Things Just Got A Bit Hotter…

I’m compelled to blog about the following comments from one of my domain visitors. I dunno whether to laugh or be angry, but since I’m smiling as I’m typing this, I think the former sounds appropriate. I love debates, and I love to hear alternative views even if I don’t agree with them. At least I learn something from a different perspective and try to be in other people’s shoes. But I get peeved when people rebut with angsty emotions just to put their thoughts across. For the benefit of those in my Multiply network as well as those who don’t read the comments left by visitors in my main domain, here is what a visitor who calls him / herself “Lazer Hika” had to say and this was posted about an hour before I typed this entry:

First & Second Performances..
omg for your info CUCU DATUK MERAH is the BESTfrom the start till now they have been performing different type of music to showcase their talents man!For sure they will make it to the FINAL!Those who know about music and band will support CUCU DATUK MERAH, thats y they are still in the semi’s round PASS EXPRESS!Furthermore they are proffesional band player thats y any music for sure they can play.

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT MUSIC AND BAND HUH?Seems you only know to comment on their vocal wise.
Sixth Performance..Xtech is Xtech what the F*** for your info from the starting till now they are only concentrating in HEAVY ROCK METAL!In any reality show will never agree in this,XTECH should show any type of music to play to win anugerah band man!

Reading your Sixth Performance makes me reply to this coz i really disagree with you. Truthfully reading your blog is just reading someone who don’t know how to appreciate MUSIC and this is a competition band show man! The 2 band which you mention Trabo and X-tech which they are related somehow only know to perform Heavy rock metal band. FOR SURELY ANUGERAH BAND ARE LOOKING FOR A RATIONAL BAND WHO CAN PLAY VARIETY SONG NOT ONLY ROCK METAL!

Since all the way i’ve been there seeing they perform live my judgement FINAL CUCU DATUK MERAH,PUTERA,FATSKUNKS & RANCOUR will be in FINAL!

About who is the best, it’s really a subjective matter. And as to who would enter the finals, it’s down to the judges as well as the fingertips of the voters. My ears say Trabo and X-Tech have been the best so far, some of my visitors have agreed and some have not. That’s absolutely fair enough and I respect that. I was initially drawn to CDM as what Cucu Datok Merah is known for now, when I watched the very first episode of Anugerah Band. I thought this was a group that has something good in store for the watching audience in upcoming weeks based on the clips of them during the audition rounds. To say that those who know about music and band will support CDM is a very one-sided comment coming from within a coconut shell. You have to remember, 50% of the marks come from the judges and the other half is by the voting audience. If you have a strong fanbase, good for you. Of course they have been performing different genres for the past few weeks, but can you safely say they have pulled off good performances??? Have you easily forgotten how they shot themselves on the foot in the second episode???

What makes a good band remain in longevity??? It is by staying true to their nature, true to their art, true to their craft, true to their form. You look at Search and Wings and how long they have been in the industry. Have they ever tried to dabble in anything other than rock??? Gerhana Ska Cinta, a group that plays ska and raggae sounds have been around for a decade, which is considered long in industry shelf life, and even if they are not as popular in the mainstream than underground, they still have a sustainable market and people still flock to their shows. Back to CDM, I don’t deny they have tried hard, but sometimes it is best not to be a jack of all trades but master of none. So what if you’re professional musicians, even professional singers do not always perform well when crunch time comes.

I might not know about the technical aspects of music like some of my learned visitors, but I do know when the music sounds good and when it does not. I believe you’ve lost the plot when you chose to scrutinize my comments on vocals, when in fact I have also mentioned about musical arrangement and other aspects. Of course as someone who has the benefit of watching live, you have the advantage of seeing and hearing in the flesh how the sounds were emitted as compared to a couch potato like yours truly. Watching live and watching on television is different. With the sounds and noise made by the audience, even a frog croaking or in the words of one of my Multiply visitors, “suara macam kambing“, can also be music to the ears. 😛

Looking at your emotion-filled comments, even Jatt Ali looks like a criminal in your eyes, since he himself agreed that X-Tech is X-Tech. I can respect the comments made by the visitor before you (Asfi), even if he is a CDM fan and proud of it. He gave his thoughts and rationale in his blog which even the most sceptical of fans like me can say he has good points to put across. Truthfully reading my blog is just reading from someone who does not appreciate music eh??? Why bother coming in and read then??? Ooooppsss I forgot, the official media and website don’t update as often as you would like them to, which is why you have to drop by this site that provides an up-to-date service for gleeful readers like you to come in and drop bombs without thinking in the bigger picture.

If you think you have substantial reviews to provide, then by all means, please provide a service to the nation and don’t read this blog. You should know damn well reviews on blogs are the typist’s prerogative and point of view. I try to be fair and give credit where it’s due and heck I have no affiliations whatsoever to any members of the groups who are still participating or have been knocked out. What my ears and eyes reject, I will say it, and I will say it bluntly and call a spade, a spade. You want to come in and rebut, by all means do so with dignity, grace and mannerisms. You don’t see me disagreeing by using uncouth vocabulary do you???

I admit I’m not a rockish person, more so if it’s rock metal, but hell I appreciate this genre and feel that if Singapore bands are only good at this then they should just stick to what they know best and strive with it. One distinguished visitor in my Multiply site brought up an interesting food-for-thought. Rock has been around since the 70s. Those teenagers, 20 pluses, hell even 30 pluses back then loved it. Fast forward to the current time, these people are already parents, while others have already gotten the grandparent tags. Don’t you think that deep down somewhere in them, they still love rock??? Would they still accompany their kids or grandchildren to rock concerts / gigs??? I say why not if their interest have not waned over the years???

For your sake, I would love to see CDM emerge champions and then I want to see how long they can sustain in this industry. Or better still, if there is a market for them or any other bands out there. I’ve talked to a few people who have been in the industry for quite some time, some have even been kind enough to share their thoughts and all have painted a bleak picture. For the sake of Singapore bands, I hope this will not be the case and I expect the group that is honest and true to their style of play to land credence to their title win, rather than one which champions multiple genres or rely only on looks to earn their dues.

Anugerah Band Semi-Finals Review…

Am back again with another round of review. The previous week’s review was especially hot over here at my main domain, as well as in my cross-post blog over at Multiply, with visitors giving their takes and views on how the Wildcard round turned out. Though I have to respect the comments made by a small minority who disagree with my comments on certain groups which I feel are still lacking, I believe they have kinda lost the plot and commenting out of blind faith, emotions and without rationale. It’s like they arrived just to drop bombs and left without any trace, though trackings have detected that they came from the same source. It was interesting to observe whether their favourite group/s could really up their ante this week and I for one was looking forward to it. Right, on with the review proper.

First & Second Performances – Cucu Datok Merah (Kembali Berdansa) & Rancour (Ceritera Awan & Banjaran)

Why I placed the first two performances together is because they were similar in terms of quality and vocal execution. Quality-wise, they were just so-so, not too shabby, but yet not that excellent to warrant me to remember much about their performances. To be fair, this week, they were all given songs that are a bit off from their own comfort zones. While Cucu Datok Merah added a bit of funk to their play, Rancour stuck to their tried and tested formula. Vocals-wise, both vocalists were shaky and one common thing that both of them have not learnt right up till this stage is to lose the unbearable slang emanating from their mouths. They must have had cheeseburgers prior to the show.

Third Performance – Trabo (Sang Penghibur)

A slight tweak to the arrangement of the song did not spoil the whole substance to their performance. This was one of the most assured performances of the night and one I felt was the best. Calm, cool, collected. I will be extremely surprised if they do not enter the Finals.

Fourth Performance – Putra (Permintaan Hati)

For the second week in a row, the guitarist (Alif) actually stole the show from the lead vocalist (Farid). While the music arrangement was considered commendable, the same could not be said of Farid‘s vocals. I had pointed out how shaky his voice sounded last week and if that was not convincing to some of you, tonight was even worse as he went off pitch more often than he would have liked to and it clearly showed through his rather tired voice. God knows what the judges see in this group over a more balanced one like Knightwings when they made their decisions last week.

Fifth Performance – Fatskunks (Manusia)

In terms of creativity, I think this group won hands down tonight for an eye-catching introduction. However, the mish-mash of genres (Ska, Raggae, Swing etc) throughout the whole song kinda confused even the group members themselves judging by their movement to the beats and facial expressions. A case of too many cooks spoiling the broth perhaps??? Vocals were average even though you can detect some confidence in the tone.

Sixth Performance – X-Tech (Bila Dengan Kamu)

When it comes to bands, you know you need to have your own identity that you are comfortable with and not be dictated by the record companies or management that manages you. Bands are different from boybands where everything is manufactured and produced according to what the companies expect of you or if you want to cater your music to a select group of listeners. So you can guess which judge I agreed with just by reading the first few sentences in this paragraph. X-Tech is X-Tech. Watching them from Day 1 right up till now, you know what their distinct and signature sound is like and you can easily know it’s a trademark. Their trademark. While it wasn’t to the high quality that one expects them to be week in and out, you have to feel impressed that they have always have the ability to turn a song which is not to their feel, into one that they are comfortable with, and without spoiling the essence of the song.

How To Vote – You may start voting as at 9:30pm just now and it will end at 6:00pm next Tuesday 1st July 2008. Smses cost 60 cents and pre-paid card holders are ineligible to vote. You know the usual drill to vote: Band <space> Group Code and send it to 73388 and the codes are: Cucu Datok Merah (1), Rancour (2), Trabo (3), Putra (4), Fatskunks (5) and X-Tech (6). 

General Feelings – So far, only Trabo and X-Tech have shown that they are worthy finalists. If you ask me who should go through amongst the remaining four, I would go for Fatskunks and Rancour. Don’t ask me why I chose the other two. I just feel that they might make the Final a bit more interesting and they are much better vocals-wise. But of course fans of Cucu Datok Merah and Putra will not agree and leave more nasty comments in my blog. 😛

No Reviews…

I looked at my blog statistics this morning and noticed a surge in readership yesterday. I believe this is relatively due to what most of you have come to expect just a few hours after every episode of Anugerah Band ends, which is my reviews. Like I’ve stated in my entry on Sunday, I will not be doing any reviews for this week as I was at work when the show was being televised. So I have to apologise for disappointing you guys there.

My thoughts on the results??? Those in the Wildcard round do not deserved to be in there and yes that includes Virus Cinta. Just look at the pedigree they have and compare it with those who were a shoo-in into the semi-finals. I will not say which groups already in the semi-finals I do not fancy, but I believe one or two of them deserves to be in the Wildcard round instead. But such is the “strength” of these groups when you subject this kind of competition to the fans, who sometimes vote out of blind loyalty, which in turn undermines the quality that the competition is crying out for.

For the record, those who have entered the semi-final rounds are Cucu Datok Merah, Fatskunks, Rancour and Trabo. While those in the Wildcard round are X-Tech, Knightwings, Virus Cinta and Putra.

Anugerah Band Episode 5 Review…

Apparently the results from last week’s episode was not announced tonight and will be announced next week in a special half-hour programme to determine who will advance to the semi-final rounds, along with the results from this week’s episode. So last week’s groups were kinda given the night off tonight and I thought this was good since it is such a waste of time having to come back, doll themselves up and wait for the guillotine to fall on them. And this for a mere 5 minutes of camera time!!!

From my short preview last week, I had said that this week’s batch of groups are stronger and more entertaining to watch and true enough, they lived up to my words. Overall, I thought this week’s performances contributed to the best show (so far) overall over the past month. Maybe it was because the songs that the groups chose to sing were more energetic and punchy, which of course brought along positive energy and vibes to those who watched them performed. I think the studio audience’s reactions more or less summed it up. Which made me wondered halfway through the show, what is there for me to comment / review this week???

First performance – Trabo (Jikalau Merindu)

Seeing that X-Tech had kicked-started the ball rolling last week with an excellent showcase only for the other groups to bring down the momentum, I was initially swayed into thinking that the same possibility could happen tonight. I thought they did great just like two weeks ago, just that their lead vocalist had pitching problems at times and his voice cracking as a result. Tiredness creeping in from all the practice sessions perhaps???

Second performance – Knightwings (Aku Dan Duniaku)

My only gripe about this performance is that the vocalist (A’an) moved and pranced around too much, which in turn affected his breathing and vocal execution, of which I am a big fan of. His constant hand gestures too were a bit irritating to watch. Other than that, their performance was on par with Trabo‘s.

Third performance – Rancour (Melissa)

The night just got better!!! A rock ballad song was injected with life and this version went down extremely well with those in the audience and I believe at home as well. I wish the lead vocalist could do something with his style of singing. The slang is such a bloody turn-off, even if to his credit, he toned it down as compared to the last fortnight’s performance.

Fourth performance – Putra (Si Gadis Ayu)

I dunno if this was a deliberate attempt to win over Jatt Ali, since this is afterall Black Dog Bone‘s original song. While I agree the new touch to it was good, I didn’t quite liked that chorus part (the one Eddy Ali pointed out and I have to agree with him on that…), which did not sync well with the lead vocalist’s singing. While he is a shoo-in for being one of the good-lookers, he would do well to not play to the crowd too much and in turn making him suffer from pitching problems as a result.

Fifth performance – Silksutra (Pawana)

Contrary to the bad reviews they got from the judges, I thought they actually redeemed themselves and did much better than the last time. Like all the other performances tonight, there seemed to be a pitching syndrome going round tonight even when the music arrangement is top-notch.

Zoul brought up a very good point tonight, in that the groups still in contention need to find their niche and strength and stick to it. From what we have seen so far of the groups in the competition, only a few have a proper direction and image. Helven‘s image to me is the most confusing of all, with their brutal J-rock, gothic-emo style, or whatever you call it but singing a song that is directly opposite to what they have portrayed. Cucu Datok Merah is another example. Like what Brader Bo commented in my previous entry in my cross-post Multiply site, only X-Tech and Knightwings have a clear direction on what their music and image is all about and sticking by it. In any case, an artiste’s style and direction would go a long way in sustaining their shelf life in the industry.

You may start voting as at 9:00pm just now and it will end at 6:00pm next Tuesday 10th June 2008. Smses cost 60 cents and pre-paid card holders are ineligible to vote. For this week, this is how you should vote: Band <space> Group Code and send it to 73388 and the codes are: Trabo (1), Knightwings (2), Rancour (3), Putra (4) and Silksutra (5).

Anugerah Band Episode 4 Review…

Before I move on, I would just like to apologise for the typo errors I made on two of the groups’ names that performed last week, Keigo Sphinx and Silksutra, as I had named them as Geiko Sphinx and SilkSutera. The show began with the elimination of Keigo Sphinx from last week’s performances. Somehow the way the elimination was done was quite an anti-climax with four groups still remaining on stage. What they could have done was just split them all into three parts, with the first four advancing and then the remaining two having to bite their nails over the result. But that one aside, I felt the result was justifiable as Keigo Sphinx‘s performance last week was relatively weak overall. Their possible lifeline could be the wildcard round, which I had a difficult time trying to digest how it works, with my daughter and niece running around the house. Anyone of you out there who can share with me how the wildcard round works would be very much appreciated. Many thanks in advance.

First performance: X-Tech (Isi & Kulit)

They impressed me the previous round, they absolutely bewildered me with today’s edition. I dare say, we are looking at a potential finalist or even a champion-elect. Only the lack of fans’ smses and wisdom for that matter, can stop them from going further. Everything about this group’s performance tonight screamed of “ANUGERAH BAND WINNER!!!” and you know I am right if you had watched them. A brilliant start to the show and certainly increased expectations on the other groups to up their ante.

Second performance: Edmushyta (Di Alam Fana Cinta)

Like the previous round, this group relied more on their vocalist’s capabilities than their own as a unit. Vocal-wise, this guy is top-notch. But somehow there is a distinct lack of balance in their music which distorted their overall play. Not even that gimmick that they did could save them, even though it should be applauded for creativity and effort.

Third performance: Fatskunks (Punchcard)

I thought they did much, much better than the previous round. The musical arrangement done was also done tastefully, with a bit of tango and salsa thrown into the mix. Listening to the way they played, reminded me of Carlos Santana‘s music. You just feel like getting up and shake your body to the music. The only downside was the vocalist’s voice, which was drowned by the accompanying music. Still I thought they were good today and achieved some redemption.

Fourth Performance: Cucu Datok Merah (Cinta Tak Keruan)

Gone were the unsavoury slangs and the apparent lack of practice sessions, and in place, we had a better performance by Cucu Datok Merah this week. I somehow liked the harmony done at the beginning of the song, you can actually hear three different tones from the three singers. But somehow I just felt that they lack that wee bit of punch in terms of energy and the introduction of the group members in between the song was a bit unnecessary as this was not a concert.

Fifth Performance: Helven (Romantika Di Amor)

Dare I say that they will be the ones who will get kicked out next week??? The losing mentality was written all over their faces during the interview session with Shah Iskandar. Yes they had their keyboardist backing off and one of their guitarists could not make it as well. Compassion-wise, I would say the rest in the group were affected psychologically but to be honest, they should have just got on with what they had left in their ranks. The intro even though it was good, sounded a lot like Craig David‘s “Spanish“. And from then on, it just went downhill, with the vocalist being very much their “weakest link”, in the words of Eddy Ali. For a group whose image resembles that of J-rock groups, their music was nothing more than a whimper. I will most definitely be surprised if they still remain on board next week.

Summary – I just thought that for the great start that X-Tech did to the show, the rest would follow suit and increase the energy level of the watching audience and those at home, but it was not to be. Somehow I felt that they should have been the last act, to at least have the saving grace. Judges were definitely right with their comments even though Zoul and Jatt had a minor disagreement on Edmushyta‘s performance. Zoul surprised me with his honest and brutal comments. He comes across as that suave, cool guy, but boy does his words carry a sting to them!!! His presence on the jury table is most definitely welcomed and I would love to hear more from him in weeks to come. Overall, I thought this particular group of bands is not as strong as the ones that performed last week. But then again next week could also spell a different tune. We’ll just have to wait and see…

P.S. For those who would like to vote, you may start to do so as at 9:00pm just now and it will end at 6:00pm next Tuesday 3rd June 2008. Smses cost 60 cents and pre-paid card holders are ineligible to vote. For the uninitiated, this is how you should vote: Band <space> Group Code and send it to 73388. It’s that simple really. The following are the codes to vote for this week: X-Tech (1), Edmushyta (2), Fatskunks (3), Cucu Datok Merah (4) and Helven (5).