Music Hall of Williamsburg saw the return of Japanese powerhouse CHAI alongside post-punk front-runners BODEGA on July 15. Despite it being a Monday evening, the concert drew a significant crowd, indicating that even after a busy day at the office, dozens of New Yorkers were eager to see this group ambush the stage.
The four-piece released their debut LP, Pink, in 2017, followed by their latest release, PUNK, in 2018. On both records, they’ve mesmerized audiences with their unique ability to combine punk rock and dance music. The band—comprised of identical twins Mana and Kana alongside their close friends Yuna and Yuki—are determined to challenge all-things conventional, and more importantly, push back on the largely male-dominated rock scene. All power to them!
Their experimental sound, appearance, and demeanor sets them apart from the pack, especially in a live setting. The all-female foursome, decked out in pink, aim to redefine what is considered “kawaii” or “cute” and want to express that in their music. Lyrically, they approach ideas concerning oppressive daily stressors placed on women, and in doing so, the girls of CHAI make a powerful statement through their genre-redefining discography.
Take single “N.E.O.” for example. It perfectly introduces the band’s mission statement, with lines like, “Isn’t it weird when everyone looks the same?,” the band questions normative standards of beauty that force people into boxes and remove individuality.
Unafraid to make a stand and do something that’s truly different, the "Fashionista" group has been able to change the narrative: to encourage girls to be comfortable in their own skin and to be free. Aside from their bluntly feminist message and demeanor—drawing upon the riotgrrl movement—they're able to somehow seamlessly combine glittery, bubblegum pop and ruthlessly over-the-top post-punk in a way that should be impossible.
Throughout the entire show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, whether it was during the main set or their encore (during which they adorned adorable rainbow capes), CHAI’s infectious likeability remained undeniable. Needless to say, it was a set that I won’t forget any time soon.
Make sure to track them on Bandsintown to find out when they'll be performing in an area near you!