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

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