In the hassle of commuting from the wilds of Lamma Island to the concrete jungles of Kwun Twon everyday I sometimes forget what it is that I like about Hong Kong.
Then last night I hoofed it to Sheung Wan and went back to Java Java and I remembered.
Owner Michael Roth is to be commended for carving out this little corner of Sheung Wan and making it into a venue for live music most nights of the week.
A Stella, some good tunes, and a waffle or two and I was back to normal. Java Java has got a good selection of beers and wines, as well as a food menu.
Now on to the tunes!
Darren Hayward got things started with some covers of The Rolling Stones, Wilco, Beck, and Bob Dylan. By the time Aileen and John Saeki joined in for an uplifting cover of "I Shall Be Released", the place was rocking.
John Saeki, of local ska band Transnoodle, next took the stage to deliver some Billy Bragg-style tunes that all had a unique link to Hong Kong. I regret now that I didn't take video of John Saeki's set as some of these songs were quite exceptional with my favorite being the one -- I didn't get the title -- about a U.S. seaman visiting Wan Chai for the first time in search of a "Chinese girl." Ahem.
Next up was Aileen Alonzo for a few guitar-led and keyboard-based tunes. I thought the versions of "Gossamer" (a Cleen song) and "Icarus" last night were exceptionally strong -- glad I shot video of each one (see below).
Next Darren Hayward joined for a downright epic rendtion of "Little Pieces of Revenge" by Cleen, as well as a cover of a Bollands song.
Finally, Sandro Cagnin took the stage for a few tunes before the end of the music at Java Java. "Stardust" was particularly good.
Follow Aileen Alzono on the Cleen Facebook page:
She's on Soundcloud too:
Be sure to stop by Java Java in Sheung Wan for some good food and good tunes:
Aileen Alonzo - "Gossamer" - live at Java Java, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 07 September 2012
Aileen Alonzo - "Icarus" - live at Java Java, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 07 September 2012
Aileen Alonzo and Darren Hayward - "Little Pieces of Revenge" - live at Java Java, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 07 September 2012
Aileen Alonzo and Darren Hayward - "Siren's Call (edit)" - live at Java Java, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 07 September 2012