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Monday, February 1, 2010

Mono 10th Anniversary Tour in Hong Kong

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Why do Hong Kong indie fans love post rock so much? Is it the emotion and the complexity?Does the music give us some kind of personal space in a frantic,overpopulated city devoted to technology?
Or are music fans and bands here just  a lot more experimental and eclectic in their tastes than we realise?
Mono from Japan have achieved iconic status in the post rock genre and were appearing live in the city.
In support were Elf Fatima, local post rock heroes whom I first heard of when I asked a highly knowledgeable local band member 'Who's your favourite Hong Kong band?'.
'Elf Fatima' was his reply and ever since then I've tried to check out shows from this band who seem to be the band of choice for supporting Postrock monsters like Mogwai and Mono ..

First on the bill were Ghanzhou outfit Zhazhou (aka The Swamp). The band use traditional Chinese instruments as well as electric guitars, giving them a sound somewhere between Beijing bands Lonely China Day and The Gar with quqin player and guitarist at times going onto his knees to play in real rock hero style.Some beautifully structured songs synthesising traditional and modern.An awesome opening set from this band with lots of energy and brimming with musical ideas.The band have been around since 1993 so can clainm to have been at the forefront of China's experimental musical scene.

Elf Fatima play post rock that's heavy in the style of Explosions in the Sky with some of the same complexity but with a rockier edge and a slow building psychedelic groove that erupts into an explosion of sound.The band begin their set with the melancholy 'Michelle the Cellist ', Eddie and Paul's guitars gliding elegantly over the melody on top of the percussion before turning up the volume controls for the rest of the set which they bring to a gloriously cataclysmic conclusion with' I See the Light 'Before the Planet Explodes / .
1. Michelle the Cellist
2. Battle of Sunset
3. Walk away from the dark cave
4.I see the light before the planet explodes

Such a small venue is really perfect for the sound of Mono In the quiet parts, every note rings out crystal clear on songs like 'Ashes in the Snow'and for the climaxes we were almost deafened by the waves of feedback saturated power chords. The standout for me was the finale with a near 15 minute version of 'Everlasting Light' building slowly to a blizzard of guitar and percussion for the finale.
Hymn To The Immortal Wind seems like a more cinematic progression from 'You Are There' and of the 3 bands playing tonight Mono seem like the most classically influenced in their sound.

Not just a bandshow: we have been to post rock heaven.

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