Event Reviews

Check out the latest event reviews here from some of the best and worst nights we have had! If you would like to submit any news to this section please get in touch.

The Click Five found one another at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and formed in 2003.  Opening for acts like McFly, Ashlee Simpson, the Backstreet boys and promoting their two albums Greetings from Imrie House and their latest release Modern Minds and Pastimes, it seems that these boys have been on the road for the last five years.

The girls were giddy for their matching mod outfits and their super sprayed hair, as well as their preppy pop tunes.  It seemed as if they had been taken straight off the assembly line and put onto the stage, even their music seemed a little too perfect.  All the right chords and hooks, yet lacking in any real substance

The kids in the crowd loved Flipside, Just The Girl and Jenny with their big pop sounds.  I loved their acoustic numbers Don’t Let Me Go, I’m Getting Over You (although it was slightly slaughtered by a mouth organ?? Seriously!!!!), and There You Are, which were a nice change from the mash of pop and rock that sometimes seemed a little too big for the boys!

Overall the clan of kiddies with their glow sticks seemed to dig The Click Five, which to me are a mix between the retro Beach Boys and the more updated Backstreet Boys pop/rock sound.    These boys are only young and I do take my hat off to the fact that they’re out there doing what they love and their audience seems to love them.  I look forward to hearing more mature and acoustic tunes from these lads. 

THE CLICK FIVE

Song List:
1. Flipside
2. Happy Birthday
3. Addicted to me
4. Good Day
5. All I Need is You
6. Empty
7. Summertime
8. Don’t Let me Go (Acoustic, written by Ethan Mentzer)
9. I’m Getting Over You (Acoustic)
10. I’m Looking Through You (Acoustic, Beatles Cover)
11. There You Are (Acoustic)
12. Just The Girl
13. Long Way to Go
14. Pump It Up (Elvis Costello Cover)
15. When I’m Gone
Encore
16. So It Goes
17. Jenny
18. Headlight Disco

Review by Megan N.

As a HUGE fan of James Blunt’s original, intricate voice and his lyrical genius, I had settled down into the jam packed stadium expecting a gentle, poignant performance from the quick witted, skinny and almost nerdy looking Brit.

But instead I was blown away not only by his amazing ability to let you see right into his soul, as if he is singing his songs for the very first time, and just for you.  But Mr. James Blunt can ROCK OUT as well!!!

He appeared on stage in a silhouette of smoky red light, with his unmistakable voice and the gentle accompaniment of the Piano.  He was dressed in a light grey suit and an open collared white shirt with his wild curly hair, and a hint of sexy stubble. As the Chorus kicked in so did the lights, and a little rock to get us all ready for an unbelievable evening of First class entertainment.

Blunt performed a great mix of songs from both albums Back to Bedlam and All The Lost Souls. 

His ballads were even better live, Goodbye My Lover, the ever so popular Beautiful, Shine on and No Bravery. His unique gift to move from the purest of whispered notes to bursts of sheer passion made my knees weak and the tears roll especially in Carry You Home, which was the highlight of my night.

I was super surprised at James’ gusto with So Long, Jimmy, Annie, and Out of My Mind. He can rock it out with the best of them!! Not just with his awesome guitar, and piano skills, but he was running through the crowd like a crazy person. He didn’t just run through the front row and then back onto stage… No no, he was jumping over chairs, darting left and then sprinting right.  The crowd on their feet, surprised, yet especially entertained and I can tell you that not many Superstars would have the guts to do what he did, it was very cool and totally unexpected. 

James entertainment did not stop at his singing and playing almost every instrument on the stage, (the poor guitar tuner was working his arse off making sure they were all tuned and ready to go for the next song, and the next, and then the next) but there was a flurry of running, jumping about the stage, on speakers, and his piano that he tried to surf. He was smashing huge gongs, and dressing up in fury florescent hats and feather boas!!!  Brilliant musician and entertaining as hell, I was so impressed by James Blunt, the cool little rocker. 
Obviously nerds are so hot right now!

