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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:35 pm 
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Location: Pak Kok Village
Clockenflap ~ 25-27/11/2016

by Nick the Bookman

Kinny. You are now Galaxina, ruler of all you see and survey. Promoted from whatever last year's meagre title was, Worth it for your work in coming through with the tickets again. Hand delivered personally with a lovely smile. And your calligraphy on the envelope is beautiful. So, again you get the all important Opening Word of this review. Without said word, the rest of the story can't start. And while I'm gushing... thanks to the Three Musicateers. In afferbeck lauda, they are Jay, Justin and Mike who weave their wizardry and conjure up world class performances (aka Clockenflaps galore). Year after year. And grateful thanks to the huge cast of toiling unknowns who shape this spectacle. Constructing it. Completing it. Stocking it. The 'Flap Feastival, from soup to nuts, is a buffet, varied and enjoyable. So, that's that out of the way. Insert the spigot.

It's Friday afternoon 25/11/2016 and Tony, a Canadian-Croat who I met at last year's 'Flap, is with me. Back for more fun. It's his fifth show and our joint second. I've done them all, save for the reduced circumstances gig with The Charlatans in Aberdeen. Which bridged the Cyberport Cycle and the West Kowloon Hub hubbubs. He's bought a ticket on the gate and topped up his cashless credit. Gets in with no problem. As for me, and about 40 or so others, well, our tickets don't scan completely, Bit of pandemonium at the entrance. Minor meltdown flashes. But, the snafu is fixed in about 20 minutes or so and I experience no similar trouble all weekend. Sorry, just jumping ahead there, but you'll know that because I'm writing this in early December, The mystery is gone. I survived Clockenflap 2016. All three days of it. So we're looking at a happy ending here. Hooray!

Tony and I have ambled in and he's bought the beers. Our trajectory over the next three days overlaps in spots, but mostly meanders aimlessly and apart. I was hoping to get media credit again this year, but it didn't happen.. No matter. It's an advantage to have, but hey ho, go with the flow. Live in the moment. You shape your own show. Mine was a carefree yet cautious carousel ride. I'm ready to hear new bands and old bands making long anticipated debuts. While aiming to attain my own inner state of "Mongness". I'm anticipating bliss bursts. Rapture ripples. Enjoyment of other ecstatic empaths, Gape jawed adoring acolytes grinning groovily. Fumbly frugging. Twisted er twisting. Booty shaking bodacious behaviour. Interactive idiocy. All there for the discerning devotee...

Am I in the mood for jazz? Not quite, but that's what I am seeing and hearing. Its BadBadNotGood on the FWD Stage. They are a quartet(?) and come with a high approval rating. It's a bit too plain mainstream jazz for me to start with, but they play a nice set with good high points. They turn more muscular and rocking towards the end of the performance and the crowd is loving it. The group is drums, bass/guitar, keyboards and horns and by show's end, they have made the BadBadNot section of their name a misnomer. Just think of them as Good, which is how the audience does think of them. There's a quick namecheck for the upcoming George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic on the same stage. Which overlaps with the ethereal Icelandic(?) Swedish(?) Norwegian(?) trio of Sigur Ros on the HarbourFlap Stage . I'm not having the best of success with my leaky pens and general amassing of information and band data. Feel free to correct any mistakes you may find. This is a collaborative gig, folks. You, who were there, are shaping my show. And I'm messing with yours.

Anyway, Sigur Ros. Awesome opening track. Reminds me, oddly enough, of Track One. Side One. LP One. by a humongous British hard rock + band, now nearing extinction. The track is "Black Sabbath". The LP is "Black Sabbath". And the band is... (bet you can't guess!. Have a free self-administered hickey if you do), It's doomy, gothic sounding with a haunting undermelody. Jonsi (?) the singer has an otherworldly set of pipes. Goose pimply stuff. I listen to a couple of tracks and blink in astonishment at the light show which seems to be fireflies falling into some sort of pulsing cosmic ball. Almost 3-D in design and execution. But, I just stay for a taster. Other acts are calling.

