Presented by the hardest working local indie music representatives, The Underground, Shazza Music showcase has been championing live music in the city for years. We catch up with founder Chris B ahead of tonights very special showcase, it's an amazing event and seeing it reach that 100 milestone is great achievement so get down to The Wanch tonight and show your support!
For the uninitiated, what is the Shazza Music Showcase?
It's primarily a showcase so The Underground team members (usually me!) can see a band live and upclose, so we know whether they are good enough to perform on The Underground main stage or at other events we curate for! It's far better than watching a youtube video as I think it's important to know if a band can interact with the audience.
Tell us about your plans for the 100th event...
Not an audition showcase but a night of some of the great bands playing in HK these days, from teenagers to slightly older.
What have been some highlights for you over the years?
After each event, I email the bands to give them their feedback, giving constructive criticism on what could be improved. Generally at each showcase, I find we have one band ready for The Underground main stage and the rest need some work. The greatest feeling is when the bands come back to perform at Shazza and we all can see their improvements and how they are ready to rock any stage.
Who are some of the bands you're really proud to have showcased?
Bamboo Star (2012), Narcissus (2011), Clementine is my Sunshine (2009), Heta Uma (2011), JUNK! (2015) and many more!
There's very few regular events like Shazza in Hong Kong, why is that do you think?
People run out of steam, people leaving HK? We've held every single one of our Shazza Music Showcases at The Wanch since we started in 2009 and thank goodness that place is alive and kicking.
How do bands get involved?
They usually apply to play at The Underground website or occasionally through our website or facebook page. The bands that I've told to go away and work on improving their set, I invite them back after a few months. Not every band is happy to receive constructive criticism though – eg, "we'll work harder" when I've told them their singer needs lessons –working harder doesn't fix that – or sometimes, they'll simply ignore any more emails from me [laughs].
Any tips for a band starting out?
To be honest, when it come to the Shazza Music Showcases, we don't care if you play covers or originals or are good or bad! Why? Because we want to give new bands the experience of performing at a showcase in a professional manner, where they get to watch other bands and get to play for an audience. If they are like me (a musician who needs to perform), that is the seed-planting moment for them. Getting some live gig experience is great for any band starting out. Video all your performances, so you can see how you look from the audiences perspective.
What's your plans for the event moving forward?
Keep hosting them at The Wanch (with their permission!) and maybe do a bigger event annually elsewhere.