Rabu, 25 September 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

The Killers' runaway dreams


The Killers took fans on a joy ride in Sepang, Selangor.

AMERICAN indie rock act The Killers delivered an amazing show at the Sepang International Circuit in Selangor on Sunday night in what may possibly be the best concert on Malaysian shores this year.

This gig had been a long time coming for music fans, as The Killers is regarded as one of the major names from the indie music revival in the last 10 years.

In the flesh, frontman Brandon Flowers' signature croon hit all the right notes as he took the crowd on an emotional rollercoaster ride, from the uplifting Human to the sinister and oh-so-popular Mr Brightside; navigating bittersweet hooks and catchy choruses with style and confidence.

Flowers, complete with leather jacket (which he took off after the first tune) and Las Vegas showbiz slickness, was in the mood to party in Sepang.

Not many international rock bands would have attracted a crowd to Sepang on a Sunday night – but The Killers proved it could hold its own with a headlining show. According to promoters Future Sound Asia, the attendance for The Killers show was close to 7,000, which featured a mix of young college-going fans and an older rock crowd.

As expected, Flowers was the life of the party. The 37-year-old vocalist was backed up by Dave Keuning on guitar, Ronnie Vannucci Jr on the drums and Jake Blanton filling in for Mark Stoermer on the bass, while the latter recovers from a back injury.

Although the setlist missed a couple of the stronger songs from 2012's studio album Battle Born such as Miss Atomic Bomb (commonly dubbed as a sequel to the iconic Mr Brightside) and title track Battle Born, The Killers delivered a consistently excellent set that had fans dancing and singing along at the outdoor venue.

The Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr powering the show with his propulsive force.

The Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr powering the show with his robust rhythm and groove.

Crowd-pleasers on the night included the evocative Runaways, the nostalgic and beautiful A Dustland Fairytale and of course, the anthemic All These Things I've Done of "I got soul but I'm not a soldier" fame. With four albums to its name, The Killers had enough material to keep the fans going.

Driven by tunes mostly inspired by the band's hometown Las Vegas – with themes of redemption, lust, sin, love and desert other-worldliness – and more, The Killers' music made an epic connection here. Also encouraging the crowd to sing along was the curiously optimistic The Way It Was and the gorgeous tingling Spaceman.

Brandon, as ringleader on stage, engaged with the audience in his straightforward, quick-witted manner – no waffling here and with just the right amount of friendliness.

Instead of the usual boring Malay phrases visiting bands like repeating – "selamat petang, terima kasih" – Brandon repeated Kuala Lumpur's motto "maju dan makmur" to thunderous applause.

The Killers also performed two covers in a set that ran nearly two hours – a catchy rendition of I Think We're Alone Now, originally sung by Tommy James and the Shondells, but made popular by 1980s teen pop icon Tiffany, as well as Shadowplay from Brit legends Joy Division, which lent a moody vibe to the concert.

The band also obliged its adoring audience with a three-song encore: This Is Your Life, the bleak Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine and the magnificent When You Were Young.

Screaming along to Human, jumping in time to Mr Brightside, swaying to an atmospherically delicate Read My Mind – fans were hoarse by the end of a show. The setlist also included Smile Like You Mean It, Bling, For Reasons Unknown, and From Here On Out.

With so many major names playing in Malaysia recently (Guns 'n' Roses, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins), it was good to see that The Killers made its first concert visit here matter.

"I was devastated when The Killers cancelled their concert (in Singapore) in 2010, so I prayed they would come back. Now that they have did, I feel like I've accomplished a lifelong mission. I've been to many live shows but that was the best concert I've ever been to!" said writer Joe K, 27, who was thrilled to catch one of his favourite bands live.

Student Sanjeev Ganesan, 30, thought Brandon Flowers was "amazing."

"The show was really tight and Brandon didn't waste loads of time talking. His voice was great."

Related story:

Mr Brightside

Anirudh Ravichander is a new age tunesmith


It seems unfair, but hotshot composer Anirudh Ravichander is the embodiment of talent, good looks and niceness.

MENTION the name Anirudh Ravichander and it might not instantly ring a bell in the Indian community (unless you are aged 20-something and below). But know his name, people, as at nearly 23, he is the youngest professional music composer in India today.

Some might abhor the fact that Anirudh has had a helping hand to break into the music business, a celebrity helping hand. No less – his cousin Aishwarya (not to be mistaken for Aishwarya Rai!) is the daughter of superstar Rajni Kanth and is also the wife of current top actor Dhanush. Most importantly, she is also the director of the film 3, for which Anirudh was tasked to compose the music.

