Anugerah Planet Muzik 2016 Media Conference…

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(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Due to my heavy work commitments last year, Anugerah Planet Muzik 2015 (APM2015) did not get a proper coverage be it in terms of my customary annual review as well as the usual promo leading up to the event in this domain of mine, even though I did share photographs of the Walk of the Stars and Red Carpet segments during the actual event night. I also did not attend the media conference held at Orchard Hotel when the organisers released the list of nominees back then. Hence I would like to apologise if any of you had waited for me to post them up but ended up not seeing any on this blogsite. I’ll try to make it up this year, which is why this particular post takes precedence, less than a fortnight before the event makes its long-awaited return. This year, Anugerah Planet Muzik 2016 (APM2016), debuts at the newly-opened Theatre @ Mediacorp at Stars Avenue on 30 September 2016.

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Fiza O and A B Shaik were the hosts of the media conference..

As with previous years, before the event proper, there will always be the traditional media conference to announce the nominees of the upcoming awards show. This year, the media conference was again held at the premises of Orchard Hotel on 20 July 2016 and was hosted by RIA 89.7FM‘s Fiza O and Warna 94.2FM‘s A B Shaik. Guests who mostly made up of local artistes, came to the event with high hopes of being nominated or at the very least, to soak in the atmosphere. For those still new to the scene, it was an eye-opening experience for them to just be in the same room as other household names, an opportunity for them to get to know one another and have mini networking sessions amongst themselves. Guests that day were also treated to performances by newbies Haikal Ali, Din Ilango and The Chapters, as well as Kalysa Aziz. All four displayed their worth on stage and personally, yours truly thoroughly enjoyed their respective performances.

apm2016-media-conference-055The panel consisting of Mr. Hassan Salleh, Assistant Vice-President (Malay Broadcast Division) & Manja Editor, Ms. Zakiah Halim, Chief of Malay Broadcast Division and Dr. Edmund Lam, Chief Executive Officer of COMPASS, addressing the audience on the experience of selecting the nominees as well as giving nuggets on what to expect in this year’s awards show.

Looking at the final list of nominees this year, I personally feel the local pool of talents were unfortunate not to receive more nominations especially in the regional categories. Last year, Iman’s League made the all-important breakthrough for the Singapore acts and won the Best Band (Regional) award over more established names like Noah, Sheila On 7, Akim & The Magistret and Bunkface. Many netizens especially those in Singapore wondered who they were and cried foul over their win. Personally I was disgusted by the reaction as I thought national pride would at least overcome any emotions over their own personal favourites. Iman’s League though they are quite under the radar here, they have since made inroads in other Asian countries like Korea and even Malaysia, albeit in the underground scene. Their win gave so much hope and inspiration for other acts to follow suit that anything is possible if the quality of song is on par with the other established regional acts.

apm2016-media-conference-012Strong support and attendance by our local pool of talents and representatives at the media conference…

This year, the organisers of APM2016 (Mediacorp Suria, Warna 94.2FM, RIA 89.7FM and Manja Magazine) received 420 nominations from the various music distributors and record labels from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Nominees are not just solely from the three countries mentioned. Last year, the awards show received their very first nominees from Brunei (Aziz Harun) and Philippines (Mark Adam). This year, Shunpei Nakagawa became the very first Japanese to be nominated through his collaboration with Malaysia‘s Indah Ruhaila with their song “Aishiteru Selamanya” amongst the five nominees in the Best Collaboration (Artiste) category. Hark back to 2012 and you will note Cassidy Anderson from Australia as another nominee from outside the Nusantara region. As the name “Planet Muzik” implies, nominees from other countries are much welcomed. Speaking of Aziz Harun, he will be the third Bruneian after Faiz Nawi (2005) and Jazz Hayat (2013) to make a performance on the APM stage this coming 30th September 2016 (APM Wikipedia page admin please take note!!!).

apm2016-media-conference-074Haikal Ali‘s “Bertemu Kembali” is such a haunting hit, I will not be surprised if he bags either Best New Artiste (Male) or Best Singapore Song awards or even both. His appearances at all three media conferences for APM2016 (including in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta) showed the organiser’s confidence in his potential…

