February 04 2015


February 04, 2015

Hello and welcome fellow music lovers to the next chapter of Music Matters in your local Bali Advertiser.

Wow what an action packed edition this truly is this weekend I saw 3 live bands got more inspiration for the production of the CD than I could have ever hoped for and attended a free festival with some staggering acts down on Kuta beach.

Ok let’s begin as logic dictates at the beginning so it’s Friday night the day job is over and myself and some friends head into town for a little alcoholic R&R. Yes I know I failed sober January but 23 days straight is not a bad effort either. After frequenting a very cheap bar near the airport we all head down to Tubes bar on Poppies two. Now I have been to Tubes many a time and have never even heard the faintest rumor of it having any form of live music so imagine my surprise when after a few beverages and a cocktail called liquid heroin!

A band starts playing some very good and particularly loud covers. The band (I later found out) was called ‘Volia’. They started off with some Foo Fighters and progressed into Rage Against The Machine which is a well covered band in Bali but rarely as well. The singer who was slight and looked a wee bit like an Indonesian Gandhi was spot on, and the timing of the whole band was very good.

After a cocktail called a rusty nail, I got up and did a bit of singing along with many others. I wasn’t expecting a band at Tubes but the band they have there is definitely worth checking out. I went down on Friday night so I presume the band play Fridays but only really guessing on this. I will interview Voila maybe in the next issue and they have said that they would love to be on the CD so the lineup is forming nicely.

Saturday saw me up on the rooftop of Citidines by Kuta beach with the girlfriend chilling out and watching the house band upstairs. The band was good and played an excellent rendition of Hotel California. What caught my attention though (after scanning the shoreline for surf) was the massive stage and collection of tents on the beach. After saying goodbye to the rooftop sanctuary I wondered down along the shoreline and witnessed a true spectacle.

A while back I covered a free festival hosted by a cigarette company at Kuta Central park now I was about to witness a free festival on the beach hosted by a phone company. For anyone who owns a phone in Indonesia which is pretty much everyone Telkomsel is a well known brand, they are constantly striving to annoy the best of us with text messages. Most expats have no idea what they are saying but you have to hand it to them if they fork out the cash for a free afternoon music festival just to launch a 4G service in Bali!

The event known as “Telkomsel 4G Carnival” started at 11 am and finished at 11pm and featured live prize give always, people in alarming costume being interviewed by Indonesian TV hosts dressed in sequined suits, and of course, the bands. The first act on after the crowd had filled the arena was Tony Q; I guess Indonesia’s answer to Bob Marley. Tony is pretty famous in Bali and has been the forerunner of the reggae scene here for some time; his work is also political as he is involved in the group Tolak Reklamasi which protests the further development of Bali by hotel chains and private developers. Tony Q looked in his 40’s and he had sporadic dreadlocks he was on stage for 45 minutes and sang many songs. In all honesty reggae isn’t my thing but you can see how Tony put on a great show for the crowd waving Rasta flags and putting a lot of energy into everything. I liked the song ‘Politik’ as it got the crowd fired up and seemed well structured and easy to follow. Probably my terrible Indonesian language skills that are to blame for my not really getting the rest of the show, he had a great raspy voice and the band supporting him were very tight.

Next up was Shaggy Dog, pretty much another reggae scar band the Dog were briefly famous 5 years back and toured in Australia and Indonesia. Again they played a tight set and reminded me of English bands like Capdown or even the American ska legends Less Than Jake. I just wanted to say this gig was completely free and rammed with people. I am amazed that this kind of thing happens here; in my country we don’t get ‘free’ festivals anymore. Glastonbury used to be free but now costs half a month’s salary to attend! So you have to stand in awe of Telkomsel for doing this.

The final act was Kotak a modern rock band from Jakarta. Wow is all I can really say to this band Indonesia’s answer to Evanescence but with double the trouble, 2 female vocalists! They are a four piece which were exceptional the guitarist was out of this world and played a double necked guitar and smoked pretty much continuously while doing so!

The bassist, was also the second singer, and was truly a force to be reckoned with. Kotak were tight original and literally blew me away. They smashed out some killer riffs, and the vocals from Tantri Syalindri Ichlasari were phenomenal, Her vocal range is stunning! The rain started to pour but that didn’t stop them and they cranked out track after track. ‘Energi’ was my favorite track literally because of the awesome guitar riffs and hardcore vocals. The crowd went mad for this track and there was a mini and very sandy mosh pit formed by the front of the stage. Kotak was a gift and definitely the most polished professional rock act I have seen since Skid Row and well worth a listen.
Check out their website: http://www.kotakbandrock.com.

If you enjoyed this article or have any questions, concerns, or if indeed you are the illusive Chris Curtis please don’t hesitate to drop me a line, here to the Bali Advertiser, or alternatively to my direct email address tobiasjbrown@rockfan.com

Copyright © 2015 Tobias J Brown
You can read all past articles of Music Matters at www.BaliAdvertiser.biz