Above: Bring Back The Arcade. [Note: All photographs were provided by On9fm and Stageless Photographers: Yan Roots, OG, Naiart. See the original album on Facebook here.]
It was a packed house at Starbucks in Palm Square, Centrepoint, thanks to Bandwidth’s event Stageless @ Starbucks, on Saturday, Feb 19, 2011. Bandwidth’s Arthur Lee was our emcee, for the night and first up was BRING BACK THE ARCADE.
BBTA’s opening songs was “Gelora Jiwa” by P.Ramlee, the violin making a great intro and backdrop to Angel’s lovely vocals, by weaving through her melody. The song’s middle section moved into the minor key and into an Arabic feel, and BBTA cleverly fused Latin and Arabic rhythms for a really rich pulse. Then they played a cool version of “First of The Gang” by Morrissey, with lilting rhythms and a nice violin solo. Their third song was “Pebble By The Street”. I loved this song! They said it was their first song. They had rearranged it a bit and it came out as a real folk-rock number. They reminded me of country rock trio Lady Antebellum, with twangy riffs everywhere. Angel had really warmed up and her voice was husky, and as warm as her beautiful smile.
Cheers rang out because our lovely Tamparuli siblings JADE SISTERS are so popular, and tonight they were a theme of dots! In their hair, on a shirt… Amy’s gentle guitar intro brought the girls into their single “Janji”, which is on their upcoming EP. Their speciality is vocal harmony, which is instinctive now — they automatically know which lines to take! Following that was original song “Hot Chocolate”, then a bold cover of “Forget You”, where our babes put their hands on their hips, picked up the tempo, and laid on their sassiest smiles!
Donggongon boys THE RETROCK had a lot of support that night! They said, because they were in Starbucks, their songs would be performed in a different, more sentimental style. They began with “Berdiri”, a signature song for them. Everyone knew it and cheered! After that, a cover of Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”, and finishing up with a great original song “Pari-pariku”. It’s got an opening similar to “La Bamba”, a real upbeat and sunshine song. The band, the audience – we were all smiling!
Gorgeous JOANNA QUINTIN melted many hearts that night. One half of Copper Coins, Joanna charmed emcee Arthur and everyone at Starbucks Palm Square, Centre Point with beautiful songs and top notch delivery. Accompanied by guitarist Nelson Chua, Joanna sang to the audience; her expressive and powerful voice had controlled huskiness and an occasional seductive crack – or was that someone’s heart? She sang covers of Pink’s “Dear Mr. President” and Katy Perry’s “Simple”. The songs had good lyrics, and Joanna gave them context, singing those words with meaning. She finished her set with “In Love”, an original song which was fabulous! Joanna has great stage presence, was adorably cute and radiated all the happiness and good feeling in this very pretty, lilting song. Everyone was feeling so good that they demanded an encore! So she and Nelson did a cover version of “Nineteen Stars”.
A BIG thumbs up for Bandwidth for creating this fabulous event with Starbucks. Thanks to this intimate setting, I was able to really enjoy and hear SAIFUL’s great voice – he’s the lead singer in A SKY COLLAPSE TRIANGLE. This hugely popular punk band are friendly, happy, interactive with the audience, and very importantly, they write GREAT songs! Tonight I could clearly hear all those cool lyrics! These guys write really, really good songs! They started with a cover, “Six Feet Under The Stars” by All Time Low, then their own song “They Think”. This was a mellow version because of the venue, and it worked! A driving bass line, intense lyrics, and the singer’s strong voice carried the interesting melody which doesn’t go where you expect it to. Second original song was “Better With Someone Else”, which had very thoughtful lyrics about broken hearted men 🙂 . This was the first time they played it live and they haven’t recorded it yet. “Wanna Believe” was their last song for the night; it’s the first song they ever wrote, and it’s got an All American Rejects feel about it, with clever, edgy guitar harmonies.
After that, we got a treat from across the water. KL’s celebrated songstress NADHIRA took the mic and told us it was her first time in Sabah. She’s promoting her EP “From Malaysia With Love”, and is on a road show through Sabah. Joining her was Canadian rapper VANDAL, and Ayin made a second appearance to provide a percussive backdrop, as Nadhira and Vandal did a duet of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Her fine voice rang out through Centrepoint, and there was some lovely percussive interaction between Vandal’s beats and Ayin’s box.
Vandal then called up fellow wordsmen: KL rapper JIN HACKMAN and our very own DECIPHER aka CHRIS PEREIRA. The three rappers took turns to lead, with cool Nadhira providing a underlying melody coloured with tones of Jamiroquai. It was impromptu and professional and slick. It was a fabulous finale for Stageless @ Starbucks.
Thanks to Bandwidth, Stageless @ Starbucks will be coming to us every two months. Watch out for it!