But forget the nepotism, because Anirudh made good the opportunity he was served. And it's not like Anirudh is an untrained accidental success. He learnt classical piano from Trinity College of Music, London and also learnt South India's carnatic music. In fact, he was even part of a carnatic fusion band, honing his skills while waiting for his big break.

While 3 stumbled at the box office, the soundtrack was a hit. Anirudh's signature tune Why This Kolaveri Di went viral and became the monster hit of 2012, charting over 71 million views on YouTube currently. At the time the music for 3 was composed, Anirudh, who says he's been composing since he was 10, was nearly 20.

The singer-songwriter-composer was in Kuala Lumpur recently as the main headliner of the inaugural Indian Music Showdown (IMS) concert held on Sept 14. For four hours, Anirudh, Andrea Jeremiah, Naresh Iyer and a flock of Malaysian Indian rappers/hip-hop talents like OG Dass, Kash Villanz, S.L.Y. Squad, No Entry, Viveck Ji and Shantra turned Life Centre into Ibiza with their thump thumping music.

Anirudh revealed that there was no strategy for Kolaveri to become the international hit it ended up being. "We just wanted Kolaveri to become popular in Chennai, that's all," said the humble star during a recent interview.

So, where does someone so young get his inspiration from? "I get inspired by things in daily life – happy mood and I compose a happy song, sad situation and it'll be a sad song," to which I jump right in and ask if his personal preference is a happy or sad tune. For someone who constantly comes up with fast-paced dance numbers, I was surprised to hear that Anirudh leans more to "melodious songs" (a term used in India to describe ballads). To keep himself inspired and open to other music, Anirudh listens to a wide array of musicians, including Daft Punk and Macklemore currently.

Anirudh launched the single Chennai City Gangsta, featuring British rapper Hard Kaur, from the upcoming film Vanakkam Chennai, on YouTube on Sept 20. "Music is like an ocean with so many singers and so many talents, and change is constant," said the enthusiastic collaborator. Anirudh also assured that he would sign on Malaysian talents for his upcoming projects.

With his musical training, frequent collaborations and steely determination to one up his previous success, Anirudh has all the right makings to become a superstar composer of international calibre. While waiting for that to happen, take a listen to the multi-hyphenate's hits like Ethir Neechal, Why This Kolaveri Di, Boomi Enna Soothudhe and more.

*Pick up a copy of Galaxie's Oct 1-16 issue for a review on the Indian Music Showdown 2013.

Will you pick cash over a mystery gift?


Red FM announcers weigh in on 'Watchu Want Now', the easiest competition on the airwaves.

Red FM's Watchu Want Now competition breaks it down to one easy question - money or the box! The cue to call happens five times a day. When you hear the announcers give the cue, call 03-7728 1049 and answer one simple trivia question. Get the answer correct and you can pick either the cash or

the secret gift in the box.

What's in the box is a guaranteed surprise; it could be a holiday package, a spa session or a high tech new gadget. So, which would you pick if given the choice? Four Red FM announcers were posed this question and here are their answers.

Jeremy from The Red Rave (Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 2pm)

"Always pick the box! If the money is not something that will make you stop and go "Whoa!" then pick the box. With the box, you can walk away with something really cool! Everybody can win money but not everybody can get what's in the box. Because even if the box contains a pair of socks from JJ, you will have a great story to tell. Here's a tip: Brush up on your general knowledge as it helps with the first part of the competition."

Adam from The Red Rush (Mondays to Fridays, 5pm to 8pm)

"If it's lower than RM250, go for the box. I think it's worth the risk to opt for the box. Personally, if it's a higher amount I'll probably go for the cash. Depending on the amount, I would pay my bills or buy myself a couple of video games especially with GTA 5 coming out soon or maybe the new Spurs away kit."

Azura from The Red Fix (Mondays to Fridays, 8pm to 12am)

"I say choose the box because you got to live life on the edge. If you are really young, take the money because you need it. But if you are working, pick the box. One of the contestants during our show won herself an iPad mini by choosing the box . If I had to take the money, I'd treat myself to all the goodies that can be bought at Sephora."

Terry from The Red Fix (Mondays to Fridays, 8pm to 12am)

"I always encourage the winners on-air to take the money to be safe but if it was me I'd choose the box. The thought of losing out on an iPad mini or a nice holiday would just be too much to handle. I would have to take the box. I'd just have to. The temptation would be too great. Yes, I'm weak that way, don't judge me. I have issues."

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