In Da Club: Kwang at the Uptown Bar
Outside, next to the now-covered patio of the Uptown Bar, two clean-cut young men walk up the alley, surreptitiously dropping a plastic Lunds bag inside the fence. When they join their cohorts at a corner table, I look to see what kind of cheap booze or illicit substance will appear. Instead, a bag of chips and a container of dip are brought forth and politely shared. This relative tameness of the crowd unfortunately continues into Kwang's set last Thursday night at the Uptown Bar, but it doesn't matter. These boys are here to rock, audience enthusiasm or no, starting with "Teenage Misfit Junkie" from their EP Hung. Lead singer John Knapper struts around with a white flying V guitar, while lead guitarist Justin Marreel looks the perfect part of an '80s metal fan, with long stringy hair, sleeveless white T-shirt, and Jagger lips tattoo. The sound level is a little lower than would seem called for by Kwang, who obviously found influences in Kiss, Van Halen, and Mötley Crüe. "I Really Like It" finds Knapper unnecessarily answering his own question, "If you don't like it/Do you think I care?" (He doesn't.) After Marreel delivers a noodly, Black Sabbath-esque guitar solo, Knapper announces, "Two more and then we'll leave you alone." After "I Can't Take It," Knapper calls for 20 Dollar Love, who played earlier, to join them onstage. The openers at first seem elusive, "like unicorns," Knapper says, but then appear for a sloppy jam that finds Knapper abandoning the flying V to jump around attacking a cowbell.
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