The legendary Lion Rock Music Festival returned with a roar last Friday, when eight of the city’s hottest student acts showed their skills at King George V School. The event was not only a fundraiser for Children’s Welfare, it was also a chance for bands to score a slot at the Rugby Sevens.
The night started heavy with the metal theatrics of Hollow Soul from American International School. They burst out with a cover of Muse’s Hysteria followed by two originals, made all the more menacing-sounding by the sludgy rhythms played by a mysterious, masked bassist.
Next band Code Red also chose to open their set with a Muse song. A soulful cover of Panic Station made the most of Mikayla Boonstra’s huge, Mariah Carey-esque vocals, while guitarist Dylan Halbroth proved himself a worthy Matt Bellamy with some fancy pedalwork and distorted riffs. They blazed through covers of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kings of Leon and Paramore, plus a bluesy original that had everyone clapping to the sound of Ydis Lopez’s blurry-armed-jaw-dropping-as-always drumming.
Though Jaded are no longer a secondary school band, the festival organisers couldn’t resist inviting the CityU punks back for a fourth Lion Rock appearance. With an attention-grabbing get-up (including some awful parachute pants sported by lead singer Adam Sinclair), the band played a punchy, grunge-inspired set, featuring covers of The Subways, Arctic Monkeys and Nirvana.
Then it was time for singer-songwriter Dixie Lynne, who was armed with fresh originals. From the understated tapped guitar of the soothing Glass Castle, to an airy singalong cover of Justin Bieber’s Let Me Love You, she left the room astounded by her sweet and emotive voice. She signed off with Can’t Let You Go Again, a sad song about a friends’ boy problems.
Fifth Harmony’s Dinah Jane on her love for Twilight, In-N-Out burgers, and Leona Lewis - and that time Lauren got slimed
Catch 22 only formed in January, but they were more than ready to take on Lion Rock. Each player proved themselves worthy of the high billing; from the slap bass solo by bassist Jeremy, to the intricate drumming by Jasmine, and the effortlessly cool vocals of singer Andrew.
Shatin College’s Cayjam were up next, with an EDM-led sound that made them stand out. Dual synth players meshed with a bassist, drummer and singer. Using shrill synths and pounding bass, the band built each song up to massive drops that echoed the room-shaking force of Martin Garrix’s Animals and David Guetta and Sia’s Titanium. They ended with a cover of Zedd’s Clarity, combining smooth piano chords with glimmering synths, rumbling drums, deep bass and another massive chorus.
Psychedelic rockers Bo Ningen talk about being selfish, singing in Japanese, and performing in Hong Kong
KGV and South Island School hybrid group Denial By Candy drew the biggest cheers of the night when they took to the stage. The pop punk five-piece channelled the energy and grimy sound of The Pixies and The Offpsring, mostly thanks to the impressive guitar playing by Tiffany Yu. Their last song, an emo-tinged pop punk number with a rapid riff, was so new that it didn’t even have a name.
Another gig, another chance for people to struggle to pronounce Asyndeton. Returning for a second time after they won a slot at the Sevens last year, the self-assured rockers played songs from their debut EP The Other Side of My Mind, and also threw in a rocked-up version of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.
At the end, YRock judges Belinda Howard and Ricky Cumes praised all the acts, and announced that Cayjam, Catch 22 and Denial By Candy had secured a Sevens slot.
The YRock bands will perform onstage at the Upper East Concourse (above the boxes) from 10-5.30 on sat 9.30-5pm on Sunday. YRock artists in the morning and mixture of YRock and local bands in the afternoon
Edited by Ginny Wong