(I like how it sounds like a story.)
Last Saturday, Annie and I went to Peel Fresco at Central, for drinks and some blues jazz. Playing were Kevin Guffy (sample music here) on guitar and his band for that night: Tsang Tak Hong (a.k.a Bassie Hong) on the bass, Jezrael Lucero on keys (but he was a no-show that night), and, er, the drummer, whose name I embarrassingly never caught.
It was a small crowd so we got very good seats, about six feet away from the musicians. The manager, Rob Baker, was as friendly and accommodating as always (he always manages to say something to me whenever I go to Peel) and we arrived early and had a bit of small talk with Kevin Guffy (cheerful and easy-going guy) during his mic test. The music was mostly jazz-based blues, with some good old blues-blues (I actually wanted more of those – Kevin Guffy sang an Albert King song and pulled a mean Eric Clapton vocal imitation) and soaring, overdriven guitar leads once in a while. Great night of music altogether, along with what Annie proclaimed was the best Midori Sour she’s had in Hong Kong so far.
What blew me away really though was Hong shredding on his five-string bass guitar. He was playing a heck lot more notes than Kevin Guffy at one very impressive point. He spends most of the time with his eyes shut and his fingers flying all over the fretboard, like this. That video doesn’t really do him justice, though there’s a good bit in the middle (it’s in the same venue but a different event; he’s playing with Eugene Pao on the guitar there). There was also a guy with a trumpet who was friends with some of the musicians and joined in a few songs (my lack of names here is really showing how informal this event is – which is something I quite like about Peel Fresco.)
We left after the second set because it was getting late, and we were walking down Queen’s Road Central toward Pedder Street, just across Lan Kwai Fong, to catch a minibus to Mongkok where we could cab it home. We saw a group of local kids our age taking turns busking in the street, which is quite rare in Hong Kong. It seemed like a pretty big, pre-meditated affair: about three guitars, two small amps, and a lot of beer going around. They sang mostly crowdpleasers like Jason Mraz and John Lennon and Paramore. It was very pleasant, especially close to one in the morning, and drew a big crowd of expats and local people.
All right, the Satchurator (which Theresa said sounded something futuristic, like a vaporizer). It’s a guitar distortion pedal, a collaboration between Vox and His Majesty, Joe Satriani. I just bought it at the Tom Lee in Wan Chai at a promo price (
1000HKD –> 700HKD) after chasing after it in TST (sold out) and Shatin (display model only). Annie was with me in Shatin and said I was obviously excited about it because after spying it in the glass case, I apparently jumped and made a run for it.
I only have a small practice amp at home but the Satchurator makes it sound like it isn’t. Now I spent hours last night doing my yearly maintenance on my guitar (yes, I know I should do it more often) – restringing, cleaning and conditioning the fretboard, polishing the frets, cleaning and waxing the body, conditioning the strings and that hellishtuningofnewstringsona guitarwithafloatingtremolobridge (I was so tired afterwards I immediately fell asleep when I hit the bed) – and the arrival of the Satchurator today was really worth all that. The versatility of this thing is unbelievable. The journey from subtle grit to screaming overdrive is a long one with lots of delicious tones in between to dial into. Fantastic purchase.
(Satchurator photo from Guitarsite.com; I’m too tired to take my own, it’s been a long day)
(Other photos by Annie)