The craziness continues in Kuala Lumpur as my fourth year of musical madness spreads its wings and reaps its harvest. Last night I had a gig to perform that was booked at the last minute the night before for the Doppel Kafe in the Central Market Annexe. Only problem I realized once I got there covered in sweat head to foot from running and pushing things to the limit was that there was no one present. I mean, no spectators, the kafe was empty – except for the two waiters.
Do I care? No, I got on the great looking stage, plugged into the Bose sound column – a fabulous thing – and I played three songs. I got off the stage to have another of the five beers I had ordered upon arrival, and the waiters asked me, please, for an encore! So I played a fourth song. I loved the stage, loved the sound system, and loved the idea that I would singing to an empty room in what was otherwise a very cool looking arts cafe.
Then a phone call came from the person who so kindly booked me at the last minute, and it turned out that not even she could show up! Well, I have my limits. So I asked the waiters to pack up my beers in a bag and I headed as fast as I could over to the Backyard Pub, where I had played the night before.
You see, the original idea was that I would play on the Thursday at the Backyard, but I had already been offered the gig at the Doppel… so I had told Edmund that I had better do the Doppel on Thursday, and he put me up on Wednesday at the Backyard. At the same time, however, he told me that the Thursday night band was hot as hell and I had to see them. So I whipped over there and had a great meal of mutton fried rice.
As I ate I spoke to the bass player, who I had heard warming up, and he had sounded amazing. So we spoke before the band went up. I later learned from someone else, and could confirm through listening to his music, that this bass player, Andy Peterson, is one of the best bass players in Southeast Asia and he is highly sought after all over the region. He often records with Taiwanese bands.
Anyway, I spoke with him, Edmund Anthony, and Albert Sirimal, the singer and guitarist from the same five-piece band. And then who should walk in the door – I had told her I was going to the Backyard – but the woman who had booked me at the Doppel and who could not show up there to hear me there! So we spoke for a while, and she left just before the band played.
The band was fabulous, really jazzy, and cool, and laid back and just awesome. I use that word because I think it is the first time I’ve ever used it on the blog or in any piece of my writing. So it has value, it is not a cliché in this instance.
After the band’s first set, Edmund or Albert introduced me to a guy who had shown up named Russell Curtis. Russell, it turned out, used to sing in this band. He also plays guitar. Now, however, Russell owned his own music venue, a bar called rockafellas. And we got to talking and someone told him about my worldwide meanderings in the musical warp, and Russell said it was too bad I did not go to his bar that night as there was a solo singer guitar player and I could have played there too.
He then learned I had my guitar with me and he immediately – this was near midnight – invited me to go play at rockafellas. So I accepted instantly. So he drove me to rockafellas and I listened to his musician of the night, Allan G., who has a wonderful velvety voice and plays a mean acoustic guitar (a Maton from Australia).
Allan G. then invited me up to the stage and I played three of my songs. Later, Russell got up and played and sang, and he has a great voice and amazing guitar licks, and so I asked him if he would care to play a song with me, he doing lead. He accepted, so we did my song “Memories.” And I recorded it with my new Roland R-26 recorder, because that is the missing link in this year’s adventure, the thing I hinted at earlier but did not want to define: My goal this year is to try to play with and record a local musician in every country I go to. I succeeded in Melbourne, and now I have succeeded here in Kuala Lumpur.
Rockafellas is a very neat venue, by the way, with a real cocktail lounge feel to it, a beautiful little stage, good food, a pool table and a great sound system. Pay it a visit if you’re in the PJ area of KL…..
The evening, once again, was a lesson in “don’t despair,” keep pushing. You will get what you seek. I couldn’t believe it.