Surprises are important. Otherwise life would be an endless drone of meaningless, drink-yourself-to-death parties. Sure, it’s fun and I’ve always been a music lover, but quicker than you can say “Liam’s drunk”, things get predictable and tired. When word got to the JUICE jungle that Brit rockers Kasabian would be headlining the first MTV World Stage in KL I was truly surprised. However, I wasn’t particularly feeling the same for the other acts.
The All-American Rejects and Hoobastank brought back some memories, but whoÂ were all these newbies? Several Myspace visits later, the love was still not there. But that’s okay. Packaged pop/rock will always appeal to some shiny happy people. I got to the press conference at Sunway Hotel and Spa around lunchtime. The concert was on the same day. Food and coffee and several perky VJs later, I caught a glimpse of the artists, including Kasabian who came out to say hi. They looked very health despite rumours of a swine flu infection.
When The All-American Rejects came out, I saw Liyana from Estrella doing a little fan-girl handclap that looked something like a circus seal pleading for a treat. AAR lead singer Tyson Ritter probably was the poster boy for most teen girls between the years 2001-2005 (from their initial hit ‘Swing Swing’ to ‘Move Along’). My eyes also moved to the back of the conference room periodically to check out this chick with cute dimples and a hairband that made her look like Minnie Mouse, but I’ll tell you about her later.
After the conference ended, I hooked up with my buddies Elf and Rina. But there was no time for small talk. I had business to do, namely, exposing AAR for the poseurs they were. In the interview room, I sat at a round table together with members of other media but I got the seat right next to AAR drummer Chris Gaylor and lead guitarist Nick Wheeler, so I was closest to them. My first question was, “Did you sell your soul to the devil (which happened to be a certain beer brand) in exchange for a music video?” Needless to say, they weren’t impressed.
Whatever. Fuck them. I go with what legendary rock n roll writer Lester Bangs taught me when he came down from his cloud one day in my sleep: “Always start the interview with an insult. It’s the only way to bring these damn rockstars back down toÂ our level.” I dozed off through the rest of the AAR interview after the other the journalists in the room started asking stupid kiss-ass questions. Soon, our 15 minutes were up. Job done! I was scheduled to interview Kasabian the next day, following the concert. Hopefully, I’d see more action then. At around 9pm, we returned to Sunway Lagoon. Surprisingly, there were no jams or crowds.
For a “rock and roll” music channel. MTV sure had strict rules – you couldn’t re-enter the venue once you left. Translation: Once you’re in, you gotta stay and watch all the other acts before Kasabian. Lucky for me, Rina’s place made for a safe refuge from Pixie Lott, Boys Like Girls and Raygun.
AAR played their set which included hits such as ‘Dirty Little Secret’ and new ones like ‘I Wanna’, ‘The Real World’ and ‘Gives You Hell’. Of course, they did ‘Swing Swing’ as well. So we all swung along to the choruses like kids after a highschool prom.
As it turns out Elf and Minnie were former colleagues, so I end up hooking up with her.
“Do you like Kasabian?” I asked.
“Yeah. I think their previous albums were a lot better though,” said Minnie.
“How about AAR?”
“Haha! No, do you?”
“They’ve got a couple of good pop songs,” I said trying to sound fair.
“Are you a fanboy?” Minnie teasingly fired back.
“No, but I can do the fanboy clap for you…”
Minnie laughed and followed through with her own interpretation of a fangirl clap.
Finally, Kasabian came onstageÂ in a fury of strobe lights which could have easily given the epileptic major seizures. Kasabian opened with their 2004 chart topper ‘Club Foot’ followed by other dark grooving numbers like ‘Fire’, ‘Vlad the Impaler’ and ‘LSF’. Even with his short hair, singer Tom Meighan together with his wingman guitarist Sergio Pizzorno put on an energetic show. And the rest of the band were tight as a pin.
The show came to an end and as we were walking away, fireworks shot up and the Sunway Lagoon volcano erupted, signifying the end of a great night. The next day, I bumped into Minnie again at the Heineken Green Space party. And she kicked my ass in Guitar Hero.
Surprise surprise. Life’s full of them.
Kasabian, The All-American Rejects, Hoobastank, Pixie Lott, Boys Like Girls, Raygun and local boys Estranged rocked it hard at MTV World Stage at Sunway Lagoon Surf Beach on 15 August 2009.