I had a small chat with Ms. Zakiah Halim during the reception afterwards on what we can expect during the show as well as voicing out some of my doubts over the choice of venue for this year’s event. I had attended three shows already at the new venue earlier this year (“Anda Mahu Rok?“, Sinar Lebaran 2016 and Raya Oh Yeah!) and somehow the place does not give me good vibes in terms of seating arrangement and how much the stage and auditorium as a whole resembles a school hall setting. Without giving much away except for a coy smile and a twinkle in her eyes, Ms. Zakiah Halim only let on that they will do what they can to make the stage more accomodating both to the performers as well as audience. She did elaborate however, on the choice of performers this year. As you will note from the promotional poster, a bulk of the performers are not the same faces you see year in and out. In that respect, it is a refreshing change of line-up. And as always, amongst the performers, there will be deserving winners in their respective categories.

apm2016-media-conference-104Sufie Rashid, together with Taufik Batisah, are the two who got the most nominations amongst the local acts with six each…

Anyway, with less than a week to go before voting your favourites in the popular categories (local and regional) ends, let me just remind you to do the yeoman service for them and log on to Toggle.SG and vote before 23rd September 2016 23:59hrs. Every year you’ll get the sour grapes complaining about undeserving winners, but if you don’t vote, or expect others to do it for you, then you just have to suck it in when the final results are announced on the actual awards night. I did receive several invites via my personal inbox / private messages in my social media accounts from artistes who were nominated in the popular categories to either vote for them or help pitch in for them. I have to apologise that being a media outlet, I must be fair and neutral without showing any personal favours to anyone. What I just did was remind those reading this entry to go out and cast your votes for your respective favourites. I can only afford sufficient enough gesture like this as my way of helping.

apm2016-media-conference-024A group photograph with all the local artistes, representatives of record labels and artiste managements, sponsors and organisers of APM2016

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2016 is presented to you once again by One Drop Perfumes. Main sponsors are Pos T.K.I. and Sensuous By Shannz (Red Carpet event), Co-sponsors – House of Dre and Official Transportation by Uncle Sam Auto Trading Pte. Ltd. Official broadcasters as in previous years are Astro Ria and NET Mediatama Indonesia (NET TV). The awards show is supported by Media Development Authority (MDA) and Composers & Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) and is brought to you by Mediacorp Suria, Warna 94.2FM, RIA 89.7FM and Manja Magazine. The awards show will be telecast live via Mediacorp Suria on 30th September 2016 at 9:00pm. You can also catch the livestreaming of the show via Toggle.SG, which includes the Red Carpet event at 8:30pm, and will not be televised on Suria, or the simulcast via the two radio stations Warna 94.2FM and RIA 89.7FM.

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apm-2016-final-nominees-list-page-005(List of nominees courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

APM2015 Snapshots…

APM 2015 - Media Release(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

I return once again with another APM2015 entry, my second instalment of this year’s edition. This time, I’ll be sharing miscellaneous shots I took during the “Red Carpet” event, the “Walk of the Stars” segment as well as a few shots I took post-event. Unfortunately there was no post-event reception this year and the “Walk of the Stars” segment had to be cut short due to time constraints before the event proper began, so there were not many photographs that I took and certainly less of a variety as compared to previous years.

Also since I am basically a one-man team, I had to leave the “Red Carpet” event at the hall’s entrance to take shots of the events transpiring on stage. In years past, I would have broken my entries into several postings, but this year, I’ll just post my miscellaneous snapshots under one entry, with my review coming much later, as I still have five thousand-odd photographs I need to sieve through and pick the best ones to be featured. Hope this filler entry before my review would help to satiate your thirst to view the photographs of the event. I will not put a timeframe to the publication of my review entry but I hope I will not take another month to post it up… 😛

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 Pre & Post-Event Snapshots

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Thank God for the public holiday later today. Yes I’m typing this in the wee hours of Tuesday night. Done with the second batch of photo editing. This time I’ll be featuring snapshots I took before Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014, during the commercial breaks as well as the post-event reception afterwards. Hope this would satiate your thirst for more photos before I post even more with the “Walk of the Stars” event in my following entry, which I hope to put up as soon as possible and finish off with my APM2014 review, hopefully before the end of next week. Yes, am taking my time because I am only doing this on a passion and hobby basis. If I’m doing this as a paid career, I would definitely post everything before the week is out. So yes, please continue visiting this site soon. Enjoy the public holiday today and hope you like this entry as well… 🙂

