Tag Archives: festival

Clocks still flapping? Clockenflap 2012

4 Dec

One of the most frustrating things about living in Hong Kong for any length of time is the absolute paucity of good live music. I’m not talking about Hong Kong’s burgeoning local indie and rock scene – um, wherever that is – but world class bands and DJs.

clockenflap1

Enter Clockenflap 2012, a music and arts festival held on a scrap of disused land in West Kowloon. It is quite simply the only thing going on here, bar the odd club night and an occasional flying visit from a DJ with every ‘s’ in his moniker replaced by ‘z’. It started off life in 2008 in Cyberport – unfortunately not as cool as it sounds – with a mission to bring decent music to HK and provide a platform for local talent.

This year was the first to charge for entry and by all accounts was the busiest yet (Hong Kong-ers prefer the idea of paying for stuff). Even if the quality early doors left a bit to be desired, there were six stages, a film tent and several after-parties…which in my book is not a bad set-up at all.

Klaxons killed it on Sunday, De La Soul were surprise hit of the weekend and Primal Scream just about made it to the end without collapsing or forgetting where they were. And Black Bart DJs – bedecked in neon-coloured Native American headwear – were as understated as ever.

With a backdrop like Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, there’s not much that can go wrong. Cheap-ish beer, decent food and some heroically skimpy festival attire (female) ensured the weekend passed by in a blur of alcohol, terrible dancing and bumping into things. The bankers-on-their-day-off vibe (you wouldn’t see expensive red wine being glugged at T in the Park), the massive queue for the bogs, and the unfathomably risk averse security staff who took offense to any shoulder-climbing, just added to the charm.

Can’t wait to flap our clocks in 2013. I’ll see you down the front, yeah?

Sonic Mania desu!

20 Aug

sonic mania shotWhat do you get if you stick several world-class electro DJs in a gigantic conference centre, fill it with 20,000 crazy Japanese yoofs and fill each one of them with far too much booze? SONIC MANIA DESU! Saikooooo!

Never having been to a Japanese festival or even club night before, I was slightly dreading this all-nighter in the Tokyo suburbs. It certainly was an evening full of surprises. Just 690 Yen and 38 minutes from Tokyo Station, Makuhari Messe is a beast of a building about the size of three Earl’s Courts. More commonly home to Japanese Jeremy Clarkson wannabes at the capital’s auto-shows, the venue did not look particularly appealing for a gig, but actually a storming sound system and up-for-it crowd made it feel more like Alexandra Palace on a good night.

I think the idea was the best of Japanese + the best of international musics, so true to form we eschewed the local stuff and focused on those old favourites Soulwax/2ManyDJs and Basement Jaxx. Despite some dodgy Japanese MC-ing, the latter were actually pretty good – the Noodle not being a fan of their own tunes. Sadly there was no time to haul ourselves to see other promising French electro music-makers like Surkin, Para One and Madeon – the Messe being a victim of its own size.

So. Highlights of the night? A man staggering through the crowd at 2ManyDJs with a half-eaten bowl of udon; a massive queue at every bar which, true to form, was almost non-existent by about midnight; being able to see over most heads to the stage; a sea of bodies asleep on the tarmac by 4am, brutalised by too much Asahi and fried octopus balls…

So was it Manic? Well, once the initial euphoria had passed and we realised the most dangerous thing we could do there was smoke a contraband cigarette and get largered, yeah, it was a bit. You know how you’ll always get a token couple of Japanese girls at any club in London, dancing badly, looking bored? Well, here there are thousands of them and they’re bloody loving every minute.

For the sheer balls-out, pissed-up, good natured crowd, shamefully nice food and wicked music, Sonic Mania, I salute thee! Kampai…