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Anugerah Band 2008: The Final Review…


This entry nearly did not make it because yours truly is having a bad cold, and it is no fun having to type when you’re sneezing now and again. I even had half the mind not to type this at all as I wasn’t in the mood to do one final review. Which also explains why I never did a preview since I’m too sick to type one. But it is THE Final. So sniffles and all, I’m back for one final hurrah because I know for the next three days or so, my blog statistics will jump off the roof with people wanting to read what I have to say on the show as well as the groups and the quality of their performances. This always happens right after every episode of Anugerah Band or if I were to attend big shows like APM or some concerts / showcases.

I guess it is what people have come to expect from this humble manor of mine and it can be quite stressful living up to people’s expectations. But I like the pressure and above all, I love the debates that ensue, even if I seem to make enemies out of people. Ok, I will not beat about the bush henceforth and just jump straight onto the first performance of the night. But first let me just say, the opening act was a forgettable one. It was to me, not a good start to the show as it lacked energy and punch to pump up the watching audience and those watching at home.

First performance - X-Tech (Tiada Aku Sadari / Sedang Ingin Bercinta)

It was something that we’ve come to expect from them week in and out. No holds-barred, full of energy but somehow I felt there was a wee bit of X-factor missing from them. You know, something that could really, really nail them as the outright champions of this competition. That aura of invincibility. I did not see nor felt that and for once throughout this whole competition, I doubted their credentials to be crowned the winners. This was made worse when they did their short promo later on in the show. Do you find it appropriate to dedicate a song / performance to someone who has passed on??? Cos to translate it directly, “…saya tujukan khas buat anak saudara saya yang telah meninggal dunia…” sounds a bit like a radio dedication to me, which is so not right when we all know prayers are what is needed by the people we love who are over at the “other” side…

Second performance – Trabo (Jujur / Puisi Untuk Teman)

This was a cool performance by Trabo, especially with the execution of Jujur. There was some raggae element added to their performance tonight and this was a pleasant surprise as they showed they could also get away from their usual rock genre and deliver it well. But somehow like X-Tech, I felt they were a bit too cool for my liking and their usual air of confidence was lacking somewhat. Final jitters perhaps???

Third performance – Fatskunks (La Mofetas / Sakura)

On one side, I would say they were only playing for pride since they were never mentioned in the same breath as one of the favourites, but on the other hand, their laidback stance seemed to have won them quite a few admirers, me included. While the vocals were patchy at times and the lyrics to La Mofetas were too repetitive, what was attractive about their performance overall was their ability to connect with the audience and infuse a party atmosphere. Tell me you didn’t feel like getting up and dancing along to their beats???

Fourth performance – Rancour (Telinga Ke Tulang / Melayang)

I loved their rendition of the official soundtrack of Cicakman, but felt a bit lukewarm for the second song as I felt it was just ordinary. Even though the second vocalist’s vocals were questionable, their performance for the first song alone I believe, swayed the judges into making them the favourites. It was compact, it was tight and for once there was no slang being heard coming out of the vocalist’s mouth. Still a bit patchy here and there but hearing Arab‘s comments made me realise that their chance to win was extremely high.

Fifth performance – X-Tech (Bebas)

This was much better as compared to their earlier performance. Personally I felt this was the best composed song of the night. It was edgy, it exuded raw energy and it certainly had the hallmark of X-Tech written all over it. But still I was not convinced they would be champions, simply because I had a gut feeling that two of the judges whose words carry the most weight, at that point of time had made up their minds on who they wanted as the winners. And it was a no-brainer which judges they were.

Sixth performance – Trabo (Mereka Bukan Kita)

One thing that sets Trabo apart from X-Tech is their ability to slow down the tempo and bring in a more melancholic side to their music. This was evident in this performance. Even though I liked this one compared to their own composition in the earlier round, their marketability appeal is somehow limited to the above 30s. Looking at their sms rankings also did not paint a good picture as to their wide appeal.

Seventh performance – Fatskunks (I Miss You But I Hate You)

Trust the boys to add their raggae element into this song. And what is raggae without a bit of raggamuffin’ thrown into the mix??? Excellent improvisation and arrangement, continuing where they left off earlier. Watching them tonight felt like relaxing on the beach with pina colada on one hand and a babe dancing next to you. They were my outside bet to win had this final been an all-judges affair.

