Indies of Malaysia, unite!

Event: Voice Independent Music Awards 2008
Date: January 17, 2009 (Saturday)
Venue: Titanium Club, Phileo Damansara

Well, Malaysia has done it. We have gone out and got ourselves the first Indie music awards show. Ever.

I have my doubts about awards show for a very long time now, and more often than not, a lot of musicians who do not deserve it have walked away with way too many awards to fill their shelves. But I thought it was real sweet of the people at Voize.my to come up with something like this to acknowledge the hidden talents in Malaysia.

So, I decided to spare myself of another Saturday night at home having a Friends marathon, found my way to Titanium Club to attend the VIMA 2008 – although it clearly is already 2009 – and see what the fuss was all about.

Till last Saturday, Titanium Club has been – what I thought would be – a dingy club with overexposed China girls serving watered down beer to old businessmen finding more reasons to stay away from home where their nag of a wife is.

But it turned out to be quite an appropriate venue for an indie-style awards show: there was a sizable stage up front, where all the performances would be; there was a makeshift podium set up at the front of that for the hosts to present the performers and award-presenters; and also seating areas at the back as well as upstairs.

The 2008 VIMA was an invite-only event, with less than 1,000 guests and musicians attending. I guess they could do with more than that size of a crowd. Because as the event proceeded, I found the venue quite roomy and it sort of killed the atmosphere of an awards show, indie or not.

The barred area at the front of the stage where the podiums were could be an awesome crowd working spot. Fans of the bands could be there enjoying the show like they would at a concert, and they could have pumped so much more livelihood to the event as well. Because when it comes down to it, an awards show is just like a music festival of sorts, with intermissions where people give out awards.

There were a bunch of performers for the night.

There was the Curtis Blues Review with their song Stay With Me.

They managed to bag the second placing for Best Rock Group. One Buck Short was first.

The sensual trio Luscious, third place winners for Best Pop Song with Khabarkan.

Pop Shuvit. Moots saying hey to me. Either that, or he was flipping me off. Heh.

The Deja Voodoo Spells. With the bassist headbanging so hard I swear he was attempting to throw his head off from his body.

The band won a few awards themselves: Rithan won Best Rock Vocalist (first placing), and the mother of all awards that night – Best Freaking Act of the Year.

There was also Paku.

The darling Liyana and Estrella.

Estrella won the most awards that night. They won first placing in Best Pop Song for Stay, and first placing in Best Pop Group – with Pure Vibracion and Radiostar following close behind respectively. Liyana herself got a couple of awards too; second placing for Best Pop Vocalist and first placing in Best Female Vocalist.

The Pure Vibracion. Bob Marley would have been proud.

Melissa Indot and Kraft performing the Best Collaboration Song, Starlight.

And many more.

To me, the 2008 VIMA was fun at some point because it felt like I was at an indie performance show with some of the best acts out there. As mentioned before, I have always been interested to find out more about the indie music scene in Malaysia and I thought VIMA was a pretty good way to go.

Voize.my has also taken this opportunity to give out some Hall of Fame awards to some of the known names in Malaysia that has made a big impact in the Malaysian indie scene.

First Hall of Fame inductee was Ahmad Izham Omar, who has come a long way in breathing life to the industry. He is the CEO of 8tv, founder of Monkey Bone Records and head of Media Prima Radio Networks. He is also the former owner of Positive Tone and has put fame into the lives of such musicians like Too Phat, Poetic Ammo and OAG.

Presenting the award to him was Radhi of OAG, whom also got himself a Hall of Fame award too. Radhi’s son was probably too young to even know he was already part of something so historical. Heh.

Another Hall of Famer was Jason Lo, Malaysia’s own singer/producer/DJ/entrepreneur extraordinaire. He is responsible for the oh so popular 90s song Evening News, Fat Boys Records, home to local acts like Disagree and Single Tracked Mind, and probably the best Malaysian made music festival thus far, Rock the World.

Other Hall of Fame inductees included Jakeman of Hitz.fm and Butterfingers.

There were people giving out awards.

There were people waiting to receive their awards.

And there were people winning awards.

It was a darn long night, if you tell me. And standing around with many chairs to sit on did not help much as well. Even though they were rushing through the event by not having the winners give speeches, and with musicians performing for merely about 5 minutes each set, the night seemed to drag on anyway.

It probably has something to do with all the waiting around. 2008 VIMA was quite unorganised for me. You can call out to the nominees, winners, performers and presenters to stay near the stage area whenever their turn is up, it would still be right to have a group of staff to oversee that the show goes swimmingly.

Also, it would not hurt to design some formal nominees envelopes for the event. The simple white envelopes seemed, well, tacky. You have gone all the way to making an awards show already, the envelopes would not be such a big problem after that, don’t you think?

There was also a Cosplay sketch going on, which I thought was pretty out of the blue. Richard Augustin was about to present an award here and out of nowhere Deathwish swung by and asked him some shit about death, which we could not hear without his microphone. Richard had on a ‘wtf’ look and was pretty much thinking, “dude, I’m just here to present an award, leave me alone.” Heh.

No offence to all the Cosplay fan out there, but I thought we could pretty much do without the sketches. The acts were not funny, we could hardly hear what they were saying half of the time and the kiss between Deathwish and Black Queen was just some way to get the crowd’s attention, which sort of backfired.

Perhaps a more interesting non-music entertainment next year, guys?

Also, three pee breaks were not necessary. If I want to go pee, I will just. Go. There was already a lot of waiting around throughout the show and the pee breaks were just more unneeded waiting around.

Overall, it was a pretty good attempt to have something like this in Malaysia. I did enjoy the performances and I am happy to see hardworkers getting awards finally. However, as an awards show, much is needed to work on. So, I do hope after this post I am still invited to the show next year. Heh. Because when it comes down to it, I am just an observant music fan who just wants to enjoy some good music.

Good job, Voize and hope to see the 2009 VIMA to be bigger and better.

Also seen on VM @ Travel Talk.

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