What Went Down: Piring-Piring #1 @ Barlai

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Being Malaysians, we love to brag about our local cuisine, be it street food or the creative dishes on the menus of homegrown cafés. Local music adoration is kind of similar to that with each artiste adding different flavours that marinate KL over the years into this multicultural melting pot that’s privy to some far out productions and collaborations. Our country’s musical output reflects our gastronomical prowess. People just haven’t made the connection yet…

Barlai, being a homegrown F&B business itself, was thinking along the same lines with The Wknd Sessions and JUICE recently when the idea came up to make music more mouthwatering and partying more tasteful, literally. Yeah, it sounds corny, but isn’t corny just “corn” with a “y” at the end so… we’re back to food again? Whatevs…

Celebrating vinyl culture with local independent musicians, vinyl sellers, F&B entrepreneurs, and music and food lovers, the first of the bimonthly Piring-Piring series kicked off on a rainy Sunday evening last March. Though the venue was tight and could only hold a handful of stalls, it was cosy with plenty of chilling space downstairs where the drinks flowed. Barlai, a restored heritage building in a hidden nook of residential Pudu, couldn’t have matched the vintage vibe any better.

Thumbing through stacks of LPs, the early crowd were entertained by BFM DJ and Killeur Calculateur drummer Ali Johan, who spun a selection of wax from his collection, giving the ‘60s pop yeh yeh stuff a fair share. There was a mix of vendors although priority was given to the vinyl sellers. The other stalls came close to the spirit of the event like DESIGNation.co, Medium Rare Store, and Jekyll & Hyde, all of which sold self-crafted goodies and knickknacks. There was only one food vendor (though Barlai had an opened kitchen) but it was a unique one – dig this, two sailors who fled South Africa landed up in Langkawi making sausages and guess what? They’re called Sailor’s Sausages. Kid you not. Available through local proxy Heartland Foods, they’re a mouthful and probably the best thing we’ve held in our hands the whole day, apart from that Willy Nelson record with the picture of him smoking a doobie. Anyway, you should probably expect a few food trucks at the next Piring-Piring!

Originally scheduled to perform on the rooftop with a limited audience capacity of 15 pax per set, Liyana Fizi and The Fridays’ frontman Acap had to bring their performances indoor due to the rain. The silver lining was that no one had to be a contortionist even though the hall was full for their acoustic sets.

Giving the digital revolution a swift kick in the deck, all DJs were given strict orders to only play vinyl (based on records owned the DJs themselves, borrowed from friends or bought earlier at the market). Arabyrd, with some help from MMMeng, took the decks around dinnertime and brought the house down with a mixture of hip hop, Jackson 5, and some soul stuff we couldn’t make out ‘cause we were too busy swirling our cocktails. It was really cool to see how her stage presence, which is usually reserved to when she’s on the mic, was transferred to the decks on the elevated wooden stage (right up the stairs leading to Barlai’s bedrooms – yup, it’s a boutique hotel as well, what else can you ask for after one too many Old Fashions?).

Aggroboss Soundsystem featuring Edy J. Herwan (of Gerhana Ska Cinta and ACAB) closed the event with a rocksteady set of ska, reggae, 2tone, and dancehall dub. By this time, the vendors had closed their stalls and the market had turned into a party. This was how all good commerce should end.

Piring-Piring went down on Sunday 29 March ‘15. Watch out for the next instalment coming this Sunday 31 May ‘15. 

More photos here.

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