7,000 turn up for Malaysia's largest rock festival

1 November 2012 / 3 years 11 months ago

Source: The Star/Asia News NetworkWe can build it bigger! There's nothing Malaysians love more than breaking records and Rockaway 2012 certainly upped the ante, bringing more of everything to what was possibly the year's biggest rock bash.With a slogan like "Malaysia's largest rock festival", Rockaway walks the talk by topping itself every year, the latest version being so massive it literally had to move from the old venue Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur to the Sepang International Circuit in Negri Sembilan.Keeping to its format of 12 hours of rock and metal, the festival split up the 27 acts among two stages: the primary Rockaway stage for more established bands while the indie bands performed at the indoor The Wknd stage (which takes its name from the indie music website, The Wknd.com).The festival also expanded its lineup from just local and American bands to include regional outfits including Plainsunset from Singapore and Pee Wee Gaskins from Jakarta, Indonesia.While the multiple stage format usually leaves inexperience the festival goers running around in circles, Rockaway had very different acts on offer at its two stages. Opening with The Padangs and Massacre Conspiracy, then building up to the international outfits like punk rock bands MXPX All Stars and Set Your Goals, the mainstage was an unabashedly high-energy affair, with only the occasional band like Gerhana Ska Cinta giving attendees a break from all that screaming and headbanging.The Wknd stage offered a more varied selection under the umbrella of indie rock, from math-rockers Sphere and instrumental sextet Citizens Of Ice Cream, to remix masters Dizkopolis and the original Malaysian indie alternative rock band , OAG.A last-minute entry into The Wknd stage roster, OAG was back in fine form, with frontman Radhi Razali looking energised and ready to rock after his stint in the Pengasih rehabilitation centre last year.The band now consists of a completely new lineup, including guitarist Hafizul Azim, drummer Mohd Azzam Che Manir, bassist Nazrin Zabidi and Izmer Khasbullah on keyboards. While OAG had made its rounds in the local music circuit in past months, Rockaway marked the band's return to a full-scale festival show. And the fans were waiting! The most packed performance at The Wknd stage, the tent literally rocked from all the dancing while latecomers to the 30-minute set had to peer in through the door. Radhi rewarded his fans with all t he classics like Generasi Ku, Permysuri and Selamba but seemingly refused to play 60's TV."Asyik mintak 60's TV je (You keep asking for 60's TV). How about we play some 1970s radio instead?" he tea sed the crowd. Considering fans had come the distance to Sepang to catch the band, Radhi eventually relented with the signature tune, topping it off with songs from the new album The Rest Of OAG.Thinking about festival goers who don't drive, Rockaway's organisers offered a free shuttle service from KL Sentral to Sepang. Departure times were 11am, 11.30am, 2pm and 5pm.However, if you used the shuttle service, the buses only returned to KL Sentral at 1am, about half an hour after the festival ended.There was plenty of parking for thos e who drove, but the Sepang Circuit parking lot looked like a cleared plantation. It was creepy as heck after midnight due to the lack of lights.However, most of the 7,000 festival goers decided to drive themselves to the venue, which led to a few people getting lost on the way, including singer OJ Law's drummer.Law rolled with it, resulting in an epic solo set that could put a full band to shame.It was a bit sad seeing some people sitting in the corners through his set, though being an air conditioned tent, The Wknd stage was bound to attract some worn out festival goers looking for shade from the unforgiving sun.On the bright side , it didn't rain, even though it was raining cats and dogs in other parts of the Klang Valley. After a short break at 7pm, the main event started with metalcore band Unearth performing one of the most energetic sets of the day.One wondered how vocalist Trevor Phipps could catch his breath and sing in between running around the stage and jumping off amplifiers.Following that was Hujan, who put in a good effort to match Unearth's intensity, but no one would envy Hujan's slot from opening the Rockaway last year to being sandwiched between Unearth and local legends Koffin Kanser.Koffin Kanser made for a nice change of pace from the previous two bands' screaming match and its more laid-back regga e-infused metal, with frontman Aru sporting his signature dreadlocks and even wea ring an acid-dye shirt which had Bob Marley's image on it.Those who had their fill of metal by that point made for The Wknd stage where DJ duo Deer Society laid down an eclectic mix of hipster tune s like Two Door Cinema and French electronica like Telepopmusik's Breathe.Headliners Soulfly finally made its appearance a little past 11pm with vocalist Max Cavalera bursting onto the stage looking like a cross between Cousin It and a soldier with his shock of red hair and military fatigues.The former Sepultura frontman even had a few costume changes, dressing down to a T-shirt and later donning the Harimau Malaya football jersey.Festival goers got their second wind after nearly 12 hours of rocking, chanting along to World Scum, Blood, Fire, War, Hate, Prophecy and a host of other songs from the band's considerable discography, right into the next day.Afterwards, as the crowds dispersed into the creepy carpark, nary a discussion could be heard perhaps due to the loss of voice after all that screaming.

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