Pharoahe Monch, the veteran New York rapper and former Rawkus all-star made a headlining two-night appearance at the three day Chivas Studio event. (Topping the bill on Friday was Hong Kong singer Justin Lo.)
The site of the event was the Watermark restaurant, located at the Star Ferry pier in Central. Though I had originally planned to attend Saturday’s performance, I stopped by on Thursday for a quick look.
The space was re-configured specially for the three-night party. A large photo gallery was installed to showcase the work of famed local photographer Wing Shya. The photos depicted a film-like story with a gritty atmosphere evoked by Hong Kong rooftops in the background.
Inside both the gallery space and the Watermark there were special bars fashioned around sharp, colorful sculptures. These were created by designer Michael Young.
By the time I arrived, Pharoahe Monch was already on stage. Backed by a female d.j. he performed a set of his classic hits such as “The Light” and “Simon Says,” in addition to new material. Though the crowd on Thursday night may have been predominantly suits, there was definitely a recognition of his music as guests threw their hands in the air and swayed along.
Pharoahe Monch has a very distinct voice and he appeared relaxed and natural on stage. With over a decade of performing under his belt, he was confident delivering his verses with the crowd just a foot away. The performance was an obvious treat for fans of 90’s era Hip Hop who turned out specifically to see him.
The Watermark is a unique venue. Aside from its location on the water in Central (a positive that means few noise / traffic complaints,) it has several special traits.
Situated on the end of a pier, you can walk around the entire perimeter of the space which offers great views of the harbor.
Before the main room there is a staircase that leads to a small second level with balcony. This sometimes functions as a VIP area and has a good view of the action down below.
The space is often reconfigured depending on the event. For the Chivas Studio night, the ground floor had a small stage with a d.j. booth set up.
The three nights were targeted at different groups. Thursday night hit the older, more established, after-office crowd; Friday featured Justin Lo and went for a more Cantopop, local feel; and Saturday targeted a younger, more international model and clubber scene. Though I didn’t make it back on Saturday night, I heard the turnout was excellent.