On the first of August 2019, we left Phnom Penh, and landed in Kuala Lumpur at around 5pm. We hailed a taxi and went off to our guesthouse. We had a bit of time before our first gig the next day, so we decided to go into town and explore the vibrant city. We dropped by Tandang Records, located in Zhongshan Building, a new arts and research community space. We were stoked to see our posters and tapes already on sale at the store. Tandang has many varieties of underground music and merchandise. Coming from Cambodia, a country where distros and record stores do not really exist yet, we were extremely happy, and purchased some cassettes and merchandise. After that, we headed to see the famous Petronas Towers. The tall manmade building was an ideal place to take many cliché tourist pictures. After a couple of very expensive beers and very cheap Malaysian food, we headed back to our place.
The next day, we were greeted by our friend and promoter, Hadi of Tempang Records. He took us to Batu Caves. The steep mountain and the monolithic statue were mesmerizing. We went up the stairs and explored the caves amid hordes of tourists and monkeys. After that, we stopped at an Indian restaurant for some delicious eats and headed to the bus station for our first gig destination, Batu Pahat, a small town in Johor. The journey took 4 hours. We arrived at the drop-off point, and were fetched by local punks who drove us to the venue. We arrived at The Wall, a community punk house run by Batu Pahat’s locals with a DIY ethos. We were greeted by Uda, the venue owner, who gave us some food. We fell in love with the place, the graffities, the posters, and the hospitality. Local bands Ciplikker, Rhytmask, Explicit, and Eyes Popping Out opened for us. The bands completely killed it on stage. Our time had arrived, we played our first show with very little sleep. The crowd was feral, and the whole experience was utterly surreal. After the gig, we went out to grab some food and crashed at the venue.
The next morning, we got on the bus and headed to Melaka for our second show. Melaka was beautiful and magnificent. We spent our afternoon in Melaka City absorbing the culture, historic sites and colonial buildings. After a day of mingling and dousing ourselves in the city, we went to the venue, The Key, another community punk house in Malaysia. The gig was full of surprises, bodies were thrown on and off stage, devil’s water was consumed, firecrackers were lit – literally, not figuratively, and mayhem was caused. We had only heard about what normally would happen at punk shows, but this was our first time being in one. Overall, the experience was great, we ate some great food and went back to our pad.
On Sunday was our last show of the tour at Rumah Api, a famous venue in KL. We got in Hadi’s van and drove to the city. The journey back was monumental. Hadi played some music through his car stereo. One of the albums was “Scream” by Ozzy Osbourne, which I had not listened to in a long time – very nice, heartwarming, nostalgic tunes. Opening for us were De Fusion, Nista, Zycrust, and Cronosses. Every band were fire. We were greeted at the venue by our friends, and the show was chaotic. We loved Rumah Api. Anyone who visits Kuala Lumpur should definitely stop by this venue.
We would like to say thank you to all of the bands who played with us, the organisers who put on these amazing shows, the welcoming, supportive venues who gave kids like us the chance to play outside of Cambodia, and Tempang Records who made our dream come true. Until next time, Malaysia. We love you very much.
Photos by James Yusof