SONG LIST
1. Give me some Love (All The Lost Souls)  
2. Billy (Back to Bedlam)
3. High (Back to Bedlam)
4. I Really Want You (All The Lost Souls)
5. Carry You Home (All The Lost Souls)
6. I’ll take Everything (All The Lost Souls)
7. Goodbye My lover (Back to Bedlam)
8. No Bravery (Back to Bedlam)
9. Annie (All The Lost Souls)
10. Coz I Love You (Cover by Slade)
11. Beautiful (Back to Bedlam)
12. Shine On (All The Lost Souls)
13. Out of my Mind (Back to Bedlam)
14. Wisemen (Back to Bedlam)
15. So Long, Jimmy (Back to Bedlam)
ENCORE
16. The Brightest Star (All The Lost Souls)
17. Same Mistake (All The Lost Souls)
18. 1973 (All The Lost Souls)

Review by Megan N.

Modern Rhapsody! A fantastic night to start with the long weekend. Maxence Cyrin attracted a mixture of crowd, classical, electro and piano music lovers. He shared his creations indicating a new era of music generation.

The concert is enjoyable with the adoption of familiar melodic lines yet occasionally surprising when he was harmonizing with heavy baseline and feet tapping on the floor to bring in a funky rhythm.

Disco ball plays an important element in the concert. People were slightly distracted from the lighting effect until the fire alarm woke them up when Maxence was playing Britney Spears. Synergy was created through the music and lighting effect, I was a bit confused where I am when I close my eyes. 

Maxence Cyrin brought Hong Kong people a new approach of listening music. He perfectly combines classical music with electro through his technique and improvisation. Creativeness is definitely what music lovers are looking for, he absolutely inspired them astonishingly.

As a newbie to Hong Kong and the live music scene in China, I was very keen to check out the local talent here in HK.  My first stop was Underground 58 held at Club Cixi in Central.  It was an ideal location for the line up, and perfectly matched the enigmatic elements of the acts.  It was dark and intimate club with a fresh, young crowd that seemed to enjoy all of the night’s entertainment.

KILLERSOAP I actually missed, but I did check out their myspace page and their sound is an edgy pop rock with Greenday-esque harmonies and melodic front lines.  I enjoyed the listen.

THE FRAGILE I arrived for their last song of the night, Eclipses.  I was impressed by the lingering note that I entered on, a smooth outro that left me wishing I had arrived earlier to hear their entire set.  But they looked great on stage, and the lead singer looked like he was supposed to be there, which is always a bonus.

GONG WU’s line up was fast and furious, and was the surprise act of the night for me.  I don’t know why enjoyed them so much because I’m not really into death metal.  But the lead singer Li Xu had a voice that lead singers anywhere would die for!!!  Hardcore and perfectly pitched ….well for most of the songs (not including the Your Victim).  Bass player Peter Gardiner worked his fingers to the bone in tricky lines that I just loved.  All of their tracks had such great hooks which is rare for this genre, (that I usually associate with a mash of noise and screaming).  A few of the tracks had a very Red Hot Chili Pepper’s vibe that worked for them and I absolutely loved the last song Strip it, which I could so hear on commercial radio.    

HUNGRY GHOSTS were very tight musically, and lead guitarist Paul ripped out some memorable riffs, but the vocals for the first three songs were obsolete.  I’m not sure what happened but I hope that they fire their sound guy.  For such a great musical sound, the vocals would have been the icing on the cake, but they didn’t kick in until their second last song for the night.  They had an interesting collaboration of sounds from haunting melodies to rock out choruses and an engaging mix up of rhythms, slowing up half way through a song and back into the faster paces, and did so flawlessly.  The last two tracks Modus Vervendi and Chinese Families were both outstanding, with interesting and original beats, and Five Year Plan had an unforgettable melody line fit for a movie soundtrack.  I was left pissed at the sound guy for screwing up over half of their set. Brilliant musicians though, I hope that these guys keep thinking outside the box.

