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By Chris Jordan
Forget your MTV Suran Song creates her own channel.
Suran Song is heads and shoulders above the rest of the New Brunswick music scene. Of Course, the fact that she appears to be 9-feet tall as she stands on a table while singing has a little something to do with it. "Suddenly, the big guy in the back of the room isn't so big," Song said of her perch.
OK, maybe New Brunswick's Suran Song in Stag isn't the biggest band around, but area club fans are just starting to catch on to the unique visual presentations the group provides. In addition to her "Attack of the 50-foot Woman" routine, Song also performs as Superman, Barbie and a fertility goddess using props, a chemical suit and slide projections. Song calls it "action art," but is careful not to call herself a performance artist.
"I'm really leery of that term" Song, said. "There's so much shoddy performance art out there that it's gotten a bad rap." Also, concentrating too much on the visuals would mean missing some amazing music.
Song's songs have a low-fi immediacy about them reminiscent of Liz Phair's "Exile in Guyville." Up-tempo numbers like "Pamela's Secret" and "Date" show that Song who only started performing music in 1995 brings a unique, challenging and musically winning formula to guitar-bass-and-drum rock. The band also includes William, bass, Dave Urbano, guitar, and Jason Reynolds, drums. The quartet recently released "Pamela's Secret," produced by Ween drummer, Claude Coleman, as a vinyl single.
Song, who has a master's degree from New York's Parson's School of Design, once worked with pop artist Peter Max, constructing ceramic forms representing his paintings into ceramic forms and later taught art to kids in the gang-and-bullet riddled Comptom area of Los Angeles.
"It was nothing noble I did; the salaries were good for teaching at-risk kids," Song said.
For the past few years, Son and her band have played from Boston to Philadelphia and steadily have gained notice and fans with eye-catching performances.
"I think we're trying to add another channel to what people encounter," Song said. "The visual has been underutilized (in pop music). Performance art has been seen in galleries but we're putting these images in a place where people hadn't had a chance to see them before."