Gig review: WANG CHUNG – Bush Hall, London, 25 May 2013

Wang Chung were playing their first UK gig in 25 years and also reuniting with long-standing drummer Darren Costin. Nice touch before the gig saw the band’s two main members Jack Hues and Nick Feldman chatting and having photos taken with the early bid fans who had been queuing up over an hour before the doors opened.

The second time I have been in Bush Hall, which has a beautiful interior complete with chandeliers, very rock ‘n’ roll. It was a good sized crowd that including fellow 80’s musicians Jon Moss (Culture Club), Gary Tibbs (Adam & the Ants) and allegedly Ray Winstone, although I didn’t see him.

First up was Addictive TV, who with two middle aged men wearing big headphones and behind laptops didn’t bode well. How wrong I was! They mixed drum ‘n’ bass and programmed loops over their own edited together footage that paid homage to ‘Star Trek’, a superhero tag team featuring Iron Man, Spiderman and the Hulk amongst others and a bizarre mix of Kate Bush merging into Slash playing the ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ riff.

A real eye and ear opener and well worth your time tracking them down on YouTube.  They even added as their encore a Wang Chung themed tune, using the band’s ‘Dance Hall Days’ video, complete with a fisherman’s jumper tribute worn by Jack Hues,

Wang Chung took to the stage to a rousing reception and played a string set of tunes, cleverly keeping their powder dry on their biggest three tunes until the end of the evening. Joining the aforementioned Jack Hues (vocals/guitars), Nick Feldman (bass/vocals) and Darren Costin (drums) were Max Bresnahan (keys/vocals) and two backing vocalist Violet Ryder (Jack’s daughter) and JJ.

Like Addictive TV the band made full use of the big screen at the back using their old 80’s videos, which have aged surprisingly well and a few subtle plugs for their rather good new album ‘Taser Up!’ Opener ‘City Of Light’ came from the new album and then we had the first of their 80’s tunes with ‘Fire in the Twilight’, from the ‘Breakfast Club’ film soundtrack.

The trippy, almost prog ‘Space Junk (The Walking Dead)’ came from the best of collection from a few years back. Glad they played ‘Rent Free’, one of the best songs on the new album and a single in the making, well it would be if singles meant much nowadays…

The band sounded good, a little loud on the keys at the start otherwise a well balanced sound. Special mention to drummer Darren Costin, who looked like a big kid in a toy shop! He gave it his all through the night and pleasing to hear both Hues and Feldman have lost none of their vocal prowess.

The final three songs it was fair to say brought the house down with ‘Let’s Go’ and then ‘Everybody Have Fun Tonight’. The songs chorus has the ‘Everybody Wang Chung tonight’ snippet in it used by many US TV programmes including ‘The Simpsons’.  They wondered before the song if it would mean as much to a US audience and they found out it did!

The set closed with their most recognisable song ‘Dance Hall Days’ and the band joined the crowd in bouncing up and down having a great time.

They may never have been one of the bigger 80’s bands back in the day, but they have still got that ‘wow’ factor live and most importantly left their audience very happy. Hopefully they will be back for some more UK dates and make sure you get along to see them.

Review by Jason Ritchie

Photos by Martin David Porter

Set list:

1. City of Light
2. Fire in the Twilight
3. Space Junk (The Walking Dead)
4. Let’s Get Along
5. Stargazing
6. Don’t Let Go
7. To Live and Die in LA
8. Rent Free
9. Let’s Go
10. Everybody Have Fun Tonight
11. Dance Hall Days


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