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12 Must-See Acts and Performances at This Year's Clockenflap

By Sarah Moran 24 October 2018
This is it, Clockenflap has finally announced its full line-up for this year's festival, and the talents are simply jaw-dropping. Featuring many of Hong Kong's favourite indie performers, alongside huge international artists, as well as dozens of art performances and installations from around the world, the immersive multicultural music and arts festival is one of the biggest events in Hong Kong's social calendar. So, without further ado, we bring you 12 highlights you can't afford to miss.

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1. Cigarettes After Sex

The soundscapes that make up Cigarettes After Sex's songs are ethereal, dreamy, and infectious. This Brooklyn-based pop-noir trio gained rapid attention after their song, Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby, suddenly became an unlikely online sensation back in 2015. After their sell-out show last year at KITEC in Kowloon Bay, the band returns to Hong kong to bring festival-goers hazy soft tunes with stunning, wistful vocals, soft drumming, and echoey guitars.

2. The Vaccines

The Vaccines is undoubtably one of the most successful British band of this decade. Even eight years on from their rip-roaring debut, their exuberant spirit and catchy guitar-led tunes make them one of the best live acts to catch, and a definite festival favourite. The four-piece band will no doubt be slaying the crowds with their infectious energy, and a huge catalogue of sing-along hits.

Click here to read our full interview with The Vaccines

3. Interpol

Another defining musical voice of our generation is the American indie-rock band, Interpol. Fresh from the release of their new album Marauder, the band will be performing in Hong Kong for the first time at Clockenflap this year. Fans can expect swaying, sultry, and edgy hits from Interpol’s latest album, as well as moody rock classics and old fan-favourites.

4. Big Shaq

Comedian grime-rapper, Michael Dapaah, a.k.a. Big Shaq, became a viral sensation overnight back in late 2017, when his hilarious and catchy song, Man's Not Hot, took the Internet by storm. Using his comedic lyrics and rhymes to teach us basic mathematics, how to make weird noises with our mouths, and inform us that the man is simply not feeling hot, this tongue-in-cheek grime star has quickly gained a global fanbase. Coming to Hong Kong fresh after his follow-up song released in May, Man Don't Dance, Big Shaq is ready to get the crowd going wild with a roaring sing-along. Skrrrrr pop pop!

5. Jarvis Cocker Introducing Jarv Is...

The former frontman of Brit-pop legends Pulp, will be bringing his latest Jarv Is... show to Asia for the first time. The Pulp frontman will be showcasing his new band's fresh music along with a few familiar tunes thrown in for good measure. Being a natural performer, Jarvis's show is expected to be intimate yet electrifying, and one that will be talked about long after it's over.

6. IV of Spades

In an era where millennials obsess over vinyl, retro aesthetics, and throwback TV shows, Iv Of Spades entered the music scene at the perfect time. The young Filipino band came in making waves in the Philippines with hit songs like Hey Barbara, Mundo, Where Have You Been, My Disco?, and their latest release, Bata Dahan-Dahan!. In their eclectic 70s-inspired get-up and funky songs, the young Filpino band will be bringing their disco-rock music to Clockenflap – but not before opening up Panic! at the Disco's Manila tour first!


On the local music scene front, Clockenflap will be welcoming back one of Hong Kong's biggest indie name, GDJYB. An abbreviation of the local dish ‘Gai Dan Jing Yuk Beng’ (steamed pork mince with egg), these all-female math-folk heroes bring something different to the usual local music scene. Their music is a fusion of folk and math-rock, with abstract lyrics in HK-style English that are brimming with cultural commentaries.

8. Bohan Phoenix

With a foot in both American and Chinese culture, New York-based Chinese rapper Bohan Phoenix's music is both a cultural lesson and a representation of what the future of music will be in our ever-globalising world. Rapping in both Mandarin and English, Phoenix is gaining the attention of many who relate to both Eastern and Western cultures.

9. Khalid

A household name in the world of mainstream music, Khalid needs little introduction. The impressive teen star's earnest, conversational vocals that are charged with emotion lends him a maturity beyond his years. Coupled with his gentle, dulcet tone, the young singer-songwriter is paving the way for a new kind of laid-back R&B that speaks to his generation.

10. Wu Tsing-Fong

Taiwanese music fans are in luck, because lead vocalist of Taiwanese indie band Sodagreen, Wu Tsing-Fong will be joining the strong Asian Clockenflap line-up this year. Wu has been winning hearts for years as the frontman of Sodagreen with his sweetly soothing voice that has a way of healing your heartache. Coming to Hong Kong as a solo artist for the first time, Wu continues to bring us his charming brand of romantic energy with new songs such as Everybody Woohoo, Bao Bei Er, and Qing Ting.

11. Birdmen

Festival goers are in for a frightful delight this year as huge illuminated skeletal-creatures operated by mysterious men begin to roam around the venue. Produced by renowned interactive street theatre group Close Act, these mysterious creatures represent a combination of the past and present in another dimension. As scary as they may be, these "Birdmen" can change colours, and will move around the festival crowds for some up-close interaction.


12. Nepco: The Eye

Amsterdam-based performance art collective, Nepco, specialises in creating whimsical, thought-provoking moments through outrageous costumes, surreal objects, ballet, words, and music. Previously featured in international music festivals such as Sonar and the Amsterdam Dance Festival, Nepco invites audiences to contemplate what the world would appear to look like if our eyes were connected to our hearts with its giant roaming eye replete with full functioning blinking eyelids.

BONUS! Erykah Badu

In a last-minute move, the extraordinary songstress and Queen of neo-soul, Erykah Badu, has been added to Clockenflap's latest line-up, closing the festival on Sunday. The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter is known for her eclectic personality, controversial opinions, distinct and powerful voice, and is highly regarded as an influential figure of the ‘90s neo-soul movement. Although Badu hasn't released a studio album since New Amerykah Part Two in 2010, she's been putting out mixtapes, including her latest track The Sound of Green, which was shared on NTS Radio's The Sound of Color series. Check out her stunning vocals in the video above, or listen to her new song here at the 1:05:04 mark.
Read more! Check out what else is on around town in the What's On section.

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Sarah Moran

Staff writer

Born and raised in Hong Kong to expat parents, Sarah grew up as your typical third-culture kid, caught between two worlds. As someone who is nosy (or just curious) and loves the written word, there was never any other career that appealed to her as much as journalism. When she’s not busy on her mission to find the line between not enough coffee and too much coffee, you can find her exploring the city or getting stuck in a good book.