Tired of all the manufactured angst in bands out there? Like that was even a question eh? If you feel that Cobain was the last rock figure to have really meant what he screamed then join the rest of us. Down the front. Cheering on Deng Deng Etc.
In terms of street cred, no one knows about living under the gun as much as Hong, frontman of Deng Deng Etc. Pain is an understatement for the young Sabah-born singer-songwriter. Originally the lead guitarist from rising local Chinese underground act Nao, Hong left the band due to ideological conflicts with his bandmates.
He decided to form his own band in 2004 with drummer Jimmy (also from Nao) and bassist Kun. Deng Deng Etc was born but the line-up has since changed and now runs withÂ Mat on bass and Rastafarian college dropout Ian on drums.
The band plays a mean mash of punk, hardcore, metal and funk. But this is no Korn (or Nao-clone). Their recent low-key releaseÂ EP Wanton Of The Proletariat proves that this Mandarin-singing punk band knows where to direct their anger. Not one to hold back on Mandarin’s more colourful vocabulary, topics like police brutality (‘National Hero’) and the smugness of upper-class kids (‘Social Scum’) are torn apart in brutal 3 minute trash jams.
With the words ‘Pain’ and ‘Less’ tattooed over his knuckles, Hong doesn’t seem to mind what societyÂ makes of him. He’s too disillusioned by its lies and failure to provide for his kin in skid row. Juts checkÂ ‘Our F*cking Daydream’ for more on that.
Deng Deng Etc’s live shows are a furnace blast of fury that cathartically relieves fans from the dread of feeling marginalised. AlthoughÂ Hong only possesses a primary school education, every lyric is suffused with the hard won experince gained on the means streets and is all the more powerful for it.
Deng Deng Etc (which means “waiting etc” in Chinese) may not be as prolific as Nao, but they are quickly creating a carving a spot for themselves amongst the disenchanted kids of KL. WhenÂ asked aboutÂ the underground music scene, Hong said this: “The scene is like religion now. Chinese and Malay scenes are separated. And everyone just wants to be famous.” By keeping rock dangerous, Deng Deng Etc reminds us that life isn’t all that pretty. Now be thankful for it.