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).

Anugerah Band Episode 2 Review…

Apologies if I did not make any reviews on the very first episode as I felt it wasn’t worth doing one, especially since the results to trim the Top 20 down to 12 had already been tabulated by the judges and the watching audience had no say whatsoever. Last week’s episode was more of an introduction to all the groups with short clips on their qualifying performances. From those few seconds worth of viewing, I must say that the quality is of some standard and that we should be proud that some of the bands are as good as those that most of us worship from across the Causeway or Indonesia. These groups just need that exposure to spread their wings and kudos should be given to Mediacorp Suria TV12 for organising this competition. At least there is a difference in that reality shows like Anugerah Skrin and Anugerah are not repeated every year cos more often than not, we get the same old faces entering, such is the saturation of our small market. I know cos I have a friend who enters every single competition there is but have yet to see him break the qualifying barrier.

I dunno if this is a gripe worth mentioning, but the official website of Anugerah Band doesn’t seemed to be updated with info on the Top 20, not even the Top 12 when it has already been a week since the results were announced. When you say you are the official website, please do the honours to update your website as and when there is that requirement to do so. And please give interesting trivia on the groups so those who dunno them would get some idea on what they are all about and what they stand for. Berita Harian, being the official media besides Manja magazine, has also not written much about the competition and the groups still in contention. Maybe I’m being too harsh and a little too expectant since it’s only a week into the competition. I’ll reserve more flak or praise as the weeks pass by. Right, so now on to my review proper.

This week, the first six groups battle it out to win the hearts of the judges and voting audience. For those who are interested in voting, you may start to vote as at 9:00pm just now and it will end at 6:00pm next Tuesday 20th May 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: Fatskunks (1), Cucu Datuk Merah (2), Virus Cinta (3), Helven (4), Edmushyta (5) and X-Tech (6).

First Performance – Fatskunks (Kau / Buka Api)

This group is different than most of the groups on display in that they have a raggae / R&B / jazzy feel to them. I dunno what it was they were trying to put across but it did not give me good vibes other than the fact that the lead vocalist’s voice was their saving grace. Not convincing enough but I believe they have a lot of supporters out there who could save them from being eliminated.

Second Performance – Cucu Datuk Merah (Terharu)

This group is touted as one of the favourites by the others in the competition and it is easy to see why when you see them perform minus the vocals. I didn’t quite understand why there were too many cooks trying to spoil the broth when one vocalist or at the most, two could have been enough. Worse still, those who sang seemed to have eaten cheese before they performed and it was evident when you hear the unnecessary slang. To top it off, they forgot the lyrics on a number of occasions. Truly a performance not worth remembering.

Third Performance – Virus Cinta (Kau Atau Aku)

I thought the show only properly kicked off when this group came on stage. From the short clips I saw of this group from the audition stages, I thought they would be one of the dark horses of the competition. And I was not made to feel disappointed when I watched their performance tonight. Turning a pop song like “Kau Atau Aku” into a ska-flavoured one certainly did not spoil the essence and I feel this group still have more up their sleeves if given the opportunity to progress.

Fourth Performance – Helven (Marabahaya)

This song requires one to add zest and punch in the delivery and I only felt it at the start during the rap part. Watching them perform this song is like charting a graph where the performance level went up at the start, goes down with the non-singing part in between and then up again with the rap and ended off on a slight whimper, though it has to be said that their showmanship was quite a sight to behold. Harmonising is not their greatest forte and they would do well to avoid singing songs that require them to do so. Funnily enough, this song by Pop Shuvit has yet to be played on our local airwaves / did not catch on with the listeners.

Fifth Performance – Edmushyta (Farhana – Putri Bumi Kenyalang)

I can’t fault the vocalist’s delivery of this song other than the fact he tripped on his lyrics once, which is a minor factor that most people might have missed out. There might also have been a slight pitching problem but overall I thought he made a difficult song to sing quite easy in the end. Maybe the only grouse I could say is that wearing what he wore (a vest) and singing the song he sang did not quite match up. Reminds me of a wedding singer actually. One of the better performances but still lacking that oomph factor.

Sixth Performance – X-Tech (Pangeran Cinta)

Best performance of the night by a mile. This is to be expected since this group is afterall the champion of Band Remix in 2006 organised by RIA 89.7FM. Everything from the execution to the delivery to the showmanship, I felt that none of the other contestants could touch them tonight. I think they have just set the standards to achieve what is needed to win this competition and the rest would do well to learn from them. I’m salivating for more from them in the coming weeks ahead.

Random Thoughts – I thought the judges were ok tonight, surprisingly, since regular readers of this blog would know I’m not Eddy Ali‘s biggest fan. The only thing I would like to point out is that Addy Cradle is too nice to be a judge. He would do well to express his own opinions without trying to repeat what Jatt and Eddy had already said before him. To be fair to him, he did improve as the show went on but commenting on three or four of the performances was not enough to know what goes on in his mind. He should also show enough gumption and say which performances were bad rather than say they were good to mask whatever failures there were. Still, Addy‘s comments on the technical aspects were refreshing in my point of view. Likewise Jatt‘s who is a veteran in the scene.

Six down this week and another six to go the following week. I can’t wait to see what Knightwings have in store. Ever since I saw the lead vocalist performed at last year’s Band Remix competition performing for Opurzit Youth who were eliminated from the Top 20, I have a feeling he’s destined for a career in the music industry. Cos it’s difficult to sing a rock number and in a high pitch voice without going off key or off pitch. And everyone knows that I always have a soft spot for singers who manage to make my hair stand when they open their mouths to sing. This guy is no different. Hopefully he would repeat the same performance he did last week.