CONSENT playing for Underground for the first time were the headliner for the night, so I was itching to hear their music.  Once on the stage I could hardly see them, they seemed to be a group of six fifteen year olds all dressed up in their funky shoes and ready to rock!!!  Although they were cool little dudes, I half expected to see their mums somewhere in the crowd. But their music painted a different picture.  With a cocktail of some sweet scratching and neat vocals to an emo rocking extravaganza, I was hooked from start to finish.  Impressive intro’s built into enormous choruses that were perfectly arranged with twists and turns to keep us all at attention.  Unfortunately when it came time for their second last track 抬起頭 all hell broke loose, when the DJ stared multi tasking between scratching and mixing in a synth melody (which would have been a stroke of genius had they pulled it off).  Somehow it was entirely off beat and destroyed the rest of the song.  But these guys have a mass of potential beyond their fifteen or so years, and I can’t wait to hear more from them!!! 

THE SINISTER LEFT were definitely old rockers, very experienced and it showed.  There was nothing “Sinister” about these guys, just classic ROCK!  They took control of the stage in a strong set from start to finish.  I think that they were perfectly positioned to finish off the evenings entertainment.  They were good listening although nothing revolutionary.

Overall I really enjoyed the scene, and hope that more people get out there and support these local acts as they seem to be a dwindling notion, and it would be such a shame to see them fade away through lack of interest and venue participation. 
I can’t wait to hear more from these musical groups, especially Hungry Ghosts and Consent. 

Review by Megan Nuell

At first, it was hard to imagine what this event would be like.  Would it standout amongst Hong Kong’s many attempts at a rave-like party?  Would it be in the shadow of the former HITEC music events?  Would Hong Kong appreciate hard trance, techno and driving progressive beats?

Turning off the highway onto a narrow road the taxi driver slowed down to avoid human obstacles that were meandering towards a blur of light far in the distance.  The road widened to a car park where crowds were queuing.  The walk from the ticket-check area to the event was pretty long.  As we walked music changed from a dampened bass to a clear, crisp sound.  When it came in sight, it was impressive!  A large (in-ya-face) rig, lighting, lasers, a sea of people, incredible!  Finally, Hong Kong had got it right!

Arun R (one of Hong Kong’s rising talents) kicked things off with progressive trance, his deep melodic beats enthused the crowd.  The music changed to pumping dirty electro (awesome); however, some might say wrong place, wrong time.  On occasions the sound was clipping, slightly too loud and the lighting was blinding.  The setup was definitely stadium size but the area it dominated was too small.

The crowd a mixture of Chinese and Western, old and young (very young it seemed) were bopping and jumping.  Yoga instructors were bending and twisting to the tunes.  And adding to the rave-like atmosphere many had dressed reminiscent to the cyber-kids of Gatecrasher.  It was pretty cool and wet.  The fine drizzle of rain didn’t let up.

Tiesto came on and true to his form, the energy spiked and the place was electrified.  He shook the foundations of the rig with his hard driving tech edged tunes.  As expected the crowd reacted when he dropped his famous tracks.  He took the crowd on a journey of ups and downs, and they stayed loyal till the end.
It summary, this was/ IS exactly what Hong Kong needs.  Location will always be a problem as well as other hindrances that prevent a return to the good ol’ days but this was a move in the right direction and it was welcome by clubbers.  More please!

Review by Jay

  Tom Middleton at Cliq 12/4/08
 
Well, this turned into a different Titanic Night To Remember! The good ship Renaissance has sailed serenely into a sheltered Hong Kong harbour. Only to intersect with an implacable iceberg of indifference? Ineptitude? Ignorance?. Let me explain...

I found out Tom Middleton was making his local debut (12/4/08 at Cliq) about ten days  earlier. Quick call to Nick W. and his magic mobile fingers did the rest. I'm on the list. Later, I'm sharing this good news about TM (a former Jedi Knight. The Sound Of The Cosmos. Mixes it up quite tastily etc.) with Karina, a fellow traveller on the rave circuit. She tells me her younger sister, Christianne, is dating another Renaissance DJ. His name is Dee McAuley and he's been in HK a few weeks. Did a  deep tech house warm up set for the last of Ricky Stone's recent shows.  Despite being a stablemate, Dee didn't know Tom was coming until 2 days before. He was hoping to open, but Roy Malig scored that gig.

