In the wake of Hurricane Ophelia, Londoners were treated an incredibly odd phenomenon today. Turning temporarily orange, our sun decided that it took would get into the Californian vibe, could it be just a coincidence then that CHON were in town?! Formed of four musical virtuoso’s, three of which are now brothers, CHON are a feast for the ears. Rather than the plethora of instrumental bands who seem to try and one up even themselves, CHON instead not only bring a real sense of groove to the table but this infectious relaxed atmosphere most would struggle to create. Having released their brand new sun soaked anthem Homey back in July, the band are taking their aural sunshine all over the world and tonight, its London’s turn.
Arriving in the dimly lit Garage, the hubbub of anticipation bubbles over as the crowd await their instrumentalists to take the stage. Given their long absence seeing an almost sold out Garage greet the band is a fantastic sight. Kicking things off with Homey number “Sleepy Tea” the band immediately work their magic on the crowd. Under their chill spell, the band might be riffing harder than Tosin Abasi but its all about the feel. Bathing in this alpenglow of melody, the band look as though they too are having a wonderful time. A refreshing scene, given that most musicians concentrate so hard to play their material you wonder if they are able to enjoy it all. Cherry picking the best from their new record we’re treated to material throughout the bands career from the hazy “No Signal” to the playful guitar acrobatics of “Waterslide” a fantastic new cut. Leading to the funktastic “Fall” its simply yet another example of just how talented this young band are.
Having the technical ability to play songs the likes of “Story” is one thing but the band have a seemingly innate understanding amongst themselves. Not saying a word to each other each lick is peeled out effortlessly with drummer Nathan Camarena flitting between feather like jazz strokes to full blasting. The perfect counterpart to the more showing leads of brother Mario Camarena and Erick Hansel, backed up perfectly by new bassist and third (!) brother Esiah Camarena however its not all just flower shirts and Pokemon’s. When asked if we like to mosh here in the UK, the answer given back during “Dew” satisfies the guitarist. Laying the foundations for one of the evening’s highlights in the form of Grow number “Knot”.
Save for the few words of Erick Hansel who seems to be the bands spokesperson here tonight, the crowd are hanging on the band’s every lick and before delivering their final section with potentially the most distortion the band have put forward all evening on “Perfect Pillow”. What makes CHON such an interesting and most importantly unique band is their ability to not only stupefy audiences with their own technique but to bring an almost lounge sense to their work. After releasing their second album Homey with the likes of “Checkpoint” and “Continue?” who I no doubt believe are named after video game save points, this playful essence of youth isn’t lost in translation when the band get on the stage. Delivering an absolutely fantastic set here at The Garage tonight, CHON are merely at the beginning of their journey which, given their openminded standpoint can only grow from here.
Homey is out now via Sumerian.