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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Indiepop meets Neo Postpunk

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Timeout Hong Kong and Crazy young Master gave us a punchy combination of indiepop and postpunk with this double bill.First Retros strutted their dark,angular postpunk then Hedgehog soothed with more melodic pop.
Re-TROS opened their set with a brooding electronic number reminiscent of Bauhaus at their bleakest before kicking it up a notch with a faster version of 'Death Bed Song' and then
pushed up the excitement levels higher with 'Boys in Cage'.The band were'nt afraid to challenge their audience with songs like 'Bela Lugosi' and it's easy to see why Brian Eno was attracted to work with them on their debut EP 'Cut Off'.Vocalist Hua Dong's excitable,agitated vocal style is perfect for their sound ,complemented by the vocals of bassist Liu Min and the frenetic percussion of Ma Hui.The band's defiantly post-punk roots made for a great evening of magnificently doomy Beijing indie ,ending their set with the downbeat 'Die in 1997'.
Re-TROS 'Die in 1997'
Hedgehog ,at the opposite end of the Beijing indie spectrum,playing aggressively uptempo indie rock that compelled the audience to jump around more and more wildly.having seen the band last year in the Fringe club,I was impressed how much tighter their sound was in this larger spaceThe band is powered by the amazing drumming of Atom and they stormed their through some new material and songs from their
debut 'Noise Hit World'like 'Toy & 61 Festival','Pumpkin'.and 'Noise Hit World'.By the close of their set the whole place was jumping.Sounds like a particularly energetic cross between New Order with Box's thumping bass and Blondie with X.O.'s ringing guitar.Could be Beijing;s Franz Ferdinand.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Listen Up! @ The Fringe Club

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Another Hong Live show but with an unexpected twist.Taiwan band Hair City couldn't come because one of the band had visa problems so the Amazing Koya of Mark 1 who does so much on the local scene stepped up with one of his bands,Sea Monsters.Searing jazz punk style guitar,amp-shredding bass and crashing drums.Follow that if you can.

Hula with a punk ethic could describe the literate songs of Harry,Angus and June,collectively known as Born to Hula and becoming increasingly poular on the local Hong Kong indie scene.Harry's almost art-rock vocals always have a sense of fun that is nicely balanced by the driving punk backing of June on drums and Angus on bass.This band's gigs just keep getting better with some new songs to their set of favourites like 'Goner','Satellites' and 'We Tigers'.Even after playing their set,it wasn't enough for the crowd so the band had to find one more song to please the crowd.
Yanyan Pang and Chochuckmo got the biggest cheers of the night with their melodic pop punk ,tearing through songs like Number One and 'Head To Toe' and finishing their set in such an ecstatic uproar that an encore was mandatory.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

White Noise:Hong Kong Indie Heaven

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For indie music fans White Noise is the best thing in Hong Kong.While there's no doubt about the talent of the local music scene.The release of a double album compilation by the Underground shows that this city has upcoming indie bands by the score but if we want to see world-class new indie bands at a reasonable cost in an intimate setting then the White Noise gigs organised by Gary Ieong are a must.The label's last event ,the New Sentimentality Asia Tour set the bar pretty high with blistering postrock from local favourites The Lovesong and the awesome Japanese instrumental band Toe but for
the National Day event,Notch08,at Hitec you really had to reach for superlatives,especially for the headliners,Efertklang from Denmark.
The festival is a celebration of music and art from Scandinavia and China with the emphasis on experimental indie.As well as some video and art display we had some leftfield indie. The first act may have got off to a slow start but after that things got a lot more interesting with local act Kung Chi Shing ,folowed by the intricate electronica of Swedish band Tape.

Tape Live @ Notch 08
Headliners Efertklang really do stand comparison with indie bands like the Arcade Fire in their dynamic,multi-instrumental live sets and composers like Sufjan Stevens in their super-complex melodies..
From their album 'Parades'it was obvious that they had outstanding compositional skills but it was an electric experience to see their live performance of songs like'Mirador' where the gentle keyboard intro and solo vocals give way to crashing drums ,strings and heavenly harmonies to send the song to stratospheric levels and an exultant climax.By the close of their set when they boldly strode offstage into the audience still playing they had shown Hong Kong that experimental indie can be full of harmonies and still rock.A small venue but it was love at first sight for the Asian audience and the Nordic indie band.A magical night full of  the inspirational sounds of  Europe and Asia.
Efertklang @ Notch08 'Mirador'