Jarvis Cocker joins strong line-up for Hong Kong’s Clockenflap festival

Adam Wright
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Jarvis Cocker joins strong line-up for Hong Kong’s Clockenflap festival

The full line-up for the 2018 edition of Hong Kong’s premier music festival has been announced after a long wait, with ex-Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker the main addition to a schedule that already included rising US singer-songwriter Khalid and the Talking Heads’ David Byrne.

Other new names on this year’s Clockenflap schedule are US ambient pop act Cigarettes After Sex and Japanese jazz-rock band Suchmos, plus a DJ set by cult Scottish author Irvine Welsh.

Clockenflap 2018 line-up led by David Byrne, Interpol, Khalid

Suchmos join a particularly strong Asian line-up for this year’s Clockenflap, gaining a slot alongside Cornelius (often described as the “Japanese Beck”) and a number of high-profile Taiwanese acts: Sodagreen lead singer Wu Tsing-fong, and alternative songstresses Anpu (previously known as Deserts Xuan) and Zooey Wonder.

The 11th edition of Clockenflap, Hong Kong’s biggest annual music festival, will take place from November 9-11 at the Central Harbourfront event space beside Victoria Harbour.

Full of swagger and brandishing a perceptive wit, Cocker was one of the main faces of 1990s Britpop, and his band Pulp’s crossover hit Common People became one of the anthems of the movement. Cocker has this year been performing under the name Jarv Is, and his new solo show will be coming to Clockenflap 2018 after a run of UK concerts.

Justin Sweeting, music director of Clockenflap organiser Magnetic Asia, describes Cocker as “one of the most cherished and beloved of Britain’s modern-day music heroes”.

“It’s a coup to have him bring his latest Jarv Is show to Asia for the first time. What I’ve always loved about Cocker is that he’s consistently taken creative risks throughout his career, and that’s where great art happens. All who’ve seen this show say he’s on absolute fire at the moment.”

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Meanwhile, Welsh – the author of 12 novels, including Trainspotting, who has written extensively about electronic music in books such as Ecstasy – will be dropping a near-unmissable DJ set of classic acid house. Cigarettes After Sex return for a full festival show after bringing down the house at a smaller-scale gig in Hong Kong early last year.

“Irvine is in town to speak at the Literary Festival, but what many people don’t know is just how accomplished he is as a DJ as well. Expect a mixture of techno, acid house and one hell of a party,” says Sweeting.

As for Cigarettes After Sex, Sweeting says their “ethereal dream pop is utterly infectious” and that the band’s profile has continued to grow since last year’s sell-out show at Kitec in Kowloon Bay.

“It’s going to be a special moment when they take to the Harbourflap stage under Hong Kong’s iconic night sky on the Friday night,” he adds.

Clockenflap 2018 will be headlined by US post-punk revivalists Interpol (Friday), Byrne (Saturday) and Khalid (Sunday). Byrne’s appearance is particularly noteworthy, as Clockenflap will be hosting the only regional date on the former Talking Head’s acclaimed “American Utopia” tour, which the singer says is the most ambitious show he’s done in years.

Rising US singer-songwriter Khalid will also arrive in Hong Kong on a high note, having been named the top R&B artist at this year’s Billboard Music Awards. Among the other stand-out artists already announced are 2018 Mercury Prize winners Wolf Alice, UK rock favourites The Vaccines and Canadian electronic-rock outfit Caribou.

Among the newly added artists likely to excite fans of electronic music are Frenchman Arnaud Rebotini (a member of electroclash outfit Black Strobe) and long-standing Dutch DJ Steffi.

Clockenflap was launched in 2008 as a small-scale event but has since evolved into Hong Kong’s biggest annual music festival, and last year attracted more than 30,000 people to each of the three days of its 10th-anniversary edition.

After a more than a decade of Clockenflap, Sweeting says the festival is more than the sum of its parts.

“There will of course be highlights for many people, from David Byrne’s current set – described by many as ‘the best show ever’ – to Wolf Alice’s timely Mercury Prize [for their second album, 2017’s Visions of a Life] to Khalid’s silky smooth soul. But it’s really the unexpected magic moments that make Clockenflap so unique.”

Tickets are now on sale, with an adult three-day pass priced at HK$1,620 and single-day tickets starting at HK$920.

Clockenflap 2018 line-up:

Interpol (US)

David Byrne (US)

Khalid (US)

Jarvis Cocker introducing Jarv Is (UK)

Wu Tsing-fong (TW)

Anpu (TW)

Caribou (CN)

The Vaccines (UK)

Wolf Alice (UK)

Amadou & Mariam (ML)

Cornelius (JP)

Rhye (CN)

Cigarettes After Sex (US)

Alvvays (CN)

Big Shaq (UK)

Roni Size (UK)

Suchmos (JP)

Peking Duk (AU)

Mija (US)

Blawan (UK)

Steffi (NL)


Zooey Wonder (TW)

The Word Alive (US)

Rone (FR)

Sunflower Bean (US)

Youngr (UK)

9M88 (TW)

The Low Mays (HK)

Shame (UK)

Oddisee & Good Company (US)

Nina Las Vegas (AU)

Swindle (UK)

D.A.N. (JP)

Instinct of Sight (HK)

Arnaud Rebotini (FR)

Irvine Welsh (UK)

I Kong & Jahwazoo

Chancha Via Circuito (AR)

Bodega (UK)

Blue Hawaii (CN)

Lydmor (DK)

Bohan Phoenix (CN/US)

Blood Wine or Honey (HK)

Cifka (HK)

Dusty Bottle (HK)

Sensi Lion (HK)

Yeti Out x Timetable Records (HK)

Mean Gurls Club (HK)

Cocoonics (HK)

HKDNB Bass Crews (HK)


Twisterella (HK)

Kiri T (US/HK)

Uptown Rockers (HK)

Broadback B2B Re:flex (HK)

Waiting No More (HK)

Smoke in Half Note (HK)

Esimorp (HK)

Muzki & the Island (HK)

Foster Studio (HK)

After-After-Party (HK)

Robot (HK)

DJ Mengzy (HK)

Crimes Against Pop (HK)

DJ Blaze (HK)

This article Jarvis Cocker joins strong line-up for Hong Kong’s Clockenflap festival first appeared on South China Morning Post

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