KOKO Gig Watch

Road to Sunburst

5th March 2009 | 6th March 2009 | 7th March 2009

End Of The Road

Road to Sunburst
Urban Attic, Capsquare KL, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 7th March 2009, Saturday

The final night was thankfully set at my new favourite live music venue. Upon arriving at the lovely Urbanattic, my faith in the Road To Sunburst event was instantly restored after the sub standard antics of Aloha the previous night. Luna the marketing manager is doing an amazing job here and I encourage you all to check out the variety of live music nights happening throughout the week. You can visit their Facebook page for full updates or check our listings, but this girl has big things coming up.

First up were Deserters, one of my favourite local bands, with their new guitar virtuoso Brendan. This guy likes to slap his guitar around more than a married mackem does his wife (sorry ladies!!!) and truly adds a new dimension to the line up. Personally, I think the Deserters have taken another step forward as a thought-provoking band and with new material on the way, my prediction is that 2009 will be a great year for these guys.

Urbanattic is proving to be a popular choice among the KL indie casuals. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open kiddies as this cool hangout is being marked as one of many possible venues for KOKO Asia when we eventually start to throw our own partays (yes, parTAY, not party). The venue looks great, attracts a cool crowd and is run by people who are passionate about the local music scene. What more can a proper indie music lover ask for?

Furniture yet again stepped up to the plate and demonstrated their musical composition abilities in style. Nao, who comprise of three of the nicest, but hedonistic guys you could have the pleasure of meeting, provided the pulse to the evening with their complex experimental rock, just as the beers were kicking in.

Up next was Telephony Delivery who once again delivered the heaviest (post) rock noise of the night. I think we can expect to see plenty more of these boys this year. Not my normal sound but you have to take your hats off when a band gives it everything in the name of music.

When you think about it, Malaysia is lucky enough to have a fair number of talented bands, all carrying massive potential, who just seem to keep getting better and better. For me, it’s a matter of time before they are taking the region by storm. So I’ll be seeing you all next week at Sunburst. Como esta bitches!!!

Editor’s note: In a thrillingly close contest, Nao ended up as the band that made it to the grand finale from the KL leg. At the finale, one band from each region will rock it out to see who gets to play Sunburst. As usual, Koko will keep updated as to which band makes it to the final.

Eighties Pop Hell

Road to Sunburst
Aloha, Jalan P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 6th March 2009, Friday

With the KOKO team in tow, I headed down to the music mecca that is Aloha, that iconic venue on Jalan P Ramlee, which amazingly manages both to suck and blow at the same time.

The previous night, we had attended the Road to Sunburst event at the Live & Bar, Sports Planet in Subang Jaya and we had a great night out - lots of friendly people, great atmosphere and some superb music. It was as it was meant to be - all about the music.

However upon arrival at Aloha the alarm bells started to sound and the fighter jets were scrambled. First of all we were stung on the door for a RM30 cover charge, then the beers were criminally priced at RM67 for 4 bottles (RM22 per bottle). Now, it’s not so much the money factor as I don’t mind paying for a great live music experience, but this was not the right crowd or venue for this kind of event. On first appearance it looked packed and lively. However upon venturing further into the club, it was apparent that this was the usual Friday night teeny bopping crowd who were expecting Culture Club and Vanilla Ice, not the array of local talent that was on offer.

From the outset the management had clearly meddled with the process. Bands were only allowed to play two songs instead of the six expected and each band was told if they lost the crowd, then they would be pulled off stage. Hardly the right platform for what is essentially a music competition, more the sort of platform you would expect at an uncle’s wedding.

But I digress. What about the music I hear you ask? Again, each band brought their own style and demeanour to the stage, tirelessly trying to outdo the rest of the pack and put in a solid performance. Furniture and Nao both gave fantastic sets, but I found it a little difficult to maintain focus on the bands when there were so much shenanigans going on around me - birthday cakes being presented mid song, people walking around with their iPod on and not forgetting the terrible, god awful DJ that was determined to ruin my night with pop tosh like Sean Kingston “Beautiful Girls’ and anything by Bananarama. It’s even painful to write.

