Live Review from Girls with Guitars #1:
The final band in the lineup is “Hard Candy”. Their current band members are Yanyan & JT on guitar & vocals, Renee Ko on drums & vocals, Jody on synth keyboard, and Tony on bass.
Another excellent indie band. I still recall when my brother called me up a couple of years ago and asked if I’d seen “Hard Candy” as he was blown away by their performance at the time.
Tonight’s no different.
As a band, “Hard Candy” brings out the fun in Hard Rock, Ska,, Punk, etc.
Their first number sounded like a Ska mixed with 80s techno-rock piece. Which got quite a few people jumpin’ off their seats to the beat.
From then on, the rest of their songs continued to keep the crowd moving. I was impressed by their music and thought it was a fantastic end to the night. My friend “A” wasn’t. He believed they lacked the technical brilliance of “Hungry Ghosts.” To each his own, I guess.
All in all, a very good night of entertainment, and an impressive showcase of local talent, with the femmes on guitars! Can’t wait for the next one!
Live Review from 5th Year Anniversary Party:
Topping the bill, Hard Candy closed out the party with challenging but upbeat pop-punk, delivered with enthusiasm. Again, the first song could have been more together (Chris B, perhaps get Red Bull in as a sponsor – or something stronger?), but song 2 really got things going and featured the evening’s first really fuzzy guitar. And the first phaser too. Bonus points.
Central to Hard Candy are the lead vocals – loud, female, strident and relentlessly discordant. For some of the songs this worked a treat, but others could have used a little variation in singing to match the admirable variety of the music. Rockabilly merged with XTC which merged with Talking Heads – and that was just one song.
Hard Candy saved the best song for last, with a great bass line, mounting drama and vocals getting dangerously close to singing. Great soundtrack to a Tarantino movie.
Live Review from Underground 39:
The third band of the evening, was the all-girl three piece Hard Candy. Tuning up on stage before the first number, the contrast between the menacing guitar and the grinning face of the lead singer, Yan, was worth noting (liked the pj harvey black dress and red shoes as well!). The first number started slowly and built up into a crescendo. “Every time you say you love me, you lie to me” screamed Yan, bringing to mind early Siouxsie and the Banshees.
As the set progressed the musicians warmed up and started to play together better. The sound was predominantly punk, with catchy guitar riffs and solid bass and drums underpinning them, and most of the lyrics were something to do with lying cheating bastard boyfriends. During the six songs, I caught strains of Stiff Little Fingers, Pixies, Stranglers, Fugazi, all of which probably date me a little. The last track was my favourite: an instrumental offering as a tribute to Elliot Smith, which reminded me of the Cure from the Disintegration album.
I’ve always had a bit of a thing for girls who play guitar, so I’m clearly biased, and there was lots they did that was good here. However they suffered from the same problem as the previous band: the off key vocals, which may be attributable to the sound system, and the badly tuned lead guitar, which is less excusable. Nevertheless there was some good material here, and the girls are playing together better than they have previously, and have more confidence on stage. I’ll look forward to their new album which is coming out soon.
Live Review from Underground 29:
Hard Candy frontwoman Yanyan Pang has some serious attitude! She put poor Underground emcee Luke Chow in his place when he introduced the trio as “Hong Kong’s sexiest band”, when she butted in “hey, I don’t like this introduction”, before taking things intro into her own hands – “this song is about my boyfriend, but I don’t have one, so fuck it!”. What a rockstar! They then launched into an outrageous set of songs I can only describe as “scream-core”, and with a broken heart in every lyric, Miss Pang is obviously a woman scorned! Third song I Wish I, with its “I wonder how I live through all the days” squeal, was a particular crowd pleaser. Hard Candy have improved immensely on the last show I saw them play. Alex has been a splendid addition to the band, with her adroit basswork locking in well with Renee’s much enhanced drumming, giving Miss Pang a solid groove foundation to do whatever guitar and vocal shrieking she likes over the top. Hard Candy can sound a little off key, and a little off beat, but there’s something about the way they do it that keeps your attention. Perhaps it is Miss Pang’s no-compromise approach? She DEMANDS attention! “This is going to be our last song, but I really don’t want to get off the stage!” she huffs. Sounded like the crowd didn’t want them to leave either. They finished with what I thought was the best song of the night, an instrumental inspired by the late musician Elliot Smith.
they are plenty entertaining, but in a very different sort of way. think shonen knife or the pancakes. the end product is like a stir fry of oil and water garnished with a screaming dead rat. someone please give me a gun. but, that combined with their sincerity make them a good watch if nothing more. their final song though, an extended instrumental one, was awesome. it bridged experimental, trance, and pop all at once. they could quite possibly do well professionally this way.
Live Review from Underground 14:
riotgirls post punk trio Hints of early Banshees and the Creatures (Banshees offshoot) especially in drums. Also hear some chunky Wire meet Gang of Four grooves and some Bunnymen. Not afraid to crack up on stage during song. The drummer is really great in this band. Last track “Elliott” saw them stretch out the most. Inspired by the late Elliott Smith (died by suicide, Oct 2003) this was the closest to vintage “Sisters of Sharon” fret fantasywork. I agree with co-MC Mike, Hard Candy “blow me away”.
Live Review from Underground 5:
Congrats to the Underground team for booking Hard Candy… I had heard a lot about them, all of it positive, so went along last night with high hopes. I was not disappointed. I have lived in Hong Kong for many years now, and quite possibly can be seen as an old hardened cynical hack. But Hard Candy made me feel 18 again. Took me back to the days of Altered Images with Clare Grogan prancing around the stage with her pigtails to a chainsaw musical background. Hard Candy are a threesome, male bass player Eric, female drummer Renee, and the incredible Yan ( a girl) on guitar and vocals. It’s amazing how such a powerful scream can come out of such a little girl. From the very first song, the band had the noisy crowd eating out of their hands. Yan charmingly introduced each song, and then off they went, a pot-pourri of pop/punk, Yan’s voice soaring,not always in key but that added to the charm and I think was done on purpose anyway. The bass player jumped around to good effect, and the drummer was excellent too. But nothing can compare to Yan, as Sinead O’Connor may have said once. This girl, and the band if they get a bit of luck, could be huge. “The song’s not finished yet”, squealed Yan when we applauded prematurely. We saw Hard Candy, we fell in love. And not just with Yan. Hard Candy conquered. My favourite band ever in Hong Kong.