Monday, March 9, 2015

ROAD TO HAMMERSONIC JAKARTA 2015

I skipped last year because of lame selection of the bands. Anyway, this year we got a whole bunch of new metal acts just like they needed to keep the festival going. Fuck it! It is no damn Hellfest, which the ticket sold out in few hours. My trip to France have to be cancelled, my dreams to see the SCORPIONS again was destroyed. Why not Hammersonic? After all they got my childhood heroes MAYHEM and VADER to offer!

7th March 2015

I throttled up my bike at 5.30 am from my office. I’ve just finished working my night shift. The cold fog didn’t hold me back. I was wearing VADER’s Reign Forever World t-shirt proudly. Badril just woke up as I arrived to his home. I get my morning prayer done while he take his bath. And we set to go..

We had to take 2 flights to get to Jakarta. And it is cheaper to take Garuda airlines from KLIA 2 than to fly from Penang Islands. We arrived KLIA 2 at 9.30 am filled our system with brunch. We’re off to Jakarta at 12.30 pm. It takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to reach Sukarno Hatta International Airport. After we are done with custom and immigration documentation, we found MPV Avanza rental service for RP150 000 (RM43.00) to get to Pejompongan. We just impatience enough to wait for Blue Bird taxi ( If you remember from my previous post, it is still valid!), as you might already knew, the only trustworthy ‘supir’ (driver) in Indonesia are the Blue Bird ones. 



To get into the heart of Jakarta is very much a headache. If you managed to get in the city before ‘macet’ hour (heavy traffic jammed) then you must be lucky bastards. You will be passing two toll gates which the fees must be paid by the passangers. At some junctions, local residence or beggars are controlling the traffic for free or for small donations. You can always see ‘tegar’ ( under-age-child buskers) knocking windows of luxury cars with his/her ukulele in hands. Some people selling bottles of mineral water, boiled corns in the middle of highways like it is a night market. More than 20 million people crawl in Jakarta, most of them working their asses hard just to see another day with foods. There are hardly a middle class person lives here but the oppressor and the weak. Something doesn’t feel right in here, so does in Malaysia. 





We arrived in LeGreen Hotel and Suite at 4.00 PM. We choose this hotel in Slipi, Pejompongan because it is about 2 KM to Lapangan D Senayan. So we can just walk to get over there. LeGreen Hotel is very much cleaner and comfortable place than our previous stay in Jakarta. The Hotel was located beside sate padang restaurants and so many halal warungs. There is a 24 hours convenience store nearby.

I asked Badril whether he would like to hang out with Mustafa Daood, the singer and gambus player of DEBU. After all we got nothing to do. So as Mustafa replied, he would like to have a dinner with us at Summarecon Mal Serpong. We get our Blue Bird cab and went straight ahead to Summarecon, which we didn’t know it is outside of Jakarta, Tangerang. It was ‘macet’ since on Saturday night, everyone was going out for some entertainment or they called ‘berlibur’. To be honest, I slept 2 times in the cab. After near 2 hours we reach Summarecon. The great commercial side consist of massive entertainment complex (owned mostly by celebrities like Afghan, Inul, etc), luxury hotels and cafés and mega mall. There are 3 art performing stages in the mall itself. When we arrived, there was a band doing covers of vintage and recent popular pop songs just like it was played from the CD. Superb sound system with solid performance, we couldn’t believe our ears. I whispered to Badril, well this is just a cover band in shopping mall. How can we beat the real artist (recording)? Believe it or not, I have to admit we, Malaysia are left behind in art performing a thousand mile behind Indonesia. 


After buying a phone charger/adapter, we went straight to Kopi Luwak café. Our curiosity about it can’t be tolerated anymore. I have checked Malaysian ulama’s fatwa about it. And it is certified halal. Kopi luwak is produced mainly on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sulawesi, it has been called one of the most expensive coffees in the world, reaching €550 per kilo. Genuine kopi luwak from wild civets is difficult to purchase in Indonesia and proving it is not fake is very difficult. An investigation by PETA and BBC revealed fraud by local producer willing to label coffee from caged civets as ‘wild sourced’. The rarity and unusual process to prepare it making civet coffee was expensive even during the Dutch occupational era. 


Mustafa arrived shortly. Asking about kopi luwak, Mustafa replied, I never care much about it is halal or not. I just drink kopi kapal api. We have a good laugh. An overwhelm greetings by a gentleman. Like he always been, Mustafa has been inspiring and great storyteller making anyone around him feeling good. We talked very much about anything in this planet. Talking about Badril with his English teachings, Mustafa said we wanted to start English class again, giving jobs to 6 of his jobless relatives who can teach well. Said Mustafa “ In life it is important to give something that make everyone happy.. and we’re happy about it too”.

