Monthly Archives: June 2014

Crinkle Cut & Russell Curtis Project @ Rockafellas

7th June 2014: Crinkle Cut & Russell Curtis Project @ Rockafellas.

Down at Rockafellas, Intan Square, near Armada Hotel, opposite Asia Jaya LRT station.

Melissa on guitar!

Ashley on cajon!

Grace on keys!

Frances on vocals and emo, emo stares. *sohot*

Red Ash hair, I see what I did there.

Part of the crowd, with a radio deejay whose name and station I do not remember.

Then came a dude with cool shoes.

Accompanying him was Tok Khon, a fonky keyboardist known for playing in John Thomas & Phunk Mob. Yes, it’s so funky it’s spelled fonky.

Steve Nanda on drums.

And, of course, the charming Russell Curtis on guitar and vocals, who also owns the place.

This band was Russell Curtis Project.

I mistakenly assumed, for some reason, that they were going to play together on the same stage at the same time – and thinking about it while at an earlier gig made me realize the urgency and head over to this gig. Oh silly me!

Audrey then hijacked my camera and took this picture.

Melissa then hijacked my camera and took this picture, I think.

I then switched to the 24mm for wide shots like these.

Audrey and Frances with Steve (who I think looks like what Darren Ashley might look like when he’s a bit older.)

Crinkle Cut, plus 2.

Iron (Nail) Man.

Almost Crinkle Cut. Melissa was missing from this picture since she was behind the camera.

I then pointed out the selfie-friendly swivelling LCD of my Sony Alpha 99 and she did her classic overhead selfie.

One more, with the rest of us in focus!

Crinkle Cut and the Potatoes. If they were sweet, they’d be farn shie fansee!

And now, for a random throwback, with a picture I’ve not posted before, nearly 8 years ago – 15th June 2006, Laundry Bar, The Curve, where Curtis Blues Review (not to be confused with later Russell Curtis bands) played at Project Bazooka Band Night (then described as 3rd place winner for Blast Off, a battle-of-the-bands competition organized by hitz.TV.) But I remember this band best, for when they played at the Sunway College prom and there was a massive congo dance line thanks to their awesome blues/funk/rock-and-roll set.

This area, the original stage, is now a seating area, with a small stairway heading up to where the audience is in this picture.

The bassist, Zaim, did not appear to have his bass tone just yet.

This throwback is of Tok Khon, in John Thomas & Phunk Mob, 5th August 2006, with his keytar, at the Sunrise Mont Kiara Jazz & Rhythm Fest 2006. Those were the days when the yearly jazz fest was held at Sunrise Mont Kiara – now shifted to the Publika Jazz Festival, also a Sunrise development. This picture was taken with Yin’s camera – the Panasonic DMC-FZ20, with a constant F2.8 zoom, making it the hottest camera back in its time for its ambitious lens.

Dotters’ Division At Table 23

28th April 2014: Dotters’ Division at Table 23, Jalan Mesui, Kuala Lumpur!

It was the first time I’d see them at Table 23. Melissa’s voice was super clear!

Rebecca on cajon, and Melissa on acoustic guitar, left more space for Melissa’s vocals to ring – and ring they did, from all the way inside! I was thinking how remarkably clear it was.

Eh don’t lah I shy.

Linet, on keyboard. It’s also her birthday at the time I’m posting this. Happy Birthday!

Jie Er, on bass.

We now interrupt the show with an immense display of cuteness.

The puppy stopped to watch, too.

Don’t know what went on here but Melissa was probably being sasau.

Oh, and Audrey on saxophone! She does a fair bit of solo melody work (as do the keyboards), that contributes to their unique reworking of many songs. However, they kept it close with covers of Bee Gees – Night Fever and Prince – Purple Rain.

Nearly a month later, 26th May 2014, Dotters’ Division at Table 23, Jalan Mesui, Kuala Lumpur! (Oh yes, see a theme here?)

It was a rainy Monday.

Sure didn’t stop them from bringing the groove on!

That thing that makes unicorn rainbow sounds.


