June 17, 2009

Blitzing the Backyard!

Whoa there! Get ready for one heckuva storm. Call it a tornado. Call it a tsunami. A whirlwind. Anything but a breeze. There are gonna be two monsters taking the spotlight at this popular nightspot in Taman Sri Hartamas.

A monster behind the drums going by the name of Jerry Felix and another who slings a mean guitar and growls at mike who calls himself simply Bala.

Both bald eagles are gonna be hosting a showdown at Backyard Pub which is located at 26-28 Jalan Sri Hartamas 8, Kuala Lumpur, after 9.30pm, tomorrow night. That's Thursday night.

No cover charge and no reservations being taken. First come, first served for the best seats in the house.

Jerry Felix is the same one who first took flight with Malaysia's first famous rock band, The Falcons, playing alongside other stars like Jerry Ventura, Desmond Gomez, Andy Peterson and Jerry Samuel.

Having made a name here in Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam (playing for the GIs here) for rocking live shows and wonderful albums, The Falcons later left for Europe where they performed their own stints and stunts and also backed several US and UK stars that came a-calling.

Believe it or not, Jerry Felix and The Falcons became so famous in Europe that when they eventually left to return home, they actually sold the name to a group of musicians who still use it today.

By the way, Jerry Felix is also the first person to discover and feature Jaclyn Victor in his band.

Bala, on the other hand, is as famous as his bald partner. Having started his music career at Streets Connection in Bukit Damansara, he caught the attention of a bunch of entrepreneurs who invested in a pub on condition that he would sing there!

After performing solo for many years, Bala formed a band called the Black Birds and performed in many clubs, pubs and hotel lounges before he traded it all for a long stint in the Maldives after which he came back home and went solo again.

Both bald eagles are known for loud rocking performances. Jerry is not called 'The Aminal' for nothing. Why 'Aminal'? Well, because he's wilder than an animal!

Once again. No cover charge. No reservations. But, you can still call (03) 6201-0318, (012) 201-6333 for Jerry or (017) 368-0644 for Edmund, just to say hi. Pass this on to your friendfs.

June 9, 2009

Groovin' At The Junction

GUITARIST JOSE THOMAS must be grinning quite a bit, and not just to the bank, mind you. He's got a home away from and it's called Geroove Junction. Life's kinda come full circle. He even has his wife cooking there.

Jose, his sister Jennifer and friend Joanne Yeo, opened the jazz nightspot in Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur, and they're celebrating their 2nd Anniversary, this week, with four nights of great jazz.

Before all that, here's the really good news. The beers are being pumped at RM5 a mug! How's that for a recession kicker?

Now, in case someone gets angry because I've put cheap beers before live music, allow us to tell you that Singapore's Swing King - Jeremy Monteiro - is playing four nights with his organ trio - ORGANAMIX - featuring Andrew Lim on guitar and Hong Chanutr Techatananan on drums.

Jeremy is quite excited about this show as it's the world premier of his organ trio which plays along the lines of the Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff and Jimmy McGriff organ trio or the Larry Golding Trio, even, and they'l be playing both traditional favourites and orginals.

Jeremy has more than 20 jazz albums to his name and his accolades include 30 years as a professional jazz musician, stretching from the unforgettable Montreux Jazz (Switzerland) in 1988 to the recent inaugural Singapore President’s Command Performance,” she in 2009.

He is also the first jazz musician to be bestowed the Lion City’s pinnacle award — the Cultural Medallion — for Arts Achievement in Singapore.
Besides leading a variety of jazz bands, he has played along the likes of Simon and Garfunkel, James Moody, Jimmy Cobb, Marian McPartland and Matt Monro, to name a few.

He has been listed as one of Singapore’s 50 most influential people and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufacturers and commerce in Britain under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth.

The four-night jazzganza is on from Wednesday, the 10th until Saturday, the 13th of June, and music is scheduled to kick off at 8pm. So, don't be late. And why not? It's cheaper than drinking in a coffee shop.

The first two evenings take off with Jose, accompanied by his son, drumeroo John Ashley and bazz wizard Rozhan Razman. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, we'll get to hear some Cream and Who-inspired performances.

The Groove J’Fest celebrations tonight will feature such local stars as Jose Thomas, Marco Alonso, Steve Thornton, Poova, Denise, DJ G’Traxx and other jazz greats.

Another star at the Groove Jfest will be DJ G’Traxx who spins from midnight till the party’s over.

Admission is at RM50 per head, inclusive of one drink. Groove Junction is located at 1-1, Jalan 24/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur.