Eighth performance – Rancour (Bila Kau Tiada)

This was the performance that stole the majority of judges’ hearts, even if it did not impress me that much as there were shades of Blink 182 about their song and showmanship. It was clearly evident from all the comments and subtle hints being dropped that these guys were gonna be the champions. They just needed the sms-es to confirm their outright win. For the record, Rancour gave their best performance and they certainly showed that they have all the credentials to mount a survival in this cut throat industry. Why I say survival even before their journey has begun, is because too many groups have fallen by the wayside having released one or two albums. They would do well to learn and have their own distinct sound, cos right now I look at them as being the Malay version of Blink 182 and Green Day.

Results At A Glance

Winner of Anugerah Band: RANCOUR

Winner of Follow Me Style Award: Keigo Sphinx

Winner of Media Darling Award: X-Tech

Best Vocalist: Keigo Sphinx

Best Musician: Alif (Putra)

General Thoughts – Somehow I felt the best performance of the night was the very last one which featured the three best vocalists and the selected band of musicians who have impressed throughout the competition (Ikrar Perwira). Had that been the opening act, it would have left the audience and those watching at home craving for more. It was truly an exceptional performance by all and it left the hairs on my neck standing in awe of their showmanship as well as their vocal power. This was also evident when I noticed a lot of people giving them a standing ovation when the song ended. While the choice of Keigo Sphinx‘s vocalist was a surprise as I had A’an from Knightwings as the favourite, the best musician award that went to Putra‘s Alif was justified. He had stolen the show prior to his group’s elimination and once again he showed tonight what an exceptional guitar player he is. Maybe the only questionable decision was to pick Keigo Sphinx as the Follow Me Style Award winner. They were certainly the last group in my head to win this award, with all due respect.

I was kinda surprised that Trabo and X-Tech did not sustain their normal confidence and that Rancour & Fatskunks had upped the ante. But this was of course THE FINAL and it was a fight to the finish for all the groups involved, so it was somehow to be expected that the playing field would be equal with all giving off their best. Initially it was difficult to say who would be crowned winners as the first round of performances had their fair share of positive and negative vibes. However, the periodical sms results that were shown showed that it was just between X-Tech and Rancour. The final say to me rested in the hands of the judges. And even though it was only the first round of performances, I had a feeling Rancour would win it simply because Arab, who was one of the distinguished judges, had lavished praise on them saying how he would love to turn back time to join them on stage. That was an effective signal that the tide was in favour of Rancour, since it would be him who would be guiding the winners later on when they start work on their album. Eddy Ali on the other hand seemed to “despise” X-Tech for being one-dimensional.

When Rancour came on stage again for the second time and when Indra Shahril and Armand Maulana had given their two cents’ worth, you just knew that barring any sms debacles, they would become the outright champions. They are of the right age in market-speak and their appeal musically as well as attractivity would certainly transcend all ages. And this being a Suria event, doesn’t it make perfect sense to have a talent in their hands that have the whole package, even if they are not esthetically nor technically sound??? It would now be extremely interesting to see how their careers pan out or if this is just a mere flash in the pan. A four-year contract with the relevant parties would give us all ample time to scrutinize their capabilities and worth and I for one would like to wish them all the best as they embark on this journey to add another dimension to the local music scene.

To the rest of the finalists, I’m sure they too would get some slice of the pie. Based on past Anugerah events, most of the time, the winners don’t end up carving a rosy career in the industry. But that was mostly before the Artiste Management Unit was set up and prizes were not recording contracts. It’s just that the winners now have a proper direction and guidance to move up the scale. I believe there is still a market for groups like X-Tech, Knightwings, Putra and Trabo to soar and build on this foundation that they have set up. X-Tech would have been the choice for the technically inclined audience, me included, but some people are still afraid to bring forward a more aggresive approach to music for our mainstream. And that to me is not a good sign of our local music industry moving forward…

P.S. Thank you for being an ardent follower of this blog throughout the journey of Anugerah Band. Really appreciate all your comments, feedbacks as well as debates. Oh and to answer Ari‘s last question in his review, I say “HELL YEAH!!!“…

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10 responses

  1. Rancour winning is a no-brainer. They had the looks, played decently well nothing special, and definitely the ‘market’s in-thing’. If you put Metallica or Sepultura or Killswitch Engage last night using different names, they would have lost too. But at least Rancour came from my hometown of Yishun. So go Yishun homies.

    X-Tech should not have played that Dewa song. Fadley was out of tune after the first song.

    Trabo was mediocre last night.

    If rock and metal sua ‘fixed’ tak bleh menang, I thought the next best thing was Fatskunks tapi obviously ‘tembam-tembam’ people are considered ‘unsellable’ by some people. Another defeat for music.

