Monday, December 18, 2006

Bandkuest 2006

Since years ago in Perth, international singers and artists have visited the place do promote their latest albums, touring and having live performances. Concerts at largely open space have always been a hit, and mainly welcomed and celebrated by the Australians. Music is something Aussies know how to appreciate very, very well, especially band/rock music. I did acknowledge the fact that those artists will always miss Malaysia out in their tour schedules, and what more to say when it comes to a place as remote as Kuching, my hometown.

Green Day was at Perth performing live, and I did not go to their concert….

Nickelback had a concert in Perth end of last year, and I missed out on that too….

Coldplay went to Perth too… middle this year, and yeah.. again, I did not go and have a look-see.

Until recently, when I got back to Kuching, there was the Bandkuest 2006, a band performance competition by local band enthusiasts, mostly new and fresh out on the field.

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And guess what, I WENT TO THE EVENT!!!

And I had every right and place to be overly excited about it, simply because, my friend, Kenneth Leong was performing and competing, together with his band Litbox !!

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The event took place at the old courthouse, just nearby the Main Post Office and the Waterfront. It started at an ungodly hour of 5pm stretching all the way to late night. I managed to drag Chun Chow (click) out of his place and off we went to the Bandkuest 2006 Grand Finale!! More than 100 bands/groups from all over Sarawak have competed in the previous weeks, and only 11 made it to the final. There was however one team absent, which made it only ten teams performing. This was not my first time to such sort of event, and certainly I would not make an unfair comparison to my previous experience in live band contest performances. All I wanted to have that night was to be out from my house, head to somewhere “happening” with floods of people, and loud, extremely noisy music. Something to drown my sorrow and trauma accumulating over the year would be most welcomed.


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And of course, the privilege to watch a friend, Kenneth playing on stage, is an awesome opportunity, something not to be missed!

There was a group of people standing outside the perimeter, peeping in from openings and over the gates. I guess, it does not matter if they were inside or not, being there, and experiencing live music for free was something worth doing after all.

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So you want to hear my side of story and comments on the overall event and happenings that night? I shall be as truthful and plain as possible, but bear in mind all those that I say here are entirely my own non-professional and publicly open opinion, and should anyone disagree with it, I suggest you sugarcoat your comments and begin with something pleasant like “oh robin you look so handsome !” Alright, jokes aside, I generally liked the entire performance, and it is obvious that all the bands have put so much effort in their music and presentation. I have something to say about the sound system setup, the instruments and overall tune-up was quite well adjusted, however, the sound of the vocals were somewhat, a little drowned to the softer side. I have been to quite several band/rock performances before, and I could actually hear clearly and make sense of the lyrics that the vocalists were conveying. Things were rather the opposite at the Bandkuest, and this severely deteriorated the standard of every presentations!!

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I particularly dislike randomly arranged tunes in a piece of crazy, chaotic music led by a vocalist who would scream his lung out every breath he could grasp. Goodness gracious, I think I had enough misery in my life already, and I need not extra from the music!

And the crowd, gosh, so unsupportive!! Only a few out of many showed passion and enthusiasm... Alright, there were a few cases of

Serious head banging…..

And ass shaking….

And some sort of dancing style that I could not quite understand…

But I could say that 90 percent of the crowd would just sit down quietly, and hesitantly clapping their hands after each performance. Not much of cheering or super squeaky whistling or girly screams as if they have seen a ghost or something, I guess the bands performing would have felt rather cold having such disappointing response from the audience that night. Kuching folks are rather reserved and not so keen on being openly wild in public area I suppose.

Here are some random photos of what I have taken with my obsolete camera. However, I was quite satisfied with most of my snapshots. Having seats at the very front helped a great !! I am terribly sorry that I could not remember all the names of the bands. I do not have the photos of all bands, since I took off some time in the middle of the event to quench my aching thirst and fill my empty stomach.

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And of course, the highlight of this entry, and was also considered the highlight of the event,

The LITBOX!!!!

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They managed to “Wowed” the audience, right from the very beginning of their first track, with the mesmerizing vocal from their lead singer, building up momentum rapidly towards the peak of their performance. Litbox was of course, the favourite amongst the bunch of other bands, and even the response from the crowd was evidently solid. I would not go as far as saying that they were stealing the show, but surely, from my not so experienced point of view, their performance entertained me through and through.

Alright, enough talking… here are more photos of LITBOX.

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Tired of photos? Here is a short video of their performance.

And of course, the drummer, the friend, and the blogger on stage…. Kenneth Leong !!!