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011 Pre-Show & Red Carpet Segment…

Nope this is not a review of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2011. Not so soon and definitely not my style. Cos I would love to take my time to read what the foreign media and entertainment bloggers would have to say before I come out with my own thoughts and also to agree with them or to defend the organisers and production team as and when I deem fit to do so. But I know most of you entering this domain would want to see photographs or clips I took during the event. Fret not, cos I have planned to split up my entry into several parts so it does not have to come out as too long-winded for you to digest. For starters, I’ll begin with the Red Carpet event as well as several photos I snapped of our local acts already seated amongst the audience, which most of you did not get to see at home. Enjoy viewing the pics and clip!!!

Roze Kasmani (right), with manager Raudha Ismail and Shah Shamshiri, the lyricist to her debut single “Harum“… 

Revalina looking spiffy in their outfits…

Mediacorp AMU artistes Komrad and Yanie from the girl group EVE

Warna 94.2FM‘s AB Shaik and RIA 89.7FM‘s Nity Baizura were the hosts for the Red Carpet segment…

First up on the red carpet were SleeQ and Sezairi Sezali, Singapore‘s 3rd Idol

Sarah Aqilah making her debut at APM 2011

Anugerah 2011 winner Rahayu Ridwan also made her debut fresh from her win a fortnight ago…

Surprised to see Hady Mirza in this new style, breaking away from the boy-next-door image we’ve been so used to seeing, but it was fresh nonetheless…

Love this shot of Taufik Batisah and Rossa

Good looks, soulful voice, no wonder the gals go gaga over Afgan Syah Reza

Stunning outfit worn by Winnie K that night. I initially thought a bride was on the loose…

Our very own Huda Ali wearing an Ashley Isham creation…

He might be a Dato’, but AC Mizal (with wife Emilia Rosnaida), is still the spunky and sporty fellow that we know…

Dato M. Nasir (with wife Datin Marlia Musa) is still very popular and well respected on these shores judging by the cheers he received…

Prolific composer Ajai, walked the carpet with Aisya Hasnaa, one of the nominees for Vokal Terbaik (Artis Baru Wanita)

Atilia flanked by MonoLoQue

Aryan Band, one of our local acts signed by Luncai Emas Sdn Bhd

Hafiz, Akademi Fantasia 7 winner was a crowd pleaser not only with his voice, but his infectious smile and not forgetting, the hair…

Suria FM‘s Halim Othman with Nora Danish, who was a hot favourite with fans clamouring to take photographs with her…

The gorgeous and tall Amanda Imani. She could easily be a supermodel with the height she has…

An example of a local act who has flown the flag high across the shores, Ady Putra

Farah Asyikin, winner of Vokal Terbaik (Artis Baru Wanita) back at APM 2008

The gal with the trademark baju kurung / kebaya, Ana Raffali

Sandhy Sondoro looked glum throughout, but his voice has made the region take note of his abilities…

Shylla Amzah looked as though she was loving every minute on the red carpet…

One word to describe Ning Baizura: Stunning!!!

Jaclyn Victor, a vocal powerhouse in her own right…

No surprises to see so many people clamouring to take photographs of Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza by the side…

Always a pleasure to see Linda Onn back at the place where she spent her childhood. Am sure she felt the same way too…

Anugerah 2011 Roadshow Revisited…

Last Saturday 4 June 2011Anugerah 2011 ventured out from its usual surroundings and gave the semi-finalists the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the public in an outdoor setting. As the event venue (Nex Shopping Mall) is situated about ten minutes away from home via MRT, it was also a chance for my family to watch it live, as normally I would be the only one attending the weekly episodes at the Mediacorp TV Theatre. The show was hosted by the show’s resident host Fauzie Laily and roving host Nity Baizura, who took over the duties of Huda Ali, who is away in Kuala Lumpur due to her work commitments.

The event was further graced by the guest performances of rap duo Komrad (J-Boy & Fariq), Anugerah 2007 1st runner-up Maiya Rahman and Singapore Idol Season 3 alumnus Faizal Isa. Each guest performance was special in their own right. Komrad introduced their new single “Aku Masih Cinta“, Maiya wowed the watching crowd with her rendition of Beyonce Knowles‘ “Listen” and Faizal mesmerised with his take on Bruno Mars‘ “Just The Way You Are“, but with a slight twist. He injected Malay lyrics into the song and named it “Puncak Angkasa“. 

