Live at the Underground… Hmmm… I think they could use a better name. Let me know what you come up with.
So, I had the chance to meet one of my favorite individuals out in Lan Kwai Fong the other night and it was with perfect timing that we found each other outside of Stormies with big smiles, if a slight deficit in the energy department on behalf of us both. This is my official “WOO WOO” to Rob… “Fun Bobby” as it were, my ABSOLUTE favorite pilot who flies for Cathay, and definitely one of my top two favorite pilots of all time.
Every time I meet Rob in HKG cool things happen. I don’t always know what that might entail… maybe extra pitchers of Top Shelf margaritas… maybe gyros and eighties cover bands in Wan Chai… maybe, as in this case, some SE Asian food in Rat Alley and then some live, ummm… music.
After a quick and easy… meal (come on, what else do you want to be quick AND easy?) we headed over to The Edge because I had received a text message from a Hong Kong acquaintance that his “band” would be playing at a local music show that night. This acquaintance, named Nick, has a band called SPODAC. And yes, you should be frightened by the name. It is a band comprised of teachers from The Chinese International School. Suffice it to say I do not think they teach music. Silly me, I assumed they were the first band since, well, I don’t know why I assumed it, but when we arrived fashionably late and saw them we were told that they were not on until 11:30. It was 9:15.
Who rocks the house that rocks the house? Duh. We do.
Dilemma #1: Should we stay or should we go?
There was a cover charge after all, and like the total gentleman [and well-paid] pilot that he is, Rob had paid our entry, which included a drink. So, logic would dictate that we stay. Right? We got our Asahi’s (there was no choice in the drink included in the cover charge, which I find a little odd, but it did simplify that decision.) There were not many seats since the place is/was arranged for a show, so we looked around and found a table off of stage left (or is it right, I am ever sure if you are supposed to indicate that direction from the perspective of being on the stage or looking at the stage.) Either way, we off on one side. Comfortable seats and a table and surrounded by Chinese people. I mention this only because I was thinking that this would be sort of a showcase of Western bands (clearly not like Country and Western, like white) since the aforementioned SPODAC was as such. Not exactly.
After the first guy (a solo dude) finished, the next band started getting ready to take the stage. There seemed to be a lot of technical difficulties and the members of the band kept getting set and then leaving the stage. It was kind of manic. But I had had a few beers, so maybe I was just slow.
Eventually they got it going and here was MENTAL VEHICLE. The majority (I think all but one) of their songs were in Cantonese. They had a huge following. It seemed like everyone there was there to see them. They were hilarious. And I mean that in an entirely positive way. The lead singer had a bunch of bananas, an air horn, and a British accent to his English. They all had really cool t-shirts. The musicians in this band are solid; their influences are, um, maybe The OC, Seoul Rock, Classic Cheesy Metal… I am not sure. At one point they all switched spots… like the guitarist was playing the keyboards, the drummer on bass, etc. I am actually not all that clear who went where, but a joke about a Chinese Fire Drill came to mind.
This is the best looking kid I have seen in Hong Kong. Oh, and he can play the guitar pretty well too.
That lead singer was pretty funny. And on purpose so it is okay to say so.
They like them. They really, REALLY like them.
At the end of the set I got my second favorite quote of the evening… “Uh. We are finished.” Sweet.
And then Rob decided he had to get a shirt.
Dilemma #2: You can take your hat, er… I mean shirt, off!
After THE VEHICLE finished Rob and I were sort of reveling in our Godfather-like positions in the club and feeling pretty damn cool. Or at least I was, I realize I am speaking for Rob, which is odd since he will read this. [Hope I am getting it right, send corrections to www.get_off_me_about_the_details.hk] The next thing we know this woman with a big old camera comes up to us and says “Can I take your photo?” Being so fabulous and used to the attention of the paparazzi, we were suitably non-plussed and simply asked what publication she represented. She must have answered our clueless asses like ten times, “BC MAGAZINE!!!” Finally we were like, “Oh, BC Magazine.” As if we actually had some idea as to what it was. Turns out they are mentioned in the Lonely Planet and they have a website so I will have tocheck it out.
These are members of the Vehicle.
Keyboard player in blazer with shirt.
Yeah, yeah… more pictures… Do I know you?
As soon we were done being immortalized in BC Magazine (or so we hope, I am all over it trying to find that thing…) the band was coming over to where we were seated because, well because like I said we were seated in the coolest part of the club. Rob got the attention of the lead singer and asked if he could get a shirt. Then the keyboard player, also wearing one of the shirts under his purposefully stylish blazer asked what size, and there was some discussion of this matter. The next thing I know, the blazer-keyboard guy is running away. The BC Magazine lady is snapping away and Rob got himself into at least a couple of the band photos. Then the blazer-keyboard guy comes back. And he is wearing the blazer but not the shirt. He hands the shirt to Rob.
The shirt off his freaking back.
It doesn’t get a lot better than that.
Keyboard player w/o shirt and the new Member.
And then my favorite quote of the evening, delivered to Rob who had put the shirt on… “Now you are a MEMBER OF THE VEHICLE.”
Also, the lead singer did tell me not to smell Rob, since he would not vouch for the freshness of the shirt. Only Rob will ever tell if I sniffed him or not.
We were now like THE coolest gweilos in the joint FOR SURE.
Then the next band was getting ready. This was another Chinese band can they are called Chochukmo. They pretty much rock. We decided that this would be a band we would go see on purpose. It was helpful that they sang in English, but again, solid musicians and they straight rocked the house. It turns out a large majority of the people there were actually there to see this band. They finished with a special guest from another band that I clearly have never heard of, but they brought the place down.
Chochukmo Rocks. Duuude.
Stage diving rocks even more. Duuuuuuuuude.
And all the girls say, pretty fly for a … little guy.
Chicks that play bass are cool. I especially appreciate the matching tights and guitar.
Rob pointed out that this was going to be a lot for SPODAC to follow. True.
Dilemma #3: Don’t quit your day job.
The lead singer of Chochukmo sat with us as Spodac took to the stage. The lead singer of Spodac gave us a little nod, which seemed due, as we were there to see them after all. Rob provided a few “Spodac Rocks!” to the audio vibe. But really, they don’t so much. Nick was wearing this beanie that was an interesting look. I am partial to the MV T-shirt uniform, but whatever.
You know how some lead singers are big talkers (Bono or Bruce Springsteen come to mind) and then there are lead singers who NEVER talk (think Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir.) Well, it seems clear if you are going to be a talker, you should have something to say. Beyond “Can I get another shout out for the Edge?” Or, “I know I already said this but can we hear it for The Edge and local music?” I don’t know if Jerry and Bobby ever had anything to say aside from “We’ll be back in just a little while” or not, but at least they never made me want to get up there and help them out.
I have no verification of this, but I am pretty sure the Chinese audience was totally mocking them. You be the judge.
Hmm… pretty giddy for a Power Ballad, wouldn’t you say?
I am not sure they are getting the “spodac” vibe.
After Spodac ended their set with something called, I think ‘Scaffold,’ (which in a Hong Kong context could be really great… but I don’t know what they said so I can’t tell you if it was) a “power ballad,” Nick came over to thank us for coming. What to say? Thank you Rob for coming in with, “Hey, what happened to your beanie?”
And then we were done… we may return you never know.
After all, we are famous now.
We are in the Vehicle.