They generally cover the funk and soul of the 60’s all the way to today’s music.

I enjoy their occasional switchup of setlists.

Going for something different here.

In case y’all don’t know it.

And now, for a special request! I saw them doing this bouncy groove in a video from way back, and asked if they could do it again. So here’s an acoustic rendition of War – Low Rider!

Alter:Native KL June Edition

7th June 2014: Alter:Native KL June Edition, at Merdekarya, PJ! (So no, not exactly KL…)

I came in time to catch The Act Of Will.

Merdekarya looks a bit different, with a few additions.

Meanwhile, outside, the littlest kitten I had ever seen.

Full house.

Talitha Tan. Why so serious?

So she started her set by telling a few jokes… and laughing at them. 😀

We good to start?

Talitha was in top form that night. Ironically, even though that is the same Taylor guitar model without a built-in pickup, it is not hers.

The night was hard on some.

Christian Palencia, emcee and organizer.

Jamie XN Chen!

She crossed out from the YouTube screen to the indie scene that night.

I like her voice and her upbeatness.

She also did a cover of a song in Mandarin.

Her friend was invited on stage for backup vocal duty.

I didn’t stay till the end, due to circumstances that I’d explain in my next blog entry, hopefully!

Music Tornado Festival 2014

7th June 2014: Music Tornado Festival 2014, at Mega Star Arena, Jalan Kuchai Lama! I was particularly looking forward to this, because it was the Chinese rock scene that I had not seen before, and in a place I had not been to. It would be an adventure. I would be expecting a dingy, dodgy place, but if it was not then I would be pleasantly surprised.

Some of the members of Flying Pan are in this picture, of which one invited me, but I came just in time to miss their performance. (It didn’t help that Mega Star Arena wasn’t found on Google Maps.)

There were musical instruments on sale!


A surprisingly big venue, that even holds church services on Sundays.

Ready To Fly.

Check out that stack of amplifiers!

Ken Chung Benjamin Yang on bass! (Thanks Zedes for the correction – they look alike from far, with similiar-looking basses!)

Double Call Mobeat.


Hip hop band!

Cool uniforms.

Finally spotted: Fahmi Reza’s awesome posters at a gig.

Math rock band Nao.

Start your show with a jump!

Just look at the size of that stage! I’d say this was the biggest indoor venue I’d seen that doesn’t have elevated seating like a stadium or amphitheater.

This is what the VIP area looks like. Check out the lights!

Still as heavy and technical, with plenty of progressive changes.

Haven’t seen them since Sunburst KL 2009, 21st March 2009!

Ian, who I didn’t recognize, having not seen him in ages!

The crowd.


Hey it’s Zedes Luther, the bassist from Cats In Love, with the cool bass!

Keyboard, keyboard, and keyboard with a folding screen.

This band had videographers running on stage.

The keyboardist sang a song too, and all cameras pointed at her.

Oh and another cool thing about these big stages? Having the typical picture where the background screen is also the subject.

The stage is so big, my Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA on the full-frame Sony Alpha 99 does not reach out to the drummer as much as I’d think it would.



I liked his shredding!

For once the smoke looks good.

I’ve always liked the look of PRS guitars.

These guys rock, too.

The vocalist goes from hard rock vocals to screaming.

I left early to head to two other gigs that day. (Of which one I didn’t even plan to, but that story will be told in a later blog entry…)

Moonshine: Upcoming / June 2014

5th June 2014: Moonshine: Upcoming / June 2014, at Laundry Bar, The Curve!

First act: The snarly, but not too serious Dzamira Dzafri.

Songs that stick in your head.

Refreshing to see her reading from paper – as if it was the same notepad that she first penned the lyrics and chords on.

Then came Rizla Lynam, who is more than excited to be sharing the stage with Reza Salleh, emcee and organizer.

He’s got some very fresh-sounding tunes.

Stuff that sticks in your head.

Interesting fashion sense, too!

This was the first time I’d see him with a second guitarist, who’d put in some licks.

