Monday, December 20, 2010

Music Monday: Hong Kong Hardcore!

This is one of my most exciting Music Mondays yet! At least it is to me. I'm totally ditching my Christmas theme because the most exciting thing happened! Ready for it? I WENT TO AN ASIAN HARDCORE/METAL SHOW!

See? Isn't that thrillingly stunning? Of course, I have to share my enthusiasm with you all, even you metal-haters.

Before I even left the States I had searched for Hong Kong metalcore bands. I ran across King Ly Chee, a hardcore punk but a bit metal-inspired band. I liked their music a lot and thought I'd check them out when I got to Hong Kong. When I arrived, they were on tour and were playing in Korea or something like that. I didn't see any shows listed anytime soon, so I kind of forgot about it.

Just the other day I was thinking about how much I missed going to shows. Last year I went to around ten, and here I hadn't gone to any in seven months. Pretty sad. On Friday night, I randomly decided to look them up again and saw that they had a show on Saturday, the next day! Unfortunately, I had planned to go the movies with some friends. I called one up and apologized for ditching them. I felt a bit bad, but then again, I hadn't gone to a show in seven months and I didn't know when they'd have another one. They said on their site that they don't really like doing Hong Kong shows. I also messaged Hamish, the only person I know in Hong Kong who kind of likes this kind of music, and asked if he wanted to go too, but he had to come a bit late.

I had to work on Saturday, of course, but I got off work at six thirty. As soon as I was done, I rushed over to the MTR station. I didn't even have time to eat dinner! The show was in an old factory building in San Po Kong. I had trouble finding the entrance, but saw a bunch of people dressed in black going in this small entrance. Bingo.

There weren't many people there at first, and I stood there for a long time, waiting for the show to start. It was really odd at first, because the back became super crowded, but there was this HUGE space in between the people and the stage. It's like no one wanted to get anywhere close to the stage. The first band, Protoss, asked everyone to move forward, and they grudgingly agreed, still leaving a very large space up front. I didn't really want to stand in front, since I stand out enough anyway, but I felt bad that no one was moving forward so I ended up at the front on the side.

I really liked the first band, Protoss, an all-Cantonese metalcore band. I really enjoyed their sound, but the crowd was pretty sucky. They all just stood there with a bit of head-bobbing. I did a bit of head-banging and stuff, but it's weird when you're the only one. I was missing Rosey, my concert buddy!

The next band was Shepherds the Weak. I liked them as well, and was quite happy that the crowd picked up. There was even some moshing and dancing and running a circle pit. I felt much more uninhibited in my dancing. I really like that there was much more pure dancing/headbanging than at most of the shows I went to in the US. There was always some, but not too many people. The last show I went to, As I Lay Dying and Demon Hunter, me and Rosey and a couple other guys were all in a line dancing, but not many others were. Yeah hardcore dancing!

Hamish showed up in between sets so that was cool. He had a nice video camera with him, so that prevented him from joining in too much of the festivities, sad day. The next band was a post-hardcore band of Westerners (English!) called This Is Ammunition. I had listened to them before the show and liked the brief listen, but it didn't transfer as well into a live show. It's not like they were bad or anything, but they had several strikes against them. First, similarly to bands like As Cities Burn, they just sound better in a recording. Secondly, their music is not as easy to rock out to as metal. Finally, they're a newer band with not quite the same fan following as the others. Still, they were fun too.

THEN....King Ly Chee. This band has been around for a long time, like ten years or something. They're supposedly the founder of the Hong Kong underground hardcore scene. They're also really into activism and social change, so that's pretty awesome. They're also funny. Their lead singer, Riz, went into a long rant about Canto (Cantonese) pop which is the dominant music genre over here. During the whole show he kept going in and out of English and Cantonese. It was pretty funny because sometimes he'd switch in the middle of a sentence and never translate the rest. So he'd say stuff like, "Do you know why there are all these names on the stage?" Then he'd switch to Canto so I'd just make up my own version of why there were names on the stage. Fun times.

King Ly Chee was definitely good. They'd better be, considering how long they've been a band. :) The crowd really got into it, especially towards the end, which made it really fun. During a couple of the songs, people were just going insane. I liked that it wasn't as intimidating as US shows, since the guys were smaller, on average. Not that I'm saying that all Asians guys are small; definitely not. BUT it is true that they were mostly my size, a bit smaller, or a bit bigger. Not too bad. Even though I love US shows, I do try to stay away from the really big guys. Even at this show, there were a couple of Western guys there who joined in at the very end of the show and I was trying to stay out of their way. I said I wasn't going to mosh or anything, but it seems much safer than the last time I did it, so I might have done it a little bit. Just a little.

Since Hamish had his video camera handy, he taped a bit of the show. If you've ever wondered what goes on at such shows or why I'm so addicted to shows, then have a look. Of course, it's pretty hard to get the feel through watching, but maybe you'll get a glimpse of the incredible energy that goes on at shows. SO awesome.
Here's something wonderful called a circle pit. I don't always get in them, since they're hard to get out of and can turn a bit violent, but they didn't seem bad at this show.
And here's a bit of the fun/dancing.

Anyway, my neck's sore and I have this strange welt on the back of my leg (how in the world did that happen on my calf?), but it's all worth it. Hopefully I'll get to go to a couple more of these shows. There's supposed to be one next month...


  1. wow, laura, that circle pit looks REALLY fun! It makes me even want to go to a concert! I do like the draw of the energy so I would go for that if nothing else.

  2. See? That's why it's so addicting! :)

  3. I have to admit that I'm way more sedate than your standard metalcore fan. :-/ But I have only been to one true concert in the US, so there's always time for me to up the ante!


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