Khamis, 26 September 2013

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Hot K-Pop acts in Singapore


The neighbouring country will soon be playing host to the 2013 MBC Korean Music Wave concert.

K-Pop's hottest acts will land in Singapore this November for the unprecedented 2013 MBC Korean Music Wave concert.

It will be the largest ever multi-act K-Pop concert on the island republic with more than 75 K-Pop artistes rocking the same stage in a single night.

There will be more than 13 A-list K-Pop acts performing live at the event and also some special guests (which will be announced soon). So far, confirmed acts include SHINee, Teen Top, B1A4, B.A.P., 2PM, 2AM, FT Island, EXO, IU, Sistar, Kara, Miss A and 4Minute.

The music festival is jointly organised by one of South Korea's biggest broadcasters, Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), and the Singapore-based Fatfish Entertainment.

With MBC as co-producer, K-pop music lovers can expect exceptionally elaborate stage designs and AV systems backing their favourite K-Pop stars.

The 2013 MBC Korean Music Wave concert is set to play at The Meadow, Gardens By The Bay, Singapore on Nov 16 at 7pm. Concert tickets are available via and are priced from S$168 (RM403) to S$688 (RM1,651).

The Super VIP Experience Pack was sold out within 12 hours of the ticket launch, so book yours early to avoid disappointment.

For details, visit


Mr Brightside


The Killers' drummer opens up about the band's latest album and his doppelganger.

WHEN The Killers take the stage for its highly-anticipated gig at the Sepang International Circuit in Selangor tomorrow, all eyes will be on charismatic vocalist Brandon Flowers and guitarist Dave Keuning. Then, most likely, bassist Mark Stoermer. It's easy for most people to forget about the drummer since he's often positioned right behind the lead singer. But, you might want to pay attention to drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr.

"You know, it's hard to not sound like a car salesman. We're going to pour sweat (and blood) to hopefully end up with a show where everybody is enjoying themselves," said Vannucci, 37, in a phone interview from Los Angeles, California early this week.

For the affable drummer, playing for thousands of fans live is akin to being in combat. "It's a dogfight (laughs). I'm trying to think about the music, but at the same time, I don't want to overthink it. I want to enjoy the process. It's like making love! When you think too much about what to do, it's no longer fun."

Vannucci also said the band has a new pre-show ritual. Previously, he said the band gets together and "huddle" before a show. It was explained as a "manlier version of cuddling."

"A couple of weeks ago, our friend Michael Valentine left us a voice message. So, we played it and he had recorded a rap song for us. Now, we just listen to it to get ourselves pumped before a show." Prior to joining The Killers, Vannucci was in a band called Romance Fantasy with Valentine.

For its latest album Battle Born, The Killers collaborated with a number of noted music producers, including Brendan O'Brien, Steven Lillywhite and Stuart Price. Interestingly, Price has also worked with British rock band New Order. The Killers got its band name from a music video of New Order's single Crystal.

Vannucci tried to play it cool when we asked him about what it's like working with someone who had a connection to one of their major musical influences. "No, it was not stressful at all. Yeah, at first, we thought it's going to be a nerve-wracking experience but then, we got to work in the studio and everything was alright. It was interesting!"

Later, he admitted: "Okay, it was actually quite stressful (laughs)."

The pressure was also on for The Killers to come up with music together again after a long hiatus. "Working with different producers has definitely helped us to bring our A-game to the music-making process. It gave us the direction we needed after not playing together for so long. We're really happy with the end result."

With the success of hit singles Runaway, Miss Atomic Bomb and Here With Me; Vannucci also described Battle Born as "the band's return to form".

Formed in 2001, The Killers' debut album Hot Fuss sold over seven million copies worldwide and was even nominated for Best Rock Album at the Grammy Awards in 2005. The album also spawned hit singles Somebody Told Me, Mr Brightside and All These Thing That I've Done.

The Killers will be releasing Direct Hits on Nov 11. The greatest hits compilation album features some of The Killers' best tracks including new single Shot At The Night, produced by French electronic duo M83.

"It's part of our contractual obligation to come up with a greatest hits album after a certain period of time (laughs). It's fun to be able to look back at what we've done for the past 10 years." When The Killers took a hiatus in 2008, Vannucci went on to form project band Big Talk.

"Yeah, during the break, I just kept on making music. For a long time, I didn't have anyone to play with. So, I called up a good friend of mine and said 'Hey man, do you want to come play the guitar and we can maybe make a band?' That was it."

Big Talk was formed in 2010 with Vannucci on vocals/guitar and Taylor Milne as lead guitarist. Later in 2011, Big Talk's self-titled debut album was released with singles Replica and Big Eye.

"The experience was a lot of fun and it taught me to really push myself as a musician. In fact, I'll do it again when The Killers go on another break."

