Live Review from Social Media Underground:
2. Don’t Close Your Eyes
3. Sleeper Cars
5. Built to Last
After an absence of several months, Reign Lee made a welcome return to once again grace the stages of Hong Kong. At the Social Media Underground Reign was somehow a little different from the Reign I knew before – perhaps on account of having Freddie Gunn (of Shotgun Politics, or “Orgasmic Freddie” as Reign called him) standing in as the drummer, who brought with him his brand of in your face, no holds barred goodness, against which Reign more than ably stepped up to meet full on. The end result was a set delivered with supreme confident, something which one has grown to take for granted when it comes to Reign, more powerful, edgy and intense, and yet darker than ever before (on the last point, I couldn’t quite pinpoint the cause). It was, however, a little erratic in places, which probably could be put down to a relatively new drummer, who has been known to get a little… erm… carried away from time to time.
Live Review from Girls with Guitars #3
For the uninitiated, Reign Lee sounds like a mix of Patti Smith meets P.J. Harvey, with a bit of Smashing Pumpkins thrown in – and so it proved at the Girls with Guitars show.
Billed as the special “secret” guest performer, Reign didn’t let the audience down with her usual passionate performance, driven by powerful, yet often harmonious acoustic chords. Musically she is immensely talented and her lyrics, intelligent but not overwhelming. One can almost feel when listening (and indeed watching) her perform that music is her lifeline, her blood, her heartbeat. From her opening song, she showed an angst and passion that seemed ready to boil over and explode – she showed this in all four songs she performed. Often, as I watched Reign perform, I thought about Thom Yorke who famously burst into tears after a very passionate recording of Fake Plastic Trees – it wouldn’t have surprised me at all if the same happened to her. She also interacted more in her opening chat with the audience than, unfortunately, the two previous acts before her did in their entire sets. And the audience responded in kind.
However, one senses that, though the audiences are there to listen and cheer her on, when Reign starts performing she enters her own world. A world where only the music matters. And that’s how I would sum up Reign: It’s all about the music.
– Joey Griffin
Live Review from Girls with Guitars 2:
1. Built to Last
2. Angels in the Dirt
3. Sleeper Cars
4. I Bleed
5. Don’t Close Your Eyes
There were confessions of girl-crushes and serious fandom expressed to me about Reign before her set. Dressed with flair as usual, there were also a number of comments about how enviable her coat with long tails was. She was accompanied in person by Thelma with percussion on a box, and some pre-recorded backing tracks. This was a clever move, as it really filled out the tiny gap left by her rich, deep voice and angsty guitarwork. Her lyrics are meaty and flowing, really making you think. There’s an attitude to her songs, but not in an obnoxious way – rather, it makes the songs edgy. And this isn’t the manufactured, customary edge that comes with heavily distorted and overdriven guitars; it’s derived from a genuine depth, and even darkness, to the songs overall. To add to all her musical credentials, she even killed a roach just before starting her set (and chided Greg)!
More than the other performers that night, she sang to complement her guitarwork – this was highlighted in Angels in the Dirt where her pithy lyrics tussled with the guitars to fill listening ears. It was also of note that she always sings in her full voice, especially in places that many female singers would have opted for a falsetto – just my opinion, but this approach makes the song more substantial. I Bleed was a new addition to her repertoire; a song that rests on the building-up process, it was added to significantly by the recorded piano and drumrolls. The unyielding yet somehow floating Don’t Close Your Eyes used a very classic chord pattern, made unique by their use in the song. Helena was the ruminating closer, with a sparse yet opulent soundscape, where the box-percussion flourished, ending her set on a pensive, somewhat atonal note.
Live Review from Underground 83:
Reign Lee oozes confidence, a reflection of not only her live music experience, but also the clear fact that she belongs on stage. Her set flowed well as a complete whole, creating a laid back but also up tempo atmosphere. Sue Sherman on lead guitar pushes forward the lyrics with intense solos and riffs. Reign’s voice is also a delight switching from powerful overtones, to soft melodic notes, all the way summoning the passion evident within her lyrics. ‘Helena’ was a favourite, evidently enjoyed by the large audience Reign Lee maintained throughout the set. Reign’s string of upcoming live events only serves to prove her consistent popularity and suitability in live music venues.