Our discussion move to musical, well I said Badril used to play drum but not taking it seriously. Mustafa again replied “… I also do DEBU for fun. It just come out that way. I mean, in music.. just do it for fun. Never be too serious about it. Do it for fun… when you taking music too seriously, it hurts your head”. I am very much agree about it. Then he said “.. never do music to compete. I was once did everything myself, when I looked someone do this better. I wanna do it too. But then.. when I look, oohh he is way better than me. Let he do it. I play what I’m good at. If he better, let him do what he is good at. It much fun that way…”

Actually Mustafa was waiting for his business partners to come. They are looking for a good side at Summarecon Mall to open a restaurant under the name Mustafa Café. Mustafa also showed us his new and amazing project which is under construction right now. It is a wooden boat similar to the Black Pearl. Looking to the photos and the blue print of it, all I can say it is unbelievable. Even more amazing, the man who builds it is the same man who builds the boats for “The Pirates of the Caribbean” film and “Master and Commander” film. 


When Sam Martino and his friends come, we moved to authentic Indonesian restaurant with classic interior design. Sam ordered so many lavish foods to be dined by just 6 of us. It was the best dinner I ever had in Jakarta, and the local food which I hardly remember the name was extremely delicious and tasty. After dinner we moved again to shisha’s table outside the café for a better view of cewek (girls) and live music. And just like Mustafa, Sam also a humble guy didn’t mind sharing his experiences while serving his time in US Marine. The most interesting story are about the parasites fishes swam under the belly of his 200 feet ship were as big as the ship. Now imagine a monster that they follow beneath it?!. It was never been recorded but the legend is real. Sam swore he saw it. Another story was about how his team surrounded by Colombian drug cartel in the jungle and it was the fight of his life. 



After done with the shisha. We roam the mall looking for suitable premises for Mustafa Café. It’s time to leave again and it’s hard to say goodbye because we had a very good time together.

8th March 2015 


We woke up early in the morning, performed our morning prayer at 5.30 AM local time, our bodies still tired from the traveling and too much eating last night. Anyhow, at 9.00 AM we got back on our feet and discovered sate padang at Pondok Sate Djono Jogya (actually it quite famous restaurant here) just beside our hotel. The famous dish is sate kambing (grilled mutton) but we choose chicken sate. To our surprise, it was damn expensive. Hot tea + coconut water+ 10 pcs sate = almost RM30. The taste is absolutely different from Malaysian sate. It’s not oily and served with sweet soy ketchup and chili pepper. 


We took Blue Bird cab to Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, since Badril already broke and need to withdrawl some money the taxi dropped us at the shopping mall nearby, and then we took a walk back to Gelora Bung Karno. Well, the good thing was the weather. Jakarta was cloudy with 29oC all day long. And you knew, you already reached Gelora Bung Karno when the whole fences are filled beautiful plant and flowers. They’re no botanical garden or landscape garden. But they’re for sale. The whole stadium is a gigantic nursery. I’ve been thinking to myself, why ventured in the same kind a business? Who search for a new bonsai or orchid every day? 

 

We reached Lapangan D Senayan at 11.50 AM, the festival already started with thousand of crowds waiting in the lines to get in. Zizie Row, my guitarist suddenly come out of nowhere, shouting my name. it is funny to know he shared a room with Iranian metalhead last night, and get a ticket for free. He is loved by many fans in Jakarta. So I don’t have to worry about him.


As soon we entered the venue, we spend our money on merchandises. It won’t take long to drain our pocket. I saw huge improvement from 2013 festival in Ancol;


1. There are 6-7 booths rented by local metal shops, underground distros, vintage vehicles group, and music stores. The stuffs sold at good price and genuine.

2. Hammersonic finally came out with mega bands official t-shirts. Sold at RM50, you can get Mayhem, Terrorizer or Lamb of God (live in Indonesia) t-shirt. Well I bought Mayhem, but they printed ‘kafir’ ( means ‘non-believer) on the shirt. Sadly I have to sell it, and it took only 5 minutes to get it sold. I never hypocrite with my inner faith. I am a Muslim. It’s not Mayhem fault, they wouldn’t be Mayhem if they’re so heavenly bound. 

 3. Hammersonic surely knows the need of the people, you don’t have to worry if you’re running out of cash. They placed you a mobile ATM just beside their merchandise booth.

4. Bigger musholla (muslim prayer room) but too many metalheads using it as restroom and to sleep. What a shame. We just did our prayers on piece of plywood under mangoes tree.

