KBnL Dancefloor Hell owned the Johor Bahru crowd.
With apologies to the preceding acts, there was no other way to concisely preamble our report of the last leg of the Heineken Thirst x JUICE Pre Party Series. Just imagine this; full of tables, this was a venue that lacked a proper dancefloor, so the JB crowd improvised – they turned the stage into one! Filled with partygoers – with crowd spillage surrounding the stage – KBnL’s set almost looked like an insane Boiler Room session when seen on the TV in the VIP area. And on ground level itself, it was a fulfilment of the JB boys’ extended namesake; a dancefloor hell.
While our expectations were met (and exceeded) during their set, the show was refreshingly more subdued initially. +2dB opened with the only live performance of the tour, playing their original tracks (‘Stay Calm’, ‘Island’, to name a few) and a particularly inspired rendition of their Daft Punk cover (‘Get Lucky/Doin’ It Right’). As sombre as they were on record, Jeannie and Jo Ann lulled the crowd into a comfortable chilled out groove – if your body movements could get rhythmic at a wake that is. An intentional choice on our part as their complacence to the mood set here was about to be subverted by the following duo.
Seguing from trip hop dirges to disco tunes by way of synthwave, DANGERDISKO took over the stage for a set that wasn’t necessarily limited to nu disco. The JB crowd, whom we surmised wasn’t accustomed to their genre(s) of choice, quickly warmed up to their mix regardless of their familiarity. Imagine the second stage of last year’s Thirst on a microcosmic level, or better yet, take it as a preview of what genre/international counterpart Madeon might play this coming Thirst. Being one of the few DJs here who produce as well, they didn’t miss the chance to play their own tracks. The duo’s remix of +2dB’s ‘Stay Calm’ sounded even better in a club setting – bigger, danceable, and surprisingly complemented DANGERDISKO’s remix of Sheila Majid’s ‘Sinaran’ in a strange way.
A pattern was emerging by this time – the last stop of our tour was a tour in and of itself, one that traversed genres. This was obvious once it was KL’s indie darlings Twilight Actiongirl’s turn to set the club ablaze. Decidedly anti-TAG in their opening mix, TAG played anything from Guetta to Avicii only to later on befuddled Johoreans with Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and modern indie favourites. As sonically incongruent their mix was, it worked amazingly well, TAG managed to combine stadium EDM with the kind of alternative club nights they’re infamously known for.
Already past midnight, the crowd had been sufficiently loosened up from all the Heineken bottles they’d drunk (there wasn’t a single table that didn’t have Heineken adorning its surface) and the music spun by the first 3 acts. It became clear then that regardless of how popular they were back home in Kuala Lumpur, they were really here just to set the stage for hometown heroes KBnL Dancefloor Hell. We weren’t kidding in our opening paragraph – JUICE didn’t miss the chance to join in the mob of partygoers rioting on stage to the sounds of the Prodigy’s ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ and other dancefloor inferno-inducing hardcore tracks.
The experience was decidedly different from the past 2 legs of the tour. Simultaneously more intimate and crazier, it felt more underground (at least during KBnL’s set). A fitting end to what had been a consecutively epic tour.
The last leg of Heineken Thirst x JUICE Pre Party Series @ Aruku the Walk, Johor Bahru went down on Saturday 30 November ’13. Find more pictures here.
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