The late Julia Phillips, author of the notorious tome "You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again" tells of the time she had a meeting with George Clinton. Not only did he bring his own (and better) cocaine, he also shared the nose candy around the table. Not many other cokefiends in Hollywood's Seventies Era of Excess were so generous. Anyway, George Clinton is now in front of me on the FWD Stage. Somewhere up there. I'm sure I caught a glimpse. Wow. He's a TitanGiant of the Black FunkSoul Experience, but he's not very tall. Still, there are 11, 12, 13, 14? people on stage helping him have a really good time. The drummer is brilliant. Sweat-logged but keeping the beats real. There are 3 or 4 lady choir singers wearing lingerie which Victoria's Secret might deem revealing. And they dance well. George is bobbing and weaving somewhere in the middle in a sparky silver and red striped jacket. Hopefully, here's a photo from Drummer Paul of DP with him and George backstage. See for yourselves. Thanks for that and here's a full free credit for you Paul. Collaborating, right? xxx. The P/F Experience seems to play the same funky, boogie, bluesy beat, With keys and horns about seven times in a row as various guesty voxpeople take turns in thrillchanting us. Might well have been the same song, but it makes for an expansive and expressive show, I swear there are sweat puddles on the stage after they leave. I hope Chunny enjoyed himself. Mind you, he's seen George Clinton before.

Here's some other commentary. Mr. Sleeves considers it to be "...a bad year for Clintons. A good year for Clockenflap". By Clintons, I think he means The Billary's who were just too corrupt to win the confidence of the US Electorate and well, it could be the Go Directly To Jail roll of the dice for them. Unless, there's an Obama shaped Pardon waiting in the White House Wings. Will personal detestation overcome Presidential kinship? Wait and See what The Donald decides. The first known case of a billionaire looking forward to moving into Public Housing. Meanwhile,, Amanda who's " on an invitation from an Australian bloke. I'm excited to see The Sugarhill Gang and MIA". And Mark from Canada is "...looking for new acts, people and bands for the Next Generation". Meanwhile, the lovely Eliza has reminded me it's "...been eight years since she swapped books with me on Lamma and my book shelves have never looked the same. See you soon". It's a date. I've got new books and welcome to the story. Thus endeth Day One.

Saturday 26/11/2016: A full day of soggy weather to "enjoy". I mean, this Day Two has turned into GlastonFlap. A large crowd has gathered at HarbourFlap for inspired Kiwi Dubreggae septet Fat Freddy's Drop. I'm wondering if Karina is here anywhere. She's a Kiwi and won't want to miss these guys. If you've heard Salmonella Dub, you'll like these dudes. They almost outdo P/F in taking their stage show to the next level. Rumbling bass, cool dub excursions and relentless beats for about 10 minutes or so. They're pretty much doing the extended dance remixes of their catalogue. And the crowd is going bonkers. And then the rains came. Fat Freddy didn't drop a note, but the rain drops continued relentlessly. Gee Willikers, how they downpoured and dropped the ambient temperature to somewhere about ten degrees C. Nowhere to sloshily run. Nowhere to hide. It was Fucking Horrible to be trapped in the open. I managed to squeeze under a small tent eave. Shivering with cold. Wet t-shirt stuck to me. No way to open my bag and put on a warm dry one as I was still in the rain. Defeats the purpose of changing very wet clothes for slightly less wet clothes. I stuck it out for about 40 minutes. The storm passed. People may have been swallowed up in huge mud craters. I danced as much as I was able between the rain drops to the KEF Stage. Just in time for Puma Rosa...

I first heard of PumaRosa on a BBC World Service Live In Concert program. The interviewer spoke to Isabel, the half-Peruvian singer/guitarist about their shows. He played two songs. I think one was called "Honey". Sort of piano led doomy Gothedelic. Her voice is reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux of The Banshees and Kate Bush in enunciation, The band are part Bauhaus-inspired. The interviewer likened them to Aussie neo-psychedelicists Tame Impala (who played Macpherson Stadium back in May) and Canadian electro-operatic-gothtechno ravers Crystal Castles, I began hoping that PumaRosa might be on the bill as well, (Later. Fuck Yeah. They are. Thanks Clockenflap). I'll be able to score the hat-trick of performances.

