Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's Not All Cantopop Here: Aileen Alonzo and Kestrel Rock Java Java In Sheung Wan

My Facebook friends know that I've been having a rough week here; the transition from fun-seeking Hong Kong tourist to hard-working HK resident has not been an easy one. I love my job, my boss, and my Lamma Island view, but it's all the other stuff that has made me discouraged this week.

And I'm still sort of sad about breaking up with my ex-girlfriend a few weeks ago.

So, frankly, I needed to get out of my shell today and I'm glad I did 'cause I enjoyed a night of fine music at Java Java in Sheung Wan.

Local musician Aileen Alonzo performed solo and with Darren Hayward. And half of Kestrel performed as well.

Opening with a very Radiohead-like -- think "Pyramid Song" -- cover of Lana Del Rey's "Video Games", Aileen Alonzo and Darren Hayward warmed up the audience.

A strong duet on Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" followed.

Then Aileen did a few solo numbers, including some covers of Heather Nova and Regina Spektor.

But Aileen's original material is also quite good. She's got a clear, powerful voice and the songs have a lot of passion. One gets the sense here that the acoustic versions are stripped down versions of more elaborate material; this ain't simply folk music, you know?

One of Aileen Alonzo's many projects is a band called Cleen. She did a strong version of "Little Pieces of Revenge" tonight and the song shows another stylistic side of this musician.

Check out the video and the links below.

The original version of "Little Pieces of Revenge" by Cleen: Little Pieces of Revenge by cleen

Follow Aileen in Cleen on Facebook:

Half of Kestrel followed. Delivering strong folk-rock, Kieran performed a short set between the ones from Aileen and Darren. Recalling the non-whimsical, acoustic solo stuff from Robyn Hitckcock, the tunes here were ones based on folk and blues forms, but also ones with a bit more melodic invention than those styles sometimes allow.

Then Aileen and Darren finished up with some covers of tunes by other local acts (The Bollands and Tilly).

Quite a good night of music. There's more than Cantopop in Hong Kong, obviously, and there's a lot of good music here if you look for it. Java Java in Sheung Wan has live music a few nights a week.

Aileen Alonzo and Darren Hayward - "Car Crash" - Java Java, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 21 April 2012...