In the most surreal circumstances of live events rebooting among brands here in Kuala Lumpur is Fred Perry Subculture. An event that ventured into the digital realm for the past two years, has re-submerged to connect with the brand’s long time devotees. On 11 Dec, a Sunday, its stage was placed at Sentul Depot – a place that was once the world’s largest and finest railway engineering workshops.
The night of live music brings to LIVE some of Malaysia’s finest talents in the independent music scene again. Fred Perry’s night also featured the street culture that has always been a focus of its Subculture events.
From the exceptional coffee and large posters to the derelict warehouse now brought back to life, all we saw are intriguing characters ready for a fun-filled evening.
Monica Tong, Kuala Lumpur editor of Music Press Asia commented: “There is something surreal about being in this sturdily still standing kind of metal structure. Fred Perry couldn’t have chosen a better spot to highlight the music that resonated with Malaysian musicians and other music makers. Its vast semi-open space with a roof at least three-story high allows us to view the performances and its sonic output in a different dimension.”
Rocking the stage till the peak of dawn were ska legends, Gerhana Skacinta. Their performance is a distinctly classic subculture of Southeast Asia’s musical identity, existentially inseparable from what is gripping the current sea of conscientious underlings who attends live music concert in 2022 and 2023. Their latest album released is ‘Muzik Tanpa Sempadan’ in 2022.
The stage also featured indie rockers The Times and Pesawat, indie pop supergroup Joanna & Co, punk rockers Trophy Knives, cult favourite Hawa and JEMSON, and Fred Perry Malaysia ambassadors, the reincarnation of Amy Winehouse, Dani Komari as well as ‘fuzz rock n roll’ quartet, The Fatalis.
Pre-pandemic in 2019, Subculture was held at REXKL with over 2000 fans who turned up (Photo featured in London’s Design Museum at the Fred Perry: A Cultural Icon Exhibition in June 2022). In the year 2020 and 2021, the concerts were held online. The commitment to continuously celebrate raw and pure music will always be close to the heart of this brand.
MALAYSIA ARTIST PROFILES AT FRED PERRY SUBCULTURE
Gerhana Skacinta emerged from the revival of ska in 1990s Malaysia. The name is composed of gerhana ‘eclipse’, ska, and cinta ‘love’. The group has taken on the purest form of ska, staying away from fusion of Asian sounds. The band is influenced by bands such as The Skatalites, Lord Kitchener and The Wailers. GSC over the years have released more than 5 albums with the latest being ‘Muzik Tanpa Sempadan’ in 2022.
Indie rockers, The Times were one of the earlier bands in the scene to have adopted a British sound while many have adopted the grunge sound of Seattle in the 90s. Formed by the remnants of OAG, the band has garnered an army of fans predominantly for popularising the Brit sound while singing in the national language, Bahasa Malaysia. For fans of The Smiths and The Kinks.
Joanna & Co
Indie pop princess Joanna Renisa will get you dancing. Having been there since the explosion of the scene in Malaysia, her loyal fans have stuck with her since her inception as an artist. Probably the only female fronted indie pop band in Malaysia of the time who’s still active. Her bubbly personality is contagious and you’d be sure to have a good time singing along.
Pesawat was born in the hangar of Ampang after occasional just-for-fun jamming session of four boys from Klang Valley. Influenced very much by the bands from the UK, namely Editors, We Are Scientists, Dirty Pretty Things, Keane and Pigeon Detectives, Pesawat’s music can be summed up as Indie Garage Rock with Malaysian flavor. Their music comes both in English and Malay. Having spent a significant amount of time away, they are now back.
Dani Komari is a regular name at KL’s finest soul and jazz clubs. With her vintage sounding voice, reminiscent of the late Amy Winehouse, she gives the music of yesteryears a new life with her own twist. Her music is a blend of blues, jazz and soul that’s easy on the ears leaving the listener wanting more.
The Fatalis was officially birthed with its definite line-up in the middle of December 2016. They are a band that carries the flag of “garagerock-revival”, with hints of hardcore punk elements at their core and in the background of each of its member. They have churned out 2 EPs within the short period of their existence filled with swift, aggressive riffs and bass lines packed with grooves. Drum beats and fills that will keep your pulse and heartbeat intact, complemented by high-energy performances and high-intensity vocals.
Superband JEMSON is made up of a duo from giants in their own scene, Myo from emo punk band, Oh ChentaKu and Najmi from the mighty Incarnation. The duo came together during the pandemic and went straight to work, putting out an album in 2021 during the pandemic. The band is joined by Moe, previously of major label band, Beatburns and Jon Voo, a notable name in the drumming world of Malaysia. Carving a name for themselves with their own flare of rock, JEMSON has a knack of keeping you hooked with their tunes.
Punk rock quartet Trophy Knives was formed in 2016 and have released a couple of EPs and their most recent album, ‘Look The Other Way’ have made waves in the local Malaysian music scene. The band, although fairly new, have done a fair bit of touring South East Asia and in Australia with the legendary Anti-Flag. They’ve opened for some of the biggest names in the alternative music world like Mayday Parade, Neck Deep, Tiny Moving Parts and Crown The Empire.
Think The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Runaways, and Joan Jett but shoegaze it a little; you get Hawa. A producer, a singer, a guitarist and fashionista, led by Eff Hakim who previously was the face of electronic cult group, Pastel Lite. Eff has gone solo fronting her own project now with a whole new lineup. Barely having done 10 live gigs as Hawa, she’s already got an army of faithful fans.