Glancing at the invitation to the opening party for Japanese streetwear brands Neighborhood and WTAPS, I noticed something peculiar. At the top of the invite it said live music performance by Jackie and The Cedrics. A band name like that implies something. Can you guess what type of music it was just by reading the group’s name?
The name conjures up groups from the early days of Rock and Roll. Sure enough, the first d.j. to take the stage on Monday night (BxH Hikaru of Bounty Hunter,) went on to play classic Rock songs from the 1950’s.
If you’re from the U.S., you grow up hearing this kind of music. Early Rock has long been commercialized for use in TV ads and sitcoms, which has rendered the music somewhat corny. However, hearing the songs for the first time in years, especially in a setting like Western Market, took them out of that equation and allowed me to enjoy them without the baggage. The d.j. went progressively harder playing more modern Rock music including The Clash and others.
Soon the band took the stage. Jackie and The Cedrics was actually a trio. One man on drums, another on bass, and the third on guitar. They were dressed in matching neat tapered suits (think Pee Wee Herman,) as if from a 50’s era group.[photopress:Jackie_Cedrics_Japan_band.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Japan_Jackie_and_Cedrics.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Jackie_and_Cedrics_band_liv.jpg,full,pp_image]
The band played in an alcove at one end of the ballroom that’s a natural fit for a live performance.[photopress:Party_Western_Market_Hong_K.jpg,full,pp_image]
Jackie and the Cedrics put on a lively show complete with classic Rock and Roll stage techniques like jumping in the air while playing the guitar. The music was a fun and welcome change from the monotony of mainstream d.j.s. that often provide the soundtrack to Hong Kong events.[photopress:Tokyo_band_Jackie_and_Cedri.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Jackie_and_the_Cedrics_Japa.jpg,full,pp_image]
I have to compliment Neighborhood, WTAPS and I.T. for trying something different. Where most brands launching in Hong Kong would cater to the majority, several of the recent events have gone beyond the safety of the norm, to try something new. The event was reminiscent of last year’s Visvim party in Hong Kong Park which featured another alternative band and d.j. performance.
The music at both events was refreshing to nightlife veterans. The choice of music also demonstrates that the clothing designers have their own taste. They are fans of music and culture, not just profiteers or opportunists trying to sell you an expensive t-shirt. You can picture them sitting in their studios being influenced by the music running through their speakers. This is all the more apparent in the limited edition collection offered by Neighborhood to celebrate the store’s opening. The T-shirts for example, are littered with music iconography, and in some cases, the packaging even includes the cd itself! Read more about that collection here.
I enjoy parties at the Western Market, but the venue has an Achilles heal. The pluses to the venue are the location close to Central; the beautiful and rare landmark setting; the high ceilings; the amazing wrap-around wrought-iron balconies; an absence of residential buildings nearby (though the police have complained of noise before;) and the warm feel of the place. The biggest drawback is the bank of escalators occupying almost the center of the ballroom. For the night they were blocked off with a long bar positioned in front of them. However, this dead-zone interrupts the flow of the room which would be nearly twice the size without it. Even with relatively medium-sized crowds it gets inexplicably jammed for such a big venue.
Perhaps the historical designation of the building, or fire regulations may prevent it from being altered, but I would guess that the original design didn’t include a escalator or staircase there.
After the set by Jackie and The Cedrics, Naoki Sima from Devil’s Pray Thing came on playing Rockabilly music. Rockabilly, the pairing of Rock music with Country, was originally a derogatory term. Since the genre began in America’s South, it was initially derided as the musical choice of Southern hicks or Hillbillies. Over the last few years, the musical genre has experienced a rebirth with an increase in the number of indie bands creating new music in that style.
The event had an excellent turnout – especially for a Monday night. The crowd stayed late and seemed excited by the band show, which is a rarity for fashion events here.[photopress:WTAPS_Neighborhood_brand_Ho.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Western_Market_Hong_K_party.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Western_Market_Hong_Kong_HK.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Neighborhood_Hong_Kong_part.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:event_western_market_hong_K.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Hoods_Hong_Kong_event_HK.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:IT_Hong_Kong_fashion_event.jpg,full,pp_image]
With many visiting Japanese scene-sters in attendance, the d.j. and hosts seemed at home and were having fun on stage. At the end of the night a crowd of their friends were at the front, dancing along to the music.[photopress:Hoods_HK_WTAPS_party_IT.jpg,full,pp_image]
Exiting the party, each guest received a small black box containing Jasmine tea!