I’d not heard much about The Wanch. Admittedly, I’d not heard much about live music in general in Hong Kong. But it’s no surprise really. Peel Fresco, who market themselves as “HK’s only true live music venue”, has to stop playing any live music by midnight. That might sound reasonable considering most bands have finished their set by 11pm in the UK but this is Hong Kong. And like most Asian cities; the drinks, food and fun lives on well past midnight. So why shouldn’t the music?
But I did find The Wanch. When I looked at their bill for the night, it looked like it was punk night. This didn’t really register at first despite the fact that I grew up on punk music and very much owe my anti-establishment sensibilities to punk bands of the 70s and 80s. As I approach the venue, the unmistakable sound of classic UK punk rock hits me like a freight train. I peel myself off the ground and with a second wave in my steps (I’d landed earlier that day and was pretty knackered) dash into a tiny, jam-packed venue.
Like any small gig venue, friendly jostling is par for the day. But the jostling was involuntary here as Two Finger Salute dominate the stage with their brackish sound and frenzied faces. It was fast, dynamic and quite swear-y. It pulls you in and demands that you move in time with the music. Visibly though, nobody can you see you tap your feet. It’s just not appropriate for punk.
At one point, it seemed like we were going to get a calmer, more melodic number but it was a Trojan horse for more power chords and furious drumming. And that’s really all you should expect from a proper punk band. So what started as a weary walk to find live music in Hong Kong, finished with more energy than a double espresso. My only regret is that I didn’t arrive sooner to see the other bands that were on the bill.