Short

The difference between an Andrew Hung live show and a Fuck Buttons one couldn’t be starker

He's made a new solo album - and played his debut show in London last night

The privilege of being one half of a revered act like Fuck Buttons is that outside of the main project it affords you the opportunity to diversify musically, and have people pay close attention. While his creative partner Benjamin John Power has been celebrating Blanck Mass for a few years now, Andrew Hung has also ploughed the solo furrow in various guises, but this is his first definitive step into being an artist under his own name.

The only song currently in the public domain is the 6 Music-friendly ‘Say What You Want’ – a wispy, melodically pleasing, floaty indie tune. And the difference between tonight’s performance and a Fuck Buttons show couldn’t be starker. Whereas Fuck Buttons carries a vicious, dark, electric energy, Hung takes the stage with a full, pretty much analogue band; live drums, guitar and a keyboard.

In the extremely close confines of London’s The Social, a place that can feel excitingly packed with an audience of only a few dozen, the super-intimate atmosphere elevates the music. In a larger space, you feel this energy could become lost. Hung spends almost as much time off the stage as he does on it, backing himself into the crowd and delivering his vocals with wild eyes; he’s clearly reveling in his new freedom, like a man who’s been denied the mic his whole life and now he’s got it, is almost unable to restrain himself.

Some of the material has a very stripped, almost punky feel, a little like Public Image Ltd. forced through a funk filter. The drums are rifle sharp; make no mistake, this is full-band music, and feels like a decisive and intentional separation from his main project. A raw funk element runs through the material, with upstroke stabs of guitar and the keyboard acting as the lower end.

The thing is, if you’re going to move from the thrillingly intense to the more conventional, you’d better make it extremely good. But you get the feeling that if the guy on stage didn’t have the talent and the background that he does, this solo project might easily be viewed as indifferent. As it is, this is fun, loud, sharp and organic, and breathes genuine life into music which on record feels fragile at times. How, and if, Hung can carry this to a larger scale will be interesting to see.

Andrew Hung @ London, The Social, on Tuesday 15 August
Photos by: Kieran Green

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