Rock the World 6           
by Peter Hassan Brown 
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Rock the World 6 was on the face of it fairly predictable, since the venue and the organisation was the same as last year (but it went more smoothely and more professionally this time round).  Within the Stadium there was a welcome freedom of movement, a lack of “heavy” presence, plenty of food and drink at reasonable prices, merchandise, including somewhere where folk like us from Lemang Music can sell our albums without any charge (thanks guys from Fat Boys we really appreciate that) and everyone friendly, affable and having fun.

As far as the program was concerned there was the usual glaring absence of bands with female members (eg. Lucy in the Loo, Oddity, Klux Klux Adventure, O-Drive, Tempered Mental).  Also Love Me Butch, Estranged and Dragon Red - both with new albums out - were a regretful omission.

Cosmic Funk Express started the show off more or less on time with a display of guitar, bass and drum prowess that set the tone for the evening.  Then there was the redoubtable Frequency Cannon who did a great set though they could dispense with all that gila-gila stuff on stage - their music is good enough to stand up alone without the rather boring (for me) entertainment antics.  

However the daylight section failed to lift the show off the ground - there was no repeat of the incandescent sets of last year from Roots & Boots and Republic of Brickfields.  Deja Voodoo and Disagree were disappointing - though this was probably to do with the poor sound quality.  One could hardly hear Zahid's vocals, the bass was not coming through, and the snare sounded so thin like an air pistol going off.  The sound got better later in the evening but even so how come it takes those who call themselves experts in this field so long to adjust levels and E.Q.s?

My general recollection (the day after - admittedly one gets punch-drunk after a couple of hours of real loudness) is of the overall shallowness and mediocrity of the music - nothing to work the Sodium Laureth Sulphate in you into a real foam - nothing to get caught up in - although there were the occasional Peaks, such as Furniture, which although a little weak on the vocal side, added poignancy to poignancy with their especially fine last number;  Lo who performed a stunning and powerful set with ace musicianship which should set an example to us all; and Malaysia's answer to Radiohead Seven Collar T-Shirt, who although they seem to be venturing down the parlous path of sound gimmicks, still have that combination of exquisite songs beautifully and originally arranged and a vocalist who really knows how to sing.  Other bands worth mentioning were The Times, with a creditable set and the reggaeish  ingenuity of Gerhana Ska Cinta (but do for heavens sake drop that awful pop mush “My Boy Lollipop” It's not even original, and there's no place for it in a Rock The World!)

Otherwise the bands seemed to be a mixture of “driving pop” where you have a song that is not very interesting sung by an inept vocalist and think that you can create real rock by adding this pounding four-four beat, and the really heavy stuff,  the best example of which that evening was Cassandra whose musicianship and performance organisation was quite extraordinary.  But it was overwhelming savagery right from beginning to end.  I know I'm an old Fogey, a rock backwoodsman quite out of touch with the now music, but I come to a rock show to be moved deep down, I want my feelings good and bad to be ignited.  I don't come to be savaged - music is more effective I feel if you have some highs and lows, some soft parts and hard parts.

So that's all there is to it really.  Except that next time do provide some chairs or benches in the artist's enclosure so this poor old aging raver can sit down for a bit now and again.  And do ask the authorities to provide somewhere decent for the Muslim girls to do wudu, and in general for the women to wash themselves after their toilet - some running water wouldn't come amiss, especially since the men/boys were quite adequately served in this respect.