I'm inside Cliq, listening to Roy when DJ Christian tells me that Paolo Mojo is in town as well. In fact he's playing "NOW" at Q Club and Christian is due to follow him in a couple of hours. (Christian and Lamma-based DJ Nipper weave their digital sorcery in Cliq on Friday nights. Sometimes with live percussion from Oz. Well worth checking out). Anyway, you guesed it! Paolo is another stablemate on Renaissance. He played a stunning digital set last year at Heat to 3 men and a dog. Now, he's back on his 4th trip here. This information is not starting to make sense. This big label has 2 Megastars and a nifty Young-Prince-In-Waiting in HK at the same time. One can't get a gig. The other 2 go head to head in adjacent clubs.  So, what's the story, morning glory? Did Renaissance not care? Were they unable to do anything about it? Or, did they really not know where their talent is at any given moment? This could have been a great Renaissance night (like the "glory days" of Hitec).  A top showcase to match Sundissential, Gatecrasher, FBS with DJ Scanty or Deep Dish. Sasha losing his HK virginity. And so on.

It's a little earlier in my fluid timescape. I'm inside Cliq in a small room about 20 feet square. DJ Booth is level on the floor. Not very well protected. The room seems a bit small for the huge influx of TM fans. I've killed about 30 minutes hearing a master beginners class. Christianne and Dee arrive. I'm in the wrong room. Eventually, stumble next door where Roy Malig is mixing mellow prog trance with some housy raps. One long tune is about a lengthy pill-fueled night. Quite fun. Big thumbs up to Teresa Lam, a fellow scribe. We met at 2MDJ's I think. Both agree that was an awesome night. I've bumped into DJ Christian who also tells me that Lee Burridge is downstairs, trying to get in. Lee cut his teeth as a global star in the fleshpots of Wanchai around Handover/Hangover time. He's back here and HE doesn't have a gig for tonight either. Maybe, he played elsewhere later in the weekend. Tonight, he spends quite some time in the VIP box. A night of discus interruptus for Lee. A Solitary Man on Sunday Morning Coming Down? (Probably not, he's still got mates here).

Roy has played a mixed and mellow set. Some big drums. Dub-echo effects now and then. Some sugar melodies and nothing too fast. The visuals are in tune in a way. Subdued wireframe computer models of trucks driving on motorways and throug tunnels. Red/pink/blue geometric shapes folding and going all fractal like 2001. Models and clothes and pastoral scenes abound. It's nearly 0130 and Tom is in the house. Behind the decks. Grinning and greeting the 50 or so fans upfront.

"Good evening, I'm Tom Middleton from London. I play all types of music. House, electro, dub, techno, all styles. Let's see some hands". He kicks off with a remix of "Last NIght A DJ Saved My Life" with extra fairy dust electronic sprinkled on top. A good start, followed by a brilliant mashup of "Sweet Dreams" (Eurhythmics) and "Get This Party Started" by Pink. He promises, and delivers, "a little old-school, a little nu-skool". I'm joined by Bernard the fan who wonders if I'm reading a Bible as I'm so concentrated. Tom has started shifting pitch and phasing sounds, cutting sounds in and out and banging out drum beats on his mixer/FX box. At one point, it sounds eerily like the drums for "Blue Monday" and, no, he's off at another tangent. A lick of "Funkytown". followed by a snatch of "Star 69", more oddball electronica and what sounds like Party Animals on Mogadon. The middle section of his set loses some energy. Becomes a bit musically mundane and minimalist. Tom's on form, posing for photos, shooting film with fan phones, shooting video of me and Karina watching him shooting video of us watching.... (this is almost a visual loop). Near the set's end, there's a glorius 7-8 minutes of what sounds like echoey Tonto and Steve Hillage keyboards with shimmertronics and electrowobbles. Another tune sounds like Moby when he was sampling all those old (and dead) blues-gospel singers. My highlight comes with "Under Mi Sensi" by Barrington Levy perhaps. Cut up with FBS big beats and breaks.  A long ranging trudge through "Teen Spirit" by Nirvana as remixed by Daft Punk and extra vocoders. By this time, Karina and Derek have left. It's been a long night.

