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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:42 pm 
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Location: Pak Kok Village
TDCC and The Delphics at HITEC: 10/8/2010.


"Gimme an F". "F". "Gimme a U". "U". "Gimme a C". "C". "Gimme a K". "K". "What's that spell"?...

Well, for anyone who's seen Woodstock, knows their obscenities or both, the answer's obvious. And why am I starting this review with the above quote (aside from practising for payment by the word)? It's because that's the first word in my scribbled review of Two Door Cinema Club and The Delphics at HITEC on 10/8/2010. The next 3 words are "...my knees hurt". I've finished a hefty house move from Central to Lamma. There were 2 trucks, 2 ferries and 15 vv loads of furniture to shift. Lots of walking. I cut out early as I was going to the above mentioned concert. Have to be in town by 1830 hours to get the MTR to Kowloon Bay and the short walk to HITEC. No seats on the MTR and my jerky stiff stroll to HITEC took about 20 minutes. I arrived just before 1945 for a concert SUPPOSED to start at 2000 hours. I'm feeling a tad grumpy, a state that's about to worsen due to what appears to monumental incompetence by the promoters.

The gig is taking place in Rotunda 3, 6th floor of HITEC. As I go through the ground floor doors, I see 2 posters for the show. Then nothing. No signs to indicate where to go. Get the lift to the 5th floor, go up an escalator to the 6th floor. Get told to go the 7th floor to wait to be checked back to the 6th floor. About 400 or so people are snaking around the corridors waiting for entry. The bald and smart-but-casually suited bouncers aren't letting anyone in. And they don't know how long it will take before they can start letting people enter. Are the bands pulling a strop? Probably not, they're young, upcoming and not too ego-driven at this stage of their fledgling careers. My best guess is that Jobsworth's Unlimited are making everyone wait because they can! I don't believe the excuse that things "aren't ready inside". That's bollocks. The bands have already sound-checked. The show is free-standing so no mad rush for the best seats. Eventually, about 2010, progress. Back down one flight, past the Dr. Marten's boot display (they're the prime sponsors of tonight's show). No band goodies for sale, though. No posters, CD's, tee-shirts or anything. Piss-poor PR. Once inside the circular hall, there's a bar area. That's good news for the thirsty fans. But why in the name of the first word of my review didn't they let people inside as they arrived? The thirsty fans leave one queue, only to promptly join another one to buy a drink This whole entry process is amateurish, irritating and near-shambolic. Untitled Entertainment who are presenting this gig need to rethink their "upshove heads asswards" approach to dealing with their customer base. In this case they were lucky to have a malleable and peaceful audience who were out for a fun night and lots of "craic". OK, that's enough of the mutter-grumbles from me. Let's enjoy the show.

The crowd is mostly young, mostly local. I recognise a few faces from previous gigs and we swap banalities. The stage is here, the mixing desk about 30 metres over there. Most of the fans have rushed to stage front for better visuals. The Rotunda ceiling is like some Renaissance geometric sculpture of a sun. Or huge nipple. Or the bottom of a primitive flying saucer. There are 12 channels, or ceiling gutters, raying out around the circumference. Like a clock face. The stage is 12 o'clock high. The sound desk is 6 o'clock low. The booze area is 8 o'clock rising. I've wandered to front left of the stage where I can faintly hear a Donna Summer remix playing. It get's louder as I move back 6 metres or so. It's coming up to about 2030 and a roar erupts as the opening act comes on stage.

They are an Irish duo. Don't know their names so I'm calling them Her and Him. They're called Two Door Cinema Club and they've been wowing fans around Northern Ireland with their updated early 8o's squelchy synth music. Think the New Romantic era Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Human League, Heaven 17 etc. That's the simple shorthand snapshot sum up of their set. Her is a vibrant young lass. From my front left vantage point, she reminds me of Natalie Portman as Matilda in the film Leon. Same sassy bob cut. She's enjoying herself, twisting and grappling with the vocals in an insouciant style. Him seems to be doing all the music. At least he's holding what looks like a large tambour/bodhran with a keypad in the middle. Tapping out the melodies. I suppose some of the electronic percussion rhythms are pre-set. But it's an electric-eclectic melodic mishmash of tonalities and sounds. Raga-rock riffs. Clattering electrocussion. Fat Boy Slim big beats. I hear hints of Hawkwind and Nina Hagen in places Murky, yet enchanting vocals. Lots of bopping about I don't know how much material they've recorded, but they manage a hectic half hour, 6-song set.

The last number is the only one I recognise and not until about a third of the way through. It's a barmy cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" Him recreates the original melody quite beautifully, but Her is a bit too rock chick bonkers on the chorus. Call it the endearittating remix. It's a bit rushed for me, but not bad. The best cover version I've ever heard is by Jarboe (formerly of Swans - one of the loudest bands in rock history). Her version is haunting, plaintive and stripped to the bone. Elegaic and essential. Sometimes back to basics does work. No need to always bake a triple-layer cake with kitchen sink topping. Their set is greeted with fond applause and I have to say I'm feeling a lot less grumpy now. In fact I'm glad I came.

