Saturday, November 15th, 2008
Thank you so much to everyone who squeezed past the marching bands in Lan Kwai Fong to get to The Cavern to watch one of our best nights ever! Thanks to the bands who played great music AND entertained us all. Thanks to Ivanne & Iris for the sound, thanks to Asahi for the beers, thanks to BC Magazine & HKGFM.net, thanks to Wain for video-taping the show, there are clips over at our youtube pages right now! Wow! See you all at the next show!
love Chris B xx
More videos from Underground 71 can be seen from our Underground Youtube pages:
Underground 71 was the solo debut of Erik, leader of the excellent Innisfallen.
The relaxed atmosphere of the smallish early crowd suited Erik well, setting the tone for a friendly and generally joyful evening from start to finish. Mercifully, the combined marching band, para-para dancing efforts of the Tourism Board to scare off tourists and locals alike had ceased by the time he took the stage. Could have been a real mood killer.
Erik played a short set of five gentle but interesting, and mostly rather good songs, except the one he jokingly but truthfully introduced as “boring”. My friend Mark was not impressed by the vocals, but his ‘hit some of the notes most of the time’ approach works for me.
Varied arrangements and themes helped keep the one-man-and-his-acoustic-
Hard to compare this music with the “day job” band, but in its absence, Erik did just fine.
Blaster offered something completely different with effects pedals a-plenty, slap bass, and even one of those strange keyboards played guitar-like, standing up. Irrationally exuberant songs ranged from Rage Against the Machine power to banal sub-karaoke balladry. Each song contained about three too many tempo changes, but the enthusiasm was infectious.
Undisputed song of the set was the cod-rockabilly Very Hot in Summer, featuring audience sing-along and an utterly baffling yet winning “Indian disco time” middle section. Irony lives!
Blaster have a ton of ideas and despite a touch of over-ambition and a distinctly dodgy mix, kept the crowd smiling.
I’m not sure that Goodfellas qualify as a Supergroup. Perhaps Reallygoodgroup might be more accurate. Reallygoodwithpotentialtogetbe
After the complexity and confusion of Blaster, the high-energy “1-2-3-4″ intro to the first song signaled a welcome back to basics, with simple drum, bass and guitar providing a surprisingly full sound.
Bassist Egg and guitarist Po Kei shared lead vocals. For me, Egg has clearly the stronger and more distinctive style which had the effect of showing up Po Kei’s less powerful voice as, well, less powerful. They worked brilliantly together on a couple of songs though, including a cover of the Cribs “Hey Scenesters” (yes, I had to Google it) and the last song, “Be with me”.
Together for just two months so far, Goodfellas have ample attitude and talent. I’d like to see them again. Around February.
Chochokmo were undeniably super. Hailed by some (who know about these things) as the best band in Hong Kong, Chochokmo brought unabashed star quality to the Underground. True front-man presence with voice, guitar and poses to match. Every musician confident and tight, and I suspect they all have matching tattoos.
Two major thumbs up from me: first, I couldn’t think of a single other band with whom to compare them. Second, I could imagine listening for double the 30 minute set they played and not get bored.
It didn’t matter that one or two of their numbers seemed a little short of a melody, or indeed a point. Even these non-songs had more interest than the manic beat changes of some of their predecessors.
The last two songs of an outstanding set were twin high points. The penultimate song was completely together, with each musician feeding off his/her bandmates while all supporting Jan. By the last, called Strawberry, the whole band were clearly having fun ¨C what a friendly place the Underground is!
photos © Copyright 2008 by ANGUS LEUNG