Am wedged front and centre, watching the PumaRosa quintet set up methodically and without fuss. They do a great job of being their own roadies. Someone tells me that Isabel's real name is Ada. Just a snippet of fact/fiction. The other four blokes on bass, drums, guitars and keyboards are unknown entities. On the second song, Isabel plays her guitar with a violin bow. Shades of Jimmy Page and Eddie Philips from the band Creation, Splendid dissonance. The drums are exotic at times. More like tablas on one tune. Gives it a haunting Eastern dread-vibe. The songs rise and fall in a REM sleep cycle. One of them is called "The Witch". Another has a hypnotic refrain of "Priestess, Priestess". The synths and keyboards weave a moody spell. There's lots of stuff happening. Isabel's performance is mesmeric. Her blonde tresses recall better behaved Courtney Cobain-Love. Her sinuous wriggles and ecstatic shimmies are Madonna-like. She captivates. Period. Marcus and Jane from Pak Kok are in the crowd with me. Wine has been swigged. Photos have been taken. Would love for you to send them over. Same deal as Paul. In a nutshell, this was my BO NINGEN band of 2016. Can't wait for them to release an album. Google them and hear their majesty for yourself.

But then, things got even better with the next band. An Indonesian quintet called The Trees And The Wild. Magnus was raving about them to me. I'm glad I stayed put. These two bands are the best double bill pairing of the entire Festival.The band arecalled Remedy, Andra, Charita, Hertri and Tyo. Instruments are the usual assortment of bass, drums, guitar and keys. Possibly some Indonesian percussion as well. Their newest album is called "Zaman, Zamen" and came out a few months ago. They played the Niubi Festival In Helsinki in 2014. Did I mention that Magnus is still raving about them? They are noisenik post rockers. Basically, My Bloody Valentine used to do a song (can't remember the title) where they performed about 10 to 20 minutes of severe distorto-noise that was borderline pain/pleasure. Eventually, they would leave the audience pummelled into blissful submission. That's what this band is like. The audience are stunned jellies quivering with a growing sense of What The Fuck. You can call it post-rock dancing if you like, The last track featured about five minutes of increasingly controlled hysteria. A huge ever growing pulsating bubble of threnodic ululations. And when the lady singer finished, the band just jammed for about another ten minutes. Tightening their grasp on us. Increasing the empathy flow to an orgasm in waiting tension. The drummer is like a multi-tentacle octopus. Flailing and bashing his kit in an ever tightening spiral of controlled mayhem. Will he remember to breathe? Will we? The explosive ending when it comes is 100% pure rapture. We're all still alive. And this band must be fitter than the Japanese drummers who run marathons before starting their shows. That's running proper 26 mile marathons while carrying their drums and possibly playing them as well.

That was pretty much my Saturday Night Special Show. Tried to stay for 65 Days of Static and fit in Mad Professor, but the weather refused to co-operate. Still, thatleaves some space in this paragraph for more guest commentary. Here's ANON. "First time at Clockenflap. Rocking It. I have a feeling I will meet you in another concert". And perhaps we did. Another message from Charne who I helped move from Lamma onetime. Great to catch up. But I can't read what you wrote. It looks so easy until I try and then it becomes runic/gnomic. But beautifully so. I've interpreted the feeling as favourable and welcome to this little party review. Thus Day Two endeth in squelch and mire and rain rash.

