Music scenester Junkie.T, along with local Hip Hop crew Wild$tyle Records put together a packed Christmas event at Kowloon’s underground music venue XXX on December 25th. The party brought together a new generation of Hong Kong MCs who performed their own original songs, freestyled over well-known instrumentals, and rhymed along to contemporary hits.
Hong Kong’s scrappy indie music venue Hidden Agenda just won’t quit. As one of the city’s only band-friendly spaces, they’ve been struggling against rising rents and zoning laws since their very beginning in 2009. Now in their fourth location, this may be the live music venue that people have been praying for.
Rolling up to Chungking Mansions on a Friday night, we had no idea what to expect. The sprawling complex of hostels, immortalized in Wong Kar Wai’s film Chungking Express, is the domain of “copy watch” salesmen, miscreants, and brave budget travelers.
Clockenflap 2016 is taking place in a new location along Central’s waterfront, and the lineup is packed with artists that make the annual festival the highlight of the year for Hong Kong music fans. Read on for a few of our top picks.
As EDM music swept through clubs and gained a massive following, veteran DJs and dance music insiders often grumbled that the genre was formulaic, dumbed-down, and commercial. Yet despite what people think of the sound, the popularity of EDM has actually had a revolutionary impact on dance music.
The annual Dead Not Alive party took Hong Kong’s Halloween celebrations to an international level and came out of nowhere to become the city’s best. Now in its ninth year, the party is moving into perhaps its greatest location yet, along with its strongest musical line-up ever.
ZoukOut is a legendary music festival that began in Singapore and is now looking to expand across the region. Hong Kong will be getting its first taste of the franchise on Friday, October 7th, coinciding with the Formula E racing event that takes place on the 8th and 9th. Situated in a pop-up club next to Central’s waterfront, ZoukOut Live Edition features four hours of music from hit-makers Ne-Yo, CL, and Nicky Romero.
The Skatalites, a legendary band that ignited a Jamaican music craze called called Ska will be landing in Hong Kong for a live show on Tuesday, October 4th. The Skatalites highly influential sound shaped the direction of Jamaican music, and continued to influence popular music internationally for decades to come. Everyone from The Specials, to Sting and The Police, to American indie band No Doubt owe The Skatalites a debt.
Just in time for Mid-Autumn Festival, Ninja Tune artist Machinedrum hits Hong Kong on Thursday, September 15th. The talented beatmaker has collaborated with well known names like Azealia Banks and a who’s who of underground dance artists.
After the success of last year’s Road to Ultra Macau, the organizers decided to expand the event, and this year they’re back with Road to Ultra Hong Kong, a massive all-day EDM festival to take place on Saturday, September 17th.
Mark Ronson is a classic New York tastemaker who’s been rocking the city’s most elite parties for several decades. Before Hip Hop and Soul became fully accepted in fashion circles, he was a pioneer, playing classics like Barbara Mason’s “Another Man” along with the very best underground tracks of the moment.
Cashmere Cat, the Norwegian turntablist turned hotshot producer went from relative obscurity to producing high-profile acts like Kanye West, The Weeknd, Ludacris and Ariana Grande. Right before his appearance at Summersonic Japan, he’ll be playing at Volar, Thursday, August 18th.
Disclosure, the dance duo known for headlining festivals like Coachella, Fuji Rock, and Lollapalooza, are coming to Hong Kong for a special show on Friday, August 12th. The multi-talented brothers, Guy and Howard Lawrence, work with top singers including Sam Smith, Lorde, The Weeknd, Aluna George, Mary J. Blige and Miguel, to put out their special blend of dance music.
DJ Scratch, well known as a member of Hip Hop group EPMD, is from the pre-digital era when DJing was strictly vinyl, and intense competition gave birth to massive innovations in scratching.
The first annual Asia Music Conference, held in Macau on June 3rd, brought together famous figures from around the region for a frank discussion on the business of nightlife in Asia.
Now in its seventh year, True Skool’s “Reggae Pon di Roof” series has evolved into something more like an outdoor music festival rather than a simple night time party. The eight-hour event begins at 4pm on Saturday, April 23rd, and runs until midnight.
N.Y. House legends Louie Vega and Timmy Regisford hit Tazmania Ballroom for a special party to celebrate the “Louie Vega XXVIII” album release. The event, which takes place Wednesday, April 13th, also features a live performance by singer Monique Bingham.
