Rockit 2005

Hong Kong's Rockit Music Festival just on in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay. Though only a couple of international bands this year (one a rapper with band - Princess Superstar; the other UK rock group Feeder), still a fun weekend - tho dunno if the bureaucrats-that-be may be persuaded that's a good thing, and this can be an asset to HK, deserving some support.

Here are some photos, also some guff re the event. 

 

Rockit Music Festival, Saturday 12 November 2005 

There were pigeons just outside the ticket office - maybe out to scare the paranoid, or to tempt the unwary into feeding them crumbs ("Oi - you're fined 1500 dollars!"). 

Lamma band Nude were soon on the main stage, belting out some fine afro-funk.

 

Headed over to beer booth, where it seemed price had jumped, size had shrunk for a "cup" of beer: HK$40 for this. (Change with switcth to Heineken as sponsor?) Better to buy jugs, then. No wine, alco-pops or whatever for anyone wanting alternative booze: you can have any kind of alcoholic drink you want as long as it's beer (and Heineken at that). 

 

Water not cheap either, at HK$20 for tiddly bottle.

Ah well, so much for any notions of drinking gallons of ale and/or water. Best to just chill out and enjoy the afternoon. 

Over in the marquee, the Shotgun She-ras played some kind of cow girl rock (including "Nine to Five"). (Just the kind of band you'd expect to find in Hong Kong - Not!)

 

Seemed they'd found their drummer in a greasy truck stop, and he'd learned his technique from Animal (of the Muppets; in turn based on Keith Moon), but he belted out a beat and had fun, while the three girls looked real serious, concentrating on makin music for y'all (crowd had fun; good set).

Drum prodigy James Campion (14yrs old) played briefly on main stage; he'd won a competition, inc for banging drum 840 ties in a minute. Bet he was a load of fun as a toddler.

 

Some folk didn't seem too bothered about the music, just tossing balls up.

 

While nearby others twirled coloured ribbons - maybe if keep practising, next year we'll have drum majorettes (yippee!).

 

Popular Hong Kong band Soler took the main stage. Bit like a boy band, but they could sing n play, had some good songs - no matter what you might figure from expression on security chap's face.

Ghost Style soon in marquee; mainly a bloke with a hat on back to front, singing to backing tracks - as far as I could see; didn't stay long.

Local heat of World Battle of the Bands winner Qiu Hong then hit the main stage. Loud. And, err, well, they were loud. And mentioned some stuff about democracy, big march starting here in Victoria Park back in 2003.

Back to the marquee, for Hardpack - formed, I'd read in the paper, by ex-member(s) of King Ly Chee, who were noisy but entertaining at Rockit last year. Hardpack noisy too, but quiet bits, varied - with strong punk influence.

It seemed the band enjoyed the set - especially the dodgy looking drummer bloke, with purple mohican hair, and arms covered in tattoos: he yelled stuff in English, including about making lots of noise coz marquee's as good as the main stage.

 

Soon after came the scary part of the night, as the dodgy drummer bloke tried kidnapping my son. (Actually, he was telling me he's the one from King Ly Chee, reckons playing music should be fun; seemed a decent chap - and if only he'd had a chat with Cooper Temple Clause last year, told them about music being fun.)

Anyways, don't you go worrying about young David - for next up, he was surrounded by groupies. (Huh! - and I've been to many a rock gig, and do you know how many groupies have surrounded me? [goes off for quiet sob... Smiley])

And so, to the main stage for the day's main act. Should have been Brian Jonestown Massacre - but, well, we'd heard lead singer cum musical prodigy cum bonkers bloke can be unpredictable, and he'd just gotten pneumonia, so Rockit organisers must've had a real fun time getting replacement act.

 

They'd found Princess Superstar (Princess who? I wondered on reading of her in paper this morning; answered at this link, plus at The Princess Brood article, where rather hot n excited interviewer describes her as "nymphomaniac raunch-rap queen"). Seems band agreed to come at real short notice, with some members flying out from New York, others from London; yet if they played a tight set - Princess a stong performer, and had an exellent trio of musicians.

 

 

The Princess had a succession of outfits - making her show like a rap cabaret. Didn't pick up on all lyrics, but some stuff about some kind of electronic alter ego with delusions of grandeur, also one about baby sitter (It's great to get paid while you're getting laid). Had, too, videos on screen behind, sometimes with lyrics appearing, other times images.

 

 

 

She even had an outfit that would surely make Melvis jealous.

Anyways, an enjoyable set; Rockit folk must be relieved the last minute replacement worked out ok (and none of the tantrums of first year's replacement act).

 

So there we were, early on a Saturday evening, enjoying music in a park amidst the city - a good atmosphere among the crowd (as at past Rockits), and maybe even helping nurture local talent. You'd think a "World City" would welcome such an event - especially since not draining public purse; not spending tens of millions of Hong Kong dollars on subsidising a few people to see major bands play in the city, whilst helping make some rich rock stars even richer (and making a video that was to be seen by zillions, but somehow has been little discussed of late).