He is eyeing a meeting with My Name Is Earl star Jason Lee in the future. Vannucci is aware that fans on the Internet have talked about his likeness to Lee. With a laugh, Vannucci said: "We have never met each other! Don't know why it didn't happen sooner! Which is a funny thing because we have mutual friends who said the same thing about us."

Vannucci only has nice things to say about his famous doppelganger, "Well yeah, he's a handsome guy."

Local rock outfit Kyoto Protocol will be the opening act for The Killers' concert at Helipad, Sepang International Circuit in Selangor tomorrow. Gates open at 7pm. Presented by Future Sound Asia, tickets are priced RM238 and RM358, and available at selected Rock Corner outlets in the Klang Valley or online at For more info, visit

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The Killers' runaway dream

Siti Nurhaliza keeps the sweetest tradition


Datuk Siti Nurhaliza packed out Istana Budaya with a songlist that defined her heritage.

SPECTACLE. That was the word came to mind while watching pop queen Datuk Siti Nurhaliza on stage in her long-awaited Konsert Lentera Timur last Friday.

Granted, that I was a bit worried prior to the concert. Let's face it: A two-hour concert of traditional songs was a daunting proposition. But for a solid two-hour show, the audience who packed Panggung Sari in Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur were literally spellbound with the performances by Siti who was backed the Malaysian Traditional Orchestra (OTM). This writer was mesmerised too.

The opening number Sendayung Pakyong, a mak yong number, was a perfect opening for the memorable night. It was nicely followed by Ala Dondeng.

With her signature smile and charm, Siti worked the crowd from the start. She might have been far away from her pop songbook, but this 34-year-old star knew how to celebrate her roots – traditional Malay music. She lovingly brought her childhood music back to the stage.

You could just imagine Siti picking up some of these traditional classics in Kampung Awah, a small village in Temerloh, Pahang, where she grew up.

On stage at Istana Budaya, she had her own popular traditional numbers to roll out. Nirmala, a zapin-influenced song, which was then followed by Kurik Kundi, brought out the cheers. Both songs were immensely popular among her fans. They were taken from Siti's traditional album entitled Sanggar Mustika, which was released in 2002.

In her 18-year career, Siti has kept traditional Malay music close to her heart. Apart from the acclaimed Lentera Timur and Sanggar Mustika albums, Siti also released two other traditional albums Cindai and Sahmura.

Whether her pop or traditional music persona, there was one thing obvious about Siti in her concerts. Every little gesture from her would draw thunderous applause. Whatever Siti did on the stage, the audience just lapped it all up. Siti was in a playful mood as she used a sumpit (blowpipe) to pop a balloon.

"Can you guys guess how long it took me to practise this? Too long, I can tell you!" she said with a laugh.

Looking as resplendent as ever, Siti revealed that she had been waiting for a long time to stage a traditional concert.

Her next song Bunga Melor, a classic composed by the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee, was her tribute to her late father, who had always told her that the lyrics of the song reminded him of her. "I used to wonder why he said that, but now, looking at the lyrics, I think I understand why," explained Siti.

The gorgeous music continued with an asli number called Patah Hati, which led to two more gems in Janji and Kau Pergi Tanpa Pesan.

A keroncong number Jangan Ditanya, popularised by Kartina Dahari, managed to get the crowd swaying in their seats.

Of course, you also needed some party tunes to get Istana Budaya in a groove. A medley of joget numbers such as Masri Manis, Kaparinyo, Sulam Sembilan, Bulan Yang Mesra, Empat Dara and Hati Kama got the job done.

Elsewhere, Siti's first guest for the night was a dikir barat group Dikir Arjuna Sukma, which performed Dikir Timur, and the crowd kept on laughing when Siti joined them on an impromptu track, which involved a lot of bantering done in both Kelantanese and Pahang dialects.

To further entertain, Siti's next guest for the night was veteran singer Datuk M. Daud Kilau who performed Cek Mek Molek and Laksamana Raja Di Laut. And Siti just knew how to please her fans when she performed her popular pop number Biarlah Rahsia in a traditional arrangement.

If you have been following Siti and her musical career since the beginning, there has been one collaborator responsible for most of her popular hits over the years, especially the traditional songs. He is none other that the award-winning composer-songwriter Pak Ngah, whose real name is Datuk Suhaimi Mohd Zain.

And for the night, much to the delights of the fans, Pak Ngah performed Rampaianku in a solo segment before Siti joined him on stage to deliver Damak, Balqis, Ya Maulai and Cindai.

The concert was co-produced by Istana Budaya and Siti Nurhaliza Productions (SNP) Sdn Bhd with two leading musical directors – Aubrey Suwito and Mohd Yazid Zakaria from OTM.


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