Film, Concert Reviews

Concert Review: Wang Chung Brings Big Sounds To The Intimate City Winery

Posted: May 28, 2024 at 6:14 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The proliferation of ‘80s bands making the concert rounds has intensified over the last decade. As a result, countless artists with a commercial hit to their name during the 1980s have cashed in on the nostalgia gravy train.

This is why I approached Wang Chung’s concert on May 23rd with a hint of suspicion and a lot of hope. However, by the end of the evening, I, and other audience members were pleased by their congeniality and finely crafted musicianship.

The duo of Jack Hues and Nick Feldman have been in the trenches for over forty years. First as a new wave act riding the tide of the British invasion of the early 1980s and then, by decade’s end, as a pop band whose anthemic stompers made them the darlings of MTV, commercial radio, and countless parties. In between they managed to get their songs into television and films, including The Walking Dead, The Breakfast Club, Innerspace, and To Live and Die in L.A.

Check out our interview with Jack Hues here.

But, somehow, despite scoring six US Top 40 hits and releasing six studio albums, the band has never quite gotten the accolades many of their lesser-talented peers have received. However, if every gig is solid as their nuanced set before an appreciative City Winery crowd, this could change.

Wang Chung, whose name means “yellow bell” in Mandarin, hit the ground running with their punchy opener, Wait, a song that inspired director William Friedkin to invite them to score his 1985 neo-noir, To Live and Die in L.A.

Fire in the Twilight, from The Breakfast Club was next. It featured some wicked slashing from bassist and co-vocalist Nick Feldman along with some spastic keyboard riffs that sounded straight out of the mall.

Don’t Let Go found vocalist Jack Hues in fine form for the band’s first rousing number of the set. Other highlights included the instrumental jam, City of Angels, the catchy synth-driven Hypnotize Me, and the quasi-power ballad Eyes of the Girl, a cut that Hues thinks should have been a bigger hit.

Clearly expecting a night of retro hits, the audience was overjoyed to hear Feldman sing two newish songs, You’ve Been Living Rent Free In My Head For Too Long, and I Love You, You Idiot. Equally convivial throughout the set, Hues performed A Long Time, a song from his unreleased solo album.

Having never played in St. Louis before, Feldman and Hues seemed delighted by the warm reception they received. Chatty throughout, the duo received several loud ovations throughout the night. One of the loudest was for Space Junk, a jaunty track from 1997 that gained prominence after its inclusion in the series The Walking Dead. Hues’ vocals here were amongst the evening’s best. 

To Live and Die in L.A. was a personal favorite. Considered by many to be their finest single, this cut from 1985 has also seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. During this set, the keyboards came to life, gently underpinning Hues’ vocals.

From here the set picked up the pace as the band turned the final bend with their three biggest hits. The rather subdued crowd was urged to get on their feet for the rest of the show, and they enthusiastically responded by doing so.

The first banger was Let’s Go, an uptempo number from Mosaic, with Feldmanadding driving basslines. Next came their mega-hit Dance Hall Days, which was grittier and heavier than the original single. A fast and loose cover of The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go? segued neatly into their standard Everybody Have Fun Tonight, which found the band in full powerhouse mode. Anchored by a snappy keyboard intro that led into the percussion, bass, and guitar, the pulsing melody rose and fell with the pair’s vocals, giving the audience a rousing send-off for the evening.

During the show, Wang Chung announced that their debut album, Points on the Curve, is being reissued soon with extra tracks and remastered sound.

For more information on City Winery concerts and events visit citywinery.com.