Friday 30th December 2005
Comments or legal suits:

Compared to last year's manically exciting shows, this years edition is from the musican point of view a lacklustre affair.  The music is characterised by lack of originality, lack of tunefulness, lack of practically everything that makes music worth listening to.  It also seems to be stuck in a time bubble - after all the Beastie Boys are more than 10 years old in star-terms.   But it's so easy to do that - you don't need to be able to sing, or play an instrument - you can just get up on stage, cavort or strut about, shout and declaim to the audience, so fast no-one can understand a word.  Either that or you do imitations of Hendrix, the Who or Led Zeppelin (more than 30 years old).   The teenage girls, probably weak on Rock and Pop History, who have obviously been instructed  to stand in front and smile sexilly, shreik and wiggle around to get that testosterone going in the groups on stage (almost all of which are male - about 95 per cent).

Even when the lead singer sings grossly off key, the band is hailed and cheered and the two judges don't even mention it (I suppose having one's face decorated with macabre and hideous make-up, or having waist length dreads or jumping about the stage like a monkey on amphetamines is seen as fitting compensation for a woeful lack of musical ability or taste or vocal skill).  To cap it all hardly any of the compositions were original - just rather low-grade rehashes of tired and boring material from - yes, you've guessed it - the Radio Top Forties.  And to make matters worse the sound balance was uneven, so that guitars and front line instruments were weak, while vocals were over-strong (I am told it was the opposite inside the auditorium - the vocals could hardly be heard).

After forcing myself to sit through this half-hour show which was the culinary equivalent of munching through cardboard spread with marmalade (I was even longing for the non-existent advertisement breaks) with the VJs making a heroic effort to gloss the thing up to look and sound credible, and the judges trying not to hurt anyone's feelings (although the following week Jakeman and Acis were a bit more honest and forthright) I am asking myself - is this REALLY all that Malaysia or even Klang Valley can offer in the way of TALENT?  I mean I can go into Paul's Place or Jam Asia any weekend and have a really fine musical experience listening to bands that not only can REALLY PLAY (with a sound system that is full and satisfying) but also have that original touch - they can actually play something that is not just a copy.   So all you guys out there why don't you enter for this Blast Off and make it a credible entertainment?  What the F*** are you waiting for?  After all it's prime time TV - this is your chance to shine.

Seriously though, although some individuals in the competing bands certainly have musical confidence and skill, the genres and the cover material they choose is hardly worth listening to - without the acrobatic vocals of a Beyonce or Usher and the tricks of a top American producer the songs -if you can call them that are quite arid and jejune.  But then listen to "Girl" last year's gem by winners Frequency Cannon and you realise how good the homegrown can be.  But one thing that made this otherwise tedious succession of musical insipidity into a show that was pleasant to watch was the VJs - Ean, Mariam and Bel - what lovely personalities and how skillfully and charmingly they conducted the whole event.  Blast Off as a show was very well produced with good continuity and ran smoothly so that the musical dullness and imperfections were not so important as perhaps they should have been.