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Sorry for my meager attempts and blurry shots, but those are the best ones I had, and at least still visible and usable. It was rather difficult to obtain a decent shot, since the drummer is positioned far back into the stage, with very, very minimal lighting. Not to mention, the foggy thick smoke effect that was constantly released clouding the stage, made it even more impossible to have a direct good shot. Thank goodness Kenneth was not one of those drummers who would bang their head vigorously throughout the entire performance!! At least he did not move too aggressively to blur the pictures… ahahahhaa…

So how were the results?

I was hoping and hoping that Kenneth’s group, LITBOX would win the event.

I guess, many were hoping the same.

And the results….

Jeng Jeng Jeng….


LITBOX won the second place.....

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I knew the group would have deserved the first spot, and their performance proved to be more than worthy. Decisions have been made, and oh boy..


Hey, second spot out of over a hundred teams competing; it was rather an awesome achievement too!! Things could have been better of course, but hey, at least the crowd enjoyed your performance, and you guys did a pretty good job there.

So who won the first prize?


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I dare say that they were rather good too, and they were unique in their own way. Somehow, I think having a female vocalist does give you an extra cutting edge in tight competitions. This is discrimination against us men !! I have also recorded a small part of their performance. Click here to go to the video clip. And one of the guitarists, Melvin, coincidentally happened to be a friend of a friend, whom I have met and been introduced to at Kenny Sia’s Birthday Party (click). Oh well, Kuching is indeed getting smaller when you get to know more people.

To Kenneth and Litbox, bravo for making it to the second spot. You guys were amazing, and totally deserved number one. Kenneth, if you made it huge one day, don’t forget your friend here ya?? A free autographed CD, an elegantly handsome dinner, and few tickets to your tour performance would be nice.

Side note:
1) I know the comments I have made was rather biased. Well, pardon my selective preference, but this is my blog. If I can’t voice up freely here, where else can I do so?
2) I treated a friend for birthday at Pizza Hut not too long ago, and yesterday, another friend gave me an advanced birthday surprise and treated me to… guess where… Pizza Hut !!! Thanks so much Stef !! I guess what goes around comes around eh?
3) In case you guys do not know, let me ease your misery. My birthday is on the Boxing Day.
4) Anybody wanna cook up some Christmas plans?


  1. You're not wrong about the vocals. I think that's the biggest problem with our local bands. Musicians here pay too much attention to the instruments and not enough attention to their singing.

    So I think it was easy to see why the top 3 bands were in the top 3.

  2. hey georgette,
    yeah, i think it was mainly focused on the distinction in the vocals. Those with clearer and outstanding ones overshine the rest.
    And the sound system did not help much.

  3. hehe..litbox should have gotten first...even if u dont know kenneth. lol. but something happened, causing munkeykat to win. :S maybe next yr lah (=

  4. hey san,
    yeah, I just heard the "something that happened" that caused munkeycat to win. Rather cheap I supposed.. but if they were that desperate, let it be lah !!
    We all know where the honor went to in the end...

  5. nice coverage. felt like i was there. =)

  6. hey akho,
    ahaha and u should be there watching life !!!!

  7. Wish u had included what songs kenneth's band played. Met a Curtin drop-out once playing with a band on a Saturday nite at Mama's Grill (Miri) and when I requested 4 Pearl Jam's Last Kiss, his jaws dropped open!!! OK OK I'm old...but very young at heart lah!!! BTW, Robin...let me be the 1st to wish u a very Happy Birthday on the 26th and lots and lots of good things in store in 2007!
    P.S.: I'm also Foochow...but can't speak a word!! (Blish! Blush!!)

  8. what?? u missed greenday?? and nickelback??

    muse is coming. go with me larh... =P dont miss another great act.

  9. hey suituapui,
    Thanks for the birthday wish !!! I am getting old liaw, ahahhah
    actually, I didnt even know what songs any of the bands were playing !!! most of them are unheard before, and they did some of their own work too.
    And yeah, nice to find a foochow who cant speak foochow.. its rare u know.. ahahahh

    hey chloe,
    ahhahaha, aiya.. ticket so expensive, and last time busy with uni mah !!! ahahahha..

  10. "something that happened"?
    whats that about?

    anyways, litbox was really good. loved their show but thought they did better during the kuching round than the finals.

  11. hey ebp,
    hahahahaha, the something that happened, I shall keep quiet, this is where I do my part of keeping this blog peaceful.
    Sorry, ya?