“This is Madchester in KL!” shouted the organiser into my already damaged ear (I had a cotton bud accident recently). He proceeded to give me a manly bear hug, lifting me a good 2-feet above ground. But that’s what happened towards the end of the night. What happened before… well, that’s something that can’t be summarised in an intro. Earlier in the day I was invited to interview the man himself, Gary “Mani” Mounfield from the legendary Stone Roses. Most people who got into music after the mid-90s would have probably missed out on the Madchester band’s notoriety. So here’s a short recap.
From the late 80s to early 90s, the Stone Roses fused psych rock with acid house creating a sound that was essentially pop but with crazy dance beats. They were the toast of the Brit music scene until disbanding in 1996 due to, as Mani puts it, “getting farking sick of each other.” A crippling legal dispute with their label was also to blame for cutting short the Roses’ career which spanned over a decade but with only 2 albums (their landmark self-titled debut and the hugely under-rated Second Coming).
Mani, like his buddy Bez (from another Madchester band – The Happy Mondays), is a totally warm and up-for-it guy. So as song selektor for the night, he pumped the crowd with the same attitude and energy that Bez did. The fact that this was the 2nd time round This Feeling KL brought down a Madchester legend, and with the overwhelming number of Stone Roses fans in KL, the venue at Changkat Bukit Bintang was completely packed.
I wasn’t too keen on was watching opening act Jersey Budd (who was tipped to be the next Paul Weller but whom I thought sounded more like Reza Salleh) so I skipped his set. Later on I heard from some friends that the Leicester singer-songwriter threw a fit and walked off stage annoyed halfway during his set. Apparently, he was pissed because the crowd was paying more attention to the football match on the telly.
“Are you watching Chelsea or are you watching me?” questioned the above-average looking chap with a crusty voice. I can totally understand his frustration. I don’t watch football but from what I gather from friends who do, no one likes Chelsea.
The crowd was about 3 times more compared to the first This Feeling KL night with Bez. There people who brought out their Stone Roses vinyl for Mani to autograph. And there were those who were just curious enough to spend their Saturday night dancing to songs that were penned before they were born.
But the more conscious music lovers (including some TAG followers) got right into it. And the rest followed. Mani was pumping the speakers with the best of Madchester, some rare Northern soul tracks and, of course, a couple of Stone Roses songs (‘Fools Gold’ and ‘I Am The Resurrection’).
A girl beside me went nuts when Mani rolled out The Pixies’ ‘Anna’ – an old skool track for all you punk wannabes! At some point between TAG playing The Killers and the organiser giving me his burly bear hug, someone commented to me that crowd was mainly older people who were trying to relive the glory of their Uni days in England. This prompted me to find out the age of the said Pixies fan girl.
“So what do you do?” I asked.
“I’m a lawyer,” she replied with twisted grin.
“Oh crap. What kind of law do you practice?”
“As long as it’s not the kind that goes after people like me…”
“Have you ever been to jail?”
“I try to avoid that… they’ve got the wrong kind of bars. So where did you study law?”
“Here in Malaysia.”
I gave up guessing and asked straight out, “Were you born in the 70s?”
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hangout.”
And we did. Music goes round in circles. Ignoring the past is denying the future. We’re fortunate that we don’t have to scour old record stores for rare music anymore. So put your Bittorents or whatever semi-legal file sharing programmes you hacked to good use and discover some new (or old) sh!t. Trust me and the Pixies fan girl, it was and still is a groovy world out there.
This Feeling KL pres. Mani rocked and raved the crowd at Havana on 27 February 2010. Get a load of the damage at our gallery. For more updates on future This Feeling events, hit up thisfeelingkl.wordpress.com and juiceonline.com.
PS: I think Mani’s vibes rubbed off on me. That night when I got back I started playing the bass again. Kept booming it til dawn…