Urbanscapes threw in another treat this year by bringing back Malaysia’s favorite Danish prog-rock outfit back to Kuala Lumpur. The usually-congested city streets were surprisingly empty but KL Live, situated by Jalan Sultan Ismail, was full of alternative rock fans well in their late 20s or early 30s, eager to relive their younger years for just one night.
The Urbanscapes team prepped the venue well to welcome the trio and the fans as even Tiger’s UNCAGE section was strategically-placed in the hall to make room for the audience to dance their hearts out. The event started with Malaysian alternative band LUST who concocted awe-inspiring guitarwork with songs like ‘Naga’. Mew fans looked happy to be introduced to a fairly talented Malaysian band who fit the bill in opening the show.
The Trees & The Wild was the second band on stage but was frankly a bit ambitious in the sound mixing perspective. The Bekasi-based outfit looked a bit shy that night but the tightness of the performance compensated the lack of showmanship and charisma. Poor sound quality also had a role in dampening the proceedings – in some songs, the guitars were slightly louder while in other songs, the lead guitar would get swallowed by the gain of the bass. Charita Utami’s voice was the highlight of their performance but at times, even her voice got drowned in the noise. All in all, The Trees & The Wild was still decent in my book and would pay to see them play next time whenever they’re in town.
Fans didn’t have to wait too long for Mew to come up the stage because the band only took less than 15 minutes to get ready to strum it all out. Mew started the show by teasing their classics to entice the fans to chant for more, with ‘Special’ causing tremor-like movements on the floor of the venue. Mew also got to play new songs from their latest 2017 release ‘Visuals’ such as ‘Carry Me To Safety’ with literal visuals to portray the essence of the lyrics in form of estranged lights on human faces. It was ‘Comforting Sounds’ that delivered the dose of the grandiose that the show needed, alongside ‘Am I Wry? No’ as the obvious choice for the final chapter of Mew’s second musical adventure in Malaysia. Jonas Bjerre entertained fans with his silky vocals and Jake Gyllenhaal-eyes that melted our hearts faster than Ice Kepal in Melaka. The vocalist looked genuinely happy to return to our Bolehland, even when he lost one band member along the way. Johan Wohlert’s showmanship is still energetic despite his age and seemed as young as he was during the Frengers and The Glass Handed Kites days.
Around almost the same week last year, psychedelic maestro Kevin Parker graced the stage as Tame Impala at the exact same venue. You could say that the good people at Freeform have let stars from a distant universe bless Kuala Lumpur with all their musical magic that can come out of their sleeves and KL Live’s house speakers. Gladly, Mew will now always be a part of the same positive history that Urbanscapes managed to create, and we’re definitely ready for more next year.