2012-09-17

Concert Review: my little airport (live at The Wall - Gongguan 公館)

my little airport is nicole (vocals, piano) and
啊p (Ah P) (vocals, piano, guitar).
(Photo from their Facebook page)
Last summer, a friend of mine introduced me to an indie band from Hong Kong called my little airport

I've liked Cantonese music for a while, so I was excited to listen to their songs and was pleasantly surprised by their sound. Their lyrics are a mix between quirky and serious, especially seen through some of their song titles like "gigi leung is dead", "I don't know how to download good av like iris does", "donald tsang please die".

(You can read more about Gigi Leung and Donald Tseng  here and here, respectively.)





Nope, this was not the concert ticket,
it was the flyer, adorably shaped
like a plane ticket!


The concert poster


They clearly put a lot of thought into their music no matter what the tone or language (Cantonese, Mandarin, English, French, or a mixture of two or three) is. So, when I moved to Taiwan and discovered they'd be playing in Taipei, I knew I had to see them!


"Tattoo'ed" walls
The Wall in Gongguan (公館) district is a cool, underground (both literally and figuratively since you have to walk down a flight of stairs which lead underground to get to it) venue. I'm not sure if it's fair to call The Wall a simple concert hall. I think a "hangout" is a more fitting description. There are rooms for bands to practice, there's a tattoo parlor, an indie movie theatre, and, of course, there's a bar.

I went to The Wall to buy my concert tickets a couple of weeks before the show with my friend Sica (who went the concert with me). There was not show scheduled, so the place was a little empty, but it gave us the chance to check out the cool decor and ambiance.

Some guys hanging out.
I was glad we were able to see the venue at a quiet time because it was completely different on the day of the show. The doors were to open at 20:00 and when we got to The Wall at 19:00 sharp there was already a long line which wrapped around the side of the building. We joined the line and kept ourselves busy chatting and people-watching while we were rained on periodically (Typhoon Sanba was directly to the east of Taiwan).

At 20:00 sharp, the doors opened and we made our way in. Everyone had their tickets ripped and hand or arm stamped to show they'd paid to get in. This allows for the staff to easily see who can be let back into the performance room after leaving to buy a drink, go to the restroom, etc. I was shocked there were no warnings about taking pictures or video. It seems like that's fair game at The Wall, so we were able to take pictures (with flash no less, but I tried not to because it's distracting) and video.

When we entered the concert hall, I thought "This is it?!"  It's a small, intimate venue, but it's nice because you don't feel like you have to push and shove to get a clear view of the stage. No matter where you are, you can see clearly (unless you're short I guess, which luckily I'm not!)

Naturally, the concert didn't start immediately. After the crowd settled in, we were all treated to a little cartoon. I wasn't surprised to see it was political in nature; typical of my little airport I think. After the cartoon, about five minutes passed and bam! - the curtains were pulled back and my little airport launched into their first song, "我們一起離開吧" without hesitation

my little airport performing their first song of the night
The purple lights were magical. It's silly, but I thought "Wow, I'm watching them". I haven't been to a concert in a long time, so it was surreal for me. 

my little airport performed about five songs without addressing the crowd, only a tiny "謝謝" (xiexie, thank you) from nicole after each piece was finished. She had all her lyrics on stage beside her for comfort, I think. 啊p and nicole seem as if they're prone to stage fright! 啊p rarely looked straight at the crowd, and nicole seemed shy as well. Nonetheless, it was adorable and didn't take from the experience. Although they appear like introverts, I think I got a good sense of 啊p and nicole's personalities by watching them. Their faces were always expressive, and they were into their songs; you can tell they love music.
A close-up of nicole.
(Photo by Sica)
Unfortunately, I didn't write down their setlist - forgive me! I was so engrossed in the show I forgot all about it! I do know they played no less than 20-25 songs (their songs are usually short, rarely over four minutes). Their set was well thought out as they mixed new songs with several of their older "classics" which everyone cheered for when they saw the song names appear on the screen. Naturally, several my little airport songs are in Cantonese (and the crowd was mostly Mandarin-speaking) so their lyrics were displayed in on a side screen.

After about the sixth song, they took a break to chat with the crowd for the first time.  Shyly, nicole said that 啊p would introduce a new song. Cheekily, 啊p pushed it back on nicole and demanded she do it, so she did. I told you they were adorable!  nicole went on to introduce a new track, "my little angel".
A close-up of 啊p grinning.
(Photo by Sica)

They continued to play known tracks, and I was stunned to see the always mellow nicole produce a bottle of Budweiser and swing it back right on stage! Nope, she never got drunk. In fact, during another short break, 啊p suggested members of the crowd go buy a bottle as well!

Soon, a friend of my little airport's replaced nicole on stage to sing a number of their French tracks. According Sica who is French, several of their songs have grammatical mistakes. It's great to have a French person with you at such a concert, isn't it?
After a few songs, nicole reappeared and played a few more songs, including a high-powered version of
"I don't know how to download good av like iris does". The pair also performed one of my favorites, "和陳五msn". 啊p forgot his lines a couple of times! But he recovered quickly and they were able to complete the song.  

Singing under lime green and peach
They took a 10-minute break at one point, returned, and played more.  When they took time to introduce their concert goods, 啊p did most of the talking. He made many silly jokes and tripped over his Mandarin (clearly on purpose).  He kept mispronouncing "表演" (biaoyan; to perform). He'd say "biaojian", "biaoshan", ect., all kinds of combinations that weren't "biaoyan". It was amusing.

After about an hour and a half, my little airport waved goodbye to the crowd and it was over...or was it?  

No, they came back for an encore! They played three to four more songs. The first one was "憂傷的嫖客" (with a couple of funny lines thrown in), one of my current favorites (in order to post this video here, I had to compress it, apologies!):


video



After the encore, they thanked the crowd graciously, then it really was over.  When we filed out of The Wall, I was a little bummed it all come to an end! All in all, I enjoyed the concert, and I would see my little airport again if the opportunity arose. my little airport are something different, and they are entertaining on their own terms, which is admirable.


Rating - 4.5/5

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