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Rumkicks kick off Indonesia tour with a spectacularly short gig!

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Holy smokes! The all-girl South Korean punk band the Rumkicks are doing an Indonesian tour! And their first gig is at Star Kemang in Jakarta!  WTF! This is quite a coup for the owner Mark as overseas bands very seldom tour Indonesia (can you imagine the bureaucratic issues that need to be overcome?).  I’d never seen a punk gig in Indonesia. So there was no fucking way I was gonna miss this one. The Rumkicks are pretty popular too. They recently toured the UK and have featured in the legendary British music rag, the NME. They even sell their tunes on Bandcamp to reach an international audience. The punk community in Indonesia, while not large, is very close. So news of this gig was going to spread like wildfire, that’s for sure. There was gonna be a big crowd. We’d have to get their early. The promotional poster for the gig features a trio of bands, led by the Rumkicks of course, supported by a couple of Indonesian bands: The Desire and the delightfully named Glen & The Vicious Boys

Appetite for destruction?

Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games  We got everything you want, honey, we know the names Dragged back into the past, yet again, at Star. This time a Guns and Roses tribute band that played and looked the part (see videos below). With a few beers inside me, the music evoked memories of my travels to Indonesia back in the late 80s/early 90s, particularly Surabaya and Jogjakarta where the songs off the band’s brilliant first album (Appetite for Destruction: a misogynistic masterpiece) were being played in tourist cafes and eateries, and even once, I remember, in a sleazy discotheque where the crowd went absolutely mental to Sweet Child of Mine (what else?)  But time has moved on of course. And not far away at the nation’s parliament, Indonesian lawmakers - much to the consternation of foreign observers – have just taken the decision to outlaw intimate relations between non-married couples. Watch out tourists! You may be banged up for banging! That seemed to be the concern. Howeve

Mount Tambora

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.  The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars  Did wander darkling in the eternal space…   >Lord Byron   No worries about global warming back in the day. Just one year after the famous eruption of Tambora in 1815 and candles were being lit at lunchtime in Europe and temperatures were plummeting to such an extent that harvests failed and there were frosts in July and August! The so-called ‘year without a summer’.  To put the eruption in perspective, it was according to a United States Geological Survey, 100 times the size of the Mont St Helens eruption. The Tambora eruption is also thought to be the loudest sound ever heard by a human being and was recorded as being heard in Sumatra, more than 2,000 km away.  So just imagine if such an eruption were to take place now. Greta Thunberg would be without a job. She may even change tact and become an ambassador for global cooling advocacy. Who knows right? Such a possibility is hardly out of the

Rama Satria – well you won’t see anything else like that in Jakarta, says Mark

“Well, you ain’t gonna see anything else like that in Jakarta,” claimed Mark, the owner of New Star Kemang. He was talking about the performance of Rama Satria, the virtuoso Indonesian blues guitarist who had just played at his small bar on Kemang high street. This was electric blues at its finest – and rawest. Loud but not deafening, Rama played as if he had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for some of the meanest and most exhilarating guitar licks you will ever hear. Or maybe Satan had just done Rama a favour by retuning his guitar before giving it back to him? I guess we’ll never know. This was exhilarating stuff and I particularly enjoyed Rama’s rendition of Canned Heat’s 1968 classic ‘On the Road Again’. But Rama doesn’t really perform songs. He jams. This, of course, allows for plenty of experimentation and onstage antics – is he really playing the guitar with his tongue? It appears so. Check for yourself on the second video below! Rama has the poise and gait of a real ro

Gugun blows away the crowd at New Star Kemang

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Gugun and his band at New Star Kemang Surprises spring up at the most unlikely of times and I have to be honest here – I was not expecting that! So many thanks to Mark at New Star Kemang for arranging this amazing gig by the blues maestro Gugun! This venue – if you have never been here – is small and intimate and it was such a privilege to be here as Gugun and his close-knit band mesmerized the audience with their set of blues rock classics by bands such as Deep Purple and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Good music never goes out of fashion of course, but it’s still great to know that in this technological era sullied by crass commercialism and short attention spans, these old classics are still finding the light of day. Gugun really is a great guitar player. I don’t really have any recollection about where I was that night. His music just sucked you in, demanding your entire attention, and then the next thing you know a couple of hours have passed you by. Wonderful stuff! For more inform

Image of the day (11): Kerokan

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This isn't gonna hurt… much… Well, not too much… but rather a lot… Arggggggg!!!!!! Oh the joys of having your back lacerated with a coin smeared with telon oil. Not that I had any option. Because failure to have had my masuk angin (general feeling of sickness from catching a cold) promptly treated would have been extremely dangerous and potentially put me at risk of death. Or so I was told. But does the treatment actually work? Well, who knows? I’m still alive after all. And I do feel better.   Rather this than western drugs I say: half of which are at best useless and potentially even harmful. And you don’t get the bragging rights to say you survived the agony with a nice photo to boot…

Oasis aka Magicpie @ New Star Kemang

Oasis live on! Well at least in Jakarta they do where they have emerged as a tribute band called Magicpie . They’re not quite as popular as they were mind you: there were maybe 30 punters packed into a tight and dark bar in downtown Kemang – a far cry from the huge stadiums they used to sell out. Not that this is a bad thing of course. In fact, I love small venues: You can actually see the band! And get a beer of course. I’ve always loved Oasis and their rousing tunes. "What’s the story morning Glory" "Slide away" "Stand by me" These are songs even I can sing along to. How good were the Indonesian tribute band? Well, very good indeed. Check out the New Star Instagram account to see if/when they will be playing again. And you too can be transported back to the 90s once again…