Wild bunch lined up for first 'indie' showcase

WHEN it comes to showcase rock festivals featuring independent bands, Britain has Reading and Glastonbury, the United States has Lollapalooza, and Hong Kong has . . . well, so far Hong Kong has had zip.

But, come September 3 and 4, the territory will at last stage its own, albeit modest, festival dedicated to bands that normally trail way behind mainstream acts in the popularity stakes.

The Hong Kong International Independent Festival '93 will see more than a dozen different performers taking to the stage at Kowloon's Ko Shan Theatre. Although the majority are from Hong Kong, there will also be three leading Japanese indie acts.

The best known is alternative artist Tenko, a woman whose refusal to conform to the traditional stereotype of demure Japanese womanhood first won her a following in New York in the mid-1980s.

Joining her will be composer-promoter Otomo Yoshihide and the intriguing-sounding group The Gerogerigegege, a bunch with a reputation for appearing in S & M bars.

Hong Kong's representatives may be a little less provocative, but they represent the best of the alternative scene. Independent stalwarts such as AMK, Third Party and Endeavour are predictable entries, but the presence of former Tat Ming Pair guitarist-writer Tats Lau lends the lineup broader commercial appeal.


The storming angry young men of HUH?! are also on the bill, while another recent success story, Andy Ingkavet and Hot Sauce, will offer more mainstream content.

''We have always tried to do something with independent music in Hong Kong,'' said Mable Au-yeung, marketing manager with Sound Factory, which is co-promoting the festival with Youth's Weekly magazine.

''We are also promoters of independent music here, so it made sense,'' she said. ''This is just the beginning, but we hope to do it every year.

''We only came up with the idea a few months ago, in May. At that time we hoped to be able to bring groups from Taiwan, China and even England, but the budget limitations meant we had to cut some.


''But this is the first year, and planning started late, so we hope next year will be more advanced.'' Ms Au-yeung admitted that due to the ''thin'' market for independent music in Hong Kong, Sound Factory was not even sure it could sell out the 1,000-capacity Ko Shan Theatre for both nights.

''There has never been anything like this in Hong Kong, and a lot of people have been hoping to do it,'' she said. ''Last November we tried to bring 4AD [the popular UK-based indie record label] for an exhibition, but when we tried to book the Arts Centre they said they were booked up until the end of this year.


''But we are a record company and we know a lot more overseas distributors are looking seriously at Asia. If this works, hopefully the interest will increase.'' The lineup for September 3 is: AMK and special guest, Third Party, Andy Ingkavet and Hot Sauce, HUH?!, Tenko and Otomo Yoshihide.

September 4: Xper.xr and Gerogerigegege, Dancing Stone, Endeavour, Old and New Things, Tats Lau and friends, Xper.xr with Otomo Yoshihide, Tenko, Simon Hui, Nelson Hiu and Tats Lau. Tickets ($80 and $100 with a 20 per cent discount if you buy tickets forboth nights, and 50 per cent discount for students) are available at URBTIX outlets and selected record shops.