For details, reservations, call 03-6201-8990 (bistro), 012-389-1389 (Joanne) or 012-207-7042 (Jennifer). For more information, log on to www.groovejunctionkl or email info@groove-junctionkl.com.

June 5, 2009

Dasha At No Black Tie

Dashing thru a score ... and more!

DASH LOGAN sounds like a man, doesn't it? Does it also get you thinking about someone related to Wolverine. Heck, no! Not even close. This is pretty young lady, none other than Dasha Logan, daughter of late Alleycat Loga, who passed away a couple of years ago.

We first got a taste of her kind of action, more than a year ago, when we checked out a Penang nightspot called Bagaan on Jalan Gottlieb on the island. The resident singer, that night, was someone by the name of Rozz, and man, did she take us on a trip with her totally re-arranged covers of bluesy ballads and hits from cabaret and Broadway.

Well, on that rather auspicious Friday night, someone came up to us and threw us a line: "If you think Rozz is good, stick around and listen to Dash." What, we went? Dash who? Dash what? And just who are you, brother?

The introducer beamed an arrogant confidence. Would Dash get up there, we wondered? "Yes," she smiled that sweet smile of hers, "but only if Rozz calls me, okay?"

Friends at the table grinned, pondering what our next move would be. So, lest we left without getting to hear this dashing young lady who hails from such strong musical roots, we decided to do what any music-loving patron worth his waxing ears would do. We penned up a request; not that any of this surprised the inimitable Rozz.

"Well, this gives me a break, doesn't it?" she feigned. "Let's have a drink."

Now, Dash Logan is very young. We kid you not. And what does she do when she gets behind the mike? The old Connie Francis hit, Stupid Cupid! I would have bet on Sheryl Crowe, Avril Lavigne, Beyonce Knowles, Alicia Keys or even Shania Twain, but no, she pulls off something that was written well before she was even a twinkle in an Alleycat's eye.

But, and this is a big one, she was good at it. Layered under those cheeky lyrics, Dash took Connie on a good old rock and roll trip. Now, here's some really good news for nightbirds in KL and PJ.

Dasha Logan is going to be at the Klang Valley's jazziest hotspot, No Black Tie, tonight and tomorrow, singing a mix of R&B, jazz, blues and more vervy genres, backed by the Adil Johan (saxophone) Quartet. Time: 10.30pm. Cover charge RM30.

Other acts at this great jazzspot include Tas Aw, Hishamuddin Rais, Clarissa Tan and Charlene Rajendran (Ceritaku@Readings on Sunday, 9pm; RM20), Dr Wan and Rendra Zawawi (Monday, RM20), Rachel Guerzo Trio (Tuesday and Saturday, RM30), Hunny Madu (Wednesday, RM35, inc. one EP), Xiong's Musica Popular Brazilera (Thursday, RM20) and Valtinho Anastacio's World Music Fusion (Friday, RM30).

No Black Tie (no smoking and yakking away in the music room!) also serves some very nice Japanese fusion food. For reservations, call (03) 2142 3737. For more info, visit www.noblacktie.com.my.

May 13, 2009

Strolling 'round your city, strolling 'round your town ...

Thanks to one we only know as "Anyonymous" this blog is from now on, going to focus on live bands, rather than live nighspots. Why? Because the people who make the nighspots happen are the performers. And to start your balls rolling, why not pick on what is arguably Malaysia's most famous recording band of the 70s - THE STROLLERS!

WOW! Did you ever think you'd hear that name again? The Strollers! They rocked the scene way back when Woodstock was a name we were familiar with. The band, formed in the mid-60s then comprised suave Michael Magness (vocals, organ), wild Nand Kumar (vocals, congas), quiet Billy Chang (bass guitar), not-so-quiet Hassan Idris (lead guitar) and Ramli, later replaced by Hussein Idris (drums) who would storm away on a wide drum set, regardless of his height. One remembers him at Stadium Negara concert at which he stood and stretched to crash his cymbals.

After hits like Silly Joke, Do What You Gotta Do, Just As I Am, Midday Sun and a much-awaited album, aptly entitled Waiting Is ..., the band broke up, leaving a multitude of fans in limbo, and over the years, Billy especially tried hard to keep the name alive and took a lineup that featured legendary Terry Thaddeus on guitar, along with singer Azman Warren and keyboardsman Richard Gomes all the way to Johore Baru.

After Terry passed away (but not because of it) the group disbanded again, and after quite a hiatus, we now have a lineup going by the name of The Strollers2, featuring only one old Stroller, namely Hussein idris on drums, Casper Tan on bass, Lord on keyboards, Desi on vocals and Nan on lead guitar.

