Posts Tagged ‘ review ’

My Double Dose of Chicks On Speed

Earlier this week, which has now probably become last week because its taken me that long to finish writing this, Chicks On Speed were here in Malaysia. They did a ‘Happening Lecture’ on Tuesday night followed by a show on the Wednesday night.

I must admit, before seeing them, I hadn’t listened to much of their music or knew much about them. I think I’d only listened to one of their songs – ‘We Don’t Play Guitars’ maybe seven or eight or nine years ago when it was on one of the Big Day Out compilations. But I’d forgotten it all since then, except the name and remembering that they sang that line a few times during the song. I also got the impression that yes, they were a bit of a ‘hipster’ band (and yes, I know, as I came to find out, they’re a ‘multidisciplinary’ something something).

A week earlier, a friend told me about some fashion and art thing happening somewhere. Those words by themselves didn’t really sound too appealing to me, but I wanted to go if it meant hanging out with my friend. I decided to look into it and found that it was a lecture of sorts by Chicks On Speed. Again, that wasn’t necessarily too appealing as I’d only one heard of their songs almost half my life ago. But as I read through the event description I noticed words like ‘genderqueer’ and ‘feminist’ and ‘creative commons’ and other key words and phrases that appealed to my brain.

If Chicks On Speed are hipsters, at least they’re my kind of hipster.

So obviously, I got really excited and knew for certain that I was going to go to this lecture. I wasn’t sure if I’d actually go to their show, I had doubts over whether I’d enjoy the show, but there were no doubts that I’d enjoy the lecture about this stuff:

Topics of discussion: between the lines of fashion, music & art; the art of lived practice.

A timely discourse through the development of the CoS manifesto: naked vs. nude, misandrist vs. misogynist, fake vs. real, the act vs. the action; the genderqueer world of femanist art; the herstory of the future; DIY Don’t do it yourself but with everybody else.

Objekt Instruments: self made instruments from everyday commodities, a demo and introduction to the high tech world of open source/creative commons and why we came out of the copyleft closet.

I admit some of it sounds like a little bit of bullshit, but that’s ok.

However, at about 10:30pm on Tuesday night when the lecture ended, I realised that the lecture had nothing, nothing at all about… all that cool shit. It was interesting, but not mega ‘this is relevant to my interests’ interesting. The presentation was mostly about the home made instruments – eg. scissors with a contact mic gaffa taped to it, rocks with contacts mics and going through Ableton, playable costumes, their e-shoe – and other performances, sounds, projects, pieces they had done. There was also a section in which they were playing a video but then started making some live noise over the top. Listening to the noise, I thought, if that’s what they’re going to sound like the next night then I’d definitely go.

Baically, the lecture/presentation was about a couple of people attaching contact mics to shit, attaching pick ups to shit, making some ok noises, and doing it all with what seemed like a lot of time, money and resources. There was one sketch of a jumpsuit and scribbled underneath it was ‘political jumpsuit’. There was also a video in which a woman was saying something about ‘hipster’ being good. Something about how ‘hipster’ today is meaningless but ‘used to mean something’, something something about ‘passion’ and ‘hipster used to mean having dirty sex in dirty places’. Oh fuck, I thought if I left the punk scene I could get away from that Crimethinc-esque politics-is-free-sex bullshit.

But it was very very nice of them to let people try out their toys after the talk. Which ended up inspiring one of my friends to get into circuit bending and DIY electronics which in turn has inspired me to have a look into that stuff again and maybe just maybe by the end of next week I’ll have something to show for it.

The second night was gig night. At the ‘lecture happening’ or ‘happening lecture’ the night before we got ourselves on a guest list. We weren’t exactly sure what the guest list meant but we were on it and despite what other people were saying, I was under the impression that guest list meant free entry. If guest list meant free entry it would spare me having to make those hard decisions like: should I pay RM30 for something that I possibly won’t like – but possibly will like. I went along and sure enough we all got in for free.

It was at a fancy club called Bedroom. Bedroom is a shithole.

Reasons why Bedroom is a shithole:

They have stupid slogans such as: ‘sexy is not shy’ and ‘sexy is not leaving’ and ‘sexy is not naughty’.