I must say, the song did not sound out of place at all. I imagine it could rise up the local charts if he dares to record it and send it to our local radio stations for airplay. I mean, if you can have the Chinese music market with a host of cover songs from English artistes, it wouldn’t hurt to have them in Malay, provided they do not kill the essence of the songs. We used to have quite a few of them, massive evergreen hits back in the 70s, in case the critics out there are quick to denounce my suggestion.

The event was in every word, a good way to expose the six semi-finalists to the public and also for them to gain the experience of performing outdoors. It was an opportunity for them to live the dream, mingling with their fans and signing autographs as well. They basically sang songs which they had performed during the qualifying rounds as well as the recent quarter-finals. I was interested to see how they would perform in a non-competition atmosphere and I must say if last Saturday was a good gauge of their respective potentials, then every episode should be approached in a non-competitive mindset.

All of them performed much, much better than what you have been watching on television weekly. I was also surprised that they seemed to have all the fears in the world come Tuesdays, yet they shed their inhibitions away on an outdoor event like last Saturday. I hope from this experience, they will go on to enjoy their subsequent performances and not think too much about the competition. As the judges have drummed this into them, they should start thinking as singers and not competitors. I’ll let the photos I took do the talking henceforth…

Anugerah 2011 Roadshow At A Glance

 

Fauzie was every bit a joker, teasing his fellow host, audience, guest performers and the contestants…

Nity did an excellent job covering for Huda

Three lovely ladies – Norhayati Samad, Raudaa Razak & Wati Kasim manning the merchandise booth…

The day’s roving host, Anugerah Skrin 2010 runner-up, Diana Amran

Salut to the guys from KomradFariq & J-Boy

Nity looked on as both Anugerah alumni members Fauzie & Maiya took turns taking the mickey out of the other…

Maiya reminded the audience what a vocal powerhouse she still is…

Faizal Isa looking buffed from his National Service commitments…

Belting out his first hit single “Maafkan Ku Oh Cinta“…

Followed by a cover of Bruno Mars‘ hit “Just The Way You Are“, a mix of English & Malay which was titled “Puncak Angkasa“…

Shikin kicked off the semi-finalists’ segment with Adibah Noor‘s “Terlalu Istimewa“…

Bunkface‘s “Revolusi” was Ace‘s choice of song…

Erlina sang the song which she performed in the quarter-finals, Nurun Nuwarrah‘s “Kau Ingin Ku Miliki“…

Baby Sulastri brought the house down with Ayu‘s “Hanya Di Mercu“…

Epul‘s choice of song was Aizat‘s “Lagu Kita“…

Rahayu Ridwan reprised the song she sang in the quarter-final, Roze Kasmani‘s “Harum“…

One of the lasting images of the day’s event, the semi-finalists mimicking Ace‘s trademark gesture, when he sang Shahir‘s “Kebahagiaan Dalam Perpisahan“…

Another lasting image was of Erlina adding a bit of nifty footwork when she performed Agnes Monica‘s “Tak Ada Logika“…

Getting acquainted with life of being a pop star…

Wifey got to take a shot with Shalyza Rosly who was there with some of the contestants who were eliminated earlier…

My daughters wanted to take a photograph with Shikin

And Baby Sulastri, who is Syahindah‘s favourite contestant

Komrad Releases “Harapan” Music Video…

After patiently waiting for it to be produced and uploaded, finally one of our up-and-coming local acts, Komrad, have released their music video to the hit single “Harapan” featuring Ruffedge‘s Zain Hamid. The video was directed by Muhammad Najeeb of Redream Productions and was produced by Komrad Music. This is a music video to savour, not to mention its meaningful lyrics. Enjoy and “Salut” to J-Boy & Fariq on a job well done!!!

