Photo by James BunoanHong Kong Six
OC Music Awards Showcase, DiPiazza's, Long Beach
Thursday, Jan. 6
Turns out all the post-show whimpering about how La Mirada's Hong Kong Six didn't play crowd-pleaser/our favorite/their best song, "1985" wasn't limited to just the fans: ever since that lame, retro-tarded '80s outfit Bowling for Soup unleashed its crappy single of the same name, HK6 are understandably less than stoked about playing the song live. Perhaps even more of a bummer is that "1985" is one of their most rehearsed songs, a "security blanket," as viola wizard Tracy Salzer explained, not to mention that its chorus—"I want to party like it's 1985/Say goodbye to the past we've left behind"—perfectly nails their sound, an emo daydream of the time Mates of State borrowed some white-boy reggae riffs from the Police, bought an egg shaker and then kidnapped a few of those Arcade Fire kids.
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Also in this issue To read Ellen Griley's "Clubbed!" column on The Groove Ensemble click here. Still, security blanket or not, the band's set proved an impressively tight blend of harmonies cascading over the aforementioned reggae licks and some disco-lite bass lines, all tempered by Salzer's destitute-and-stranded-90-miles-from-the-nearest-hug strings. After opening with the solid, catchy "Swim With the Sharks"—a song we hadn't heard before and wish had been played later so we could remember it better—and following with the eerie "Stop (Looking at Me)," HK6 sold us on their fourth song, the bop-and-bump-worthy "Disco Cokehead," which had us dancing and scribbling, "Sick, sick bass!" all over the back of our hand as lead singers Darren Geare and Alisa Santoro cooed, "I'm lost in the crowd/Maybe I will have just one more round." And even though the highlight of the set, the decadently groovy "Rainy Day," gave way to some unfortunate speaker snap/crackle/pop, the band recovered by the viola-driven "I Hate You 'Cause I Love You," capped off, of course, in the grand '80s tradition of a thrown drumstick or two. We'd like to believe the last move prevented them from performing "1985" as an encore, but either way, Hong Kong Six play the Ying to bands like Bowling for Soup's yuck, and we're forever grateful for it.