By Ava Mirzadegan
Next Monday, Union Stage will be graced by none other than Japanese bubble-gum punk rockers, CHAI. The band, formed by twins Kana and Mana, and their high school classmate Yuna, is tackling beauty standards and redefining what “kawaii” means to them one hit at a time. They’re what I imagine Babymetal would be if they sounded more like Hinds and Kero Kero Bonito and if their aesthetic and choreography were more like TC Superstar.
With a genuine passion for what they’re creating that spills over sonically and visually, CHAI is a joy to experience. It is clear that they are acting on a vision – one that is inspired by and draws from countless influences, both Western and otherwise. Their near-impeccable self-directed videos touch the line of J-POP stars, but with the band showing their distaste for cultural norms and affinity for creating music as bright as their future. Their art is a radical refusal of a culture with what they consider to be an unhealthy fetishism of unattainable cuteness. CHAI are the feminist icons you’re about to fall in love with.
Opening for CHAI will be electro-pop trio, Haiku Hands. A collective of four multi-disciplinary artists and musicians, the group presents a unique hyper-active collage of genres and sounds. Australians have always had an unfair monopoly in catchy electronic dance music, and now they’re just pouring salt on the wound with Haiku Hands. Each line delivered like slap in the face, the group is a percussive and glitchy rave counterpart to the likes of Le Tigre. Listen to “Dare You Not To Dance” for a glimpse into their kinetic world of absurdist feminism.
Local favorites, Den-Mate will also be on the bill, rounding out probably the most danceable lineup I’ve seen in a while. Buy your tickets for the show here and read more about CHAI in their interviews with Union Stage, i-D, and Pitchfork. Seriously, you will regret missing this.
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