Brief pause for a Dr. Martens lucky draw while The Delphics set up and sound check. As everyone entered the Rotunda they were issued with a lucky draw ticket. Mine's 435. The first number chosen is 796. No one comes forward. Then 784. Someone comes up and correctly answers a question about "the origin of Dr, Martens". I didn't hear the answer, but it's not haunting my life. Hope you can live without this esoteric knowledge as well. Lucky winner departs with a limited edition pair of boots (eventually). The next number called is 109. Again no one comes forward. Then 785, 326 and finally 1481 and a second lucky winner emerges. I'm thinking that there don't seem to be 1481 fans in the hall. Did they print a superfluous plethora of unnecessary extra tickets to increase the odds? Is this a fix? Who cares. The promotion is over and The Delphics are cutting loose.

They are a supremely confident quartet who straddle the centre of the musical see-saw that is Dance at one end and Rock at the other. Influences could include prime Stone Roses/Happy Mondays/Bunnymen grooves and rhythms. There's the more motorik krautrock influence of The Horrors as well. Possibly some LCD Soundsytem. Also nods to dance acts like Fischerspooner and some of the melodic hard trance DJ's like Armin Van Buren, Sasha, Paul Oakenfield etc. The mystery quartet (again no names) are Bass, Drums, Guitar/Vox and Keyboards. The first 3 songs are pithy, punchy dance-inflected numbers that get the crowd bobbing and swaying in ecstatic anticipation/appreciation. Then, there's a bit of a mid-set fumble. The sound is not right. It takers about 10 minutes or so to fix. Cue some ambient guitar noodling. A bit like "Albatross" by Fleetwood Mac in a way. And then, the set resumes. I'm in front of the mixing desk now as Guitar/vox yells "You want some damage now"?

All of a sudden, The Delphics have gone stratospheric. All my lysergic memories are tumbling around in sensory overload. Shivers down my backbone like I've not had for a while. Like seeing The Clash in HK in 1981 (my best gig ever). Like Santana's tribal percussion polyrhythmical freakouts on "The Serpent/Rainbow Tour". Like hearing Roger Waters and his big band do "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" a few years ago. Like the 2008 Kraftwerk gig. Like Cooper-Temple Clause at Rock-It 2004. Like the Lamma dayglow frenzy of The Adaptors and Ado in Grateful Dead-inspired psychedelic whimsy around the time of Gulf War One. Like hearing Caribou play "Sun" at Grappas on Hangover Day 2010. Like...

Guitar/vox (who looks like an interesting morph of a young Peter Cook and Clive Owen) is chanting "Redlightredlightredlightredlight...." as the drums and bass thunderchurn. As the keyboards are stabbing and twinkling in rising crescendos of ecstatic yearning. As a "heavy air" thumps at the audience like a pending supertyphoon, sucking the life out of us all. If I close my eyes, I can't tell if it's a band or a superstar DJ unleashing this musical maelstrom. The sound mixer is grooving on the spot, swaying over his levers, tweaking and twiddling in a joyous frenzy. Time is suspended. The song lasts a few seconds of or several centuries, but still ends much too soon. Segue into the next tune wit a snarly surly bass, mega dynamic drums and keyboards that emulate "African Reggae" by Nina Hagen. Not exactly like that in some ways, but exactly like that in other ways. Like one of the tracks on side 2 of "Autobahn" by Kraftwerk which is almost like one of Giorgio Moroder's tracks on "Midnight Express" The track where Billy Hayes is walking the wrong way around the pillar in the lunatic asylum, prior to his escape. If I could have remembered the titles I'd have written them down. Song 7 (of the 10-song set) revisits the high end keyboard delights of Paul Van Dyk and the Finnish/English trio of DJ/remixers Above and Beyond. There are some seriously spacetrippy cosmic melodies which are cheesy in just the right way. Like hearing The Carpenters sing "Calling Occupants of Inter-Planetary Craft" with vocals provided by some unholy melange of Marc Almond and Morrissey. Maybe Scott Walker as well. I mean this is an extremely wonderful out there experience for me. Too bad, there's no LP/CD/MP3 for sale. I suppose you can find their stuff on Facebook or Youtube. Oh, sorry, forget to mention amidst the blissing out. Channel V was there to film the gig so I suppose it'll be shown at some time on whatever MTV Channel they occupy. Check It Out!

The show finishes about 2200. I've gone from a State of Grump to a State of Grace. Even the walk back to the MTR doesn't hurt...much. I don't want to go through all the tedious balls of getting into future gigs presented by Untitled Entertainment, so delete the Jobsworth attitude. But, do bring back more shows of this quality. Until next time, thanks. nick the bookman.

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