Thursday, November 6, 2008

Star Crossed Tattoo Wanch Night.

Local music promoters Star Crossed Tattoo put on one of their showcases at The Wanch last night. Taking the stage (or corner of the room) were punk act Oi! Squad, new screamo guys on the block Mammoth, and ska/rockabilly outfit The Mooches.

I arrived at the venue just after 9.30 and noticed it was still unusually warm for November. This followed by cussing at myself for wearing two shirts, but fear not, I was soon over it. Not many punters had turned out for the show, mainly just the bands and a few of their friends or entourage. Love that word. I was somewhat joyed at this, as I was really not in the mood for a claustrophobic evening.

It was the first time for me seeing all three of the bands, and first up were Oi! Squad.

Oi! Squad
Their myspace lists the current members as follows : Moi (Vocals), Ray (Bass), Adrian (Drums) and Pierre (Guitar).

As their name would suggest, Oi! Squad are pretty much in your face skinhead "you best bet your bollocks you'll get out my way before I f****** bash ya, you bargain 'unt" OI OI OI punk. Singer Moi looks the part to a T! Complete with red suspenders and a pack or Marlboro reds sticking out of his back pocket. Moi is a great showman and has no qualms about dancing around in the audience while singing to the band. He will also get the gig goers involved by putting them on the spot with his trusty mic for a bit of karaoke (karaOIke?) He also does a nifty trick of putting the mic in a pint glass to get feedback. Classic!

Bassist Ray, gets his groove going by busting out the "I own shit" pose. For those unfamiliar with this important move, it consists of raising a foot and placing it on an object of elevated position i.e an amp, a drum kit , your face etc.

Pierre's guitar lines are pretty straightforward punk progressions but in a couple of songs he rocks out some sweet licks ,dude. He does count in french as well. Why not?

How can I forget drummer Adrian, who beats the drums like they owe him money. That guy was going to town on the kit, with style as well.

My favourite thing about Oi! Squad is the dual vocals of Pierre and Moi. For me the band is best when their songs reach a chorus sing along "na na na na" section.

My only problems with Oi! Squad were that I couldn't hear the vocals. One of their songs has a line which goes something like "There's gonna be a borstal breakout!", and I was hearing "Jeremy was a raghead!" After confusion as to who Jeremy was, and why indeed he was a "raghead" I soon learned the correct lyrics and was called a tit.

A solid solid set, shit YOU tell them otherwise.

When Ross from SCT comes on to introduce the next band Mammoth, he informs us that this is only the bands third show. This makes their short but dynamic set all the more impressive. Amongst the quintet, I spot the drummer for Hungry Ghosts, however this time he has traded in the sticks and strapped on a six string.

Mammoth's sound is best described by breaking it down. Lets start with the rhythm section, a tight drummer comfortable with changing up tempos and has good control over his double bass drumming, which is utilized quite often with the Mammoth tunes.

Their bassist, playing nothing too fancy but definitely contributing to the solid foundations of the groups sound.

The guitaring is what caught my attention. This obviously is slightly biased as I myself am a guitarist (or try to be), nevertheless I can't praise the harmonies of the riffs enough (this is when I COULD hear them however.) They do a nice job of blending their parts together, then doing their own thing again. If you are one who likes the sound of delays and reverb, I recommend you check these guys out.

Front man Danny has a good constant scream which makes up most of Mammoths vocals. Another high energy performer, and wore a great hat. Great hats always = bonus points.

Unlike a lot of "hardcore/screamo" acts in Hong Kong, Mammoth do well to incorporate dynamic and tempo changes into their songs. They remind me a lot of a band called Hopesfall, which is a compliment.

What let Mammoth down was some technical difficulties where the mics kept packing in on them. hey need to tweak their guitar eq's a bit more. There were times when I could see the fingers moving, but sadly it was drained in an abyss of distortion. NICE!, you may say, but judging by the fingering (steady now) I don't think this was the effect they were going for. I would have also liked to see more songs, but hey they are newcomers so I can only look forward to seeing and hearing more from these guys and you should to.

My Google hunting has come back negative on a search for a link for these guys, so when I get this information I shall share with ye.

The Mooches

Last on this eclectic bill were The Mooches. Leading the band was Arthur who is no stranger to the local scene. Since I've known the guy he's played in Spermatic Chord, Nanahara Shuya, Rat Alley and his solo country/rockabillyesque project I once helped him record on a rooftop in Discovery Bay. Random.

ANYWAY, The Mooches, other members is a drummer (Jaz), who I understand has only been playing for a few months now. She was pretty good for that level so kudos to her. The band were missing their bassist (Tiff) and their, get this, washboard, player for the evening. So they went at it ala white stripes style.

Their music is a cool blend of ska/punk/rockabilly. They did have a lot of gelling issues going on but when they got stuck into it, their tunes were great to listen to. The jagerbombs after the 3rd song was the magic touch. I particularly like when they change up the tempos and play off to one another. When they do this with success it's rather impressive, however I can't say that this happened 100% of the time. I do look forward to seeing these guys when they get tighter and their full band is ready for action.

All in all it was an evening perfect for a Wednesday. Whatever that means.


Just thought I'd point out that after the gig I went into Amazonia to catch the awesome cover bands Ice box and Advent Call. Ok I know these guys don't play their own stuff, so its harsh to compare them with the local scene, but in terms of tightness/musicianship , no one has a patch on these two acts. Seriously, go now and watch them.

No comments: