Friday, 13th August 1999: The Kosovo Benefit Show @ MPSJ Hall, SS15 Subang Jaya
Kosovo Charity Gig
MPSJ SS15 Subang Jaya Community Hall
Friday, 13th August 1999
6:00pm – midnight
“This charity fest is to help fund the people affected by the Kosovo crisis, so all the money (all of it, really) will go to the charity fund. The entrance fee is RM5! (Very cheap!) And there are 15 bands (yes, 15 bands for 5 bucks!)” – Lyme
Pixs by Mohd Hafizullah:
Love Me Butch
Amid the Mimic
Seven Collar T-Shirt
This Is Your Enemy
Review of the show by Izuan Shah (postdated 17th August 1999)
This gig was meant as a benefit for our suffering cousins in Kosovo, and the ticket price showed the organisers’ noble intentions; they cost RM 5 per head to get in. Organised by some Article 19, which I later found out were a group of students from Taylor’s College, the showcase from the start I could sense that everyone was psyched and ready to go. I don’t know, maybe it was the change of venue or the time (the gig was on from 6-12 pm), but all I know is this one certainly felt different.
Hmm, enough of that though, on with the music. Roana opened the evening with their infectious punk-rock nuggets, all the while trying impishly to draw the crowd. Although it took them a couple of songs to get comfortable, it was then that I realized what this band had: good songs, good arrangements and enjoyable melodies. Oh yes, a good word for the drummer, too, cuz he rocked!
After Roana leave the stage with contented smiles, on come THE buzz band of recent months, Lyme. By now, most of the crowd had already made their way in from their respective perches outside. As Lyme unassumingly make their way on stage, the crowd’s adrenaline level rised a couple notches.
I tell you, I could literally feel it; in their excitement, kids were coming from behind trampling and bulldozing their way to the front to catch a better view of what singer Javier and his trusty computer (he uses a soundcard for extra effects!) will do this time around. I could also overhear voices from behind me enthusing “Look, it’s Lyme!” or “That’s Lyme laa”, and even “Wow, the guitarist looks really gooooodd” (from the girls).
The band’s first number was a favourite I presume, as it wasn’t too long before kids were jumping and pumping, feeling the groove of Lyme’s music. This was followed by their current spaced-out funk staples such as the boredom theme song Nothing, and the comical crowd favourite, the Godzilla Song (sorry, guys, I didn’t catch the title of it, hehe). The latter song sees the singer at his best, nipping in and out of the band’s unusual time changes and insisting on sharing with the crowd his rare vocal blend: a mixture of raw bloody-throated screams and new-age freestyle blabber.
There are also numerous hints of Primus, Snot, Incubus and Hed(pe) found in Lyme’s broil. And as if we were weren’t shocked enough by the band’s music, at the end of their performance, the singer decides to do the Rage (ATM)- type thing: he takes off his shirt, then his pants as well, then declares what sounded like “Save our hapless brothers and sisters in Kosovo!!!.” Yup, that’s Lyme laa – unbelievably fresh, and undoubtedly sincere. Coolness!
Up next are grindcore merchants This Is Your Enemy. Now this band is something to listen to, even if you don’t want to. Don’t believe me? Just take another look at their name. With merciless noise churning out of the guitars, backed by equally merciless drums and a bass heavier than Cartman’s ass, This Is Your Enemy makes for quite a punishing experience.
Soon after, their partners-in-grind from KL, Naga Berapi saunter onstage. The 3-piece (count ’em, three) waste no time in giving the crowd a second helping of sinister noise. For me, even from afar, I could see that the band were definitely not shy about pushing their jagged brand of grind into everybody’s and anybody’s face! I underline this by pointing out that there was even a song called Smelly Iguana! Made up of a combination of unruly shrieks (and hair), nonchalant guitar hammering and machine-gun drumming, Naga Berapi manages to shake us up yet again.
However, before our ears are given a moment’s peace, on come the golden boys of the current underground scene, phat new-metal crunchers Custom Daisy. I heard that Custom Daisy, as big as they are (in the PJ area), have been accused for abusing the same beats and riffs time after time. No matter, though. Given that, there are far too many glorious moments to mention… fuck, I was too busy moshing my head off to notice! As usual, Custom Daisy set out to give everyone in the vicinity (pardon the pun) the Custom-ary beat-down. Hence, the band play heavy-hitters Nutshell and Satisfied as well as a few new numbers, which are naturally mosh-friendly.
