KOKO Gig Watch

Sunburn at Sunburst

Sunburst Music Festival
31st March 2009
Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club
By: Sha Jendra

Images courtesy of Ricky Sow

It’s been 2 weeks and everybody has been gearing themselves up to pitch their picnics at the Sepang International Circuit for the F1 races but hark back to another hyped up weekend on March 21st and you will find yourself wincing in remembrance of what was and is still regarded as Malaysia’s biggest rock music festival – Sunburst Music Festival 2009.

By now of course, in anticipation of bigger things to come, (Jamiroquai are performing at the F1 after party), we would’ve all calmed down from the hype and can calmly look back and say, ‘Ah, it wasn’t bad at all…job well done.’ Sunburst 2009 was in all respects not bad at all. There were big stages, the sounds system didn’t crumble under the weight of it all and everyone gave it their all with their performances.

Of the top acts, N.E.R.D. pulled out a no holds barred type of performance – Pharrell not only told off a photographer for shoving some small girls aside at the front but he even stopped in mid-song threatening to stop altogether if media didn’t let fans get to the front of the stage. He then pulled up a handful of gleeful guys and a giggly group of groupie girls to dance and stomp the night away onstage. The energy alone produced by Pharrell, Shay Healey, Chad Hugo and crew was infectious.

And then there was KORN. It took them nearly 20 years to get here so when they did finally take to the stage, it was nothing short of phenomenal. In light of much worry that those pesky censorship laws might kick in and prevent them from performing well, most of their tunes, it was refreshing to see that KORN stuck their fingers up the politics and pulled out tracks like A.D.I.D.A.S and Faget. Jonathan Davis did however replace “You can suck my d*ck” with “You can suck my stick”. Class.

We should also give a big nod to Indonesian indie-chart climbers Nidji whose performance really kicked off the night with their brand of energetic sing-a-long tunes.

Despite all this though, one couldn’t help but feel that Sunburst this year, was a measly match to what took place in Bukit Kiara in 2008. If you walked the grassy field, you couldn’t help but hear a general murmur of dissatisfaction. This could’ve been because leading up to Sunburst, there were more than a few glitches in the build up.

First there was that whole Coldplay hype. Ah to have Chris Martin on Malaysian soil. Alas, it was not to be. They tempted and they teased us, but in the end, Pineapple Records couldn’t anchor Coldplay. Still there was Erykah Badu to look forward to. Alas again, 3 days before the event, it was announced Ms. Badu wasn’t turning up either.

So alright, there was a shortage on big fat international acts but what about our very own?

Hujan are always big crowd pullers...as are Estrella (both acts who are doing so well they've either performed or are scheduled to perform in the UK for their loyal overseas Malaysian fans). Quite depressingly, they were scheduled to perform in the early festival hours when the sun still scorched and only the hardcore festival goers were trickling in making their sets seem sparse. More whiffs of disappointment. The later hours and bigger stages were reserved for local bands like Estranged (who really should’ve just packed up and gone home with their supposedly ‘progressive’ headache inducing squealing).

Then there was the big palaver that followed the big day itself. N.E.R.D. held at Malaysian immigration because *apparently* they didn’t have a license to perform but went ahead anyway. This lead to their cancelling a scheduled appearance in Indonesia causing a general outcry and surmounted hatred pointed in the direction of this very country. Oh dear.

Looking back on the whole affair, we couldn't help but overhear a myriad of disgruntled moans and annoyed voices lamenting the fact that Sunburst last year was by far a classier affair than the gig we'd bought tickets to this year. In light of this we can only hope that the organisers take note, pull themselves together and produce something that’ll shut us up next year.


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