Outside, the Moonshine CD booth.

Reza and the ocean of disco balls.

Sulyn and the jazz-pop ballad.

Raja Farouque adds color with tasteful guitar solos.

Areef (bassist for Damn Dirty Apes) sessions for her regular bassist, currently on honeymoon.

Eng Hooi on drums and iPad.

The night in particular was full of cool backlighting.

This app helps you count to 4.

The last act for the night…

Cats In Love!

They bring good ol’ rock and roll…

…with a touch of rock keyboard.

Rama Lohan, ever the jumpy rock-and-rolling guitarist/vocalist, whose on-stage antics remind me a lot of Pete Townshend of The Who.

Cool-looking bass.

Ash is the center of the beat.

Cool shoes.

In-between song exchange.

Lohan picks up the blues harp and reeds us the blues.

Ash sings, too.

Shooting riffage!

Here’s them performing Fool’s Log. (Thanks to the band for helping me out with the title!)

Apparently, I was there at their very first gig, at Paul’s (New) Place, for the Too Far Gone gig. This was on the 22nd of April 2005!

Pardon the low image quality – these were all shot with a Canon Powershot A400, a little point-and-shoot at ISO400, I think. Here’s them trying a ambitious keyboard-heavy song with melodion. Never again, Lohan said!


4th June 2014: FIVE WAYS LIVE @ BACKYARD, at Backyard Pub, Sri Hartamas!

All shots with the Sony Alpha 99 and Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM, at ISO6400 and F1.4 because the light is low. And yet, it gives this very subtle look.

Guest featuring three dudes on djembes!

Regular drummer Edwin Nathaniel of Aseana Percussion Unit.

Richard Gomis of Freedom.

Fun frontman Jerry Ventura of The Falcons, who also plays in Aseana Percussion Unit.

Jimie Loh, current bassist of The Alleycats.

Boy King of progressive rock band Ash Wednesday…

…who was also in The Truth with Jimie.

They play classic rock – one tune I heard them cover was Cream – Badge.

Get on up!


Cool hat!

Double the fun!

Get up and jam!

Jerry is a multi-instrumentalist.

At the back of the Backyard Pub. Next to this was the original stage.

Barbotshop Adventure

On the 3rd of June 2014, I went down to Lorong Raja Bot, Kampung Baru, to get a haircut for the amazing price of RM7.

I first found out about this barber shop from DJ Bunga’s Instagram. What a deal! (It used to be RM6 in 2013.)

A Malay barber attended to me, and gave me a haircut. We chatted for a bit, with me explaining how I came to know of this place – by Instagram. He didn’t know Instagram. I then asked how the guitars came about. He had 6 more at home, and he just started learning guitar. Curious tourists would walk past, and he’d invite those he’d deem to look like they knew how to play, to jam.

In a very Malaysian way, I indirectly complimented him, by saying how his whammy bar was on the Superstrat guitar, so I knew he was a serious guitar player. He was puzzled, so I pointed it out. Oh, tremolo! He didn’t know what a Superstrat was either, so I pointed out the sunburst Squier Stratocaster behind it, explaining that the Superstrat was like that but with a more aggressive design, humbuckers instead of single-coil pickups in some places, and a double-locking floating bridge system.

An Indian barber did a job of a quick, clean shave. I then found out it was in fact RM10 for a haircut and shave. No biggie. Some far more expensive hair salons don’t even do the shave, but pass you a shaver to do it yourself!

After I paid, he invited me to play some guitar. Outside, there were 15 watt and 30 watt amplifiers waiting!

His friend, Adikz (on the left), showed me a rhythm lick, that I followed while he soloed. He could shred! It was some Dewa song – but I was not familiar with Dewa. We then proceeded to Search – Isi Atau Kulit. I knew the song, but I had never learned it before.

This picture was taken by Tang Chun Cheuh, who agreed to come along on my little adventure.

This is what you see as you look out of the barber shop.

We were reminded to observe quietness during the call to Azan. And so, whatever he wanted to show me was without amplification. He also offered to teach more – I’d just have to buy him a drink, or something like that – I did not hear him clearly on some occasions.