Vocalist Ija urges and pumps up the crowd, doing his best to have the crowd jump around with him to the hip-hoppy, thunderous grooves of the band’s riffs. Meanwhile, bassist Joachim looks like a happy camper (the bass never sounded heavier than today), complete with Fieldy-esque snowcap and menacing metalhead stance. Not forgetting Isyak, the unsung guitarist on his favoured right side of the stage, coolly jammin’ and layin’ down the riffs for his other more attention-grabbing band mates to tear up. Tapi apapahal, drummer Ihsan still rules with his wide range of wicked beats, tribal pounding, and fiercely technical fills and rolls.
Hmm, I think I’m beginning to understand why Custom have such a KoRn-like following,
1) Because they’re the closest thing to KoRn we have way over here in Malaysia and
2) because they’re one of those rare bands that come along who fulfil everything, ethics-wise. Custom Daisy not only have strong, muscular music, but also the right attitude. They’re fan-oriented, passionate and powerful live, plus extremely driven.
Syabas, Custom Daisy!!! Whew!
After that particular experience, Mass Separation take-over and give us an experience of their own. Playing calm, technical yet aggressive hardcore, these guys actually grab you (if you give ’em a chance) and place you in that deep, dark consciousness you only ever access when you’re thinking to yourself. Haha! but before you take it too seriously, I’d better say something about the next band.
And so, the next band for the night, a group of four decent, clean-cut lads who go by the name Seven Collar T-Shirt (don’t ask!) take the stage in a somewhat slackerly manor. Typical though, from a band that prides themselves in post-grunge modern rock, evoking memories of tried-and-true works from our favourite rock depressionists i.e Pearl Jam, Radiohead and even Days of the New. But take heed, Seven Collar Tees were more than meets the eye, even more so tonight.
The band starts off with a rather bleak version of Parasites, and follows that up with a (hail, hail) new song, which the crowd laps up in flabbergasting awe and inspiration. But shortly after, the sound gives up on them; all of a sudden jacks are falling out of place, amps are acting up and bass drums are breaking down. Poor Seven Collar Ts, you think. But that’s when members of the band reveal their humorous side, all in an effort not to dishearten the crowd. First, bass player Nik (delightfully charming with his banana stuffed toy clinging to his bass) steps up to the mic and does some sort of a Les Claypool bass-solo-deadpan thingy.
Then, shirtless singer Saiful Riduan a.k.a Duan lets go of his tortured, brooding persona for a while and quips gems like “we meant to do that”… and “Uh, this part was actually rehearsed”. But Seven Collar Ts are also shrewd little lads; they know onstage cover-up humour won’t be enough to ease friction between them and the already agitated crowd so they decide to save their own necks by cranking out the bass-heavy Senile (a ditty on meaningless old age, no less). It works. For some odd reason though, whenever Seven Collar Ts play live, there is hardly any activity in the moshpit. They’re what I like to romanticise as “the band that brings balance to a show”, the quiet underdogs, if you like. And I’m not talking about the Force or any of that Star Wars shit. It’s like, the band has this overt responsibility to offer an alternative to all the chaos and heaviness which their metal buddies bring about.
Like an old, over-the-hill grandfather trying to mingle with the strapping young lads, Seven Collar Ts win in the end by closing their sabotaged set with a rendering of the soothing Mist. This slower-than-slow number manages, for a moment, to captivate the blank-faced audience. Thanks anyway guys, we know your recordings rock harder than your live set.
As Seven Collar Ts politely gather their effects pedals and guitar bags, 28 Days get ready to do the crowd. The first thing I noticed about the band was the singer’s innate sexiness and massive stage presence. Hey, don’t get me wrong or anything (to quote Jon Davis: I’m not a faget!!!), the guy had his shirt off and was bald-headed! I assume most females interpretation of “sexy” fits this description! Plus, the guy can sing, man! Annnnyyyyway, the music seems fresh enough; the singer’s sexiness notwithstanding. Hehe… the band’s new brew of funky hardcore highlights the rhythm section’s dominance over the songs, all the while creating just enough room for the spacey guitars and smooth-ass vocals. If ever there was a sultry rock band, 28 Days would be it. As I sat on the stage steps staring at the snare drum, I realized that I’m actually looking forward to hearing more on them. 28 Days do a mighty good job of merging rap n rock even amidst all the pretenders on the scene these days. To think I mistook them for Mass Separation, too (only to be corrected by the guitarist!).
