after dark

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 January, 2003, 12:00am

You get the tickets. We've got the plan.

Whip out those leathers in preparation for a night of hard liquor and gritty, down-to-earth, 12-bar bliss. Forget packaged pop and swanky bars. It's gravelly voices, smoky dens and good, oldfashioned blues for those who can take it.

The event: William Tang and Blue Wail. The Fringe Club is in the middle of its CityJan Fest. It may not be quite as vibrant as the old days of the Fringe Festival, but the place is still buzzing with 11 shows, seven exhibitions and seven live bands playing throughout the month. Local bluesman William Tang (right) leads Blue Wail tonight in the E & J Gallo Gallery. Tang looks a bit like a native American Indian, with his shock of jet-black hair and cowboy boots under rock'n'roll-tight jeans. But this bluesman hails from Manchester, where he has been entertaining local audiences for 12 years. He is joined by John French on bass and Joel Haggard on drums (Dave McKirdy plays drums tomorrow) for a combination of Chicago blues, retro rock (Muddy Waters, BB King, Eric Clapton, early Cream and Jimi Hendrix) and originals. For musos: Tang is soon opening a 'cosy, new studio' in Central. Keep an eye on his Web site for more details. Tonight-tomorrow, 10.30pm. Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central. Free entry. Tel: 2521 7251. More info:

Dinner: Tang recommends only one place for feasting before his gig: Dan Ryan's Chicago Grill. Named after a Chicago politician of the 1940s, the first Dan Ryan's opened in 1989 in Pacific Place and was later joined by another in Harbour City. Both eateries are decked out indulgently and authentically with wood panelling, art-deco lighting and large murals depicting Chicago nightlife. The lively atmosphere is enhanced by swinging jazz and blues. But, if your eyes are bigger than your stomach, take heed of the menu's warning: 'We serve American portions'. Expect colossal mounds of food. Specialities include whole live Boston lobster ($298) and roast US prime rib 12oz ($210), which are available on Friday and Saturday nights only, or classic hamburgers ($88). Dan Ryan's, 114 Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 2845 4600; 200 Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2735 6111.

Carrying on: Swing your way to 48th Street Chicago Blues - a small, smoky joint in Tsim Sha Tsui that dedicates Saturdays to live blues when the owner, prominent local bluesman Tommy Chung, plays with his stellar band. Named after New York's famed strip of endless guitar shops, the club is earning a reputation for attracting an audience of musicians. During the week, the music policy relaxes to include jazz, bossa nova and rock. Tonight, Latino group Red Taurus play. Shows start at 10.30pm and tend to rock until 4am, with gigs usually evolving into late-night jam sessions. 48th Street Chicago Blues, 2A Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui. $120 includes two drinks. For info: or tel 2723 7633