And yet, word near the mosh pits was that the Hong Kong government has hardly been encouraging: maybe even hoping Rockit would just pack up and go away - done two events, that's surely enough boys, why bother making this annual?

While as for the Hong Kong Tourism Board: not an iota of help. Too busy focusing on promoting shopping and dining; and no Gucci handbags on sale here in the park - just people having a good time. (Had a post to even this outdoors site lately, from guy about to visit HK, asking about independent music venues - how many more tourists might be interested?)

Bah, bureaucrats, doncha just love em!

Ah well, day two starting soon; more musical fun in store.
{mos_sb_discuss:6}

{mospagebreak title=Rockit 2005 day two}

Rockit Music Festival, Sunday 13 November 2005

Soon after ambling into the park, heard noise from the marquee, and headed over to investigate.

Local band Helter Skelter were on, playing some belting rhythm and blues. 

Two lead guitarists - this one singing, other focused on being guitar hero; plus pounding bass and drums.

Not everyone was up to making it as far as the marquee; many folk having a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Music soon came to the lazy folk, with Thierry Nkeli Faha. West African, but somehow curiously flat - maybe as only three guys playing.

Odd during the set: a hairy guy in a big hat, lurking around the stage with a video camera. One of the Channel V crew, or some kind of arty novelty act? The programme doesn't tell us.

 

Off to one side was non-musical fun, including skipping for kids. Rather seemed the Channel V veejays who were announcing bands were shouting at kids - "This is a rock and roll band!" ... "The band's about to start, so come over here on the grass" ... "We're recording today for Channel V so make some noise everybody!" etc. 

 

Not that grown-ups need worry, for there was adult entertainment too, with chance for drinking beer on the grass.

 

 

And, of course, enjoying adult-oriented rock, including Audiotraffic in the marquee (after striding the main stage like demi-gods last year). Radiohead influence still showing. Indeed, they closed with Radiohead song about god loving his children. Top stuff.

 

 

Back on the main stage, The Academy. Happily, didn't do any songs starting "Young man! There's no need to feel down..."

Bizarre, sound-wise. Lead singer's sound just kept .... as if a lead wasn't properly connect.... All ok with monitors it seemed, so he just kept telling sound guys to turn it up. Anyways, good set, helped by sound being fine by the end of it.

I only popped into marquee briefly for Little Darlings; sounded a good band. 

 

And then, on the main stage, things went briefly pear-shaped. Dirt Star - some kind of Shenzhen showband? came on, dressed in suits of baking foil. Seemed their appeal was chiefly in being gweilos who can - shock! - speak Chinese, and tell silly jokes and sing songs including about Starbucks' Caramel Macchiato.

Well, not only your correspondent who wan't impressed. Finnish rock fans of Hong Kong (two at left) almost eradicated, and a couple of nearby blokes had faces contorted as if in a gurning contest.

So there we have it: Dirt Star. Crap name. Crap band. 

 

Woah! Next band in the tent looked scary - what with lead singer like zombified Iggy Pop, and rest of em hardly kitted out like the sort of young men you'd take round to your mum's for tea. 

But, they could play, they had good songs.

And the lead singer could sing, move around mawkishly using all fibres of his gangly frame (note skeletal make up on his body to boot), and interact with audience - chatting away in English. 

Then, to the main stage again - for the main event of the festival: Feeder. Yeah! 

Started strongly - just a handful of tracks in, had crowd leaping around to Buck Rogers; plenty more leaping about to be done, with some quieter moments too.

Good atmosphere near the front. 

 

Plenty of songs, from this year's Pushing the Senses, as well as Feeder's strong back catalogue.

 

 

Crowd plenty boisterous, having fun at the front.

Then, main stage had to close down (lest tender nearby residents complain re noise; after all, this is a city where old folks with small amplifiers banned from parks). Those who wanted to keep partying had to cram into the marquee.

I had little time for marquee - ferry home calling - but found it vairly bubbling, with ravey davey atmosphere during set by DJ Marky n Stamina MC. 

 

Outside, people were chilling out on the grass after another grand day out. Wonder if any of the bureaucrats who tried snaring Rockit in red tape, or HKTB people who haven't promoted it were among them? Ah well.

Here's hoping there's another Rockit next year - maybe with more locally oriented adverts (maybe ads for this year only in English?; were there articles in Chinese language media akin to those in S China Morning Post?). And, perhaps, in the meantime I'll get round to seeing some of the local bands again.

Thanks to Nick of Hong Kong Clubbing for giving me tiny printout of bands' schedule (turns out that also on some lucky draw tickets; but no schedule listings beside stages).

See also my pages on Rockit 2003 and 2004.

DocMartin

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