Monday, November 5, 2012

Drive by shooting: Exclaimed with the Reason @ Rumah Api, 11.03.2012

Drive By Shooting exists because sometimes I don't feel like writing a real article. One-liners abound. Don't take it seriously, because it won't do the same for you.

Coloured People's Time

The last time I was at Rumah Api, I was shocked to discover the gig had started more or less on time. This time I showed up two hours late and still had an hour and a half to wait before the first band went on. Glad to see the natural order of the world is restored. I ran into Emi from Tools of the Trade, who asked me if I arrived early; I was quick to point out that I was on time, it was everyone else that was late.

Old, new, borrowed, and blue

Music fans can be capricious when it comes to genres flitting in and out of vogue; my friends who were on board with Unearth and Black Dahlia Murder circa 2003 are currently decrying all things ending in "core." Chasing Wills have a lot of work to do if they want to win people over to their melodic metalcore, and they don't seem up to the task. It's not their fault that musical tastes have swung solidly out of their favour; however, they do bear more than a little responsibility for not bringing anything remotely new to the table.

Calling themselves "KLHC" doesn't disguise the fact that Blameless play old NYHC with strong debts to Cro-mags and Madball. Maybe I'm getting sentimental in my old age, but their cover of Sick of it All's "Step Down" made me remember why so much of my late teens was spent listening to those bands and going to CBGBs in the first place, and I found myself singing along appreciatively. Plus, it's hard to deny their singer's self deprecating charm. He's like if Turtle from Entourage had a HC band.

Berantakan, likewise, are trafficking in a well-worn style. Their street punk was a nice change of pace from the raging machismo of the rest of the gig. The Lookout! Records style isn't my bag, but I can appreciate it when it's well done.

And forever came crashing when AlotliketurD brought the nostalgia full circle, channeling 90's noisecore like Converge and Cave In (before Stephen Brodsky discovered psilocybin and Radiohead). The element of danger was missing from both their performance and their music; but they're young yet, and there's room to grow. Dumb name, but one to remember.

I bet Gilman never has days like this

If you thought a punk squat would offer protection from a tropical downpour, think again. As the week brought heavy rain to KL (the only kind of rain we get here), a leak in the roof meant that Man from Sarjan Hassan, one of Rumah Api's main caretakers, had to work tirelessly throughout the gig to stem the flooding and keep the lobby dry. And if that wasn't enough, he also had to deal with equipment failure in the middle of bands' sets. Just the tip of the iceberg as to the hard work and dedication it takes to keep KL's best DIY punk/metal venue running.

And the award goes to...

Any band that I can't dismissively compare to another band gets my instant appreciation; Anti start off with swathes of noise layering slow metallic chords a la Pulling Teeth, before ratcheting up to blistering screamo. While what they're doing isn't completely original, it's unique enough for them to stand out from the rest of the line-up - and indeed, most of the KL scene. Extra points for the non-silly name, and for their drummer apparently playing the whole set in Gene Simmons space boots.

Bro we are old school guys

I think I started getting tired of hardcore around the time I got tired of crowdsurfers falling on my head. Usually at HC shows in KL I have a pretty easy time pushing kids off, but since my elbow was recently dislocated in BJJ, the slightest physical encounter could mean incredible pain. I took the appearance of Awaken and their backwards caps as a sign that maybe I should move along, and I was right; within seconds of their slow chuggy brocore, kids started their happy prospector dance. After a few close calls with dudes running through what little crowd there was, my arm told me it was a good time to go elsewhere. I should have asked one of them where they get those caps that go on backwards; I go to all the city stores, and the only ones I can find are the ones with the bills on the front.

You don't have to leave but you can't stay here 

Shitbox Noise were really the only band that night I was interested in seeing, since their drummer plays for Hatred Division and their vocalist is the main photographer for the scene; but their brand of ADHD grindcore was conspicously out of place at this gig. Curious onlookers and fans of the other bands fled within a few songs; seeing as most of SBN's songs are under 30 seconds, that meant the room emptied pretty quickly. Throughout it all, vocalist Choi made it a point to launch himself from the stage monitor to whoever was standing in front of him. Like Anal Cunt, SBN combined Andy Kaufman-esque performance art with anti-social grind. Or maybe it was just a lot of senseless noise and prattish behaviour. Either way, it was a good note to end on and reason enough to skip out on the last two bands.

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