One of Hong Kong’s oldest and best-loved bars, with a house band that has attained legendary status, plying their trade every night. You’d think the same band doing roughly the same thing every night would get stale, right? Not so, these boys are proper, old-school showmen, changing the makeup of the performance every night, adding fun little skits (using a tea pot as an instrument with amazing success comes to mind), and interacting with the audience. If you have any interest in live music and you’re new in town, Ned Kelly’s is an initiation.
Featuring local jazz outfits playing sets in a decidedly organic, experimental way (think jamming’s the word), this is always good fun as you don’t really know what you’re going to get, making it a much more dynamic proposition than seeing the same old house band every week (not that there’s anything wrong with that, don’t hit me, I’ll get my mum on you).
Wouldn’t be much of a list without The Wanch. This Hong Kong institution has been the city’s live music community centre since 1987. There’s a performer/band on every night and it’s always free. Any night’s a good night to get down to The Wanch, but for a jumping off point if you’ve never been, go to their Acoustic Happy Hour. Delivering delightful covers and crowd-pleasers (and maybe the odd tune you’ve never heard of), as well as the odd original played by whoever really feels like getting up on stage and belting one out - it’s ground zero for Hong Kong's live music.
From the minds behind BackStage Live which sadly closed last year, 1563 at the East is an ambitious, 6,000 square foot space purpose built for live music. As such, they’re no mugs when it comes to putting a gig on. You’re in for a treat most nights but our pick of the weekly bunch is their Wild Wild West night every Wednesday, a kaleidoscopic, river-boat journey of live music that takes in folk, rock, jazz, funk, R&B, soul, latin and reggae (and everything inbetween). Very cool.
This quirky venue is the very definition of grass-roots within the live music lexicon. Sense99 has nurtured a reputation of creatinf an incredibly intimate and inclusive atmosphere, and this especially true of their Drum Jam sessions on a Friday and Saturday night. Free expression is the name of the game, get up there and smack a bongo about if you want, even if you've never picked up an instrument in your life you won't be shunned here, you'll be applauded and welcomed with open arms for having a crack. That's what it's all about.
One of the city’s best kept musical secrets. Considering that Visage One is actually a hair salon, the music is literally secretive. But, every Saturday, owner and live music fanatic Benky Chan opens the doors to this tiny, intimate hair dresser and turns it into a pseudo jazz bar with some of the city’s best musicians playing nose-to-nose with the small group of plucky music lovers that manage to get in. When we say it’s a secret, it’s not really. There’s usually a cue down the street, so if you want to see what all the fuss is about. Get there early. Maybe a get a trim while you’re waiting.
Making only their second appearance in Hong Kong – the first being a storming set at 2015's Clockenflap festival, the Oxfordshire shoegaze legends are back. After a successful reunion a few years ago, the four-piece has went on to release a new album, The Weather Diaries, their first in 21 yers. Expect to hear tracks from said album and select classics from their back catalogue. Grab your tickets for the show – coming to MacPherson Stadium on February 26 – from ticketflap.com.
Performing for two nights at the prestigious Cultural Centre Concert Hall, The Sound of the Faeries – having done Harry Potter in Concert and Pirates of the Caribbean in Concert in the past – is celebrating another iconic film score: Star Wars. Catch the popular sci-fi film with a live orchestral accompaniment throughout the screening and appreciate John William’s Academy Award-winning film scare in a whole new light.
With a career that's seen him play with the likes of Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Chick Corea, Al Dimeola and Eric Clapton, Steve Gadd has established himself as one of the greatest drummers of all time (in fact, he came 24th in a poll done by Rolling Stone). He returns to Hong Kong for a night of masterful live music with Michael Blicher on sax Dan Hemmer playing hammond organ. Grab your tickets here.
There's something for everyone at Freespace. Returning with a different theme each month, Freespace encourages us to make the most of West Kowloon’s proposed, um, free space. A multi-disciplinary event in the broadest sense, with not only live music, but also dance, theatre and literary arts making up a packed weekend. For this edition, catch an array of music performances including Hong Kong’s Argentinian Tango band Cafe 852, math rock band milos, markets, poetry music jam, family and pet-friendly activities, literature programmes, as well as park tours.
With his latest album, Darkness and Light proving a worldwide smash with chart-topping singles Love Me Now and Penthouse Floor, infinitely talented singer songwriter John Legend's first trip to Hong Kong since 2013 is a welcome one. Expect a sold-out crowd drinking in one of the world's best live acts.
You would think blending dance, pop, hip-hop and indie would be a complete mess but that's roughly an approximation of what American duo The Chainsmokers do – and they largely pull it off. Many people clearly agree with this sentiment considering the fact that since their breakthrough in 2014, they've been nominated for numerous awards and are certified platinum.
Equally reviled and revered (with those who fall in the latter often keen on keeping it hush hush), Blunt is as much of an anomaly as you're likely to find for someone who writes some of the most on the fence and inoffensively on-the-nose love ballads around, the anomolous aspect arising from the fact that the guy garners so much ill-will. But, love him or hate him, he doesn't seem overly bothered and it's probably no surprise that his live performances are thorough and occassionaly impressive. So, yeah.