“It has to do with the culture and Hong Kong culture just does not help someone have this International sound.”

This was someone trying to explain to me why Wales-based singer-songwriter Ben Semmens, currently performing in Hong Kong, is by far the best damn performer the Hong Kong Jockey Club has booked for its very successful Happy Wednesday night.

And here is another peculiarity of Hong Kong: A jockey club being a home for new artists than most other Hong Kong venues.

Why music companies who bring in acts for promotional gigs cannot see beyond the same old venues is baffling in its stupidity when one thinks that here there is the hardware- the venues- and a captive audience of at least 14,000 people on Wednesday race night.

Back to Ben Semmens, despite zero time for rehearsals with local musos, Pido, Blaine and D.C. he made Adrenaline come alive and then rocked the Beer Valley with two songs including an impromptu arranged version of Sweet Dreams which would have made Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart proud.

Yes, at the one time, the microphone stand fell down, but Ben kept singing and no one in the audience cared. It was fun- and it was musical.

Yes, the Beer Garden has hosted local artists like G.E.M. and Jun Kun with Eugene Pao, all of whom have been great in their owns ways.

For the largely International crowds at the Beer Garden and Adrenaline, what’s needed are more of these artists who don’t fall into that area of being “local favorites” for who are described as “horse racing uncles and aunties.”


(Source: HKJC)

The venues are not the places for “guitar shredding” and throwing one’s self around the stage and being Chi-chung’s choice as all that is regress in 2013 and not progress.

However, for someone like Ben Semmens and, for example, the duo Jayesslee who perform in Hong Kong next month as part of their Asian Tour, the HKJC is a perfect venue- and very much under-utilized.


(Source: Twitter)

It also shows how much the music world and those who are trying to get this rudderless ship back on course need to re-learn and re-think and, as Gracie Slick once sang, “Feed your head”.


(Source: Feed Your Head Diet)

Music and horse racing and a partnership with a jockey club- and how things can continue to work on even non-race days? Why not? And it’s not just about booking in a few ‘live’ acts, either.

To understand this creative and financial synergy that can include owning new content and creating different revenue streams, well, what’s NOT needed is a failure to communicate and where both parties play so hard that no one wins.

The Simon Fullers, the Chris Blackwells, the Richard Bransons, the Lucian Grainges, the Jay-Zs and the Jimmy Iovines of this world need to come racing- Hong Kong-style.


(Source: Mirror)

Guy Hands can sit on the throne of a toilet on the Autobahn and sucking his- okay- thumb. More on The Guy and his recent attempt at a comeback later.

No, the real Game Changers- and Guy Hands was a game changer in a buffoon-like manner- must also understand the HKJC’s plans in China, the Charities it supports, it’s very close association with what some call soccer and I call football AND an AVERAGE betting turnover of HK$1.1 BILLION on any weekend race meeting and an audience which, a few weeks ago, was over 61,000.

(Source: HKJC)

Sometimes, the name- the Hong Kong JOCKEY Club is almost a dis-service.


(Source: Mac Millan)

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