Clockenflap is Hong Kong’s longest running live music festival, and its 11th edition came to a close after three jam-packed days on November 11. Held at the Central Harbourfront, the venue boasted five stages, interactive attractions, and food bazaars. There were also plenty of family-friendly activities, as well as fun experiences such as the silent disco.
This year’s impressive line-up included American singer and rapper Khalid, neo-soul artist Erykah Badu, British indie rock band The Vaccines, and many more. On Friday, Michael Dapaah, aka Big Shaq, and his DJ played an invigorating set, including two performances of his viral song Man’s Not Hot, a song he says was inspired by London, his hometown, and the people in it. “In London, people wear their jackets everywhere they go. That’s how it is,” he said. “They think they're all that, but they’re just not.”
Later that evening, American post punk band Interpol kept the energy up as they headlined the main stage. There were also performances by two up-and-coming Taiwanese artists, Zooey Wonder and Anpu, alternative rock band Shame, and many more.
David Byrne headlined on Saturday; the former frontman of 80s rock band Talking Heads performed a 90-minute set that resonated with many of the more mature Clockenflappers. Jarvis Cocker, the frontman of Britpop group Pulp, also performed on the main stage with his new band Jarv Is, and experimented with violin and harp sounds. Other performances included Mali duo Amadou & Mariam, English pop artist Youngr, and Canadian indie pop band Alvvays.
All weekend, the festival was packed with music-lovers. Younger visitors rushed to see Khalid, who was arguably the most popular performer at Clockenflap this year, who thrilled the audience with an electrifying set that featured famous tracks such as Young, Dumb, and Broke, and Location.
Other memorable performances on Sunday included Filipino alternative band IV of Spades, and indie rock bands Sunflower Bean, and Wolf Alice. Taiwanese singer-songwriter Wu Tsing-fong also left festival-goers with a strong impression. Before Badu closed the event with an exhilarating performance, The Vaccines revved everyone up with a set that frontman Justin Young described as “new music, old music, blood, sweat, and tears”.
Young Post met several of the headliners at Clockenflap, including Dapaah and Youngr. After his set, Dapaah chatted with junior reporters about the inspiration behind his rap, and his first impressions of Hong Kong. In case you’re wondering, his backstage persona is exactly like his onstage one - full of energy, jokes and laughs.
Another favourite this year was Youngr, a solo eclectic pop instrumentalist and vocalist (real name is Dario Darnell), whose fun and free-spirited transformed his set into one big party. And after his performance, he sat down with Young Post to chat about his musical journey, and his visit to the 852.
Zooey Wonder brought her “folktronica” and ambient songs from Taiwan to the Clockenflap stage, which is her second time performing in Hong Kong. This time, she told us, there was more applause from the audience, which made her feel more connected to them.
“The folk genre has always been my bones and core, while electronica is my arrangement, like my clothes,” Wonder said. In 2017, she debuted with just her and her acoustic guitar, and now she's performing with a full band.
This year’s Mercury awardee Wolf Alice also made an appearance at Clockenflap, which will be their last festival performance in 2018. They have been on their world tour for their Visions of a Life album since June 2017, and will be (finally) wrapping it up in their hometown of Brixton, in the British capital, next month.
“One of the best things about music is that, often, when you feel alone and you listen to a song that perhaps strikes a chord with you, it might make you feel less alone,” said Ellie Rowsell, lead vocalist of the band. While there are no plans for 2019, they say they're both scared and excited about their life outside of being on tour.