Calm, funky Swedish jazz in hectic Hong Kong


A jetlagged SubFive gave a soothing concert in Hong Kong last week despite technical difficulties and a lost instrument. The band was on the way to their 6th tour in Japan when visited Hong Kong for the first time, in the hope that they might add more Chinese cities to their next Asia tour.

6 minutes before the concert the Swedish jazz-funk-fusion band SubFive was still without a bass, Anders Pirinen the bass player, or rather a luggage handler, had lost his fretless six-string somewhere between Stockholm and Hong Kong. At the sound check hours earlier the voltage converter had crashed leaving the stage in silence, but even though the band would probably have preferred to play on their own instruments, it’s not always possible, and when comes to the sound the answer was clear and served with a quirky smile.

“We’re professionals, and professionals can handle it, thats no problem,” they said adding that often when they go on tour a lot of the gear is not their own, especially on the Japan-tour where they keep the weight down to lower the costs.

The music was calm and playful and what often started out as predictable patterns very played through and through in new variations, often accompanied by a solo from one of the musicians.

A small crowd had gathered and among the them were a few Swedes this Wednesday evening in the dark 2nd floor live venue Orange Peel Music Lounge in one of Hong Kongs most popular bar areas Lan Kwai Fong. But the band has actually experienced a bigger interest in their improvisational music in Asia, than in Sweden.

“This style of music is very small in Sweden, an as you know there are not to many people in Sweden, so there are not too many clubs or festivals where we can play, but over here and in Germany, there is a bigger audience for this type of music,” keyboard player Mats Byström says.

To fly in for a single concert like the one in Hong Kong can barely pay the bands flight tickets and living costs, like the tour to Japan can, but according to keyboard player Mats Byström, the band wants to play more in China, and playing a concert can be a way of getting the right contacts for that.

“We played a lot in Japan, especially Okinawa and Tokyo, but we want to expand, playing in other places nearby, we have been to Taiwan, but we never played in China, Hong Kong or Macau, so when we got the opportunity for this gig we figured to just go there and play, finally meet some people here and maybe next time we can play two gigs here and maybe one in Macau,” Mats says.

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