Enter Deserters who just in time took the stage not a moment too soon. Zack the Deserters front man gave it his best shot and came out on top. He joked, he got involved, and he rocked it. Finally someone had managed to grab the crowd by the balls and squeeze until he had their attention, not letting go for the entire set. The new tracks from Deserters are quality and are guaranteed to be stuck in your head for days. The track ‘Easier Said Than’ is, as we would say in Sunderland, “a belter.”

Soon as the bands finished I made a beeline for the door, not wanting to disturb the regulars from their Milli Vanilli. The final verdict: Good gig, wrong venue and terrible crowd. A missed opportunity really.

Bring the Noise

Road to Sunburst
Live and Bar, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Petaling Jaya,
Date: 5th March 2009, Thursday
By Johnny Mayo

So, the ink has dried and the line up almost set in stone. The boys at Pineapple have managed to get no less than five international acts flying into KL this month to rock Sunburst. With Korn, N*E*R*D, Erykah Badu, Skye and Naturally 7 all taking the main stage at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club, the only question left to ask is which array of local talent will be joining them on the main stage?

Enter Tuborg, who have organised the ‘Road to Sunburst’, a competition spanning five different states across Malaysia and 20 artists in a battle of the bands style competition to grace the hallowed Sunburst main stage. All artists involved are playing six shows across their territory with the winners going through to the grand finale held on March 13 at Sunshine on Asian Heritage row. Here, the band with the most votes will get to play the main stage at Sunburst while the rest of the winners will rock the smaller Tuborg stage at the event.

With top notch local acts like They Will Kill Us All, Bittersweet, Meet Uncle Hussain and Estrella already confirmed, the standard has been set high and the competition is looking fierce.

The KL leg continued last night with round three at Live & Bar in Subang Jaya. The talent representing KL on the tour are Furniture, a post-rock, avant-pop who never strays far from being artful, honest, sweeping and emotional, Nao, who are arguably the best band in the current Malaysian local Chinese independent scene, Deserters, the well established veterans of the KL indie scene and Telephony Delivery a five piece post-alternative outfit hailing from the many suburbs of Selangor.

Taking to the stage first was Furniture, delivering a signature collection of tracks with symphonic melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Furniture have written some brilliant songs with interesting structures and trippy guitar sounds to them. However, being the first band to take the stage the acoustics worked against them. Despite battling live sound gremlins for most of their set, the band still managed to set a high standard for the remaining acts to follow.

Deserters then took to the stage, led by charismatic front man Zack Yusof, and it was clear to see that they didn’t just want to showcase their new material; they wanted to shove it down your throat. Recently out of the recording studio, they tested their new endeavors with tracks like ‘Levity’ and ‘Speak My Truth’ which demonstrated that Deserters are coming back bigger and better than ever. A well oiled performance from one of the most polished, all round outfits in the KL indie scene.

Up next was Nao, a three piece outfit so brimming with talent they need to be seen to be believed. Exhibiting several different riffs, chord and tempo changes to resemble one sprawling instrumental song with the complexity of a f**k-off big rubix cube, you can clearly tell that these guys have put in months - if not years - of dedication to get to where they are. Lead guitarist Tut is one of the most accomplished performers you will find this side of the world, with fret work reminiscent of Slash in his Gun’s N’ Roses heyday. Keep an eye out for these guys.

Rounding off the night in heavy, ear-drum blistering fashion was instrumental rockers Telephony Delivery. Boasting a deejay/sound effects guy armed with a Kaoss Pad (as made famous by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood) among other gadgetry as well as a keyboard player in addition to the usual guitar, bass and drums set up, the band’s sound was denser than your average SE Asian rainforest and loud as f**k. Some call what they do post rock but on tonight display, it’s way heavier than that, like Mogwai but without the lovely, melodic bits.

My personal opinion is that round one was too close to call. At a push, it’s a toss up between Nao and Deserters who both had barnstorming sets. KOKO will be tagging along to round two tonight at Aloha Bar on Jalan P Ramlee to provide you with the exclusive feedback. The road to Sunburst just got that little bit shorter....


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