Clockenflap: the best things to catch on the third day
From rock and pop to hip hop and dance, here are the acts you shouldn’t miss on the final day of this year’s festival
Shaolin Fez (1.45pm): joining Clockenflap for the second time are one of Hong Kong’s most impressive and steadfast local outfits. This 14-piece “mini-orchestra” is led by Hong Kong Philharmonic bassist Samuel Ferrer and features singer Jennifer Palor, HK Philharmonic concertmaster-violinist Jing Wang, and principal French horn player Russell Bonifede. Shaolin Fez are a great representation of Hong Kong at its best – eclectic, unique and energetic.
SOAK (4.15pm): Irish singer-songerwriter and guitarist Bridie Monds-Watson, better known as SOAK, is only 19, but she’s already highly regarded by critics for her delicate, simple and introspective songs. She recently appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts and The Guardian described her debut album as “a vivid portrait of teenage deep-thinking”. Fans of The xx, Björk and Sigur Rós will lap up Monds-Watson.
Nouvelle Vague (5.30pm): this French collective have elevated cover music into an art form. Although Nouvelle Vague don’t write their own music, their cover songs – which range from Joy Division to Depeche Mode to the Violent Femmes – have their distinctive sultry bossa nova sound stamped all over them; every Nouvelle Vague song sounds like a Mad Men dream sequence. Their set is sure to be Clockenflap’s chillest and most, well, French.
Chic featuring Nile Rogers (7.30pm): disco icon Nile Rogers is back at Clockenflap this year for (hopefully) a reprise of his jubilant 2013 performance. Rogers and his band offer everything a festival needs: infectious energy, a parade of recognisable hits and a feel-good attitude. Show up in your dancing shoes.
New Order (9.30pm): is there a more epic opening than the soaring guitar chords of Regret? Maybe the kick-drum lead of Blue Monday? Is there any band better at making an audience feel things than New Order? Years go by, but their talent and appeal never age. New Order’s appearance at Clockenflap is a real coup for the festival, prophesying big things for the future. Watch out, Hong Kong.
Shugo Tokumaru (3.30pm): in a land of twee, Tokumaru is Japan’s twee-est singer-songwriter. That’s no small feat – Tokumaru epitomises the mystical, magical quality of Japan’s best artistic traditions. His music (listen to Rum Hee for starters) is the aural equivalent of a Miyazaki movie, a Murakami novel or a Yoshitomo Nara picture – at once sophisticated and adorable. Revel in the kawaii.
Songhoy Blues (4.45pm): few countries have contemporary music traditions as robust and distinctive as Mali’s – think of Amadou & Mariam, Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré and Tinariwen. Then add Songhoy Blues to the list. This talented quartet combines the best of traditional North African instrumentals with a bluesy American bent. They’ve recently released an EP with the support of Damon Albarn (Blur) and Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), but they’re even better live.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (6pm): back at Clockenflap after their 2011 performance are these Brooklyn-based indie rockers. Their music is lush and rocking, if a little indie-generic. Imagine the love child of Belle & Sebastian and Yeah Yeah Yeahs and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Neon Indian (7.15pm): this Texan outfit burst onto the indie scene in 2010 with their debut album, Psychic Chasms, which (alongside contemporaries Tanlines, Washed Out, and M83) launched a great era of chillwave/synth-pop. Five years later, Neon Indian’s best hits, including Polish Girl, remain as charming as ever. Their set will be one of the festival’s surest bets.
Battles (8.30pm): what is math-rock? Apparently it’s the computerised, looped sound of Battles, who describe themselves as “the Networked Band, or perhaps the-band-as-network” and as “an island chain linked by a unique combination of artistry, experimentation, technology”. In practice, that means rocky electronic music that’s cerebral yet infectious. A little bit pretentious, yes, but not bad on the ears. Not bad at all.
Blackalicious (10pm): this act are veterans of the experimental hip-hop scene, long before it was dubbed “indie”. Formed in California in the late 1990s, Blackalicious have gone on to release four full-length records, each of which combines lyrical dexterity – emphasising civil awareness over violence – with funky and inventive soundscapes. Head to Blackalicious’s set to experience hip-hop history.
Your Mum Stage
Phoebe Whalley (12.15pm): only 16 years old, this wildly talented Hong Kong native has won hearts with her distinctive voice and charmingly stripped-down YouTube videos, such as her creative mash-up of Ed Sheeran’s album X. Don’t dismiss Whalley because of her age – she has the musical goods.
Sleep Party People (2.30pm): how to explain Sleep Party People? Well, the Danish band – technically only Brian Batz but often incorporating other members – count David Lynch among their influences and wear rabbit masks on stage. Their music is weird and woozy – a cross between Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and Memory Tapes. Bound to be interesting.
Obey the Brave (8.45pm): metalheads, this is your moment. Clockenflap’s big metal act are Obey the Brave, a Canadian quintet who have been compared to their Epitaph labelmates NOFX. Prepare yourself for a sound as relentless as it is hard. If that’s your scene, don’t miss OtB.
Crowd Lu (10pm): one of Taiwan’s fastest-rising rock stars, Crowd Lu won hearts with his pared-down style, his sincere songs and his dorky-cute style. At times his songs are nouveau-rockabilly a la Ed Sheeran; other times he sounds more like a Mando-pop Jason Mraz. In either mode, he’s a hit, sure to draw fans to his Clockenflap closer.
Kid Koala (6.30pm): he sometimes comes to his sets wearing a full koala costume, but there’s even more to love about Kid Koala. The Vancouver native spins an awesome and delightful mix of jazz, soul, hip hop and house. He even throws in the kitchen sink: samples from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, people sneezing and diners reading a menu in Cantonese. When he’s not spinning, he’s illustrating graphic novels. Of course. What’s not to love?
Mr Scruff (8pm): even if you’ve never heard of Mr Scruff, you’ve probably heard his jazzy 1999 earworm Get a Move On. The English DJ, producer and purveyor of fine teas is know for his good-natured, eclectic genre-splicing; he’s been know to sew together a delicious mix of soul, funk, hip hop, jazz, reggae, Latin, African, ska, disco, house, funk, breaks, dancehall, electro. Even those who aren’t dance floor aficionados will get a kick out of this pro’s masterclass set. Boogie down!