The Ultimate Band Search 2010 – A Night For Local Heroes

TUBS10 Winners! Photo by Nasier Lee
TUBS10 winner Jon Paradise. Photo by Nasier Lee

The grand finale for the Ultimate Band Search 2010 [TUBS10] was a night for local heroes.

We got to enjoy good music and cheer two runners-up and a true winner in a high quality band contest.

Arthur Lee of Bandwidth magazine was Judge number one. Judge two was Jonathan Tse, whose recording company Purpose Records was offering a record deal worth RM15,000 to the winner. Third judge was Lester C Miol, frontman of Andalusia and vocal teacher at De Notes. The band winner would also receive RM1000 in prize money, while second and third place would receive RM700 and RM500 respectively. All three winners would also receive a Distro Republic Gift Bag.

Our emcee Azlan Abdullah was a familiar face, priming the growing crowd standing around the stage, smoke filling the air, young men and women now turning up at Rumba in large groups. Young guys walked back and forth with guitar cases slung across their backs. Yep – we see you are a musician, haha. The show was about to begin.

In order of appearance:

1. The Retrock
2. A Sky Collapse Triangle
3. Obsqure
4. My Own Prison
5. Jon Paradise
6. Cahaya D’Folk

The Retrock kicked off the night with some good opening fingerwork, and a classic metal sound for two songs, one in Malay and one in English. Following them were A Sky Collapse Triangle, who had a tight frenetic start and some nice vocal harmonies. The guitarists all turned towards the crowd and really played to them, and they sure like their distortion. The lead singer got us to join in for a line in the chorus, and they were very watchable.

A Sky Collapse Triangle. Photo by Nasier Lee

Obsqure‘s first offering was slow and not that heavy. They had two singers: Mark, a male singer guitarist and Janice the female singer. He was strong, and there were good solos from the second guitarist. They described their second song as “country rock”.

Obsqure singer Janice is a modern rock chick:   short hair, big-framed effect glasses hiding a pretty face, a long-sleeved shirt and trousers on her petite frame. It’s all about the music: it’s raw and she’s letting rip her vocals, jumping, turning and punching out hard on the air to drive that music home. She was music in a Molotov cocktail. Fantastic.

TUBS10 1st runner-up Obsqure singer Janice. Photo by Nasier Lee

Half time break and there was no where to move in Rumba. Full house!  Lester Miol came over to say hi:   “It’s so, so hard!  I don’t want to be biased, I want to be fair!” he said. A smiling and exasperated judge.

Next, My Own Prison‘s lead singer Neil said the guys had to be here to see his bassist, and with good reason. Chrisey was clearly the best looking bassist of the night! They all played well, and their lead singer interacted well with the crowd, making them very watchable.

Jon Paradise was up next. Their lead singer Cyril was strong, arms up high to the crowd, and backed by strong vocals from the bass player too. Quadro Forte’s guitarist Boly George played a completely different sound here: tight, hard-edged rock and wild licks – with the kind of showmanship we have come to expect from him. Elyna, their female keyboardist wasn’t shy either!  I could hear her bold chords and runs loud and clear over those guitars. At the end the keyboards and guitars doubled up over a really cool and unusual refrain.  It was all great.

Jon Paradise rocked up to the stage.  They played good songs. They played to their audience, they played to the photographers, they played to the World: “Here we are!”  they said. And don’t we know it, now.

TUBS10 winner. Jon Paradise. Photo by Nasier Lee

The evening was wrapped up by Cahaya D’Folk, who took us out with classic psychedelic rock sounds, and then we were into the voting stage.

Mike and I cast our votes like everyone else. The weighting was 80% to the judges, 20% to the audience. It went exactly as we had voted. Third place went to A Sky Collapse Triangle. Second place was Obsqure. The winner for The Ultimate Band Search 2010 was JON PARADISE. A very good result all round. Like I said in the beginning, a fine night for local heroes, both on stage and behind the scenes.

Rumba's FnB assistant director John, and Arthur Lee. Photo by Nasier Lee

Many thanks to Nasier Lee for his lovely photos.

Earlier in the evening…
Before going to Rumba, Mike and I had an early dinner upstairs at the Circle Restaurant in Le Meridien. Mike had a chat with Mr. Samsul Bakri [Assistant Manager Circle restaurant] who later came over to our table. He has noticed how local bands are now playing at the Cock & Bull Bistro, with Datuk Masidi Manjun, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment and the Sabah Cultural Board being key to making that a flagship venue for local performers. He also noted the new Italian restaurant Fresco (formerly Luna Rossa) is offering live jazz, and of course the Hyatt was recently a high profile supporter of the KKJF 2010.

“I really like that it’s local bands, you know,” said Mr. Samsul, and I could feel that it was a genuine statement. He wasn’t only talking about business.

We also chatted with Chef Bob [Executive Sous Chef], who later joined us downstairs in Rumba, standing shoulder to shoulder with the bands’ fans. I’m not kidding, it was standing room only even before the first band went up on stage. I was glad to see the people working within Le Meridien also enjoying the local music happening at Rumba.

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