    The best performance was the Ikrar Perwira cover. Hands down. Sixth Sense got no business there yesterday. Boring!!!!

    But what shocked me was the Best Vocalist and Best Musician awards.

    Kesian, Fadley X-Tech and Farhan Knightwings performing consistently throughout the competition and then losing to that woman?!? Is that woman a vocal powerhouse? female rock singer? You want a real rock/metal singer? – NEEZ SHAZANA of Ethereal and Tormentress ( all gal thrash band from SG ). Find out more ppl. The underground has more exciting music than the mainstream.

    And best musician should go to SHAHRIL, yes SHAHRIL, again SHAHRIL of OSSUARY, ooops X-TECH. Which idiot chose that lampu lap lip fella? Sorry ahhh, kalau ada orang nak cakap gua step faham cakap lah. Licking your guitar and stepping on the Whammy pedal set two octaves higher to create that high pitch sound DOESNT make one the best musician? Gua kalau ajar anak gua yang umur nak masuk 4 tahun satu bulan pun, dia sua boleh execute itu trick! Sorry if I burst some bubbles here. I’m not Vai or Petrucci or Malmsteen or Blackmore but none of the guitarists in Anugerah Band are of Hagstrom, Cazares, Flynn, Peterson, Ian or Holt’s standard in playing synchopated riffing either!

    Eddy Ali needs to watch the Dismember gig this Sunday, where he’ll probably get a eart attack seeing ‘evil’ metalheads surrounding him!

    Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 11:15

  2. FatSkunk Supporter

    Hi PM,

    Been an avid reader of your blog no matter wad other say.. hehe

    well anyway back to Anugerah Band. I love FatSkunk from the start. love the music and how santai they can been and how they engaged the audience to join in the fun. But too bad they are not handsome young like Rancour, which give them plus points to win.

    Now marketing play a big part in promoting your music to people and especially out of Singapore. I notice that in Malaysia i never heard of a reggae song in there. Is it not being exposed or they hardly hear such music or ada yg step reggae and santai?

    Whatever it is the winner have emerged. Nothing can be done

    *Anyway it feels to be like watching Anugereah between Maiya Rahman and Aliff Aziz, 1 with talent vs 1 have the whole package except the singing ability*

    -Just a penny of my thoughts-

    Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 11:36

  3. Tompang komen ya pak…

    Like i commented in Ari’s, I knew Rancour would win. Seriously, mat metal boleh menang in this kind of competition ke? Bapak bapak wak kang? Or the gempalans? Seriously no offense to the choice of words. They are the truth. From the start of the semi’s, kita semua(orang orang yang dah paham dan masak tentang competition melayu) mungkin dah dapat agak sapa yang akan masok, sapa yang akan menang. Rancour is the safest to win the 4 yr contract. Giler korang, AMPAT TAON. Jgn memain. Lama tu, so mesti lah pilih yang the safest and the one that can go far. All this planned lah.

    So what, lagu diaorg macam Blink 182, Greenday and Sum 41? Kids will like. I’ve grown out of that phase liao.. Aku sekarang suka lagu spanish or anything gelek2. Dangdut pon ok jugak… oopss, digress lah pulak.. back to the topic, i thought the original song by Rancour sound very much like Blink 182. Mungkin telinga aku ni tak dengar sangat, tapi aku kuatkan volume nak komperm. Macam Blink 182 jugak aku dengar.

    Last but not least, mmg ada kita tak suka sapa yang menang, but nevertheless, yang menang diaorg bukan kita. Yang dapat duit, contract, hadiah, mangkok perek, semua diaorg.. bukan kita. So kita duduk one corner sakit hati sendiri.

    Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 12:06

  4. LiliLayu

    I totally agree with KakLis.

    We can whine and gripe but are we the ones laughing all the way to the bank?

    Never for the life of me would I have guessed that Rancour would win. I felt that throughout the whole competition, they’re always lost somewhere behind the shadows of bands which are either the glossy and glam or the experienced “Abang-Abang”. The fact that the judges do not quite favour them in earlier rounds (yes, that kelat slang again) makes this Final a surprising one indeed. I just thought it’s a bit unfair to make Fatskunks go through three rounds of heart-stopping suspense before announcing the winner.

    However, I’d have to give Rancour the credit. Their first song was definitely kickass although I was disappointed with the second vocalist who did not do justice to the song. The rest of the bands, although they have been quite consistent just lack that popularity vote I guess. I was rooting for X-Tech or Abg2 Trabo but then again, they might not appeal to the general masses.