P.S. Komrad‘s single “HARAPAN” CDs are on sale now. Each CD with lyrics cost $5/- ONLY. It is a collector’s item as they are not being sold at any stores. To get to know the group as well as to get your hands on their CDs, please visit the group’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/komradmusic

Pesta Raya: Hujan & The Fabulous Cats Review…

Pesta Raya“, to quote its description from its official website, is “the annual festival event that celebrates celebrates Malay arts by Malay artists from Southeast Asia and around the world“, made its return again between 22 and 31st October 2010. This year, its stellar cast had Amy Search, Datuk Ahmad Jais & Zaibaktian in “Konsert Kasut Putih“, the father and son combo of Elfee and R. Ismail, Malaysian thespian Fauziah Nawi, award-winning group Hujan and The Fabulous Cats gracing the festival amongst other stellar acts.

Reading through its official website where it stated that the “Pesta Raya” festival is “held during Singapore‘s Hari Raya Puasa“, it somehow left me feeling a bit puzzled as Hari Raya was already stale and six weeks gone by then. Of course in Singapore we tend to celebrate it for a whole month, but six weeks is a bit off in my opinion. Perhaps the organisers could consider changing its name to something other than “Raya“, if such future events fall outside the month of Syawal.

I’ve been an avid fan of this festival for years since its inception. I always look forward to its promotional posters, just to see what shows I could attend. This year was no different, and seeing that both Malaysian groups, Hujan and The Fabulous Cats – two contrasting groups with their own style and brand of music – were performing, I wasted no time in booking my tickets as early as before Ramadhan. I had missed out on Hujan‘s concert at the Republic Polytechnic last year and I was determined not to miss it again this time round. As for The Fabulous Cats, witnessing them live for the first time at last year’s Anugerah Roadshow at East Point Mall wasn’t enough, hence I had to catch them again.

 

Hujan Showcase

(Photo Courtesy of The Esplanade Co Ltd)

I was surprised that Hujan were given two nights to perform where most acts usually perform for only one. Not that I’m complaining, but it is quite rare to see a music act from this archipelago, an award-winning one, to be given the honours of performing more than once. Hujan performed on 28th & 29th October 2010 at the Esplanade‘s Theatre Studio, a humble venue but good enough for the audience to let their hair down. I went to the earlier show and since it was a Thursday, a working day, naturally there were only 150-200 people who came to witness it. 

For a rock concert and an audience making up of those in the 20s-30s age group, it is quite a mystery to me that the crowd was dead almost throughout the concert, only coming to life with the concert two-thirds gone. But looking at the earlier songs performed, mostly from their second album “Mencari Konklusi” and their soon-to-be-released album “Lonely Soulja Boy” (out on 25 November 2010), I cannot blame the audience for not knowing the lyrics to the songs as the only songs I’ve heard being given airplay over here in Singapore from the second album were “Mencari Konklusi” and “Kau Harus Ada“. Perhaps the show being held on a working / school day could have somewhat dampened the crowd’s mood, thinking that the next day is another day at the office / school.

(Photo Courtesy of The Esplanade Co Ltd)

I had heard that the Friday event was a sold-out concert, so I was hoping that Hujan deserved better from the watching audience. While I was busy jumping, headbanging and singing at the top of my voice to their songs from the comfort of the back (as I was too shy to come forward), the crowd in front of me were just bobbing their heads to the songs, which amazed Noh, the lead vocalist, who was wondering why the crowd wasn’t warmed up yet. I dunno if this is a Singaporean syndrome or not but it seems to be like that for a long time now when it comes to watching a concert, especially at one where it is extremely ok to let loose. Shows at expo events are mostly guilty of this scenario.

It was only when the group started to sing the song that introduced them to the regional music scene “Pagi Yang Gelap“, “Aku Skandal” which rose their stock further, and when they ended the night with “Jiwa Kelajuan“, was I able to see the crowd finally enjoying themselves. Observing them, I guess Hujan‘s first album which contained those three songs, including “Dugaannya” and “Bila Aku Sudah Tiada“, is still closer to the hearts of their Singaporean fans, even though there were loyal RAINgers (Hujan‘s Fan Club members) from Malaysia who made their way down. Even the lead singer of Tilu Band, Mira, was seen amongst the crowd to lend her support to the group. Local personalities like Tengku Adil and Adha (former vocalist of Bhumiband) were also there to enjoy Hujan‘s music and lend support to Dimas (Bhumiband‘s former keyboardist now in Hujan). 

