I'm outside Volar in Lai Kwai Fong waiting for admission within. The 'Fong is heaving like a bad night in Caligula's Rome, but with worse dress sense. I've been drawn here for my first experience with Tommy Lorello - a 36-year old DJ with "the plat du nom" of Tommy Sunshine. It's his 3rd appearance in HK (and Volar) and the crowd should be heaving. The doors are meant to open at 2200. So, why am I still hanging around outside? Seems, things start slowly in the 'Fong (ha, they should come to my island and try Lamma Time!) The guest list is being revised and updated. Cut to the chase: I'm on it. Thanx, Nick W. for coming through again! While waiting, I'm chatting with an affable Aussie called Antony Hamilton-Bram. He's a DJ on a leisurely world tour. He knows Tommy from the States and is confident he's on the guest list as well. At about 2230, the mellow Security bring up the book. I spot my name. I see Tony's as well, but the security don't. He has to stump up $200 to get in. Money well spent in a way, coz he gets a free beer ($61 for a Heineken) and I don't.
There's hardly anyone inside and some rather dreary, mysogynistic rap being played by "the invisible dj". To me, it rather puts the "c" into rap. The place fills up slowly. Antony is here, there and everywhere. He dances slowly, busting some moves that were way cool in 1973. Another couple are doing the sauciest samba, sans sex, that it has been my pleasure to observe in many a while. The rap has finished and DJ Anthony is up on the small stage, getting the show underway. The crowd is expanding rapidly. My spot up front is good and bad. I've got a table to jot down notes by the light of some floating candles (which are constantly going out as people light cigarettes off them) I'm right in front of the VIP box andthe curtain leading to the stage. Back to Anthony. He's laying down some of the sweetest, smoothest minimal mixes since Timo last came to town. Sounds ping-pong, mesh, coalesce, collide and vanish into each other as the beats get harder and slightly faster. He's showing some fine prog moves as well - enough to convince me he can weave his magic in sundry styles. (and, no I don't know what any of the f**king tunes are!) There's a great light show as well with bits of HK, cartoons, cyber-math graphics, little grey alien Teletubbies, wibbly-wobbly animated bands of light and your basic sensory overload. It's All Too Much as the Beatles used to sing in unhinged splendour.
It's about 0045 and a sudden rush of anticipation. A bevy of beauties approaches and walks into the VIP stall behind me. Buckets and bottles of Veuve Cliquot arrive. Tommy is here with his #1 femme-fan (I think it's his girl-friend). Antony is spiralling the music into new space dimensions and the crowd are doing the "Wayne's World" not-worthy salaam. A screen comes down in front of the DJ decks. Tommy has disappeared from the booth. Some awesome car-crash/cartoon screech/skids are overlapping the other beats. Is Anthony showing Tommy the (mixing) ropes? When the screen rises, Tommy is alone on stage. Cyber-mirror shades that could deflect laser-beams. Trimmed salt-n-pepper beard and nipple length hair hanging down his chest. His bevy of beauties are bustin' some major moves on the "catwalk" in front of the decks. It's Robotic aerobics versus Catwoman stretches. Mr. Sunshine has taken the music into harder, faster layers of cartoon dementia. His recent interview with David Momphard in the SCMP tells of his "fortunately-slash-unfortunately...pretty substantial pot addiction. So anything that is pot music is pretty fair game". It's like a day-glo whirlygig of treated beats and noise. Hissing teaketttles, cackles, syndrums from the 80's. His set mixes happy hardcore, helium frenzy, old disco lines, new wave, electronica, Belgian throbbing industrial, acid house, while random voxbites enslave the crowd. Why, the man is nearly as eclectic a DJ as me, although his beats, mixing and production are way more seamless and professional.
Am meeting some top people here tonight. There's Max and Mark, "big fans of Ministry and Danny Tenaglia" who are sharing a spare bottle of champagne with me. A special mention to Lucas who is trying to read my notes and writes down "I am Lucas. Just arrived. Nice to meet you. I AM DEAF." A lovely lady who seems to be called Veronica Spalf-Vich (according to my garbled notes) is radiant at tonight's happening. Another gorgeous lady called Dana scrunches up next to my bag and writes "I like his music" before leaving. You are in blessed company tonight, my dear. By the end of Tommy's set, I've had 2 beer bottles broken on my table, been doused in sticky liquor twice and necked a bottle and a half of the Veuve Cliquot. I feel I've made about 150 instant new friends who I hope will keep in touch (I really, really want to adopt all of you right now!) by reading this review. Tommy has played a mindf**k set for about 2 and a half hours. For me, he's put the orange into the Sunshine. He leaves, Morettts takes over (and how do you follow that?). I chat briefly with Mr. Lorello who says he's going to Shanghai next to spread the Sunshine vibe. I give him 2 Nixmixes to while away his time and float, float on, back to the YSW Ferry. Another mission accomplished.
Review by Nick L.