5. Not like the classy food court in Ancol, this time they allowed warung-styled local food beside their famous Diablo mini bar, pizza bar and coffee stand.

 6. Bigger coverage by local media where Kompas TV took control in publicity.

7. They provided more security officers this time. Friendly too. When Badril talked to one kids from Bandung on how he get through the security with his outside foods. The kids said he simply begged the security by saying his mom prepared this breakfast and he doesn't have any money left to buy expensive food inside Hammersonic. Out of mercy.. he made it.

The downpoint are:

1. Limited mobile toilet. No access to clean water since 5.00 PM. Girl you are in danger!

2. To my eyes, the bootleg version of Hammersonic comes with simpler and cool design rather than the official one. If you like childish artwork on good quality dye. You will like it.

3. No camera allowed. But still I saw someone able to smuggle it inside.


4. I must say, Djarum girls (cigarette promoters) were legendary. The beauties of Djarum angels were unmatchable to the Magnum promoters in D Senanyan.

We spend mostly our time under mangoes tree or at food court. I saw SIKSAKUBUR guys with their drop dead gorgeous manager having launch over there. SIKSAKUBUR just finished their Dua Malam di Malaysia Tour last week with UK death metal, DESECRATION. I heard, their show in KL went wrong due to public report claiming it was wild party. Police raid the venue and forced it to stop. To us, it was a normal case in Malaysia.


From our mangoes tree we hang out with metalheads from Bandung. The kids think we were Pattani as we said we’re coming from the border of Thai. They even greet us with Kap Kun Ka. Funny guys! They even ask you if I’m into muay thai. Hahaha. From there we watched CASSANDRA, THRASHLINE, and HEAVEN THE AXE. CASSANDRA did a good good while THRASHLINE didn’t come to my expectation. Sorry to say, but the sound was cracking shit and the vocals spoiled the entire set. HEAVEN THE AXE is Aussie Hard Rockers with sexy vocalist. No to my taste, but it quite fun to watch a sexy girl jumping around.

 
When we ate nasi gila ( they called it nasi gila because they cooked and mixed the ingredients like a madman) COLLOSVS were on stage. Powerful and tight performances. After launch we bum with AVULSED and had a photo session together. Great guys!

As we moving to Hammer stage to see MESIN TEMPUR, Bandung’s very own modern metal band BESIDE was on stage. Formed in 1997 BESIDE started off as hardcore band but lately rejuvenated into more progressive American metal. From music to showmanship, you can see they are a carbon paper of the BURGERKILL.

Lotta guys been talking about local act MESIN TEMPUR ( means ‘war machine’, formed by 2 Burgerkill guys). They come out with entertaining showmanship with some humor and nu metal direction. If you guys in BRUJERIA, SLIPKNOT, NASUM, MASTODON, this band going to be your cup of kopi luwak. They even thrown some money, bras, panties, Indo mee to the crowds from up stage.

After MESIN TEMPUR back to merchandise area to get some rest. It was fun to watch Kompas TV reporter doing her job right in front of me. Just as expected, suddenly chick magnet… Zizie Row showed up!


After Badril done with his prayer, and started to hear Dave Rotten screaming loud on stage. We run forward to see them. In 29 December 2014, AVULSED make shocking reformation after 6 hours announcing split-up after all major festivals around the world interested to offer them reunion shows. The guys nailed it by saying they going to look like BRING ME THE HORIZON for new image and direction. AVULSED delivered powerful set even the system was clearly not on their side. Dave Rotten and co. did the best they could. Every songs was finished with the word Terima Sakih…said Dave. Actually it is Terima Kasih. (Thank you).


I have seen WARBRINGER in KL few years ago. They blasted with the same energy and killer set you will never be disappointed even the founding members (guitarist and drummer) was no longer with them. Hail John Kevill!


DEATHSTARS from Strömstad, Sweden switched the show into gloomy dark goth rock. For those who know, the band consists primarily of member from black/thrash metal project, SWORDMASTER, and has former members of DISSECTION and OPTHALAMIA. Their guitarist, Nightmare ‘Emil’ Industries was also the brother of the late Jon Nödtveidt. The band cite KISS as their inspiration, but their compositions could be related to RAMMSTEIN, MARILYN MANSON and THE KOVENANT. All I can say, the songs should be enjoyable in CD, but the visual on stage can be painfully gay.

IGNITE from Orange County, California was amazing. I never heard this band before, but they steal my attention with melodic hardcore aggression. IGNITE gained their commercial breakthrough album “A Place Called Home”. I love their awesome lead singer, Zoltan Zoli Teglas. IGNITE actively supports organizations such as Earth First, Doctors without Borders, Sea Shepherd and Pacific Wildlife.