The Malay barber chap then left on a motorbike, while asking what I was listening to currently. Megadeth and Cacophony, for the Marty Friedman stuff, I answered. So I did a little Lucretia, but the Spirit-branded SG I was holding had high action (I didn’t notice it when playing rhythm earlier) so it was a bit of a slippery-string unamplified solo.

At some point we were hungry, and Tang and I had planned to check out Coliseum Cafe on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, just nearby. We made our plans to leave, but Adikz asked if we’d like to chat more over drinks. Out of courtesy, I asked him to lead the way to good food.

He wrote his number, and a proposed setlist for a band of which Tang was the bassist, and me presumably, rhythm guitarist. The setlist I’d have to learn? Metallica – Nothing Else Matters and Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit.

He also asked for my number. I have to admit I was feeling a bit uncomfortable with that, but I gave him my actual number. So this might be what it’s like for a female. I don’t know. I didn’t have any real intention of being in a band with him or continuing to jam. I intended to just get a haircut and maybe play some random guitar and resume my boring daily life.

He also asked if, when I was walking, if any kids were looking at me with mata merah (red eyes… or did he mean jealousy?) He implied that they were gangsters, and me being Chinese would stick out like a sore thumb, so if they caused trouble for me, I would just call him and he’d settle things.

Two Malay ladies, one blind, came by selling tissue. Adikz asked if I had any coins. Tang gave them a money note. They thanked us, offered tissue, which we declined. “Jaga baik-baik ye“, Adikz said to them. I’d normally not have given street beggars money, but this was an interesting scenario.

Adikz then mumbled something about BR1M (the Malaysian government handout for people earning less than a certain amount monthly) and asked if we could do him a favor. He was from Johor, and he was stuck here due to something that went wrong. (I didn’t catch what exactly.) So he asked for our generosity to help him get back – somewhere in the region of 70 Ringgit. We explained that we didn’t have much cash on hand anyway, though we paid for his food and drinks. He said he knew if he asked Malay people, they wouldn’t be able to help him, but maybe Chinese people could. (Appeal to Chinese chauvinism?)

He then walked us to the main road. As we tried to hail a bus, he asked how about his fate. We both gave him some money (a bus ticket to Johor was 35 Ringgit, he said.) His plan was to tumpang (borrow somebody’s place to sleep at) but I didn’t catch whether he said he’d sleep on the streets or have a friend’s place to sleep at. He thanked us for the money, and I told him it was no issue, to consider it his guitar lesson fee.

I remember now, a young Chinese man who’d brandish his identity card with his address stating Johor, saying he needed money to get home as he’d been scammed. This was outside the Pasar Seni LRT station back when I was in college, probably 2001 or so. I saw him again one week later at the same place.

Who knows really if what he says is true? Would we have been in risk if he did actually know gangsters, and we didn’t want to give him some money?

We caught the free bus that goes from Bukit Bintang to KL Sentral. Inside, we could see the benevolent benefactor, for which we could all be thankful for, who studied Economics and will thus ensure that all Malaysian citizens will have a fair chance to get a job and be able to live comfortably, and that you won’t be ahead in life only because your parents are.

Perhaps with less income disparity, Adikz would not have to assume we had money and make the situation slightly uncomfortable by asking for money. (Apparently I looked calm so Tang didn’t feel uncomfortable.)

Perhaps someday I would have no fear walking into a predominantly Malay area, and that an appeal to Chinese chauvinism would not happen, because we’d all be truly 1Malaysia, as espoused by our poster boy. Then maybe I wouldn’t be racist as I was in this blog entry – notice I mentioned the races of the people in this story even though it was of no relevance?

Edited: Here is Tang’s account with more pictures!

Covers’ Night Special

29th May 2014: Covers’ Night Special, at Laundry Bar, The Curve! This is Ray Cheong, guitar fingerstyle extraordinaire, with a whole lot of Motown soul.

His leg picked up a gig as a percussionist.

