Thrash Hits

March 13th, 2013

Live: Fucked Up, Gallows, + Fanzui Xiangfa @ Hong Kong Hidden Agenda – 07 March 2013

Fucked Up promo photo 300px Thrash Hits

So it’d be fair to say that Thrash Hits isn’t just a fairly UK-centric kind of website most of the time, but also a fairly London-centric UK-centric kind of website a damn near awful lot of the time. Huh. We figured we ought to do something about that. Which is why we called upon our man out in the far east, Tom Gibbons, to venture out to catch Fucked UpGallows, and Beijing-based Fanzui Xiangfa when they rolled into Hong Kong. Yes, Hong Kong in the People’s Republic of China.

Six things we learnt watching punk rock in Hong Kong:

1) Hidden Agenda is a 300-capacity venue above an old car workshop, in the middle of a Triad industrial estate in Kowloon. Since opening just a few years ago, it has attracted western alternative bands to visit Hong Kong for the first time, including Gallows. A rickety elevator takes you to the second floor, where the walls are plastered in graffiti and the low ceiling compresses a dense fog of cigarette smoke.

2) Openers Fanzui Xiangfa have come down from Beijing to begin proceedings, and while they wield the collective stage presence of a timid shrew, their catchy punk songs might be worth hunting down on whatever permitting Chinese music website (or on Facebook).

3) Let’s get this out of the way: Gallows take the stage as a four-piece following the recent departure of guitarist Steph Carter, and his missing guitar parts take the bite out of fan favorites from Orchestra of Wolves, Grey Britain and Gallows. Will they recruit another guitarist? Should Wade strap on an axe for a couple of songs? They don’t absolutely need another guitar, but the heavier bits aren’t as heavy, and overall the difference is noticeable enough (certainly to fans of the band), and especially in contrast to Fucked Up’s three guitarists.

Fucked Up Gallows live in Hong Kong poster Thrash Hits

The gig poster – if checking out that kind of thing’s what you’re into.

4) Wade McNeil jumping into the crowd and charging a group of small Chinese teenage girls like a hairy rhino, and then screaming in their faces is, well, awesome. He is, quite frankly, a fucking excellent front-man, and his performance is superb. Wade hauls a fan up on stage, instructs him to sing ‘In The Belly of a Shark’ in its entirety, then casually sips coke from the side of the stage as the crowd goes bananas.

5) Tonight is mostly about beards. Laurent Barnard now has an even meatier beard than Wade when it comes to Gallows’ facial hair, but neither holds a flame to Damian Abraham’s chin girth (Warning: never actually hold a flame to a beard, kids). The Fucked Up vocalist looms up on stage like a troll among hobbits, semi-naked and deranged, but somehow also charming and cuddly.

6) Fucked Up’s sound is a tad saturated tonight, what with all the guitars, but who cares when you’ve got another fantastic front man running the party? The venue and bands give it an old-school vibe tonight, and to wrap up both the night and the tour, Wade McNeil joins Fucked Up onstage, cue bedlam. Just look at his post-show tweets:

 

 

Hopefully the relative success of tonight will bring more good bands over here and to other cities in Asia.


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