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.
Hidden Agenda is located on the ground floor of an industrial building just a short walk from the Kwun Tong MTR station. Unlike the previous location, there’s no need to take an elevator up (which can cause traffic jams at big shows.) When you arrive, just pass through a loading bay and you’ll find the door straight ahead.
The new Hidden Agenda feels like a major upgrade. It boasts a more open space with higher ceilings and an elevated stage. Equipped with a long bar and merchandising area, the venue is more professional looking and has a contemporary feel.
A high stage makes it possible to get a good view of the action – even from the far back of the room. This is a big improvement over the earlier address, which had lower ceilings and didn’t allow for a perfect view.
Known for hosting a busy schedule of alternative music, the opening night featured local punk / hardcore legends King Ly Chee along with Joey the Gangster (Indonesia,) Accomplices (Taiwan,) and Anti-Flag (U.S.). Opening their doors to a diverse number of genres, Hidden Agenda has nurtured local musicians and introduced Hong Kong to bands from around the world.
As the music got underway, King Ly Chee in particular dominated the room, turning up the excitement level and demonstrating why they’ve been popular for over fifteen years. With strong stage presence, a charismatic lead singer, and good audience interaction, they had the crowd moshing.
Riz, King Ly Chee’s vocalist, runs an excellent site on bands in the region called Unite Asia. The site is the place to get informed about Punk, Hardcore, and Psychedelic bands coming out of this part of the world.
Hidden Agenda, a valuable Hong Kong institution
In addition to music, Hidden Agenda has hosted film screenings and other events that have enriched the cultural landscape of the city. We’ve written about the space on several occasions, and an earlier post contains a good rundown of their importance.
Hidden Agenda has a grittiness to it that attracts brands looking for authenticity. Over the years, Vans and H&M have used the venue to host live music events for their followers. Check out the cover version of the Beastie Boys’ hit “Sabotage” by local band Hardpack, in a video shot at the old location.
As a rare home to subcultures in a city that focuses primarily on mainstream tastes, we wish Hidden Agenda success in their new location and in the years to come.
80 Hung To Road (map here!)
Hung To Industrial Building
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Kwun Tong MTR Station, Exit B1