Outside, I discovered a crinkle-cut ashtray.

Narmi back on the inside.

Clara sees from across the sea of 90s to modern day covers.

Outside again, renovation is taking place.

Zalila Lee, a veteran coverer.


Faz on guitar, with a cool Transformers T-shirt, and a new gizmo…

…that transforms her voice.

Yvonne’s voice needs no transformation.

A big fan, behind her.

For when you forget the lyrics.

Clara Cheong and I up close!

Then there was a commotion – it was somebody’s birthday!

Melina William. Oh boy!

(Click for bigger picture.)

A crazy reunion of so many familiar faces, including Stephanie the long-lost drummer!

Laundry Music Marathon

31st May 2014: Laundry Music Marathon, at Laundry Bar, The Curve!

This is the electropsychedelic Nick Davis.

Pew pew instruments.

Denise Chan of, one emcee.

Collin Chin, another emcee.

I love it when the Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA gets to work on such backgrounds.

An Honest Mistake!

Awesome new T-shirts!

Awesome new female vocalist Ashley!

Awesome new AHM logo! Triangles and squares, so hipster!

Awesome fresh red hair!

Awesome lighting for the outdoor stage! (They’d alternate between this and the regular stage inside.)

This is what the outside stage looked like.

Ashley is also a radio announcer and dancer by day. Or night?

Modern pop punk music has a heavy breakdown.

Darren does his guitar-swirling thing…

…and his Blanka thing.

Another breakdown bit.

Meanwhile, back on the inside…

…a band I had not seen in a long time.

Here was noisemaker Ham.

Melancholy maker Duan.

The biggest pedalboard I’d seen always belongs to Seven Collar T-Shirt.

Feels like there were more disco balls that night.

Despite the pedals, Ham still needed an e-Bow for the slowly-growing wall of feedback.

Here is their classic singalong noise ballad Faith.

Ending the night was Dangerdisko.

Yes, that is a cool Macbook sticker.

Collin shows us the artist area.

Feedback Open Mic ft Saturday Afternoon & Talitha Tan @ The Bee Publika / May 2014 Edition

27th May 2014: Feedback Open Mic ft Saturday Afternoon & Talitha Tan @ The Bee Publika / May 2014 Edition! Here’s Sedsuna, awesome progressive instrumental rock.

Fikri Azam.

Kevin Theseira, emcee.

Remy J. with a new song, fresh.

Jia Wen took this picture of me. This here helps those of you who have no idea what I look like now.

Jia Wen, grinner and a winner.

Yvonne, not triangle today, just full-on square.

Samantha & Jash?

Nabeel of Nabeel & Emilia.

Emilia, on Raja Farouque’s cool green guitar.

Powerhouse of vocals from Kelly Siew of Kelly Siew & Raja Farouque!

Farouque, being all selamba.

He then teleports to the next band…

Talitha Tan & Friends!

First featured act of the night.

Dat hair.

What do you call a British cajon? Cajonue.

Then came another cajon…

…for the second featured act.

Saturday Afternoon.

Fariz’s voice goes deep.

Meanwhile, I finally found out what that door that the boogey man sleeps inside, actually stores. Boogey drinks.

Here’s Pink Punk Chop. Yes, this is a montage of 2 pictures.

So is this. Gives a very interesting perspective. Perhaps I should try shooting with the intention of making these.

Then came Idzwan & Friends (I think.) Cool moustache!

Idzwan sang an awesome cover of The Beatles – Something, and did the solo with that classic Les Paul guitar tone… just nicely overdriven.

His bandmate, on a Gibson Les Paul, beautiful and shiny.

STFO took a long time to set up. Guys, get a tuner!

But when they did, they did solid punk rock and reggae.

Calico, with Yvonne Chong the vocal gymnast…

…and Faz on guitar.

Incognito. Surprisingly, this is not a collage. Moments like these are rare, where they are in progressive states of head tilt and height.

The night’s challenge, to sing Grammy nominee covers, was won by Incognito, Pink Punk Chop and Calico.