Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 1 :: Clockenflap

A couple of months ago, we promised our friends to visit them in Hong Kong at some point. It might as well coincide with Clockenflap. The first outdoor indie music festival held over 2 days at a beautiful venue. It's grown from strength to strength, but this year, the focus is on music more so than film and art installations. It isn't a Glastonbury or Coachella or a Reading. No matter, Hong Kong should enjoy it for the next three decades before the political system changes.

I like how they sorted out the matter of the tickets. It's a free event, but registration was necessary, and the download of a printed ticket or a copy in your phone was essential to gaining entry as the door lines scan the QR code on the copy of the ticket with your name, and a photo ID. The organizers were pretty anal about matching the names to the tickets.

The venue at West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade boasts a splendid view of the Hong Kong skyline across the Victoria Harbor. Apparently this space is earmarked for the building of an arts complex. So this space might as well be utilized now. The beautiful blue of the cloudless sky meant a sunny day with a to-die-for 15-degrees celsius temperature.

Dentist and frontman of pop rock 'Hungry Ghosts'Luke Chow has taken a sort of sabbatical from the full-time job to devote a couple of months to his art, and took the stage with a bassist on the acoustic stage for some grooving. English singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich set the mellow mood for the afternoon.

'9 Maps' at The People's Party Stage.

There were good bands, and there were really bad out-of-tune bands- foreign and local alike. I enjoyed 'Poubelle International' and '9 Maps' quite a bit. They were tight and pretty good. I came to satisfy my curiosity about the indie scene in Hong Kong, and it's really cool to see the tunes produced.

Those portaloos had attendants periodically wiping down and cleaning throughout. It made heading in there less of a nightmare. However, I'm really unhappy with the ONE choice of beer (San Miguel), and for people who want to stay and party on throughout, the food is spectacularly crappy- long queues of at least 40 minutes for the cold half-cooked burgers, with falafels and pita running out always, horrid siew mai and fishballs. Lousy hot drinks. Organizers shouldn't disallow 'outside' food when the quality of the food available was questionable, and the worst bit, the stalls' stoves broke down and they ran out of food, leaving on burgers. Let's just say that there was nothing for me to eat. A hungry imp is an angry imp.

I didn't really care about the electronic pop and DJ sets. Oops. Sorry lah, not in the mood to be dancing like a robot. There were films too. But let's just say the films were disappointing. More attention could have been paid to the film tent programme, even though it's Vincent Moon who helmed the films and the Q & A session. As the sun set, the wind rose and the temperatures plummeted. Luckily we brought sweaters, so when it went down to a merry 10 degrees celsius, we were well insulated.

'The Pains of Being Pure at Heart' at The Harbour Flap Stage.

Granted, the set-up of amps and speakers wasn't as fantabulous because it would involve alot more money and this festival wouldn't have half a million dollars to spend on the main stage. It did make the not-so-tight bands sound poorly. 'The Pains of Being Pure At Heart' sounded so much better when heard on a cd. They were really messy during their set.

It's just a tad annoying because even though the parklands are meant to be smoke-free, everyone lit up everywhere, even in the midst of the crowds during a gig. Kinda annoying to have smoke blow straight into my face in the middle of my face. At least it's an open-air venue. Oh, I definitely smelt weed in the air. Unmistakable. Ahhhhh. I even saw the humans smoking it!

When night fell and we were hungry and cold, the only thing that kept us standing was 'Bombay Bicycle Club', and watching the total lunar eclipse that was startling clear in the dark parklands. The band didn't disappoint. Playing to the magical lunar eclipse right above the stage, the band compensated for the sound, and showed us exactly how tight the band is. Jack Steadman's powerful voice held true. They're an amazing live band.

Headliner 'Bombay Bicycle Club' at (main) The Harbour Flap Stage.

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