(Photo Courtesy of The Esplanade Co Ltd)

I was suitably impressed with Hujan‘s remake of the old P. Ramlee hit “Tunggu Sekejap“, which is part of a tribute album meant for the late great Malaysian thespian. Though the arrangement has changed to suit their style, the substance remained intact. The problem with remakes sometimes is that it might come off worse or not to our liking, but the same cannot be said of Hujan‘s version. This tribute album titled “Di Mana Kan Ku Cari Ganti: Satu Indiepretasi” is an excellent work of art by independent artistes across the Causeway, paying their utmost respects to the great man with their own versions of some of his popular works.  

Honestly it didn’t feel like a concert, but more like a school gig. A lot of friendly banter was exchanged between the group and the audience, with Noh doing a lot of the mickey-taking on familiar faces in the crowd. I guess that was his way of breaking the ice as most were rather subdued and prefer to just laugh at the jokes being cracked. To summarise, it was overall an enjoyable concert, the downside being the lacklustre audience and to some extent, the sound system, which drowned Noh‘s vocals at various parts of the concert. But it was a definitely a great experience to witness them live in action and hope that the songs in their third album would receive more airplay here, so that the next time they come here for a concert, their songs would no longer be alien to the watching audience…

 

The Fabulous Cats’ Showcase

(Photo Courtesy of The Esplanade Co Ltd)

I had typed in my last entry that I had to rush down to The Esplanade to catch The Fabulous Cats‘ showcase, straight from the Avita Awards being held at the nearby Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre on 30th October 2010. No thanks to the long delay by the valet service at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the short traffic jam at the Marina Bay area, I only reached the event venue, the Esplanade Theatre Studio (again!!!), ten minutes after it was supposed to start (10:00pm). The event timing was a first for me as previous shows I attended at the Esplanade have always started at 8:00pm. For the performers’ sake, I had hoped that the turnout would be good for them as I had heard rumours during the Hujan concert that tickets were not selling that well.

My fears were allayed when I stepped into the event studio, where DJ Ollie, the disc jockey for the night, was starting to spin the introductory tracks. The crowd that turned up was almost the same number as the ones who attended the Hujan concert on Thursday. There were more older folks as compared to Hujan‘s audience demographics, indicating that it was possible that family members of the performers were out in force to support them. Cynics might say it’s not a good indicator of one’s true fanbase but I personally think the presence of family members would prevent any onstage jitters for first-time performers on home soil like Dynda. And one can always count on family support through thick and thin. Local celebrity Marina Yusoff and husband Adel were spotted in the audience, as was popular Malaysian actor / director Ahmad Idham.

 

(Photo Courtesy of The Esplanade Co Ltd)

Being new to the scene and with only two singles to show for (“AM/PM” & “Hanya Kamu“) did not deter the new local female quartet of Dynda from warming up the audience for what else was to come for the night. Granted the newbies whose talents were spotted during the staging of “Impak Maksima The Musical” last year at the Esplanade, and subsequently polished by Cat Farish, leader of The Fabulous Cats,  are not excellent vocalists. But this was to be expected since the quartet are known as dancers more than their vocal prowesses. Where they might lack in voice, they made up for it with their brilliant nifty footwork. I thought it was a joy seeing them perform along with their back-up male dancers.

It is not easy having to sing and dance to energetic numbers without losing one’s breath. I must say the girls did a commendable job on their debut performance on home soil. I watched their performance on TV3‘s “Muzik-Muzik” programme a few months ago and back then, I wasn’t impressed. But the girls have definitely worked hard since then, going for vocal trainings etc. and it was there for all to see that through their own determination to succeed in this harsh industry, they have most certainly improved on that forgettable performance in “Muzik-Muzik“. Their vocals for “AM/PM” was much better this time round, with minimal mistakes being made. I certainly hope they would improve as they go along, cos this local industry of ours need a bit of colour, other than the domination of male artistes.

(Photo Courtesy of The Esplanade Co Ltd)

The Fabulous Cats did not immediately appear onstage once Dynda‘s set had ended. In fact the dance ensemble from Malaysia known as the “Floor Fever Crew” came on to enthrall the audience with their fancy synchronised dancesteps and breakdancing feats. It was only about ten minutes later did the main acts themselves came on with the hit single that introduced them to the music scene. No prizes for guessing that it was “Papa Jahat“. But the supposed quartet only appeared as a trio outfit. It was only much later that Cat announced that Wangi was due to sit for her exams, which explained her absence. Zizi, the other female member of the group, did well enough to cover Wangi‘s absence but still, it felt a bit awkward to see just the three of them onstage.

