IMG_2503.JPG Live Review from Sub Terra #3

1. Wedding Song
2. People
3. Other Woman
4. I can’t feel your face (cover Weeknd)
5. Sleeping at your desk
6. Rock N Roll Machine

Chris B, AKA “the tattooed fairy godmother of the Hong Kong scene” as she was once memorably described, has been keeping the flame burning for indie music in the SAR for more years than she would care to remember. Her bands Sisters of Sharon, Guitars & Panties and Thinking Out Loud all enjoyed success on the circuit and when she set up The Underground in 2004 she had the experience to make switching to the role of a promoter second nature.

So it’s great to see her here tonight in her most recent band, CHRANG!, which I assumed was the onomatopoeic representation of a distorted electric guitar being vigorously twanged, but is in fact an anagram of her and double bass wielding sidekick/art director/chief photographer Angus Leung’s names. Who knew? Either way it’s great to see her on the sharp side of the stage, where she seems totally at home.

Alongside longtime partner in crime and Teenage Riot bassist Yan Yan and drummer Matt and you have the making of a pretty potent outfit. Following a successful debut at The Wanch a few months ago, CHRANG! has regrouped, stuck a new cover track in – The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” (you know what that track’s REALLY about Chris?) – and perfected their set of infectious original tracks.

And not just that – according to Chris it’s all it’s all “nu” – nu-jazz, nu-rock, nu-emo, nu-cover, nu-Beatles and nu-rock ‘n’ roll.

However you describe it, it’s an attractive, innovative sound. “Wedding Song” is a slinky, sexy track (matching Chris’s skimpy, blue dress, natch), with a beguiling, throaty vocal. Things take a rockier turn with “People”, which is epic, surfy and super-melodic, with Chris declaring “that was nu-rock with a double bass!”

Third track “Other Woman” has more of a balladic and plaintive, melodic feel and a huge ending with great drumming from Matt. Track four is a bossa nova-tinged verse of aforementioned “Can’t Feel My Face”, and while Chris suggests the next track “Sleeping at your desk” (very Hong Kong theme) is inspired by the Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week” it sounds more like every classic rock track you’ve ever heard, from The Stones’ “Satisfaction”, to The Jam’s “Going Underground” – punky and upbeat. Final track “Rock N Roll Machine” is a nice slab of hypnotic psychedelia with a nagging bass line and brings things to a superb climax.

It’s great to see Chris still as keen to make the impact as a musician as she has a champion for the indie scene, and with this new line-up she appears to have all the tools at her disposable to take it as far as she wants. Nu-awesome, CHRANG!
Dan Creffield

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Performances by CHRANG!: