After putting off going to Clockenflap for the past few years, I was more than ready to check it out last weekend. In the UK, a festival means a long weekend, rain, mud, tents and no showers. Hong Kong’s festival was done in style – you could go home and shower each day, which is nice and hygienic. At the same time you felt like you could enjoy the fun and the camaraderie that came with the festival. Everyone was in the same boat – everyone had to queue for the portaloos, everyone was buying beer in bulk, it was a phenomenal experience, one akin to the city’s Rugby 7s that take place each March. Here is my account of Clockenflap 2013.
After trekking to West Kowloon from work on Friday night, I expected to be tired and drained, but I ended up having a great time. I caught a glimpse of the very young but talented Irish band The Strypes – they looked no older than 12 but the lead vocalist utilized his harmonica well. I checked out Canadian band Austra – pop punk with a girl leading the band. Girl power all the way! But Friday night’s highlight was definitely Dutch DJ Don Diablo. The crowd went crazy for all the club hits he was playing out. Unfortunately, his set was cut short due to Hong Kong’s strict 10pm noise rule, but he stuck around for a quick chat and some photos with the fans (including me!)
On Saturday, I was feeling a little drained after my long Friday, but got to the venue fairly early. It was pretty empty at that time, so I went to see some of the local bands on the Your Mum stage, and checked out the DJ outfit Crimes Against Pop. They too played all the radio hits and were loaded with energy, which was surprising considering how early it was and how few people were around at that time of day. In between beers and waffles and more beers, I caught retro group Chic and their nearly 2-hour long set. They were definitely one for your mum (not the stage, just for your actual mum, as she would probably remember their hits). However, Nile Rodgers has recently come to fame again after collaborating with Daft Punk on couple of songs, including mega hit ‘Get Lucky’. My Saturday ended with a bit of Gold Panda (stood on a speaker so I could get a view of the crowd around the Harbourflap stage), and a little bit of Mancunian band 1975, who sounded phenomenal live. Saturday’s highlights include the discovery of the Vans Off The Wall stage, the Clockenflap Flea Market, and a photo at the instant photo booth.
By Sunday I was full of energy and ready to go – the promise of dubstep legend Benga on Sunday night had my adrenalin going for most of the day. I began my day (late) catching Free Energy at the Your Mum stage, a band from the US who, according to my sources, have played on The Late Show with David Letterman; a testament to the caliber of musicians the organisers arranged.
In between more beers and more waffles, I got the opening half hour of Tegan and Sara’s set. The Canadian twins were adorable on stage and sounded tight with their band. Another artist I was looking forward to seeing was pop-folk singer Nina Nesbitt. I’d heard some of her music on BBC’s Radio 1. Her powerful vocals didn’t disappoint, and I got a photo with her too after her set.
The next act on the Harbourflap stage was Canadian band Metric, again fronted by a female lead vocalist. About 15 minutes into their set, the sound cut out, but the dedicated band kept playing to whoever would listen. Fortunately, the technicians got it working again shortly after and the band continued, to the enjoyment of the massive crowd. Sunday night ended with Benga, one of the pioneers of dubstep. Although coming on late, he didn’t disappoint with his loud personality and heavy beats. I don’t mean to make you readers feel jealous, but I got a picture with him too at the end of his set (that’s three famous people, if you’re counting). I’m a big fan of his music.
After too much beer, sore feet and plenty of junk food, I somehow managed to escape catching any sort of sickness in the three days of the festival. Ultimately, I had a damn good time at Clockenflap, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.