THE DARK SIDE OF HONG KONG NIGHT LIFE 1

A MILLION QUESTIONS 1

“Imagine if that was a cool looking white band up there and the Filipino band toured the States,” said the person sitting next to me as I stared vacantly at the stage where the female singer was squealing at all the right Axl Rose moments as the covers band threw themselves into an Guns’N Roses hit.

A MILLION QUESTIONS 2b

There are covers bands and there are covers bands, and having been to enough Hard Rock Cafés around the world, one can only assume that part of its draw to those who still make the pilgrimage to smell that teen spirit once again are the bands who copy every riff, lick and trick as exactly as a clone. Hard Rock Cafe regulars wanna go back in time when Rock and Roll dinosaurs ruled the world- and stay there.

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Tonight at the Hard Rock Cafe in Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong, the usual Rock classics were trotted out and played to copyist perfection while the female vocalist channeled the spirit of Axl Rose and Robert Plant and the guitarist struck every cliche riddled Rock God pose- and a few I’d never seen before and never wish to see again. And though thinking that this musical rumble in the jungle and ode to mimicry bordering on parody would be laughed off stage anywhere in the States, or Europe, here, tonight, that stereotypical tourist we have seen at every Hard Rock Cafe around the world over the years- fat, Sixty with a ponytail and flicking a Bic lighter- was on his feet screaming, “YEAHHHHH! YOU GUYS ROCK, MAN!!!”

A MILLION QUESTIONS 8

It was all a bit Neanderthal in a Spinal Tap way while my eyes were on a stunning Chinese girl who took a swig from her bottle of San Mig, stuck a fake tatt on her arm, and became a headbanger for the night.

A MILLION QUESTIONS 9b

She was fake, but also very real in her quest to be part of a musical era she knew nothing about. It all worked except when she clapped along with the music. What’s with local chicks, man? They all clap like like Hello Kitty dolls- heavy with self-consciousness as if posing for a selfie or a Facebook/Instagram update.

A MILLION QUESTIONS 10

Still, what I was really doing at Hard Rock Cafe in LKF, Hong Kong, was wondering where their ROI could be if, as those in the local club scene and F&B business keep insisting, the monthly rent for the venue is HK$1m.

A MILLION QUESTIONS 11

Surely, the venue couldn’t be making much on a customer base that is the beer and burger crowd whereas the upstairs area and the separate merch area is always conspicuous for the notable lack of business?

After all, those days when proudly wearing a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt from every one of the joints one had to visit “back in the day” was only cool and “Rock and Roll, man”, twenty or thirty years ago. Today, the girlfriend wears one when watching TV and eating Oreos while you study the form for the races.

A MILLION QUESTIONS 12c

So, despite Hard Rock Cafe having opened and closed in Kowloon and Hong Kong over a decade ago, and now back where the Cavern once was before it closed shop when the HK$300,000 a month rent crippled it, Hard Rock Cafe has been resurrected with money being no object.

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It’s willingness to fork out the purported million bucks a month on rent is as weirdly trippy as the customers the venue attracts, all that Spinal Tap musical posturing onstage and the very attractive local chick with the fake tatt who threw up all over me once we got back to my place.

The head banging had taken its toll. Alas, it wasn’t the Rock’n Roll night of decadence with groupies I had in mind. One lives and learns and moves on. Rock’n roll, baby…

A MILLION QUESTIONS 16