Top 10 musical moments of the (half) decade

6. Offset : Spectacles at D22

This is a recent discovery. It’s two of the members of My Little Airport (a relatively big HK band) who have relocated to Beijing and play this discordant, vocal-free drone rock. It is compelling and hauntingly beautiful, played by people with great command of their instruments. D22 is always a wicked little place to see shows, even when there are only 30 people in the venue. Catch these guys if you can…

On the other hand, artists needn’t be bouncing off the walls to astonish: take tonight’s main act, the Offset: Spectacles, as a case in point:

Heavily-cinematic, the trio conjure emotions through seismic waves of sound, doing so without breaking a sweat.

Sets tend to go from more driving and ominous at the beginning to more fluid and dynamic as they progress.

More instruments are gradually added to their thick stew (a vintage Ace Tone electric organ, foot tambourines, one violin) while standard pieces of equipment take on novel uses, like the spooky reverb effects bubbling from Spectator V’s tube amp as he prodded it with one dusty black boot as his guitar shrieked overhead.

Fierce, ominous, murky and droning, the three Hong Kong transplants don’t create mere songs: they are deep seas of highly-textured sound — surreal soundscapes that could very well come from some subterranean force shining unseen.

The trio, rounded out by Spectators K (guitar, vocals) and O (bass), unearth these melodies and grooves, dusts them off, assembles them and proceeds to lock the audience into obedience.

The centerpiece of tonight’s fifty-minute performance was listening as Spectator V’s melancholy and haunting violin struggled to penetrate the squalls of dissonance gurgling like an upset stomach, growing increasingly-laborious and frenzied for six minutes, until the strings almost snapped.

They are one of the most exciting bands performing anywhere.