Tom has time enough to say's he's been touring Australia with Norman Jay "who sends his regards to HK" He concludes with "thanks for coming out and rocking it. You guys are definitely on my map". He introduces his new single "Pure Love" (I think. My ears were facing inwards.) The last tune he drops is a growling r'n'b femvox sample of "Sunshine Of My Love. Overall, a shallow "vee" of a show, Started well, dipped off and roared back to take no prisoners. I'm glad I saw and heard him and dropped off a couple of CD's for him. But a little part of me is thinking that I would have preferred to see Paolo Mojo again. Dee, I really liked your CD mix and am looking forward to hearing you play sometime soon. Intrigued fans can check him out on www.myspace.com/deemontero or through Renaissance. Meanwhile, there's a rumour that Peter Hook may be back imminently for another DJ stint. Hope it's true.  

nick the bookman.

Check out the photos here:

http://www.hkclubbing.com/option,com_zoom/Itemid,132/catid,442.html

Well, this could go either way...I found out with 2 days notice that 2ManyDJ's are playing at Volar as part of the 8th Par-Ici French night. It's probably too late to get hold of Nick W. at hkclubbing to get me in, so I'll try leaving a card at Volar and see if that works. The staff should remember me from earlier gigs that I've reviewed. The card is dropped off and so far so...

I've arrived at Volar at about 2315 and am pleased to see Nick W. and Manek in the queue outside. Hang with the heavies, that's my motto. It seems to work as I sneak in with the gang and find my usual front-line seat/table. The hkclubbing crew walk through an exit door to who knows where and that's the last I see of them! The place is filling up rapidly. Not surprising as these French nights are getting a great "got-to-be-there" vibe. Voltage, the VJ (who I've failed to credit properly in previous reviews, mainly because no one would tell me his name) is on fine form. Seems to have revamped his visuals extensively. He's on the left, the main CD decks etc are in the middle and a laptop is in pole position on the right. Pierre, one of the main organisers of tonight's show, is getting ready to blow some minds.
 
His set is freak/orch/electronics with a Gallic flavour. The music ranges from hammered strings to d n' b percussive beats through waves of looping, phasing and pitchshifting to men-in-white-coats-lab-electronics. I can hear Hawkwind, The (BBC) Radiophonic Workshop, Tonto's Expanding Headband in the mix. Weird, but very effective. Like hearing Kraftwerk do Krunk. Or Motorhead mixing Mozart and Motown. Offbeat ideas coalescing, colliding, merging and melting into the mix. Don't know any of the tunes at all, but no matter. It's a beautiful bedlam of beats. The visuals do their part. Ovoid earths spinning, giant hands clapping. 3-D candy striped computer hearts pumping in time. Binocular vision and split screens with wireframe geometric shapes tumbling and turning. And the colours are riots of lysergic neon.

It's near the end of Pierre's set and a lovely lady called Jane(?) asks what I'm writing as I've managed to pique the interest of Stephane and David, the Belgian brothers who are 2MDJ's and Soulwax. I'm invited into the VIP lounge and have a pleasant chat with Stephane (a fellow beardie!). I tell him not to get worried if not many people dance. It's a smallish club and getting very crowded and most big gigs I've been to in HK never have more than 30% dancing at any one time. The people who want to see this gig are pretty much already inside (although reports indicate a large crowd is gathering outside as well). I meet Kiwi Matt, who is clued up on 2MDJ's back-catalogue and helps me with the odd song now and then. The champagne is a babbly-bubbly bonus. It's near 0100 and the big screen comes down as the boys prepare to play.