Next up, Love Me Butch, the neo-metal crew from Shah Alam. As the entire crowd lay in anticipation (me included!), the boys get their gear sorted out: before treating us to a good 20-minutes+ of their crushing metal mix, no doubt. One cool moment while watching them set up was seeing guitarist Kok fine-tuning his alternate-tuned guitar (he definitely deserves credit for standing out from the crowd with his love for melody). As regular customers of LMB’s heavy-duty products will know, the centre of the moshpit eventually turns into a haywire makeshift dance floor for mosh-minded children! the children of the KoRn that is.
The kids who groove to Love Me Butch are exactly the same kids who listen to the Bakersfield bruisers. Believe me, it ain’t that hard to fantasise that you’re seeing KoRn or perhaps the Deftones in concert when you’re actually dancing in front of Love Me Butch. To me, it’s just a matter of closing your eyes, and letting memories of those Deftones listening sessions do the rest. As a unit, they’re tighter than usual tonight, blazing through standards like Bipp and Drown with the confidence of a well-oiled machine.
Unusual though, that they didn’t play their now-classic Headfirst, the one with the now-classic chorus, “Taaaake meee down, goddammit!!!” . I would even go as far as saying this song has first single potential, while also showcasing Singh’s cruelly underrated disco beats (hello critics out there, these are the same beats that make over 100 kids jump up and down at once, tirelessly, every time the Butch play). Apart from that, all in all, Love Me Butch rocked our world. It makes me wanna say, “Play for me, Butch.”
Hmm! which then leaves to yet another band, with more fresh jibes. As Amid the Mimic (they get my vote for the craziest band name!) take to the stage, I can’t help but think “Whoa, this is gonna be interesting.” On one side, the guitar player gets set to rock (?) with the demeanor of your typical half-hearted, pay-to-play indie scenester. Alongside him, his low-end looks chirpier, plugging into his amp with considerable enthusiasm. Soon, the band are neck-deep in their music: a wild concoction of noise, grinding, and uh… not much else. Weird, I think. But to give ’em a break this band really deserves credit for just the fact that they’re proud of what they play and show it, too! A bit like Sonic Youth, only freakier. As a live act (this is the first time I’ve ever seen them), the band to me looks very keen to unleash any unwanted anger and whatnot unto the audience. I mean, the singer looked like he was definitely mad about something! He he! not to be out-shined by their hysteric comrade, the rest of the band, too, have their fair share of violent gestures and boisterousness. By coincidence, all of a sudden the lights turned on! I’m not saying that these rowdy boys were the cause of this sudden change in brightness, but you never know! By the way, that light-turning-on thing sucked, bad. All that said though, I state firmly that I’ve never seen another band quite like Amid the Mimic.
And finally, the band to bring an end to the evening’s proceedings and the band awaited by many step up to play. For those about to rock, enter Carburetor Dung. Despite the sourness of having to play with the lights on (!), the fathers of Malaysian punk rock still put up their weary musical gloves and sock it to ’em. Tonight, the band are massive. Armed with a three-way vocal arsenal and a better sound system than their previous gigs recently, Carburetor steam roll through countless new songs from their new catalog. Guitarist and all-round visionary Joe Kidd tonight plays with more energy and careless abandon than say, a fledgling Mick Jones. Ah, it kinda brought back memories of the olden days; the Boo-hoo Clapping Song-era Carburetor! back when they were fucking mint! But the most rocking moment was when they spew out their current crowd-pleaser, the seriously disturbing Oppression’.
From the back of the hall I could see kids going psycho for Joe and company as if Carburetor were playing their last show ever! Ha ha! what a thought, huh? Well, needless to say then, that the band with the most wear-n-tear credentials indeed rocked, hard. About as hard as trying to keep believing in yourself despite strong competition from younger, more metal-y upstarts, presumably. Hmm, but I doubt it, though. Carburetor Dung knows what it feels like to suffer for their art, and they’ve done their bit for the all-encompassing’ Malaysian rock n roll dream. They’ve done more than their bit. In short, they’ve been through their share of shit. Who knows maybe Carburetor couldn’t even give a rat’s ass about all this. On the other hand, maybe it is true that snot-nosed brats have all the fun.
