|Clockenflap 2017 ~ by Nick the Bookman
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|Author:||Lamma-Gung [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:44 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Clockenflap 2017 ~ by Nick the Bookman|
Clockenflap 19/11/2017 Day 3 ~ by Nick the Bookman
Well, nobody died at Clockenflap. In a discorporation/snuffed it sense of meaning. There may have been some artist performances that might not have satisfied themselves or the fans, but that's just a remote possibility. Basically all the groups and individuals will have wanted to give of their best and let's just say they all did that. For various work related reasons, I only attended on Sunday. That was fine with me, because the groups included The Dandy Warhols, Pond and Temples.- all must sees for me.
However, 14 people, including 3 Europeans, were arrested for drug possession. Mostly small amounts of cannabis and cocaine, presumably for personal consumption. Christy Leung of the SCMP wrote that the police had given advance notice that plain clothes officers would be present for the duration in an attempt to avert drug related crimes from taking place. This follows on from an Electronic Dance Music Festival in Kowloon in September that resulted in 1 death and 4 people who needed hospital treatment. Due to a combination of dodgy drugs and a very hot day. There's a photo of the aftermath of that Festival with what appears to be a considerable cornucopia of contraband chemicals scattered across the grass.
Anyway, enough bad P.R. On with the show. One of the first acts I caught was Mahka leading a large ensemble through a splifftastic set of African percussion grooves. If you'd had a hypothetical joint, that's exactly how good the music should and did sound. Mahka is conductor in chief, mastering the assorted rhythms with aplomb. Nice to see Oz up there on stage and I enjoyed his brief solo. Basically the troupe consisted of 6 djembe drum players (including Mahka), a saxophonist, a keyboardist and 5 energetic dancers. Plus 2 guys on video duty. Some retina scorching dayglow visuals mashed into African designs and a near subliminal message saying "Peace, Love and Dance. Thanks". No idea of what the tunes are, beyond being infectiously entertaining, with almost everyone getting a chance to show off their solo skills. A fine start.
Local band Phoon have been making ripples in the Sino folk/rock community. I thought they started quietly, but someone told me to stick around and watch and listen as they're worth it. He was right. The 4-piece rose to the occasion and played like (anonymous quote) "their bollocks are on fire". Using drums, bass, guitars and FX and moody Celtic-tinged keyboards, they pulled a huge crowd into the Your Mom tent. Don't know who they are or what the song titles are, but they're on my radar for future enjoyment.
Cheats are an engaging and industrious Filipino band who are making their Clockenflap debut. This septet has 2 eye-catching lady singers with blonde tinged hair and 5 guys who deliver the musical goods via drums, bass, keyboards, and guitars. Filipino bands have a well deserved reputation for being among the best global musicians. Able to replicate well known tunes and cover versions with skill and aplomb. I learn that the singer on their left (my far right) is pregnant with twins, but didn't want to miss the chance to perform in HK. (She may well have given birth by now). Overall. the band play a flawless set and I must single out their young looking drummer for particular praise. He played with a jazz feel and skill married to a rock sense of drama. He may well have been the best drummer I saw all day. Magnus, no mean skinmeister himself, agrees with this verdict. He was able to hang out with them for a bit after they finished their set and enjoyed the rapport. Cheats did their band advertising with cheerful understatement. They have recorded at least 2 CDs.. You can probably find them via the interweb. I think they sold all their stock during the day.
I've been wandering in and out of the venue. Partly to try and meet some other friends who seem to be working on Lamma Time plus a couple of hours. Also to get something to eat at the Star Ferry concourse. It's cheaper outside and the 7-11 accepts hard currency. I haven't embraced the Cashless Revolution that is all encompassing within the Clockenflap venue, but that's my personal choice while it's still possible to live analogue in an increasingly irritating digital domain. Anyway, absolutely no problems coming and going. Aside from trying to find fellow friends who work to their own internal clocks. I feel like it's a more "Summertime and the living is easy" experience rather than a warning from organisers not to "take the brown acid" and drown in a mud puddle.
Well. the time is now the time to turn up and dive headlong into Pond on the Harbourflap Stage. They Don't Disappoint! I first heard of them from their appearance on a stunning double CD called "The Wizards of Oz", released in 2015 by (The) Amorphous Androgynous who used to be better known as The Future Sound of London. Their contribution is a lysergic masterpiece of trippy noise and melody called "Fantastic Explosion of Time". Always hoped I would see them play here, especially after Tame Impala performed at the McPherson Stadium in 2016(?). Kevin Parker, who is basically Tame Impala, is mates with Pond and I believe at least 3 members of Pond were part of his touring group for that show. Their latest release (2017) is called "The Weather". The album credits reveal that Pond are Nicholas Allbrook, Jay Watson, Joe Ryan and Jamie Terry. The producer is Kevin Parker. It's not specified as to which member of the quartet does what.
Pond gets 45 minutes to show us their razzle-dazzle. They amble amiably on stage and basically just get the fuck on with what they do best. This is Super-Enhanced Pond, being as there are now 5 people in the band. They play, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. No idea who the new dude can be as there are no band introductions. All I can say is that the singer/partial rhythm guitarist is mesmerising to behold. He swoops and pirouettes. He sings his songs in an almost keening falsetto style at times. The other 4 lay down the beats and bloops and fantastic explosions of melodies and noise while their front man bobs, contorts and weaves without dropping a beat. At one point, he's right in front of me. He turns away from the crowd and contorts backwards until his head is midway down his body between his shoulders and pelvic region. I'm thinking how come his head appears to be upside down? Memorably disorienting for a moment until I focus on the full gymnastic gesture. If you can find a copy of a film called "The Last Exorcist: Part 2" starring actress Ashley Jensen(?), you'll see exactly what I mean.
