I headed down to the newly-relocated Bleu Bar (the old Mcities place in KL Plaza) for a tribute to Metallica gig. After 2 hours of absorbing cigarette ash during their soundchecks, I left because it the smell was just too pungent. (I justified myself, knowing I had a driving exam on Monday!)
Metal rockers sure have cool guitars; left has shiny decals all over, while the right is a headless Lazer (the tuning heads are at the bridge).
I needed to do my time in bed for the early Monday.
At 8 am, many young eager behind-the-wheelers stood around waiting to be called to their Kancils to be tested. For some reason, I only had to retake the road test (and not all the circuit tests!) Perhaps my instructor had pulled some strings.
I was the first person to get in that car with that particular examiner. How fortunate to not have to wait much! My engine died upon starting but that did not cause a monetary setback on my part. And so, I hobbled on, pissingly slow, only reaching third gear once… to the point where the examiner asked me to take the highway shortcut. (Shortcuts are reserved for hot sunny days when the examiner’s patience has run thin.)
I passed. I passed!
Well, better to be penalized for using the wrong speed than to hit something or panic at the tricky downhill turn back into the driving school. After all was done, I left the driving school at 9 am. 9 am! Hardly time to go home.
I can no longer brag that I don’t have a “P“. 🙁
By then, I had reached Central Market at 9:30 am, and so I opened the newspaper I bought for the anticipated wait. No buskers were in sight. 🙁 At 10 am, Woh Fatt opened. I walked in and saw this older shopkeeper dude shredding classical music! He was probably in his sixties, doing what Yngwie Malmsteen would do, minus the slow parts! I bought the one impulse item I had been wanting to reward myself with for ages – a cheap RM50 4-string Ukelele. The younger shopkeeper dude tuned it up a lot (meaning it was hanging there, strings loose) before putting it in its free gig bag. (Yes free gig bag and pick! 🙂 No strap though…)
I sat down in Central Market again, eager to learn the tunings; it was in GCEA (where guitars would be EADGBe). If you did your math you’d know that GCEA is relatively the same as DGBe, meaning you could play it like the first 4 strings of a guitar. (A bass guitar is the last 4 strings of a 6-string guitar, an octave lower though.) Of course one kink would be the 4th string; it was one octave higher, meaning if you fretted it at the 2nd fret, you’d get the same note same octave as the open 1st string.
By 11 am, Dustyhawk came, and he agreed that it sounded
gay sissy-ish. (Yeah I haven’t been politically correct for a while.) The nylon strings (or was it the body?) had very little sustain. This meant no long rock chords or vibrato held for more than half a second. A cool side effect was that palm-muting was unnecessary, and muted, percussive chords sound great. 🙂 It also had high action, and I wasn’t used to slippery nylon strings so I couldn’t exactly do a blues solo on the spot for some money.
Notice that on the guitar, the 9th fret is equivalent to the 1st fret size on a ukelele. I could practice accuracy with tiny fingerings in smaller frets than my guitar would allow! Also, I could claim that my hand could stretch one octave. 🙂
Fazri brought two friends for cheese naan and Low Yat after that. Picture has been artistically recolored; credits go to Dustyhawk for the picture-taking, and the original can be found on his blog.
After a tiring afternoon of playing catch up in Bintang Walk, we all met up again at Starbucks Times Square, where Dustyhawk and Fazri had a flash fight between their cameras – a Canon Powershot A60 and A70 respectively. One two three shoot. The loser, or flashee, would see white; the winner, or flasher, would see the slower camera. There was even a draw.
In the evening, I
stood sat corrected, drinking what was just apparently sweet Teh Tarik at Maju Curry House, Masjid Jamek. Was I the only one tasting the cinammon in it? Freaky. Surreal.
We parted ways, and I met up with Syefri at Paul’s Place, Uptown. We saw:
Cosmic Funk Express (!!!) Majorly cool funk, and they played a majorly cool rendition of Super Mario, complete with sound effects! You know the bassist, Alda, the band slut. 🙂
Uh, I missed Side Circle because everybody was trying out the ukelele. In the hands of Syefri, it became East Malaysian ethnic music; in Az‘s hands, he showed me that it was possible to hammer-on-from-open-string on it. Saiful even shredded on it! Heck, the taxi driver who took me to Uptown expressed interest in it. Amil said it was cool. I could not agree more; to me, it was the anti-hero. It was rebellion against steel string and piercing-attack guitar. It was sissy and unconventional. And in some cases perhaps gay; Freddie Mercury sang over the ukelele chords on Bring Back That Leroy Brown.
Dragon Red featuring Kime (the guy in red). I didn’t expect Adam to look menacing in an Xfresh T-shirt, but somehow he looks rugged and built in it. Zack, the guitarist of Cosmic Funk Express, even asked us for a new T-shirt after that!
I reached home and tested out the ukelele with my computer mike on distortion. It sounded… chirpy, sweeter than a steel-string, with little sustain, but definitely not sissy-ish. I found the sound addictive.
I went to Paul’s Place again; this time it was Y2K. Ah, memories of my first gig at No Black Tie – the first people I’d ever met through gigs were Khai (playing inverted bass) and:
Hermano Grande. Their masks (and uh punk cover songs) have gone a long way, and it was the first time I’d see a Y2K drummer in a mask.
I finally got to see Ahmad‘s band! This dude I’d meet at many gigs, and we were stranded in KLCC on New Year’s Day 2003 after Rock The World 3. Well rather, Ahmad and his Kapok guitar.
Ahmad borrowed Paul’s Vax SG (yes Vax like the brand of cheap 7-string guitars.) Members of Triple6Poser filled in.
I finally got to see Triple6Poser; Khai’s old humor-laden ska-punk-funk band Khaimano was what got me into going to gigs. I wanted to see how different it was. I was pleasantly surprised; sure, it was less funk and ska, none of Khai’s trademark humor in his lyrics, but there was more rock and roll, and solos!
Paul and gang has some funky lighting set up. Khai is a rainbow-
flavored-colored Paddle Pop head.
Flip Rotation ended the show; they had an excellent lead guitarist. The vocalist was cool too, punching in an aggressive line in an otherwise slow ballad.