We’ve been watching Cakeshop develop over the last few years with a hint of jealousy. An indie club located in Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood, Cakeshop is sort of like Hong Kong’s XXX, except it’s situated in a city where people actually like to dance, love to drink, and sometimes care about music.
It’s hard to overstate just how influential Arthur Baker was to dance music. Without him, entire genres of music, including everything from Trap and Miami Bass, to Electro and Baile Funk, would not exist.
After several pre-launch events, Pacha Macau held its grand opening on Saturday, January sixteenth featuring a special performance by DJ Erick Morillo. Initially making a name for itself in Ibiza, and later New York, the super-club franchise represents a potential new direction for the gambling enclave of Macau.
The first time Onra played at XXX was perhaps the most crowded night ever at the Sai Wan basement location. Hong Kong’s large French population turned out en masse to support the young beatmaker, who initially made a splash with a series of mixtapes that combined abstract beats with samples from old Chinese and Vietnamese records.
Keith Ape, the Korean M.C. behind the hit “It G Ma,” had the audience chanting along during his debut Hong Kong performance. Filled with punctuating shouts, and featuring verses in Korean, Japanese and English, the artist’s songs have a cross-cultural appeal that doesn’t require mastery of any particular language.
American singer Caroline Vreeland wowed the audience at an after-party for the new Esprit ‘Im Perfect’ campaign. She started off her set with a sultry cover version of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” before diving into her own material for the rest of the night.
Featuring names like Major Lazer, Diplo, Skrillex, Cashmere Cat, and CL, it’s hard to think of another event that has the same star power as the upcoming Mad Decent Hong Kong party on Saturday, December 12th. The funny thing is that a few short years ago, only DJs would have known their names. Fast forward to 2015, and Major Lazer’s song “Lean On” has nearly 1,000,000,000 views on YouTube. Has the world started to catch up?
The Clockenflap 2015 lineup is more diverse than ever before, and anticipation around Hong Kong this year is intense! Taking place Friday, November 27th, through Sunday the 29th, there are few finer experiences than sitting on the harbor front grass watching the world’s top bands perform.
K-Pop superstars Big Bang held an official after-party at Macau’s club Cubic following their sold out concert on Saturday night. The party, which included a dj set by group member Seungri, created a line to get in like nothing we’ve ever seen before!
The annual House of Vans event is a smorgasbord of music, art, skateboarding and creativity. Taking place October 16th through 18th, the party follows events in Xi’An, Guangzhou, Beijing and Seoul, and reinforces Vans reputation as a new powerhouse in the sneaker world.
If you say you love House music and don’t come to check out the trio of Louie Vega, David Morales, and Tony Humphries playing at Tazmania Ballroom on Wednesday, then we simply don’t believe you! Any one of these DJs is enough to get excited about, but the combination of three of them together is reason to take Thursday morning off.
“Nakamarra,” the first single by Hiatus Kaiyote was a runner-up for a Grammy award and brought the Australian band endorsements from music legends including Prince, Eryka Badu, Gilles Peterson and Questlove. The versatile and soulful quartet are making their Hong Kong debut Wednesday in an intimate show that should not be missed!
Japanese band Cro-Magnon will hit the Woobar at W Hotel on Friday, September 18th, showcasing a talented trio of musicians who trained at the illustrious Berklee College of music. The band is centered around Soul music, but plays everything in their live sets from Disco and Jazz, to Electronic Funk and House.
M.C. Webber, widely recognized as China’s top M.C., will be landing in Hong Kong on Friday, September 11th to perform a Reggae set under his pseudonym Raddam Ras at indie club XXX. The versatile M.C. was barred from competing in China’s freestyle championship after winning for countless years in a row.
The Do-Over, L.A.’s daytime party that’s known for blissful beats, BBQ, and booze, is happening Sunday, September 6th, in the middle of Causeway Bay. The last time The Do-Over came to town in 2013, it packed an empty warehouse in Sai Ying Pun with over 1200 people!
The Open Sesame music festival, which takes place on August 15th and 16th, is a good example of just how much Hong Kong has recently changed. The city has gone from only one annual outdoor music festival – Clockenflap, to outdoor events of different sizes happening seemingly every week.
The H&M Loves Music series is coming to Hong Kong on Wednesday, July 15th. The headliners include alternative R&B singer Blood Orange, L.A. girl beatmaker TOKiMONSTA, and local DJ crew The Living Discoheads.