    I did not regret waiting patiently for the results though because that Rusty Blade cover gave me goosebumps. They do deserve that standing ovation. I’m just not happy with Keigo Sphink getting the Follow Me Style Award. Apa siak nak follow? What style do they have? Apart from girls looking like men, physically but tsk, tsk, I’m just being nasty.

    Anyway, thanks PM for all your reviews. It’s been an interesting journey….

    Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 17:23

  5. akakvogue

    Among all, I really gave credit to the best 3 vocalist performing Ikrar Perwira last nite, especially to Aan from Knightwings. He’s awesome, has fantastic voice. They deserved that standing ovation.

    They are the actual champions of the nite!!!!

    Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 18:09

  6. Pingback: Fatskunks ; The Aftermath. « yatifadeolie

  7. Ari

    I say the competition doesn’t do justice to the bands. Rancour included. They do not deserve my rants in my blog but they are sure the obvious winners for the contract.

    But throughout my experience lah kan, tak pernah umor clash of the bands di menangi oleh genre punk. Yang paling selalu menang usually tasteful technical genre mcm funk, rock-ish…, metal I would say.

    Ini macam Aliff Aziz kalau nyanyi “enjit2 semut” pon tetap menang.

    Kalau ini kan, aku nak kumpol duit byk-byk buy over suria and re-vamp the whole direction of the organisation. Teros aku nak buat reality citer blue… semut biru jadi judge. And bila org komplen, senang ajer aku kasi alasan mcm nih, “ini permintaan orang ramai… we follow the mass market brudder!”

    Friday, 11 July 2008 at 00:26

  8. Ari, get out from your cage! Maybe this is the criteria that they have been searching for all this while. Stop whining, bro Ari. Nanti kau masok Anugerah Band, aku bawak banner besaq besaq support kau!

    Friday, 11 July 2008 at 00:50

  9. Salam PM!

    Great review as always…been an avid reader of your blog the last few months..

    Barring a major disaster, RANCOUR had to win the night! Especially with the AMU (Suria) coming along, the members of RANCOUR do have potential to go into acting, hosting…compared to the other 3 bands.

    Personally, I felt X-Tech and Fatskunks gave the best performances of the night….if you exclude the final performance where all the powers combined! Magic!

    I must agree with Bualgitar that Shahril of X-Tech should be the best musician and best vocalist to go with Fadley or Farhan. And Sixth Sense would have lost if they particpated in the finals!!

    Friday, 11 July 2008 at 17:53

  10. Jinx

    guess we have the winner already then yah.. so cheers to Rancour =)

    again, such colorful response from all sides and some are predictable and some, did surprised me… we’re all open-minded yeah…

    maybe the best vox should have gone to fadley … but again, its been done … so, the best musician is a mistake i see??
    hmmm, since ive seen him (alif) jammed first hand, what u guys reckon he lacked? … did he looked slightly stand-offish? a lil arrogant-like? too much rock star attitude maybe??

    well, when i first met him few years back, yeah, my sentiments too but when u really get to know him, hes a real cool guy… his love for vai is the undying kind, as u all know it… hes like a small kid whenever he talks about him, that shows how human he is… his first wife is definitely his guitar.. no doubt bout that.. he breathes, sleeps, consumes music… its his soul… i just have this thing bout observing people la ..haha

    so, i always tot his future in music will be brighter for he has an exceptional talent in it… when he plays, he plays it from the heart (so uve heard =P)..but he got guts, presence and passion.. that i dun see in many musician nowadays.. and im not saying becoz hes my old friend, ive seen alot of musicians played and many dun really possess the “IT” factor to be one.. most r in it for all the wrong reasons; fame, the cool factor and the cliched, girls… which is sooo wrong…

    but nonetheless, i salute all who had performed in the combo performance.. the standing ovation was to be expected for they all deserved it… i think the best one of all the performance in AB… most memorable one ever…

    the helven’s guitarist (sorry, dunno the name) too, was a joy to see.. his last performance with his band was phenomenal, and so was with the Ikrar Perwira performance.. the opening was classic.. he too, is one hell of a talented guy… if not for alif, he or the shahril guy should have won ..
    x-tech drummer should have won sumthin too … oh hell, the whole x-tech members should have their own individual awards lah…

    so, right there, is a union of the best musicians singapore could have ever witnessed in the entire of malay rock talent show history… just unforgetable, it’ll definitely be in my list of superb rock performances…
    me too was giving the loudest clap ever at home hah… teringat tengok Muse Live in Singapore =P

    Saturday, 12 July 2008 at 03:54

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