In Review: Clockenflap 2013

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Clockenflap has gone a long way from how it began in 2008 at Aberdeen Cyberport attended by some 1,500 people. I remember attending it back in 2011 when it was free, and quite enjoying myself. But the Clockenflap of last weekend was an entirely different animal from how it was a couple of years ago – it’s grown into a full-fledged multi-faceted music and arts festival that will soon become a staple on the festival map.

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Four Tet (UK) at the Replay stage

Artists like Tegan and Sara as well as the 1975 even mentioned on stage how impressed and overwhelmed they were at the festival – more people than they expected, a funner and livelier crowd than anticipated, and an undeniably breathtaking view of the Hong Kong harbour and Central skyline.

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Who wouldn’t be psyched to play before this? Photo by Chris Lusher

And the weather was nothing but perfect as well, all weekend.

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blue skies, sunny, clear, bright, dry, and cool!

Day 1

Friday night was probably the least busy day, but James and I got weekend passes so we thought we’d scope out the festival early. I was hoping to see Two Door Cinema Club, but they cancelled their Asian tour due to illness, unfortunately.

Still, we were able to catch BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB (US) – which was not really our style although they were good – so we moved to the REPLAY stage across the promenade to head FOUR TET (UK).

My favourite Four Tet remix (I didn’t hear him do this, but anyway):

Day 2

We arrived late! So unfortunately didn’t catch the sideshow yoga at the Cabaret or the BAFTA shorts (hosted by the British Council) at the Film Tent. The highlight band of the festival, though, we did catch:

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The up-and-coming The 1975 – for us, they were even better than Franz Ferdinand; fresher, younger, cooler, feel-good new sounds. If you haven’t heard them yet, I believe this is their most popular song:

We also did the silent disco, which from the outside looks totally retarded (people letting themselves go on the dance floor, busting out to moves only they can hear on headphones)… but once we were there and had our headphones in, we became part of the retardation and had a blast

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Day 3

Nope, we hadn’t had enough yet. We were still up for more – and this time, we came earlier. Just in time to catch Tegan and Sara:

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Tegan and Sara: Canadian indie rock duo, also twin sisters

…who played songs mostly from their new album “Heartthrob”, my favourite tracks being “Closer” and “I Was a Fool”. They were really good live, great music and presence, and really likable when they’d talk to the audience. They mentioned how they went out Friday night and got drunk, and how Sara wanted to move to Hong Kong because she was so impressed by the city.

My favorites of the songs they performed was “Back In Your Head” and “Where Does the Good Go” from their 2004 album “So Jealous”:

Wish they had played their older tunes “I Know I Know I Know”, “The Con”, and “Nineteen”

Growing up I’ve never had the opportunity to see great international acts since they very rarely stopped over Manila (during the 90s and 2000s), so this whole festival was such a treat for me, seeing bands that I’ve been following for years, or even fairly recently (like The 1975) live. It was surreal to see songs I loved performed onstage.. with the artists so close we were breathing the same air! I think that these days the international band vacuum in Manila is changing, though, because a lot of the big names passing through Hong Kong now seem to be making their way there as well, which is fantastic.

We also saw another Canadian band on the last day, Metric, with their classic “Help, I’m Alive” headlining their act – crowd-entrancing is the only way I could describe it. I’ve got videos on me, but I’ll have to update this post later on with them. When I have time, ha!

We also took advantage of the Swiss booths where they were printing free polaroid photos off iPhones (we had around 4 developed), and the light drawing tent by Marc & Chantal…

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There was actually so much to explore that, despite being there for three days, we weren’t able to do everything! Definitely had a blast last weekend, not a boring minute at Clockenflap… if there was a downside to it, it was probably the fact that it had to close at 10pm everyday due to sound laws, but actually it wasn’t that bad, and if you were drunk and wanted to stay on, you were free do to so.

And that’s it for my Clockenflap experience!

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