Career-wise and Strollers aside, the members come from such revered names as Memories (Desi and Casper), Grim Preachers (Nan) and The Boys (Lord).

The big bonus in this quintet is that they all sing and thanks to this, the singing never gets stale. Where repertoire is concerned, you just have to hand it to them as they have more than 150 songs from the post-60s era on their list and this includes songs from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, CCR, Santana, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Elvis Presley, Santana, Rod Stewart, Bee Gees, Drifters, Van Morrison, Los Bravos, Animals and more.

With these guys playing five days a week, it really doesn't matter where you are; they're easy to find. For the moment, you can catch The Strollers2 at La Venue Cafe (42, Jalan USJ 1/1C, Subang Jaya) on Wednesday, Ol' Skool Bistro (Jalan Gasing, PJ) on Thursday, Backyard Pub (Jalan Sri Hartamas, Taman Sri Hartamas) on Saturday and Hard Rock Cafe (Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL) on Sunday. All shows start after 9.30pm.

For more info, you can visit the band's website at www.thestroller2.com.

Keep it live and flowing! To contact us, email themusicdetective@gmail.com

April 16, 2009

Well, its-a 1 for the money, 2 for the show, 3 to get ready ... now, go, CJ, go!

WHAT would you get if you put one of KL's hottest deejays, Sasi the Don, Malaysia's top country group Os Pombos and groovy latin rock specialist La Viva together? Why, the opening night of PJ's latest oasis - Ceejay's Place - located at 27-29 Jalan 11/2, its entrance just opposite University Hospital, Petaling Jaya, of course.
CeeJay's Place opens tomorrow (that's Friday April 17, 2009) and we hear that the action begins at whatever time you get there after work and the opening offer is three jugs of beer for the price of two at RM33 per jug, making it a cold RM66 for three jugs of the frothy and some pretty hot vindaloo to go with it.
Christopher Joseph who jukes the joint says that he's going to give every pubowner in PJ one for the money, two for the show once things get going.
The new joint will showcase live entertainment every night and so far, CeeJay's lights are on Carlsberg Top of the Pubs winners Pieces of April with Tom Rizal Jones on Sunday, Colin Jansen (Monday), Alvin Fletcher (Tuesday), Jason Noa’s Retro Edge (Wednesday), wild rockers Bala and and Jerry Felix (Thursday), Os Pombos (Friday), and a new setup called Jay’s Cee Band with Alvin (guitar), Clinton Fernandez (keyboards), Matthew Charles (bass) and Sivam (drums) on Saturday nights.
Other featured acts would include Lil’G from Raga Club Mix on Wednesdays and Thursdays, every week, and DJ Skeletor from the Hits FM Music division on Saturdays.
Pass the word around and stay tuned for more. If you need help for your gigs, email themusicdetective@gmail.com. Keep the music live!

April 15, 2009

Bards At The Yard

Malaysia's hottest Babba publican Jerry Chong was taken aback, some time ago, when he got an email from an Australian guitarist named Peter Dickson. Dickson, who was on his way to perform in India, had google-searced "live music pubs in Malaysia" and found the Backyard website (www.backyardpub.com) at the top of the list!
"Was just wondering if you have onstage for night on my way back to OzzieLand," was Dickson's humble request. Before he could 'Rolf Harris', the Backyard honchos - Jerry Chong and his entertainment director Edmund Anthony - said yes and had a band, spearheaded by Farid 'Mr Gambus' Ali formed to accompany him.
A well-placed notice in The Malay Mail got everyone's attention and the Backyard in Sri Hartamas was packed and rocking that night with quite an eclectic crowd.
That superb show will be repeated a little after nine, tonight, when Peter Dickson and Farid Ali are joined by just-back-from-Berklee bassist Rozhan Raman and wife Rie Tsuji on keyboards and Steve Jordan on drums.
That's quite a lineup. Rozhan was a highly sought-after bassist who cut his callouses and played some really great, high-chemistry gigs with drums doyen John thomas at high-flying jazz joints like Nishi's Place at Pantai Plaza, KL), Bangkok Jazz at Chulan Square, KL, and Groove Junction in Desa Sri Hartamas.
Steve Jordan on drums is the son of Malaysia's 'George Benson', Ananda Jordan Rivers, and he's been for some really rabble-rosuing solos.
Backyard Pub is located at Jalan Sri Hartamas 8, Taman Sri Hartamas, KL. The other acts during the week here are Raymond Cheah (Sunday), Mark Renesh (Monday), Gerard Singh and Simon Justin Leo (of Carefree fame, Tuesday), Amizan, Mark Felix and Simon (Wednesday), The Strollerz2 (Friday) and Bonga Bonga (Mark, Sherman Tan and Arab, Saturday).
Now, how's that for a live music lineup at what everyone says is Malaysia's most happening live music pub. For more info and reservations, call (03) 6201-0318, (012) 201-6333 or (017) 368-0644 or visit www.backyardpub.com
Keep the music live!