Justin Bieber, the pop wunderkind threw down an impressive set at a recent Calvin Klein event in Hong Kong. The high-profile party, which also featured Korean-American singer Jay Park, was attended by big names from American gossip columns like Kendall Jenner, in addition to a select group from Hong Kong.
Free The Robots, set to headline a party organized by BOOM Magazine on Thursday, June 25th, is part of a small circle of L.A. based musicians at the heart of a thriving beatmakers movement.
On Saturday, June 13th, Macau is set to get a taste of the excitement that is the Ultra Music Festival. The Road to Ultra Macau is a mini version of the mega music festival that began in Miami and has made its way around the world. Catch 2manydjs, Nicky Romero, Porter Robinson, and DVBBS Saturday!
Kanye West protege Big Sean, and YouTube dance sensation Les Twins, were just two of the big name acts making their Hong Kong debut at the splashy Ports 1961 event held last Tuesday.
DJ Sliink is a top name in the dance genre known as Jersey Club music. Similar to Brazilian Funk, most Jersey Club songs utilize the same underlying beat and then go on to re-work popular songs in inventive ways.
Nightclubs that become legendary are few and far between. Rarer still are clubs that spawn the kind of memories that incite people to get together after 30 years. Yet this is exactly the case with the Canton Disco 30th anniversary set to take place on May 8th.
Gorillaz Sound System fronted by Remi Kabaka will be taking over Zuma on Thursday, April 30th. The Gorillaz, who have had hits like “Feel Good Inc” and “Clint Eastwood,” are a concept group started by Damon Albarn (from Blur) and Jamie Hewlett.
The wild, champagne soaked Cubic anniversary party typically features a major performer, a trip to an early morning dim sum restaurant, and a terrible hangover. (Luckily, we avoided the hangover this year!)
Japanese Punk Rock legends The Jet Boys take the stage at Hidden Agenda on Friday, April 17th. Formed in the late 80’s, The Jet Boys are veteran rockers who give a show filled with wild antics and fast-paced songs.
Hotshot Hong Kong, a new beach-front restaurant in Repulse Bay, threw a concert series during Art Basel week that included sets by DJ Spinna and 90’s Hip Hop sensation, Naughty By Nature.
One week after joining Kanye West on stage for his surprise show in London, Grime kingpins, Skepta and JME threw down at Art Basel Hong Kong.
Hip Hop purist Jay Electronica performs at FLY on Friday, March 20th. The well regarded M.C. creates Hip Hop steeped in the ways of the genre’s golden era.
Adidas kicked off a new campaign for their classic “Superstar” sneaker, holding a large event at their Causeway Bay flagship featuring the new Pharrell Williams produced artist, BIA.
A decade is a long time in club-land, and VOLAR, Hong Kong’s legendary nightspot has hosted DJs that would make any venue jealous.
A two-day music extravaganza featuring twenty-five acts takes place this Friday and Saturday at Hidden Agenda Live House.
At the climax of Converse Rubber Tracks – Hong Kong, the lead singer of Trash Talk hung upside down from the ceiling and belted out a song.
Sitting on the grass viewing Hong Kong’s skyline, while listening to a band with thousands of people dancing around you, is one of the most magical experiences of contemporary Hong Kong.
Legendary Hong Kong club Dragon-i has a month long line up of big acts for their 12th anniversary celebration. The festivities began last Friday with DJ Seth Troxler and continue on Tuesday with SOUL II SOUL, Louie Vega, and Luis Quintero – and that’s just the beginning!
Postmoderndisco, the alter-ego of Mandy Woo, created a downtempo track titled “Chasing Memories,” that begins with ambient noise taken from the busy streets of Mongkok. Even the clicking sound of H.K.’s sidewalk crossing aids for the hearing impaired, plays a role.
Producer, DJ, and label boss L-Vis 1990 makes his debut in Hong Kong at XXX on Saturday night. Co-founder of the influential Night Slugs label, L-Vis is known for running an innovative, non-conformist imprint, home to boundary-pushing artists whose music ignites dance floors worldwide.
Cubic, Macau’s super club is getting ready for two major weekends and Hong Kong Hustle wants to hook you up! On Saturday, September 27th, Cubic hosts R&B kingpin Ne-Yo followed by an EDM weekend featuring Dada Life on Friday the 3rd, and Afrojack on Saturday, October 4th.
Nguzunguzu, the Los Angeles based duo comprised of Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda, specialize in creating masterful reconstructions that take acappellas, samples, and instrumentals, and weave them together in results that often surpass the original songs.