Their 45-minute set feels like it's lasted about 3 minutes. Or maybe 6 hours with spacetime sensory overload. I'm not sure of all the set list, but they did play a song called "Paint It Silver" from the new album. I think they also played "30,000 Megatons". The singer also exclaims "Thank you - shizzle" and "Shit yeah - you lovely, lovely people". He dedicates 2 songs to someone called Karen. Meanwhile, the AA inspired video display is pulsating, vibrating blood like blobs glowing with lysergic intensity and rapidly phase shiftshaping. He says that being here is some "inspiring shit and (have you) seen the Cathay Pacific model with the (3) tentacles"? It seems to me to be borrowed from some old 60's black and white Sci-Fi movie (which name escapes me). There's a Kraken-giant squid combination that rises from the ocean depths to wreak havoc on passing schooners. It was a cheaply made film. Not quite a Poverty Row Z level effort, but the animator, the late maestro Ray Harryhausen, only had enough money to animate six tentacles!
Anyway, Pond have delivered a masterclass in musical, yet controlled, mayhem. The band are pleased as can be. They weren't sure if anyone would turn up and thank all of us "so fucking much" for being kind enough to attend. Here's an unbiased review from the lovely Laia. "Pond was insane, it really was vibey. It made me feel so incredible. I was drunk, but the psychedelia was amazing. The lead singer was so dope. He was incredible. I'd watch them again any day. Laia, xx"
Meanwhile, I've stumbled upon Lamma's finest children's clown. Take a bow Ciaran. He's performing a hysterically "dangerous" escapology act. A fine, funny tribute to Houdini. He's straitjacketed and chained up and spends a few minutes nonchalantly wriggling free of his bonds after appearing to struggle manfully to entertain the crowd. He's got a fake bloodstained blob up his noise and magnificent FX bruises stippling his skin. The kids loved it - especially when he ended up in nowt but his knickers.. Absolutely nothing in the show to put Mary Whitehouse and her odious companions in hysterical censorship. Hopefully, this hypocritical harridan is now dead. Her last big gig was failing to impede the Rise of the Video Nasties. Her moral censorship was much derided, although it did mean some of the best/worst videos (your choice, depending on your taste) were confined to brown bag buys from dodgy vendors up seedy back alleys, now the interweb reigns supreme.
Why has it taken me so long to get hip to the trip that is The Dandy Warhols? I know they featured in a DVD in the early Noughties called "Dig" where they went mano a mano with The Brian Jonestown Massacre's megalomanic leader Anton Newcombe. The Dandy's came out of with reputation enhanced. Anton was sectioned for a while, but his band never ended and he has regained a measure of respect for his 60's punkadelic sonic excursions. Anyway, the DW's turn in an equally enthralling entertaining set. Not quite so joyously cartoonish as Pond, but just as professionally exciting to savour. If you can get the 2 CD releases "Earth to the Dandy Warhols" (2008) and "Distortland" (2016), you'll get a fine sense of how great they sound. The 4 members are Courtney Taylor-Taylor on bass and vocals. Peter Holstrom on lead guitar and FX. Zia McCabe on gritty KORG keyboards and Brent DeBoer on drums and percussion. The b/w photograph that accompanies this article gives a fine sense of their excitement at performing. They do the basics right and cook up a whirling hellbroth of spidery sparse electronics running through buzzes and whirs and clicks like a malfunctioning Kraftwerk. This is married to powerpoppunky grooves right out of an 80"s playbook and afterthought vocals that seem lost in a drifty mazehaze. Some of the tunes are almost whimsically and gently headbanging folk excursions. The band are delighted to make their long awaited HK debut. I think Mike and Jane from Songs for Children tried to bring them here a long time ago. Mike was back here last w/end. A flying visit, but great to catch up. The two of them brought a lot of my dream bands to HK over the course of most of a decade. Bands like Dinosaur Jr., Jesus And Mary Chain, Slowdive and other exemplars of the early-mid 80's.
The Dandy Warhols have overlapped Temples by abut 15 minutes. I was happy to hear that they were booked for Clockenflap. but I found that they weren't as good as I wanted. Quite fey to start with, but they hit their stride later with some muscular renditions of songs from their debut release "Sun Structures". The TThe deluxe 2-CD version has a psychedelic remix by Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve which is worth the price of admission on its own. As I said, they got better as the set progressed, but I wasn't all there with them. Glad to have seen them, but they rate 3rd on today's approval rating. Temples are Thomas Warmsley, Adam Smith, James Bagshaw and Samuel Toms. Again no mention of who plays what. And, I'm in a bit of a rush to wind this story up as Dan has to catch a ferry in a bit. So Massive Attack as the Sunday headliners. Ecstatic crowd. They played all the hits. Horace Andy was on hand to do his collaberations with them. So was some funky plump lady who looked like one of the lions outside HKSB HQ in Central on the BLACK-WHITE video screen. Which had been in colour before. This is the third Festival this has happened and it's irritating. I left early to get the 2230 ferry home.
One final thing to ponder: Apparently, Banksy is meant to be 3D from Massive Attack, but not confirmed yet. Enquiring minds want to know.
|Author:||Lamma-Gung [ Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:07 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Clockenflap 2017 ~ by Nick the Bookman|
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