Friday, 12th March 2004: Sapu-Sapu 2: CONTOH (Resist Madness is Futile) @ Paul’s Place
Triple 6 Poser
Never Thought Of That
Venue: Paul’s Place, Uptown Damansara
Time: 12 March, 8.00pm Friday Night till late
Ticket: RM10 include 1 free drink
A Review by Joe (posted on ricecooker March 13, 2004):
We got there quite late after a much needed nap, recovering from a lengthy last minute jam. We climbed up the stairs about 9.30 pm and the second act, Azmyl Yunor was on stage doing his solo troubadour set instead of Ciplak! as advertised. Paul’s Place was pretty clogged up, there were not enough chairs to share, so a lot of the kids were standing at the back of the room. Not that it’s packed shoulder to shoulder though. Paul’s Place is small. I do think they should do away with the chairs, and put on mats instead. That would create a much better atmosphere.
I heard several students of Azmyl’s and his fellow Taylor’s College lecturers were there to see him play, so Azmyl seemed to be “behaving” a bit. None of those drunken bits we would enjoy at Unclogged shows. For those who don’t know Azmyl, the man has a lot of years experience busking on the streets of Perth, Australia; he’s also a core member of Maharajah Commission, Ciplak!, Thundercoffee Club etc., every each band different to the other. The man’s prolific and also played “shit drums” with Ben’s Bitches. Alone, Azmyl usually appear more at ease, a lil’ bit serious and he always commanded the audience’s attention; unlike some solo performers I’ve seen who had to struggle with indifference. As I was late I only managed to catch My Harmonica, quite a popular staple of Azmyl’s shows and a Malay song the title of which has always escaped me. They were both pretty good, only the sound was rather muted, and that’s the one shortcoming of Paul’s Place. I hope more people would go there, support the place more and give Paul money to upgrade the sound system.
Next up was this bunch of college students, fronted by CK’s own brother. They called themselves Never Thought Of That and musically they were apparently geared towards the “emo” thingy, only it sounded tens of miles short from the target lah. I don’t want to be cruel but the band really needs to spend more time in the jam studio before venturing out onto a proper stage. They were enthusiastic though, carrying on oblivious to the heckling by Ben of Ben’s Bitches.
After that a band called Evert came up on stage. A bit older than NTOT and much more in command of their instruments, they played a bit of post-grunge/ modern-rock kinda groove. Most of the material were instrumental due to the fact that their singer bailed out to further his studies overseas. Can’t say I like their music much, but the first few songs were okay, the instrumental ones lah. Their downfall was when one of them attempted to replace the singer and fell pretty flat on most of the songs. I guess that’s why they whined a lot about their singer, must be hard to find someone who can do Vedder vocals these days.
Then one of the best bands currently active in the local scene now took over the stage and I went up and sat right upfront. Free Love’s nerve-centre is made up of two main guys from the Ipoh scene; Jay, who used to be with Bloody Mary, on guitar and vocals, and Ducktoi of Muck, on the other guitar. Free Love plays excellent late 80s American Indie Rock. Bits of Dinosaur Jr meets early Superchunk meets Yo La Tengo – a rare strain in the local indie rock climate in these climate, thus for me they were refreshing, and to an old early American indie-rock fan like me, Free Love is fun, fun, fun. One other thing, both Jay and Ducktoi rock! They jingle-jangled, jumped about and had all the moves, flailing with their guitars without turning it into a pose and top that with great fast pop ditties on par with all the big bands mentioned. For a small example, (Where Have You Been) My Indie Rock Darling is surely a hit awaiting airplay. I mean if they are living in Boston, that song will surely be a college rock radio smash. Or if they were around in 1994, they would put United Colours of Frustrations to shame. If you ever see them on a flyer, do go to the gig and check them out yourself. It’ll be an experience hard to forget.
Ben’s Bitches went up next. This is the second time I’ve seen them play and nothing’s changed much. As usual there was the terse but light-hearted crowd-baiting by Ben, reprising “the obnoxious rock star wanna be” role that he obviously relished. Bassist CK kept explaining things that went wrong with each song (“Oh, that’s not the way it sounded when we jammed it” etc.) and Azmyl thumping away as a “shit drummer” would always do. Ben’s Bitches is a joke band and there’s no care in the world (which is ironic when Ben tuned his guitar every so often!). They just whacked it. And it’s fun for the first few songs and then I had to go grab another drink and see my friends at the back of the room. They also played a cover of Dung’s “Happy” and turned the lyrics around halfway through, celebrating “middle-class hedonism” – We’re happy, we’re gonna party and we don’t care!” Great! That kinda make-up for the way they murdered the song!
After that my band Carburetor Dung went up and played unfamiliar songs, those newly written and also the old but reworked ones. We didn’t plan to play the usual set but at the end relented and played Boo Hoo and all that old shit. Some kids joined in on the last song, Happy, while I was struggling with the chords. Another friend came up later and said “it sounded like a jam, you guys!” And yes, that’s how it felt like; a shambolic jam session.
note: thanks CK, Azmyl & Paul (who commented, “Wow! You guys are getting better!”, which sounded horrible if you are a band who has been around for more than 10 years! Ha!)
Last up, was the only band that managed get the audience jumping, Carburetor Dung. Still, thankfully, stuck in Seventies Cockney punk full of rage and angst, bypassing the Eighties’ bloodless materialism and the Nineties’ feel-good compassion.
Politics infuses their songs, but rather than espouse a party or creed, they asked the audience to think about why they might be voting. Whatever happens, one thing, maintained Joe Kidd, would remain constant: “Oppression”, title of one of their older, most popular songs.
“Hantu Raya Putrajaya” evoked a ghost living in the shiny halls of Putrajaya, “Don’t know” focuses on the realisation that problems are one constant around the world. Carburetor Dung: The world stinks, jokers run everything, so pick up a guitar and yell your lungs out. At the very least, you won’t make things worse.