Sunday 27/11/2016. Complete new order of weather today. It's sunny and dry. People are still mopping up puddles and the mud remains, but no new mud has arrived. Tony and I have re-connected after he sought shelter from the storm in the Club Minky Tent and I didn't. Yesterday I met a lovely couple Alex and Peta, He was involved in supervising the roadie activity. Setting up the stage. Getting everything tickety-boo. He said the Chemical Brothers arrived for their headlining show with four tons of gear. A very complex light show and huge mechmen robots who look like Daft Punk. Setting up started at 2300 after the site closed for the night. It took all night as well. Here's the briefish overview of Day Three. Tony got the Beers and Pizza. Again. And then did his own thing. I watched Lucy Rose and her quartet. She last played Clockenflap 2012, Small stage, Acoustic set. She kept chewing her hair due to the ferocious harbour winds. She's back now with a full electric band. The usual gear. Bass. Drums. Guitars. Keys. She's delighted to be back. The band are gratified by their warm reception. Happy fans and heated sun. She says her drummer Sam and her keyboardist Alex (a lady) are doing their final gigs with her today. They're off to pastures new. She notices a young girl on her dad's shoulders holding a banner asking for "Like An Arrow" to be played. It is. Everyone sings the chorus and has a jolly good time as well. I missed her last time, but I'm glad I saw this gig. A perfectly laidback show and we'll ease into the madness later.

Shura are another good tip for the top. Not quite as out there as PumaRosa, but they have a tough edge and good electronic, Their tomboyish singer is appealing. Blown away by being invited to perform here She thanks Lucy Rose and her band for "Paving our way and looking after us on this short tour" A song called "What's Happening To Us" is a more laid back Chvrches (from last year). I'm warming up nicely. Lying down in front of the big screen. The live band are just visible on stage from the corner of my right eye. Their final is a stomper. It's called "The Weight" and punches at an impressive level. I hope they make a return to HK soon.

The crowd for Crystal Castles is large, getting larger, and fucking well up for it. Big Time Yaa! They're on the Kef Tent stage. I've finally bumped into Karina and we compare notes. I don't think she made Fat Freddy's Drop, but she's here now. Possibly coming to Crystal Castles? Not sure. We both go our own ways feeling happier for the meeting. Always good to catch up with old friends from many former gigs and Festivals. Proof The Tribe Is Alive. Not decreasing in numbers. Boy, I feel good. I'm ready to laugh and enjoy the rest of the day. Crystal Castles are she on vox and he on electronic soundscapes. Don't know any more details. They're a big draw and the crowd seems to be channelling a little of that old Nuremberg Rally esprit des corps. An intro that sounds like diva death dirges attracts the masses front and centre. The lights flash like night time on The Somme mid 1916, Hard tech synths are coruscating blipbeats of grindnoise. The vox are shouty/sung. The crowd are on a massive contact high. Call and response. Lurch forward. Sway sideways. Stumble back. Am I getting seasick? Time to move outside and hug the nearest tree. It's easier to breathe. The band have an angry in-yer-face presence. It's ominous and majestic. On the verge of inward collapse. Brilliantly controlled and played. The crowd is like a finely tuned Strat violin, nerves like strings at near rupture point. There is pogoing. But no crowd fights that I can see. Didn't hear of any trouble either. I suppose they're like a more synthtronic Prodigy if you need a capsule overview. So, got the hat trick and it's time for the Chemical Brothers.

Saw them play somewhere in Wanchai about a decade ago. They were in the round. That is on a circular stage/platform with the crowd in sensurround. They performed a lot of their early catalogue. It was a blinding night. So, how will this one stack up? The crowd is huge and getting huger. They open with "Superstar DJs". Don't recognise much else I'm afraid. They most definitely didn 't play "It Came From Africa". Or "Sunshine Underground" Or their collaboration with Wayne Flaming Lips. He played it during his show in 2014, but they haven't. I am getting miffed by this apparently inadequate set. And then I realise that there is no video feed. No big screen action. Wonder why? Only the people up front can see the dancing robots and enjoy the light show. Those who can't are starting to flee in droves. Maybe they want to get an earlier ferry. Or beat the last minute rush. Maybe the ChemBros just pushed a button to trigger the son et lumiere and sat back and quietly played Carmaggedon or Tetris on their laptops. Nah, just kidding. They did their 75 minutes and earned their hefty pay packets.

Anyway, I've sat down to jot some scribbles down. And Amanda has re-entered my life. We have a good natter about ETs and Out There and is 42 The Answer To Everything etc, I have enjoyed all three days, but am starting to flag a tad and am not keeping up my end of the chatter. We are having fun tho' and ... You know what? FUCK IT! I'm still stropped off that they didn't play "Africa". That's it. I'm sulking. End of story.

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