They have television screens that screen footage of whiteys ‘partying’. It just looks stupid screening such stupid footage to a room of people just sitting down drinking and talking.

The waiter told me that I have to order a drink or… he didn’t actually say anything after that but it was assumed that I had to order a drink or leave the table I was sitting at because he “had paying customers waiting”. I’m there to watch some people make music. Not drink RM30 drinks.

While Chicks On Speed were playing, the seats and tables were left at the front. So people were awkwardly trying to stand/dance at the front but had to stand around awkwardly sized and shaped chairs and tables.

As for Chicks On Speed…

I hate writing about music. I feel like I have to write certain words about certain things but sometimes I just don’t have the words to write about those things [/disclaimer]. On the one hand, I guess Chicks On Speed were fun. They wear colourful costumes and jump around and have heaps of energy. But I guess all the energy got lost before it reached me standing in the middle of the audience but behind an awkward chair. Which is not Chicks On Speed’s fault, it’s Bedroom’s (or maybe mine for not taking the initiative to pick up the chairs and throwing them against the wall). I guess, since I felt a little bit let down from the night before and was still searching for just a little fragment of intellectual stimulus, I was also trying to pay attention to their lyrics and their visuals and trying to figure it all out.

In the end I didn’t quite figure it out at all. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe I actually have no idea who Chicks On Speed are and what they’re about. But if I’ve got no idea then maybe I’m not alone? Surely, since they were playing in a city far from their usual cities of residence there’d be many others like me in need of an introduction to Chicks On Speed?

Though, maybe this was the introduction and my brain was just expecting it all to be different.

The Guitarist Tunes Up

Hello, we’re Krisis Halusinasi and we’re really boring to watch.

I must admit, I’ve never really been into the ‘Battle of the Bands’ thing. The idea of bands ‘battling’ never made much sense. I’ve always thought of music as a way for us to express ourselves, communicate with each other and also just as a way to get together and have fun. So I hope that the bands that have been ‘battling’ have still been having fun today and making friends and supporting each other.

As I said, we’re a really boring band to watch so you might want to take the next twenty-five minutes to just close your eyes and get lost in your thoughts. If you need a point for your for your thoughts to begin their wandering, as usual, we think the continuing struggles of people for freedom as a good place to start. In the last week we’ve seen such examples all over the world, from Libya to Syria and, closer to here, in Pahang and Bukit Jalil.

Ok. That’s all.

Two Thursday afternoons ago (31/3/2011), Krisis Halusinasi played as one of the ‘special guest’ bands at a battle of the bands at Universiti Tun Abdul Razak. Although I knew we were going to be playing that show on that day a couple of weeks before I didn’t find out the specifics until after 11am the night before. At first I was reluctant and trying to find the best excuse to say no, I found out that our name was on some banner and we were getting free t-shirts. I wanted a free t-shirt.

I was reluctant to play because doing so would mean skipping my Islamic Historiography lecture again and they actually mark attendance to lectures at UM. But, I guess once you go to some of Mina Roces’s lectures nothing else compares – and I was promised a free t-shirt – so I decided to skip school to play music at someone else’s school.

The free t-shirt was really cool. I think I was just really excited by the fact that someone designed and printed a shirt with my band name on it (and a bunch of other band names too). No one (except) has ever done that before, the only shirts that have been made with my band name on it are ones I made myself back when I was fifteen and playing in my first ‘real’ band. I guess that means that I’m still just as excited about this stuff as I was when I was fifteen.

The show was held in an outdoor area of the university, kind of in the middle of a big food court – there were restaurants and tables/chairs along the borders of the square where all the stuff was happening. If you know UNSW then its kind of comparable to having a show on the library lawn, except there’s no lawn, just tiling, and instead of the area being surrounded by Morvern Brown building and that other building that you can print your academic record at, its surrounded by food.

So there we were, three ‘punks’ straight out of the warehouse, sitting drinking our teh o’ ais (or nescafe o’ ais) super nervous because we’d never played anything like this before and had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into and how we even got into it in the first place. And I think that’s what I liked most about the show. The fact that I’d never ever done anything like that before. The fact we were just playing in some random outdoor area in the middle of a university at 3pm on a Thursday. Just any other normal Thursday afternoon except some people had the awesome idea of setting up some music equipment and asking some bands to play. Space + Equipment + People. Such a simple equation, it doesn’t make sense that most of the time people make it more complicated than it really is.

