Buses, boats, traffic and decent honest taxi drivers all ceased to exist with T9 strength typhoon Molave visiting our shores last Saturday (18th July) . I'm sure other things disappeared, places for shelter while trying to get home for one! One thing that wasn't effected though, was Underground 82 which took place at California Club. What a mammoth night it was. Amongst the other great local acts, were twins from Macau 'Soler'. For those not in the know, 'Soler' have been going since 1997 , performing all around Asia and have songs released in Europe as well as regions closer to us. They are also known for writing their own music as well as producing other Asian talent. Needless to say, there was a great buzz about the venue.
CLEMENTINE IS MY SUNSHINE
To open the show was another promising young talent from these neck of the woods. 18 year old Jon Wu who plays under the moniker 'Clementine is My Sunshine' has played opening act to the likes of mega star Avril Lavigne and Swedish (with Argentinian descent) guitar maestro 'Jose Gonzalez'. Many believe that if the underground HK scene was to have a star, 'Clementine is My Sunshine' would be the hottest contender. It's not hard to see why. Wu's tunes and set on this night are charmingly pleasant. It's poppy folk music that is based around Jon's acoustic and more so his soothing voice. 'CIMS' remind me a lot of another local folk pop outfit that go by the name of 'Joves'. It's that same kind of rainy day music that makes you feel snug about being indoors. This association rings through that much more clearly with the rain starting to pour outside, hinting that the typhoon is indeed on the way. The other instruments in 'CIMS's' set are an electric guitar and a keyboard. The backing musicians do their job well as you sometimes forget that they are on stage, yet their small but vital parts help to shape and add texture to the sound that is 'CIMS.' My favourite moments of the set, are when Jon plays the harmonica for 'Dylan' type melodies. At the end of the day, its good music that most people can get into , similar to a puppy. Who doesn't like puppies come on?
Next on stage were the quintet 'Pork'. Usually when you hear band names, you can sort of try and imagine what kind of music they are gonna play, even if sometimes your guess comes out wrong, you can still play this game. With 'Pork' though, I really had no idea what to expect. I suppose in my head, pork is quite an abrasive sounding word, so I was expecting something pretty in your face. Instead what you got was something pretty. A melodic mellow yet intricate fender sound is a good way to describe their music. It's light where the singers voice portrays many sombre moments and at times its uplifting and joyful. My rain soaked notes remind me of one of 'Porks' songs, which start with a bossa nova type beat, to which I want to compliment the rhythm section for. Other things that 'Pork' do well, are the vocal relationships throughout singing members of the bands. The harmonies were nearly always spot on, so kudos. As a member of the audience, I would have liked to seen more confidence from the 'Pork' ensemble as there were times when the focus in the room left the stage. Maybe they had swine flu? HAHA! No? Fine. Otherwise , a competent set.
Cue the girls, cause next up were 'Soler'. I gotta say with all the hype, I expected much more of a turn out, not to say that it was an empty club, but for some reason I was expecting wall to wall to be filled with bodies. No doubt our lovely 'Molave Typhoon' had something to do with this. When 'Soler' finally took to the stage though, there were enough bodies on the dance floor to ensure it was going to be a good time. It was my first time seeing these guys so I was pretty interested to see what all the fuss was about. I've also never seen Canto-Pop music performed before so it was a first for many things. 'Soler' were pretty much everything I expected. Calculated songs guaranteeing a feeling of good times, catchy hooks getting everyone jumping and the usual frills that come with this sort of music. One thing that I wasn't expecting though, was the guitar playing of brother Dino Acconci. I always just thought it was a marketing kinda thing, akin to the 'JoBros' and 'Busted'. He actually plays and plays well. I enjoyed the rare occasions when he busted out a little solo. Another thing that the bro's do well, is sing in a variety of languages, again always impressive. Lots of energy in this set, and you couldn't help but notice the smiles on peoples faces during the exodus of people after their gig. This of course was also expected!
Ok at this juncture I'd like to point out that I was intending on trying to make my last ferry home as 'Molave' was approaching fast and the usual 24 hour service was being put on hold. I of course in typical fashion missed it and in doing so missed most of 'Twisterellas' set. Which is a crying shame, because during the last number which I JUST managed to catch, they sounded good, really good. They had a very 80's synth vibe, which the dancing crowd seem to respond to gratefully. What I can tell you about 'Twisterella' is that, there are four people in the band, and that they bring the party.
THIS IS AMMUNITION
Thats right. The End.
Joking. 'TIA' are a four piece hardcore punk act. I was speaking to Joe the drummer before they took to the stage and he took my pen and wrote their review for me. 'Sexy purveyors of awesome metal treats. They bought it ... HARD' Which to be honest is a pretty good way to summarise the band. Not sure about the sexy part though Joe ... Just looking at the dudes, you knew they were gonna indeed 'bring it' from before the first note is hit. When that note did hit, you again knew exactly what was coming. What was quite interesting about Ammunition, is that, although it's definitely heavy, there's elements which 'lighten' it a little making it more accessible to listeners who normally wouldn't dig these kind of 'metal treats.' The boys put on one heck of a show with the singer and beast of a guitarist thrashing out, in amongst the crowd. Joe beats the absolute shit out of the drum kit and bassist Steve cut himself open from pounding his bass. Badass! The crowd thoroughly appreciated their efforts and head banged in return. At one point I was briefly pushed into a three man mosh pit (so more just drunken individuals flaying about I guess is more accurate). Fearing one of these poor boys may become victim to my pen (of which I was still holding) I decided it was quickly time to end it and continue my journalistic professionalism. (pfffffffffffft) Great set by 'TIA' very entertaining!
COLD AIR BLUE
Unfortunately for this next band, they had to follow a maximum energized set from 'TIA', so a lot of people were knackered and had left by this point. It was also quite late and the rain was now hammering down! 'Cold Air Blue' were a late addition to the show as one of the band members (of which there were 5) were leaving soon and they begged to play a set. Or something like that. (Booze at the time and trying to decipher rain destroyed notes now...) These guys were actually pretty damn good! I kept trying to pin point who they sound like, but it was really hard putting my finger on it. At times it was very grungy guitars and 90's sounding, but then the singer had a similar tone of voice to the 'Good Charlotte' guy. Also there are moments where there were little guitar interludes, which were dressed in delay and reverb, making it sound real dreamy. So I guess you could say these guys play Alternative Rock, but it's pretty unique. You never really knew where their songs were going next and it was interesting to watch! Nice one lads.
Wow what a long great night. Just for the record , and because it's such an epic story, I didn't get to my designated 'crash pad' till 2 hours after this gig. All transport stopped, so me and my buddy were walking around Central in the rain trying to flag a cab down that would take us home for less than 200 bucks! Crazy times! Crazy but good!