Pre-the conception of the word hipster (in its modern context), before Twilight Actiongirl’s nights at Barsonic was the proto-scenester fest that was Daikan (RIP) in their later days, TAG’s nights at Bar Amber was something of an anomaly during pre-Zouk Kuala Lumpur. This was a time when club music was predominantly feng tau-friendly, and the crowd was equally goggled and neon-lit. So imagine the scene at the defunct Bar Amber – back when Desa Sri Hartamas was a hip spot for those in the know – filled with just office workers, tattooists from Borneo Ink, music nerds, and band people.
Nevertheless, even then Bunga, Chaseylain, Ribut, and Xu were on to something. They went against the dance culture of the time, dropping the likes of Suede, Morrissey, Pulp, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Interpol at a time when other DJs were busy playing tribal and deep house. The blueprint to their imminent popularity and audience was built here. Even the atmosphere was prototypical. Think Loft and Barsonic were way too crowded in their heydays? Bar Amber was a can of sardines – with the sardines going on a riot.
Come their Loft days at Zouk, TAG’s fanbase expanded to a bizarre menagerie of types; tattoo artists, bikers, office drones, ska punks, drag queens, (then) minor stars, rockers, JUICE ourselves, future fashionistas, and so on. A relatively more diverse demographics than the typical club nights of early to mid ‘00s and definitely a lot harder to pinpoint than the crowd that their Barsonic days brought; the indie-hipster sort.
It was at Loft that we started noticing a kind of camaraderie shaping between the TAGgers. It wasn’t a rare occurrence to go to TAG on your own, without any cash on you, and still waddle out of the venue sloshed. This was the beginnings of Zouk’s long island tea’s infamy, and punters were sharing them ritualistically like it was the Holy Grail of a TAG night. After a while Loft even felt like a private rock’n’roll party among friends, whom if they weren’t already acquainted before, they became friends at the venue.
When Loft closed and TAG shifted to Barsonic, there was a palpable difference in the kind of audience they attract. Twilight Actiongirl became something of a college kid’s rite of passage (to paraphrase JUICE editor Ben Liew), the crowd became more identifiable and TAG’s playlist got more predictable. Not to say they had hit their peak by this time though, they were still pretty much the Friday night staple of most partygoers.
In hindsight, JUICE noticed something – it seems like everyone who knows everyone in Klang Valley these days had at one point met one another at Loft. A stark realisation that was verified at the 9th Anniversary of Twilight Actiongirl last 14 September. We weren’t the only ones longing for the Loft days again, the TAG boys themselves themed their anniversary after their Loft era. And what a f*cking success it was, we can’t remember the last time a TAG night was packed to the point of nigh zero manoeuvrability!
Familiar faces were in abundance; the Livescape team, Spaceboy’s Alet, Killeur Calculateur boys Smek and Zamir, Jiman C, They Will Kill Us All’s Edwin Raj, the Shrieking Monkey boys, the JUICE team of varying eras, Kyoto Protocol’s Fuad, Sarah Chan, Francis Wolf, Hackeem, Deer Society’s Rudy, Didi, Yumei, Ameer, Susu, Tania, and an innumerable amount more. And just like back then, the night also brought in unfamiliar faces in the expected tourists, college kids, and an array of random peeps.
Twilight Actiongirl delivered their promise in more than just bringing back the good ol’ Loft gang, the playlist was exactly as what the absurdly long event name suggested (With a Loft Like That, You Know Should Be Glad, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah). Dropping classics like ‘House of Jealous Lovers’, ‘Date With the Night’, ‘Dakota’, Sudirman, and of course, the ever obligatory ‘Friday, I’m in Love’ (no Limp Bizkit this time around, thankfully). We weren’t too sure if this happened, due to being out of our minds thanks to the free flow early on plus long island teas later, but we bet there was crowdsurfing as well. Suddenly they were at their peak again, TAG got their groove back.
Bunga lowered the volume down towards the end of their set (which was extended all the way to 4am) to say thanks to all the TAGgers who came. Nine years is a very long time for a club night to last, they are practically in their twilight years now, and as Bunga said it, he’s never been in a relationship as long as he’s been with TAG. A sentiment most long time TAG heads agree, we wager. For some TAG was also really the burgeoning of their relationship, there were TAGgers who met at Loft and got hitched later in life. And mayhap, might just conceive the literal children of Twilight Actiongirl.
Despite our write-up here sounding something like an epitaph, that night confirmed that TAG wasn’t anywhere near their twilight years. This wasn’t their one last hurrah, this was the beginning of a new era. Trust us, the next Friday we visited Barsonic again and Twilight Actiongirl was completely reinvigorated; the energy, the crowd, the playlist.
TAG lives on.
Twilight Actiongirl’s 9th Anniversary was on Friday 14 September 2012 at Barsonic Zouk. Click here for photos of the event.