Live Review from Underground 85:
1. Stuck on you
3. How high
4. What you want
5. Machine gun
Kris and Ben are an acoustic duo that play the darker side of indie folk rock. This was their first show together and their debut at The Underground. So, I am sure that many people were interested in how their first performance would go. Their first song, ‘Stuck on you’ had a very infectious chorus that invoked feelings of sadness and happiness at the same time. It was quite a light-hearted song and was very mellow. Kris’ voice reminded me of Dido, and she strummed the guitar while Ben played the more technical parts. The crowd was silent throughout the whole song and I began to wonder if anyone was here because it was so quiet. But as they finished the song the crowd erupted in applause and I was amazed at the response they had gotten. The bar had filled up more quickly than usual for the first band.
For their second song, ‘Holes’, Kris put down her guitar so she could concentrate on her vocals, while Ben accompanied her with his delicate guitar skills. She reached many high and low notes with perfect ease and I began to admire her singing talent. I was starting to wonder, is this ‘Kris & Ben said’ or should it be called ‘Kris said’… and maybe ‘Ben just played’. This song was the kind of music I would like to listen to so as to get away from the hustle and bustle of busy Hong Kong. It had an abrupt end… but you could see the crowd were thirsty for some more.
The third song titled, ‘How high’ was a more upbeat song from the last two. She told people that they could groove along to the music. It was definitely a song that people could tap their feet to. I loved it how Ben picked the last note after every verse. The duo made us feel so comfortable and at home with their happy go lucky style of music. I could see smiles on the faces of the people near me as they slapped their hands onto their knees along with the beat.
The fourth song. ‘What you want’, was another slow song. This time Kris played the piano, but she apologised to the audience for looking at the keys. I couldn’t imagine why because her skills were flawless. Looking back on all of their songs up to now I could see a trend going on. All of the songs were heavily influenced by relationships. I felt that this song was very touching and I could sense from the lyrics that she wanted to win someone back. Even though she played such a heartfelt song you could see a smile planted on her face and you couldn’t help but smile back in return.
I had already listened to their last song of the night, ‘Machine Gun’, via Kristina’s alivenotdead website. The chorus and song lyrics are quite simple, but very effective. In my mind I got images much alike to the music video of ‘Zombie’ by ‘The Cranberries’. I could just imagine a war going on, dirty faces of kids and people running around in despair. All of this was going on while the story of two lovers was being told; amidst the confusion and chaos of the war. In this song I found myself drawn to the front of the crowd to support her and to enjoy the music.
I am sorry if I keep referring to Kris throughout this whole review, but I couldn’t get past her amazing voice and talent. Ben was equally as good, but I had the feeling that he was there just to help Kris along with the backing guitar, as maybe her guitar skills were not yet up to speed. I know the whole crowd were focused on her, and why not? She is incredibly beautiful and talented. I looked around me and even found all of the girl’s eyes fixated on her in awe and maybe a bit of jealousy. I heard from a little birdy too, that she is going to be Ms. Lovett in the musical drama of Sweeney Todd that will be performed in late November 2009. Wow! I can really see a bright future for her, be it with ‘Kris and Ben said’ or as a solo act.
Cain (F.B.I. vocalist)