It's manic on stage as Stephane and David start their set. Pierre is videoing it. DJ No:Mad is next to him, along with 6-7 cuties. Matt and I are just off stage with a good view. Ladies are dancing on the catwalk at the front of the stage. 2MDJ's play an excellent eclectic mix, grounded in rock rhythms (although they're mostly electronic). Here's a snippet of Bowie's "Rebel, Rebel" over a thunderous d n' b beat. Cartoon squelches of sleazy electronica bleep and burp in and out of the mix. There are Duane Eddy cybertwang guitar riffs and 80's robotic keyboards leavened with hints of electro-disco. Matt tells me on a good night, you can expect to hear Pseudo Echo, Husker Du, The Ramones and The Clash all mashed up. Sure enough, a section of "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash is dropped within minutes of his prediction. Stephan and David are speedy as well. They play about 2-3 minutes each, or about 3 tunes before swapping places. From where I'm sitting, I can see a phenomenal amount of knob twiddling, lever flicking and sliding faders. FX buttons are punched. The whole performance is a hyper-kinetic, but controlled ballet. I'm impressed and I'm about to get even more so...

It's about halfway through their 2-hour show. The front ten rows are going mental. Cecile, who is Pierre's wife, hands David a CD cover from an anonymous fan near the front. He's just come off duty and is sorting through his CD holdall case for his next selections. He's given the CD to sign and promptly stops searching to write a small message. No super-ego vibe like "Don't-bother-me-now-I've-only-got-87-seconds-to-find-my-tunes-and-get-back-on-the-decks". No super-ego looks of disbelief like he's been asked to write an autograph in his own phlegm. No, he signs (a fellow leftie!), puts it down for Stephane to do likewise, finds his CD's and returns to the mixer, pretty much on the beat. Stephane is equally gracious a few moments later. He signs, hands it to Cecile who gives it back to the anonymous punter. That was very classy and cool, guys. A little vignette, but very telling. For me, it elevated my enjoyment. The free champagne helped of course....

About 80% of the tunes have passed me by, but I do recognise a few. A great remix of "Out Of Space" by The Prodigy slams into a re-working of "Emerge" by FisherSpooner. There was a little tease sample of "Sweet Dreams" by The Eurhythmics and a slightly longer blast of "Don't You Want Me" by Human League. A little later is the old psyche-punk song "I Can Only Give You Everything" I have versions of this at home by Naz Nomad/Nightmares (aka The Damned) and The Chocolate Watch Band. Can't quite work out who's singing. David tells me later that it's Van (the Man) Morrison/Them. Jawdropping stuff. Some of the vocals are almost helium. Alvin and the Chipmunks go to a rave. Matt tells me the boys are giving their back catalogue a real pummelling tonight. All too soon, it ends.

No:Mad has taken over the DJ decks. His set includes a slightly different version of "Out of Space" with a sort of cockernee vibe to the vocals. He's a good friend/protege of Pierre and his set falls neatly between Pierrre's way-outness and 2MDJ's arena-friendly sound.

No:Mad is a bit more prog-trance with interesting electronics and his set grows smoothly. Overall, an excellent night and you can colour me French for future monthly gigs.

As I leave Volar, I'm thinking about the rumours that Clockenflap will do another big show in November. On the strength of this show, I can see them as late night headliners, no problem. How about it guys? Maybe you can bring Soulwax along as well? Double the fun. In closing, I'd like to say it was a pleasure and a privilege to meet you both. Hope you enjoyed the CD's I slipped you. Here's to next time in HK. Be like an alligator sandwich and make it snappy. Until then....

Review by Nick L.

 

Photos of the night can be found here:

 http://www.hkclubbing.com/option,com_zoom/Itemid,132/catid,425.html

Santana attracted a full house of enthusiastic fans of all ages.

Carlos Santana greeted the Hong Kong audience with the statement that he had enjoyed every visit to Hong Kong since he held his first concert here in 1973 . He went on to ask the audience to go and spread kindness and compassion and make the girls in their lives happy: mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters – and he hoped he  would make everyone happy with his music.

All members of the band were soloists in their own right and they went on to prove this throughout the evening: The trumpet and the trombone-players as well as the three drummers. There were three drum sets on stage, including bongo drums, and the drum solos were outstanding.

