by Adam Wright
Whence they come again
Ask members of any local indie band who inspired them to start making music and chances are one of two Hong Kong outfits will be listed among their influences - Uncle Joe and Whence He Came.
Whence He Came had a particularly strong influence on the local emo movement. After they broke up a few years ago, several members formed the Lovesong, who went on to achieve bigger and better things - including releasing some acclaimed recordings and opening for Nine Inch Nails.
It's been a while since Whence He Came performed live, which is why there is considerable interest in their reunion show on January 2 at The Vine, located at 2/F Two Chinachem Plaza at 135 Des Voeux Road, Central. It's the full original lineup, and they'll be supported by the Lovesong and the excellent 22Cats. Tickets at the door will cost HK$100.
The past 18 months have seen a seemingly endless influx of top bands coming down from the capital for the 'Beijing Explosion' live shows, and it seems the series is now, well, really exploding.
Visits by acts including New Pants, Hedgehog and Banana Monkey must have whetted the appetite of local audiences for quirky, guitar-driven sounds from up north because early in the New Year we'll be treated to a two-night extravaganza of quality Beijing rock.
First up is the Gar, who'll be headlining the first night of the latest Beijing Explosion show on January 9.
In Chinese their name apparently sounds like the sound of a screaming horse, and they make no bones about not being very good musicians, but they share the same kind of passion that has endeared previous Beijing Explosion performers to local audiences.
On day two, the awesomely named Casino Demon (left) will be heading the final night of the latest chapter of the tour.
They've been described as the mainland's Arctic Monkeys and cite influences such as the Strokes, the Libertines and Arcade Fire, and by all accounts they put on an excellent live show.
It's going to be a huge weekend at the Fringe Club in Central, and tickets cost HK$160 (advance), HK$180 (at the door), or HK$250 (for a two-day ticket).
Vodka and volume
The Vodka Bar on Old Bailey Street in Central has been hosting some superb alternative music nights, including events focusing on dub and reggae, and we can't understand why they aren't more popular.
Hopefully there'll be better turnouts at their latest foray, a night of indie music titled IN2IND, which is making its second appearance early in the New Year.
Bars offering indie music are few and far between in the city, and if you fancy a bit of Arcade Fire and Bloc Party with your vodka, you know where to head on January 10. Entry is free.