And playing our music to people that might not ever come to Gudang Noisy any other place where it would be usual for us to play. That was enjoyable. Even if it seemed the number of people standing in front of the stage dropped when we started playing and then increased after we played. It was also just damn cool looking up while I was playing to see a lot of workers in uniform standing up close to watch us. Post-rock for the proletariat!!

It seems that people who do these self-review type things always have to talk about the venue’s sound, so I’ll abide by the etiquette. The sound wasn’t really that good. I’m not sure why, but I was told not to turn the amp up higher than one. But I had it about three, which still probably wasn’t loud enough. Maybe it was because it was in an outdoor space. Honestly, I don’t really care that much, I’m willing to sacrifice on sound to experience playing in that place at that time. Nothing will compare to my love for the ridiculous reverb of Gudang Noisy.

I found out on the weekend that the guy who organised it received eighteen complaints about the show. I assume they’re probably noise complaints of some sort. It makes me a little bit sad to hear about that because I think its such a good idea and having shows in such spaces should take place a lot more often and all over the place. There were eighteen complaints but I assume there would be many many more compliments. Its bad that sometimes the complaints stick out more than the compliments.

I don’t think any video or photos or audio exists of us playing this show but if you want to see what it looked like there’s a video of Shh…Diam! playing. So you can watch that and just imagine it’s Krisis Halusinasi instead.

MGMT at the Horse Stadium

You know the best thing about the 60’s?
They’d never heard of “Classic Rock.”

TISM, Garbage.

A couple of Fridays ago I was sitting in the food court at KL Sentral, kind of on my way back home from visiting Batu Caves with Stono Caves (for non-Malay/Indonesian speakers, google translate “batu” to get full effect), though since the food court at KL Sentral isn’t really on my route home from there, I’m not sure if I was actually going home or not. Anyway, I got a text from my friend saying she had two free complimentary tickets to the MGMT concert that night.

I’ve never actually listened to MGMT except for that Kids song. And maybe even then it was only in the form of a few different dubstep remixes or when it was sampled in some hip hop song that I saw one morning when I was sitting in bed watching Video Hits or whatever the Channel 10 music video on a Sunday morning is called. Or maybe it was the Channel 9 one. I’m not sure, all I know, is that I don’t do that often enough – lie in bed and watch Video Hits, but I can’t do that where I am now anyway so its not worth thinking about. So anyway, even if I had heard it or not, I had a general idea of how one MGMT song sounded. I figured if that one song can be generalised to a full set of music then it shouldn’t be too bad and maybe even interesting.

That, plus the fact that many of my friends were going and apparently it was seen to be quite an important event on the KL hipster – albeit a much more tame ‘mainstream’ hipster – calendar so how could I say no to free tickets to that?

Turns out I was really wrong about the ability to generalise that one song to a whole set of music. It isn’t a representative sample at all. None of the rest of their songs sound anything like it. The rest of their songs are in this sort of ‘sixties’ style, kind of like Jet but with more synths and ‘psychadelic’ bullshit – so I guess MGMT is the Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds to Jet’s Eleanor Rigby or Let it Be or some shit. I don’t know, its been a long time since I’ve actually listened to the Beatles so i’m not really qualified to make such analogies but I think you know what I mean.

I just find it really hard to tolerate the ‘sixties’ thing in 2011. Whether it be MGMT, Jet, Wolfmother, or whoever else does that shit. Though of course this feeling isn’t only toward these bands doing ‘sixties’ stuff. Another example is punk bands doing it too. Punk bands doing the ’77 sound or the ’80s hardcore sound or the ‘Japanese d-beat’ sound or the ‘Scandinavian crust’ sound or ‘take your pick from whatever decade or wave or sub-genre that’s been done a million times before already’ sound. As one of my fellow comrades in intolerance said when I talked to him about this “I feel as if we’re regressing and that makes me little sad”.

So after a few songs, I just sat down and went back to cleaning my eyes.