April 2, 2009

Talking about monsters! Try CeeJay's for size!

Well, apparently, it's gonna happen at 9.30pm, next Thursday, that's the 9th of April, at not-so-brand new CeeJay's, the nightspot formerly known as Crown Crystal Cafe on Jln 11/2, the road directly opposite University Hospital, Jalan University, PJ.

Waddya get when you take one really black bird always known as Bala (recogisable by his sparkling smile) and marry him to one bald wildman (or should that be a wild baldman) called Jerry Felix, this one recognisable by his worn and weary drumskins.

Why, a full-scale thunderstorm by an standards, of course. Call it by any name you like - whirlwind, tornado, tsunami, hurricane, earthquake, general election! - but what you get (for the price of a few beers or black drafts, mind you) at CeeJay's next Thursday is a band led by these dark-eyed, fire-breathing monsters.

Jerry and Bala are storm legends, each in own right. Jerry, who hails from from whoknowswhen, began his career drumming with The Falcons with bassist and conguero Jerry Ventura and some other young Indian fellows. After blowing Malaysia away, they headed west and conquered Europe where they stayed for many years and finally even sold the rights to the Falcons name before they returned and started performing here again for a few years.

Jerry then went on to further heights forming Made In Malaysia with Paul Ponnudorai and Allan Perera. Jerry also spearheaded a band that backed a high-spirited, precocious imp called Jac who went on to become Malaysian Idol Jaclyn Victor.

Bala, on the other hand, started his jig at an infamous hideout called Streets Connection before he was spotted by the Balachandran brothers who thought it would be a great idea to invest in a pub for the blackbird. It was and the said nightspot called Online still stands on Jln SS20/10, Damansara Kim, PJ.

After cashing in his chips, way back when, Bala flew to the Maldives and spent some years there entertaining everyone he could in his own, inimitable style, before making his kampung kumback.

CeeJay's, owned by Christopher Joseph, opened its doors last Friday, the 27th of March with young, upcoming rockstars Shoelace Untied, led by brothers Christopher Ross and Brendan James (sons of New Straits Times journalist Errol de Cruz) and Mark Poh on drums and Som Semm on guitars. Pretty mean, this group is, what with a repertoire that includes the Beatles, Coldplay, Creed, Elvis Presley, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joan Jett and Don McLean. Now, we're told that a singer named Amanda may soon turn this quart into a quintet.

Other featured acts are Pieces of April with Tom Rizal Jones (Sunday), Colin Janssen (Monday), Alvin Fletcher (Tuesday), Retro Edge (Wednesday), Os Pombos (Friday), and a new setup called Jay's Cee Band with Alvin (guitar), Clinton Fernandez (keyboards), Matthew Charles (bass) and Sivam (drums).

With this new nightspot up and running, the places that face stiff competition are Talking Heads (a few doors away) and CJ's old haunt, Ol' Skool Bistro (down the road across the highway on Jalan Gasing). Peeped into Talking Heads, some nights ago, and saw a lonely waiter practising pool and waiting for his apllication to CeeJay's to be processed.

Calvin Guneratne at the Jln Gasing hotspot is beefing up his lineup with top club circuit trio Albert, Vijay and Badar on Friday nights, replacing Os Pombos who're now relegated to the Wednesday slot, something CJ quickly took advantage of.

Albert is the consummate guitarist who, having developed his own style of playing bass, rhythm and lead guitar simultaneously, is also a great original vocalist. Vijay topped the Carlsberg pub contest, some years ago, with his soul-stirring vocals and not looked back since. Hism latest feather is a double-stint with ethnic fusion group AkashA at Backyard Pub and KLPaC, last month.

Badar is the long-standing percussionist who after some decades of honing his art is now AkashA's multi-percussionist and aspiring konnakoleiro.

Other acts at Ol' Skool Bistro are Vernon and Fats (Monday), Southerners (Tuesday), Strollers (Thursday), Zarsadeus Brothers (Saturday) and Small Stones (Sunday). The interesting here is that the Sunday band also has a veritable Tom Jones specialist in Thomas William who, besides gyrating like idol, also does some really great covers of the Eagles, Elvis, Engelbert and Frank Sinatra.

If you have interesting to add, please post your comments here or email themusicdetective@gmail.com.