Oh, well. All is said and done, and thus all I can say is: WHAT A ROCKING SHOW! He he! lame, huh? Well, as they say one thing leads to another, and tonight’s perfectly applicable. What the kids did today in exchange for a good six hours worth of live music meant for kids, played by kids and for kids, is not exactly short of revolutionary. I mean, just dwell on it for a sec, how could our music be banished as evil and uncompromising; as tidak sihat and budaya serong?! Some government we have… washing their filthy politician hands on us directing all their unwanted toxic waste onto us. Hmm… not if we can help it! And I have the Kosovo Benefit Show to prove that. Add it to the tally of major defining moments of the Malaysian new music scene. Call your local police departments… and attention all parents… FUCK! I just do not know how to end this do I ? Hehehe… Hmm…. lemme see..
One small step for Kosovo, one huge step for rock! Not bad, no? Ehehehe… duh, ciao guys.
Another review, taken of LYME’s webpage:
It all started when underground artists Joanne Kian/ Joannou and company decided to raise money to help the victims of the Kosovo racial extermination and do something useful out of the underground gigs! As it was, the gig-turned-festival hosted almost 20 bands of all sorts of styles (punk, beach-rock, harcore, metal..you had almost everything)…and the support from the crowd was amazing, rarely seen in underground gigs! Nearly a thousand people attended the Petaling Jaya Community Hall. Since it is difficult for me to explain with details all of the bands, I’ll write about the time I was there, and about our performance.
It all started off with beach-rock band Ruana, too bad the festival started late (8pm, when it was supposed to start at 6pm. Some bands couldnt play.) The band kicked! The vocalist’s melodic singing went along great with the guitar’s and drums punkish riffs..very light, and well played music it was. The mixing of the instruments was alright, considering weak guitars along the night, but it was audible, quite ok. The people were starting to gather in the dance floor and sitting near the stage…unrest was starting to affect everyone there! After Ruana’s set it was our turn to perform, and the people gave us a warm welcome! After the instruments were set up, we opened the set with Huger to Rule.. people who were sitting on the floor started getting up and people from around started approaching the moshpit..and suddenly a huge crowd was jumping and moshing to the song! What a great response, man..
Right after that, Size does Matter brought up more people to the dance floor! Girls, boys, old-timers, newbies..it was amazing! The people were singing the pre-verse, which has no vocals, (only the jumping session of “hop-hop-hop-hop..”) together with me. The song went on energetic until the end. After that, I mentioned the unity with the Hiphop scene, and we started the new song “we dont know hip-hop” (Is that the name? I have to ask boy). It went on great! I didnt know Jimmy had such a great stage presence until I saw him communicate with the masses and play the “say heeeey” game with the people! And what a show! After the song was over, we continued with Nothing, and closed the set with the paranoid Something, which came on appropriate, since the whole idea of the concert was for the affected by the Kosovo crisis..so in the middle of the song, right after the reggae verse, everything went silent and I told everyone to pretend to be someone from kosovo..and pretend to be locked inside his/her house while an armed soldier approached the house’s main door.. and just as the soldier opened the door..he was THERE! THERE! breaking the silence with all the instruments together…and building up in the “he’s getting closer..!” part..and breaking up into the psychotic screaming and full instruments! It was a powerful feeling..its like it was really happening!
Then the song ended up in Boy’s sentimental bass solo, with the company of victor’s guitars and moez’s drums, until everything faded away and left me speaking about the River Selangor, and the risk of it all disappearing if the state government built a 2 billion Ringgit Dam in it. It’s really illogical and hard to understand why they don’t go for the environmentally friendly pipes, which last longer, are much cheaper, wont require to relocate the Orang Asli population AND wont sacrifice one of the world’s largest Firefly communities…so I decided to give my little help and stripped my clothes off holding the “SOS Selangor” paper I printed out earlier at home in front of my boxers, for the rest of the time we had to play (around 3 more minutes). Thanks for the people who understood my actions. I thought I was going to go to prison after that! The rest of the concert was great as well. I went to eat something after our performance and came back in time for Love me Butch’s incredible performance! (If you havent’s checked out Love me Butch, you are missing an EXCELLENT band, seriously!). Later I danced with the lights on to the great punk melodies of Carburetor Dung, while waiting for the MPSJ thugs to turn off the music.
What a night!