What Went Down: Raising The Bar Festival ’16 @ KLPAC


The space reeked of marijuana, there were a sea of kids in baggy clothes and snapbacks, every stage played songs ranging from 808 tunes to nostalgic rap – Raising The Bar (RTB) Festival’s second edition was a success. We’re not just saying that because we were the official media platform for the event but because the team behind it — a relatively small event organisation with experience of handling (mostly) one-night type of shows — pulled it off without many glitches.

First thing to address — the lineup. It goes without saying that the local performers delivered their best. From the always poetic Sayla to the unapologetic Orang Malaya to the dapper rapper Mean bitching about basic bitches, there was a wide range of talent for everyone to appreciate. But there was only one person we were saving ourselves for… Okasian — we were hype as fuck to watch him because the only rebel squad we want to be part of is one that’s underwater.

Regardless of our fluency in Korean, the base of Okasian’s most notable song is from OG’ Maco’s ‘U Guessed It’, even people that hadn’t heard of his work up to this point were able to dance to it. We’re all slaves to the bass, after all. So, it goes without saying that ‘It G Ma’ was a definite crowd favourite. Finally, we thought, the song that our Editor played so often that it got stuck in our heads was being performed right before our eyes. It was a magical moment. For visual proof, watch our 15-second video of said magical moment here.

Runner-up for most entertaining set is a tie between SonaOne and Young Queenz. Both sets were on the same level — and that level was fire. Coincidentally, that was also Young Queenz’s takeaway from our city. It was too damned hot for him to perform his set without taking gulps of water after each song and commenting on the weather. We can only hope that it didn’t put him off performing in KL again and that instead he saw it as a warm welcome. Headbanging on stage in an oversized tee and skinnies, the Hong Kong act looked like an Asian Bones.


We got a quick jazz-soul fix at the Webe stage thanks to the outstanding Bassment Syndicate who had brilliant light and visual coordination. Which brings us to our next point, the lighting and sound team deserved just as much praise as the decision to set up a charging port at the venue, because everyone’s production looked and sounded precise.

While we endorse every ‘live in the moment, stop looking at your phone’ themed post that’s brought to the world by emotional masturbation websites, some of us had social media work to fulfil. Not because it was part of our KPI (maybe), we just wanted to post what was happening so people who weren’t present could live vicariously through it. Which in result lessened our battery’s percentage faster than Daniel Radcliffe rapping to Blackalicious’ ‘Alphabet Aerobics’. Having a place to recuperate and charge your devices is something that should be taken into consideration during every big-scale event.

Moving along to something far greater than having a flawless operation plan… the food. If the quality of the food were spectacular — we’re only asking for the food to be served hot so it doesn’t end up tasting like plastic — then any price tag would be acceptable. But if a burger that had lower quality than the ones served at a Ramli truck is priced at RM15, it’s not surprising as to why the business doesn’t gain much popularity outside of festivals. Quality control is key here, people.

What we were most thankful for though is that all acts finished on time. Sure, there were a few awkward moments where Dae Kim had to run up on stage to tell the performers their time was up to keep to the schedule, which then caused certain sets to end in an abrupt manner, there wasn’t a policeman in sight to shut an artiste down mid-performance like the first year (there’ll be another time to “give ‘em the ugh,” K-Town Clan). So, better Dae than the cops, we say. Hopefully it doesn’t take another couple of years to get the next RTB Fest running — best get working on it now, Jin!





Raising The Bar Festival ’16 went down on Saturday 9 January ’16. Keep up with Raising The Bar here.