The passion, hard work and success of musicians from Lion Rock: the Music Festival

By YP cadet Diva Saha

Who says HK is a 'cultural desert'? Junior reporter Diva Saha witnessed a roar of defiance at this year's Lion Rock festival

By YP cadet Diva Saha |

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Lead singer of The Glass Onions, Mikayla Boonstra.

The scene was set for rock 'n' roll at last month's Lion Rock: the Music Festival 2015, hosted by King George V School (KGV). The annual indie music event showcased eight bands: Jaded, with students from Savannah College of Art and Design, Institute of Vocational Education and City University; The Charringtons from KGV; The Pansies from West Island School and South Island School; James' Secret from Renaissance College Hong Kong; Rifles and Riots from KGV; Glass Onions from Discovery College and German Swiss International School; Stune from International College Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong; and The Whales from Discovery College, Chinese International School, and French International School.

The event raised around HK$36,000 for Liberty Asia, a Hong Kong-based charity that combats slavery and human trafficking.

There was a record deal and the chance to perform at Clockenflap 2016 up for grabs, and the bands showed off a range of punk, grunge, alternative rock and blues.

Here are some of them and their stories:


I started off as one of those kids with the acoustic guitar singing covers into a webcam. I was strongly influenced by Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Deep Purple and ZZ Top.

I wouldn't go as far as to say Hong Kong is a "cultural desert" as some put it, but it certainly hasn't been easy. Regardless, our first album is released and the groundwork has been laid for the next one.

I think what sets us apart is that we stay true to our sound - good, no-nonsense, old school rock 'n' roll. We stick to our guns and we do what we want. Up the horns.

Cliff Ng, lead guitarist

The audience rocks out at Lion Rock music festival 2015. Photo: Nusrat Chowdhury


The Pansies

Since forming last September, we've won the YRock music competition and The Underground battle of the bands. The aggressive music of the Sex Pistols, Black Flag and the Dead Boys is our biggest influence. Punk music is raw, fast and energetic and, while not every punk song has a political agenda, the genre is all about being unique and bold.

On stage, we make it a priority to put on a performance with energy and charisma; every gig is full of sweat and, in some cases, blood. As for the future, our frontman Noah Ringrose has left for the UK, and we have a new member joining us soon. We're going to write more songs and play more gigs but it won't be the same with a different line-up.

Ryan Fong, bassist

James' Secret

Despite the name, we're not some boy band parody of Victoria's Secret. James' Secret is an eight-piece modern funk band based at Renaissance College. James and I founded the band early last September on the train home before putting together a band for the upcoming school talent show and winning first place.

In the months after, we played several gigs both in and out of school and once the band started to become more serious, we recruited more members, guitarist Arthur and vocalist Jacob. Former member Walter's now studying in the UK, so we've recruited Wilson, his younger brother, on trombone. We wish to go on to perform at larger venues with bigger audiences, rather than being "that high school band".

Michael Ju, guitarist

Rifles and Riots

Formed as part of a KGV challenge week trip in October 2011, Rifles and Riots began with the original Sad Romance, which I wrote with Robbi Bradbeer, Maxwell Linnitt, Nathan Lam and Nicholas Law. We tried to play more but it never worked out until recently when we recruited Chi Yan-ho, Chris Choi and Jonas Wu.

We want to play more gigs and teach teenagers to appreciate classic rock, instead of meaningless pop, to prevent all the great songs being forgotten by our generation.

Nathan Law, guitarist

The Glass Onions

Alec Maurer (rhythm guitar) and I formed the band in McDonalds last spring and recruited Alex Egart (bass guitar) and Colin Wu (drums). For the first year, I was both lead singer and lead guitarist, but we decided we needed a dedicated vocalist to progress. We invited Mikayla Boonstra, who we had seen perform at YRock POP and Picnic and the Park. In the past month, we've played live gigs at Orange Peel and The Venue.

We recently recorded two singles and have been featured on RTHK Radio III. Though some bands overlook stage presence, we get really excited when performing, jumping, running around and getting the audience to join in. But we try to do this all without detracting from the quality of our bold musical style.

Victoria Bird, lead guitarist