The excellent vocalists inspired the audience to jump up and dance to tunes like Mariah.

Carlos Santana  had 8 guitars on stage which he changed constantly  and he played his solos with a passion and a skill  which would be hard to find anywhere else in the world.

The screen at the back of the stage showed footage of former concerts mixed with live shots.

A fantastic night out for fans of Santana at the Asia World Expo Centre at Chep Lap Kok!

Review by Chris W.

Pier Pressure Party with El Destroyo and DP - 16-2-2008
 
Ho hum, another Saturday night (and I just got paid. Gonna spend it all and I ain't gonna save) Well, I'm going to spend about $200 anyway to get to/from Central and admission to Lamma Pier Party # 2 (that I've attended). The previous gig featured Snoblind. This time round, it's DP (newly recovered from the excesses of Clockenflap) and El Destroyo. All in all, there are 5 powerhouse musos and a laptop DJ providing the soundtrack for tonight's thrills, spills and brain-bursting hangovers. Stalwart Sam is the trusty Gatekeeper once again. He's keeping Andy company. Ross is running around elsewhere. The stage has been moved halfway down the pier floor and is facing Central. The Beer Bay bar is at right angles. It's warmer than the previous effort, tho' the weather is still chilly. I foresee some serious assaults on the hot mulled wine tonight. Good Work lovely liquor ladies!

I've arrived by the mixing desk, left side of the stage and have snaffled a seat to watch the action and scribble some scrawls. Ross has told me to pay attention to the beardy folkie who is currently performing "Mother"by Pink Floyd. His name is Jerry Cappadonna and he's an opera singer at the Venetian in Macao. He comes to HK most week-ends and is a welcome performer at the LKFLive/PierPressure nights. Jerry, it was a pleasure to listen to you. You sing with a sincerity and gravitas that demands attention and you have quite an electic range of tunes. Aside from a couple of other Pink Floyd ditties, the set comprised "Send Me On My Way" by Rusted Root and "Both Hands" by Ani Difranco. There was an original song called "Drift Away". Bob Seger got a look in with "Turn The Page" and Jerry concluded with "Hurt" by Trent Reznor (NIN). He's a "travelling man" - covered most of the USA and recently got married in Cambodia. Great meeting you Jerry and look forward to your next appearance.
   
There's a short pause of about a week (or so it seems) while El Destroyo set up. This swampadelic, hellzapopping, rockabilly trio have been making large splashes in the local sonic scene for several months now. They have a cool fanbase of support with no obvious inbreds, geeks, freaks and simples. Maggie (who also plays in Bone Table) is the bassist. Tunje is a fluid, unflashy drummer who really rocks. Dean rules supreme on the guitar. Link Wray rumble runs. Twangadelic guitar blasts that recall Dick Dale in all his vim/vibrato finery coupled with Duane Eddy langour. A mighty blond punky quiff that wouldn't sit uneasily on Paul Simenon's noggin. And there are the tunes...
   
Several searing instrumentals with spacy Shadows style solos, flowing down a "Pipeline" to my rapidly warming inner brain. Voodoo surf's up folks! A couple of numbers from Brian Seltzer - the T.C. of Stray Cats. An old Johnny Cash number called "Sam Hall" is warmly acknowledged. I still don't know if he did it or indeed, what it was he may or may not have did. And Dean isn't telling either. Meanwhile, John Hutton is tiring me out, just watching him jitterbugging with Dean's better half Annie(?). That much fun is almost illegal, surely? The crowd has swelled to about 150 people by now. Luke Chow is digging the vibe. His band Hungry Ghost will feature at an upcoming Pier Party, possibly in April. Dave and Paul are out on the fringes, keeping their strength up through copious quaffing. The final tune by El Destroyo is their party piece. It's called :Stringbuster" and while not literally living up to the title, it does mutate in a Frankenstinian way through several styles and tempos to a rousing and deserved round of applause.
  
