uptempo incarnation as the frontman for BTH.The songs are reflective,introspective and more Nick Drake than Nick Cave. I think the material just needs a lighter touch in song structure.Still a great set despite some sound difficulties at Club Cixi.My favourite song?'Satellites'.

Spodac tried to fool us in their intro into thinking that they play some kind of gentle ,jangly indiepop but their sound is really more like the Foo Fighters or Stone Temple Pilots,classic rock played at volume.The band blasted their way through a hard rock set which included crowd favourites 'Gravity','Scaffold' 'madam I'm adam','Breathtaker' and 'WTF?".
So what is a Tai tai Alibi?Apparently it's a blues-based Hong Kong indie band with some good songs and an excellent lead guitarist that seemed to go down well with the local crowd,although the sound was a little too generic to make a great impact.
Headlining were Ignite the Hope and Innisfallen.Both bands have deservedly large fanbases in Hong Kong on the strength of their material and live performances.Ignite the Hope began their set with Nicky the vocalist in gentle fashion before building their songs with crashing drums ,bass ,excellent guitar into post punk discords that blew away the audience.It's easy to see that the band have great audience rapport.It's great to see local bands like this that keep alive the DIY spirit of punk and taking music to the fans.Plus they also have great song titles like'We Thrive on Your Nonsense'!

Innnisfallen kicked off their set gently with Eric on keyboards and with a new song but next song was a rocking version of 'Hours of Rain',another new song with a Radioheadish feel ,then a great version of 'Beautiful Soul','No Reply','Sounds Behind the Wall',before closing the set with 'Butterfly Effect'.This band just keeps getting better.So who is best live,Ignite the Hope or Innisfallen?Go and see them both ,together if you can and make up your mind.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Take Back The Noise

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If you're a hong kong indie fan and bored with indie bands that all sound the same then check out Take Back the Noise. Kissing on the Dancefloor started their set in fairly britpop style with an edgy guitar sound and a good vocal range a little like Brett of Suede and then gave us some jangly pop before the effects-laden guitar took over and on the next song the band were more downbeat and angsty almost shoegaze in tone.
Kissing on the Dancefloor

Next up were The Fragile who play a delicate,haunting postrock that's closer to Sigur Ros than Explosions in the Sky.In their set they included 'Venus' and 'Glacier' from their debut EP as well as some new songs which I liked a lot.Hopefully the band will be seen a lot more frequently on the Hong Kong indie scene.
The Fragile live at take Back the Noise

Sea Monsters are a phenomenon powered mainly by the Bjork- on- adrenaline vocals and stage performance of the female vocalist and crazily chaotic rhythm section.Sounds like?A jam between Captain Beefheart and Youi Say Party!We Say Die!Very experimental and freestyle!I guess it's hard to compare this type of band since it's a mix of funk,prog and jazz.

Headliners were The Yours,a local band who have already built a big fanbase ,recorded an great debut album and are already recording their eagerly awaited follow-up.Hopefully it will capture some of the energy of the band live.There's always a sense of excitement in their sets and this was another good one with new songs like 'Artpiece' along with favourites from the first album like 'Tasteless' and 'Missed Call'.
Hong Kong shoegaze band The Yours