Situated on the harbor front of Hong Kong’s island, facing the tall skyscrapers that touch the clouds and light up the night, Clockenflap Festival opens its gates for its 10th year anniversary with great acts promised for the upcoming 3 days. Featuring the likes of Stormzy, Kaiser Chiefs, Jungle and many more rising bands, its vast selection of genres with many UK artists making it all the way here meant a good time to be had. Surrounded by water, buildings, various stages, it’s no surprise the locals love what is one of Hong Kong’s favorite music getaway.
Starting off on a beautiful Hong Kong tropical day, I wondered towards different stages, checking out bands such as French group Totorro, with no singer, they had intricate sounds focused on guitars, harmonies and playing around with noise levels alongside a ton of energy. DJ Subcoat, a regular in the city’s clubbing districts, bringing about the house music that was much needed before seeing the almighty Kaiser Chiefs, classic Brit-pop bringing singing voices to its show which was full of life. With hits such as “Ruby”, “I Predict A Riot” and “Every day I Love You Less and Less”, it was no surprise everyone knew the lyrics, proving this band isn’t done in entertaining the music world:
After a good night’s sleep in Sheng Wan, waking up to the city’s fast-paced streets, I set sail for the second day, starting with Hong Kong band 南洋派對 NYPD, with its edgy, somber rock fitting of the city’s underground, Gym & Swim with its pop-indie rock from Bangkok bringing sunshine and catchy melodies. Had to stop by The Bootleg Beatles to catch some classic Beatles’ tracks being played live by look-alikes that in all fairness, sounded great!
On to a more serious note, Slaves were in town to finally kick shit up a notch, with the raw UK punk rock group drawing a big crowd hot for mosh-pits. For their first performance in Hong Kong, these two fed everyone with pure energy and played an electric gig that blew minds. Had the pleasure of greeting them both, I can say these are two cool dudes and they’ve got an album on the way so revisit some of tunes “Spit It Out”, “Cheer Up London” and “Lies” to catch up on what the fuss is about:
Clockenflap also had the pleasure of being headlined by the UK’s grime very own Stormzy, who’s catapulted to new heights these past years, especially after the release of his fantastic debut album “Gang Signs & Prayer”. Lining up bangers like “Big For Your Boots”, “First Things First” and “Blinded By Your Grace”, with the large British energy crew in Hong Kong, Stormzy had everyone on their feet moving.
Managed to catch a glimpse of Blossoms, a British quintet which over the past 2 years have really made a name for themselves, with their indie pop sound and debut album reaching number one alongside positive reviews. For the finale of the second day, we were greeted by The Prodigy, the wild 90’s crew from the UK absolutely crunching the final hours with their hard-hitting breakbeat techno that had everyone jumping. Alongside the falling rain, it was fair to say everyone was drenched after, songs like “Omen”, “Firestarted” and “Breathe” creating chaos in the crowd.
The final day started off fantastically with Phoon, a local Hong Kong indie-rock band with sweet lyrics and compositions. It was a great pleasure meeting them later on in the day, even though they got their beers confiscated by security right before, they were really happy of the performance and drew in a large crowd:
Next up was Pond, a psychedelic rock band out of Australia who take on an influence from fellow band Tame Impala, with Kevin Parker producing several albums. Their latest album ‘The Weather’ (2017) is worth a listen, they’re heading a for a new direction into the realm of garage/space rock that plays with levels and emotions:
Following this trip, we were greeted by London-based DJ/music collective Ibibio Sound Machine, inspired by West African funk and disco alongside modern electro. The good vibes were overwhelming, the rhythm taking control of everyone watching and I can’t get over the variety of instruments/synchronization between the artist, accompanied by the beautiful voice of Eno Williams:
To finish off the festival, we were joined by the fantastic British neo-psychedelic band Temples with their great looks, beautiful melodies and mix of guitar as well as synthesizers. With song-writing skills reminiscent of The Beatles, they’ve released 2 albums since 2013, including some great songs like “Certainty”, “The Golden Throne” and many more:
Finally, having released only one album since 2014 with their new release soon to come out, Jungle came over to transport us with their neo-funk and soul. Their mix of synth, vocals and guitars perfectly blending in what is delicately crafted music. Showing huge gratitude to the crowd, it was a pleasure to hear songs like “Busy Earnin’”, “Time” and “The Heat”, these guys have gone far with just one album, imagine what they’ll achieve with their new record. A final send-off worthy of what was a great weekend, Clockenflap Festival had it all to entertain music lovers of the island in Hong Kong – cannot wait to be back!