The laptop DJ is back for another month-long tour of duty. Even Lamma time passes inexorably and eventually and I'm hoping DP won't Delay Performance for much longer. The legless Lamma Posse has a ferry to catch at 0030 and it's 0012 by the time DP start to Drum and Pluck. The set follows the same sort of running order as at Clockenflap, although Dave has a new mutant axe - a cross between a bass and a guitar - to wow the fans. Even ensconced downstairs on the ferry, the sound is monstrous, yet muffled. An age old roar of trapped metal dinosaurs, sinking into the soggy morass of a metal tar pit. I can almost feel the ferry vibrating in sympathy as we leave the dock. Hope to hear the new stuff next time guys.
 
The Wanch 29-2-208
 
   It's about 3 weeks later and I'm off to The Wanch for another hellfire romp with El Destroyo, They're opening for Don't Panic, led by the irrepressible John Prymmer, who is in the process of taking over the Wanch and upgrading the musical equipment. Good work matey! The Wanch has been around too long to fade ignobly into the night.  It's going to be special tonight as John Hutton has secured a guest vocalist gig with ED. All that shuckjive action with Annie must have paid off eh?  The usual suspects are here. Ross with the video camera. Chunny and Sian (fresh from last night's masterclass in musical mayhem with Bjork). Dave and Eva and Martine are hogging the table bar at far left. Drummer Paul is here, but Dave appears to be having a quiet night in with a cup of hot cocoa or something. The place is packed.
    
I manage to wangle a seat right in front of Maggie. Dean has gone to the darkside tonight with matching hair and attire. John has promised to sing a couple of Cramps covers. I've asked him to teach the band "Surfing Bird" (in memory of his unhinged performance at Dickstock 2006). That may happen, but not tonight. The band howl through most of the same set as the PierParty. John makes 2 brief visits to the microphone. He gibbers, gobbles, grunts, growls and grinds his way through some excellent tunes, including the aforesaid, but unknown Cramps numbers. Familiarity with El Destroyo's style doesn't blunt the impact of their performance. Familiar tunes include "Sam Hall" (still no resolution to the conundrum!) and they finish off with a howling rendition of "Stringbuster". Maggie is bouncing along with her bass, leaning in to Dean to trade licks. Dean is rubbing his axe against the speakers like some hornyhepcat in heat. Tunje is even more cool and unflappable behind the drum kit. The set finishes far too early. I could hear this band play all night.
   
Another long pause as Don't Panic get set up. They're long-time survivors of the HK music scene. They specialise in covers and cool old rockers. The opening 2 songs are Bowie covers - "Jean Genie" and "Suffragette City". At one point John stuffs the mike into my face and we trade a few tuneless bellows (at least on my part) before he moves away in search of fresh meat. I wish I could have stayed longer. As I leave, John is playing his guitar on the pavement outside the Wanch. Dennis on lead guitar, Colin on drums, and new boy Geoff on bass and shared vocals, remain inside and discover the joys of having more room and playing as a trio. Hope to catch up with you guys again soon. The Wanch still rocks and here's to at least another 20 years of existence.
  
Review by Nick L.

Saturday – what a Saturday!  Norman Jay @ Cliq was a treat for the ears and was quite well attended by a good crowd.  He always attracts a diverse mix of people – it's obvious why when you hear him play. 

You can hear the smile in the music as he weaves beautiful harmonies, kicking rhythms and funky basslines.  His warm vibe and eclectic creativity never fail to transform things into a lively friendly party.

A unique quality of Norman Jay's style is his relaxed ability to transcend musical genres and play where the moment takes him.  He glides effortlessly between different styles: soul, house, reggae, funk, classics, hip hop, latin flavas, jungle breaks and dub.  It's from the heart and without egotude!

Early on, the crowd seemed a little stunned - unfamiliar with this musical freedom.  Calm and charismatic, he watches the people, tunes in closely with them and soon the whole place was funking and grooving along to the education of the Norm.

“...as long as you keep your head to the sky! Never say die!”

The absolute in wicked and wonderful grooves from a master - and a true gent.

Review by Oz

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