Cat Farish was in his usual humourous element, poking fun at anything and everything, with Zizi of course the main butt of his jokes. He could even afford to joke when they were performing their songs. What made it even more hilarious was his attempt at dancing, which he admitted he wasn’t good at. Adeep, back in his homeground, was the backup joker. It was nice to hear him belting out a Dikir Barat number out of the blue, reminding us of his musical roots and where he initially started from. I was surprised that before they went for a short break to give way to KomradThe Fabulous Cats actually changed the arrangement to their hit “Slot Akasia“, the official soundtrack to the “Impak Maksima The Musical“, and made it even more sappy and melancholic.

(Photo Courtesy of The Esplanade Co Ltd)

Komrad, the latest rapping sensation to emerge from our shores took centrestage afterwards. The duo formerly known as DURTY Minders, started their set with an English track before going on to perform their debut hit single on the local airwaves “Harapan“. The song, which was inspired by the tragic folklore of Tanggang, is one of my current favourites, and it certainly is a song that tugs on the heartstrings when one is reminded of what a mother’s love to her children is all about. I was hoping that since the song was in the Top Three positions of RIA Chartz back then, the crowd would at least be singing to the chorus of the song, but all around me, they were just intent to watch with just a few individuals nodding their heads in tandem with the beats and melody.

The duo, which reminds me a lot of our now-defunct “AhliFiqir” outfit with their brand and style of rapping in Malay, finished off their set with “Jatuh Hati Di Kuala Lumpur“, which is surprisingly the song that introduced them to the Malaysian listeners, rather than “Harapan“. This song, which saw them collaborating with arguably Malaysia‘s “Hip-Hop King“, Malique of Too Phat, relates their journey to the neighbouring country’s capital to spread their wings and show off their talents. These boys have it in them to make it big in the scene, and I for one believe that they will continue where the quartet of “AhliFiqir” had left off, and create their own identity and hopefully legacy. They should be, seeing that they are lyricists, producers, composers and artistes all rolled into one…

(Photo Courtesy of The Esplanade Co Ltd)

The Floor Fever Crew appeared onstage again with another display of fancy footwork prior to The Fabulous Cats returning for a second set. This time round, Cat Farish took the opportunity to introduce the individual dancers who made up the dance outfit. The second set saw another twist being made, this time to a classic rock ballad, Bumiputra Rockers‘ “Dari Sinar Mata“, which was arranged and sung in a reggae beat. The audience for once, came to life and sang along to a song they knew so well. Another song that the trio sang during the second set titled “Suka” had them mimicking artistes like Noh from Hujan, Yuna and Daly of AhliFiqir amongst others, which reminded me of Project Pop‘s “Aku Bukan Superstar“.

The group ended the night by belting out “Cinta Kosmik“, with the rest of the other performers returning for a final flourish. I was intrigued by the fact that for all the songs that The Fabulous Cats performed that night, they did not sing songs like “Fantastik“, “Lari” and the Broadway-styled “Ratu Novella“, songs that received decent airplay here in Singapore before. Overall, I thought I enjoyed the second concert better, simply because my personal musical tastes are more inclined towards hip-hop, rap and R&B, but I thought Esplanade did nothing wrong by inviting both Hujan and The Fabulous Cats to grace their Pesta Raya Festival this time round…

Post-Shows…

Old bandmates Adha (left) and Dimas (centre) with Tengku Adil

Noh Salleh (second from right), Hujan‘s vocalist, with Tengku Adil, Adha and Diyana, the latter’s spouse…

Wifey with Wahyu Rahman who was at the show and part of the welfare management of Hujan during their stay in Singapore

From left: Izzad, AG, Dimas, Noh & Am – the members of Hujan

The Fabulous Cats Cat Farish, Zizi & Adeep Nahar

Dynda comprises of: (from left) Reella, Vega, Renni & Elly

Salut to J-Boy & Fariq who make up Komrad

 Thank you to Gina Koh from the Esplanade  for kindly assisting me with the official photographs taken at both showcases. Appreciate your kind help…