Now the legendary Polish VADER, they had some problem with the system which delayed their show almost 10 minutes which cause them to play only 6 songs. You can’t even hear the guitars in first few songs! But Peter remained calm and professional the whole time and finished off their set with “Selamat malam and terima kasih Jerkkada”…in perfect noun. Peter asked all his members to come in front of the stage and bow respect to the crowds.


We can’t even move an inch, 30,000 crowds pushing forward, making it hard to breath. For the record, this is the biggest crowds I’ve witnessed from the past Hammersonic. They management is smart to bring MAYHEM and LAMB OF GOD together according to their fanbase in the region. The sky is mostly dark and cloudy the whole day, seem it going to rain rupiah anytime now. I never heard of UNEARTH before. Tonight I can say, I love them. I love their show. They are in the middle of Watching the World Tour 2015 right now, coming all the way Osaka and heading to KL on 10th March 2015. Genuine metalcore with some double harmonic guitar solos ala NWOBHM. It must be quite interesting to check out their studio albums.
THE FACELESS started off as deathcore band in 2004. Only Micheal Keene (clean vocals and guitarist) is left as sole member of the band. Like Peter of VADER was facing, Keene also the same, I can hear clearly Keene shouting to the crews “Whatta fuck, we’re set to go.. Fuck it!” .To be honest, me and Badril felt we’re far left behind watching this band because thousands of fans sing-along their tunes while we have no idea what THE FACELESS is all about? THE FACELESS throw an artistic, technical, progressive death metal with frozen mode on stage except Julian Kersey (growl). Judging from their live set, THE FACELESS comparable to OPETH, SILENT STREAM OF GODLESS ELERGY and NECROPHAGIST.


 We just listened to TERRORIZER from in front of Hammer Stage. Fuck, nobody can move their asses to the next stage. It’s a whole crazy crowds, I can even felt a girl grabbing my ass for good (damn sure she was a pickpocket!). TERRORIZER played so many songs without any proper introduction; they just play and play and play. A new born Christian, Pete Sandoval comes with apache hair style and grind without any emotion. Pete just wearing all star sneakers not his long-time-trademark, the commando boots. We all love grindcore, we all love TERRORIZER, but the precision was gone somewhere. Anyhow, in grind we will trust.


When MAYHEM started their set with “Deathcrush” everybody was screaming. Necrobutcher looks like a crazy hobbit playing distorted bass while Attila Csihar appeared with bloody face and jeneral suit (SS maybe?). I am a fan of the true MAYHEM (“Pure Fucking Armageddon” era to “Wolf Lairs Abyss”) but today MAYHEM is just soulless garbage. Why? When Maniac returned, he was clearly a junkie with stage fright, no wonder Rune ‘Blasphemer’ Eriksen kicked him down the stairs. Maniac left because of this. Necrobuther the clown? Yes, he left MAYHEM during the Euronymous era because want to focus on family life. But return when MAYHEM finally hit the commercial status. Well, why have CRADLE OF FILTH’s Edgar as guitarist and Teloch (GORGOROTH) as their front spokeman now? The only reason I am here is to hear their classics being played by prolific Norwegian drummer, Jan Axel “Hellhammer” and sang by Hungarian occultist, Attila Csihar.

MAYHEM today was not a satanic band, maybe war metal band, focusing on military and racism which is contra to Hammersonic Festival motto “Metal against Racism”. But who cares....

  
We moved back to our mangoes tree as MAYHEM played their famous “Freezing Moon”, it was mysterious and haunting vocals by Mr. Attila. The best moment is when I got a cup of free coffee from Magnum café and watch MAYHEM performance at their verandah. Spectacular!


LAMB OF GOOD jumped on SONIC stage at 12.15 AM and started off their set with “Desolation”, the only song I knew from them. From our mangoes tree, We saw group of kids running to the front to watch them. Hammersonic allowed free entry at this point. LOG played their heavy set with some system failure on first songs but fast recover the next minutes. The band was happy, the organizers was happy, some of the crowds was sleepy. Hahahaha. Just imagine some of them standing from 11.00 AM to 1.00 AM! …


Along the small road to the Gelora Bung Karno front gates, there were so many underground distros selling original and bootleg bands tshirts, bootleg Hammersonic merchandises, local band CDs, cassettes, patches, stickers, buttons, and mugs. All sold in very very cheap price.
We tried to catch a cab, but Mr. Supir refuse to use a meter and wanted to charge us RP100 000 for 2KM ride to Pejompongan. It was too much! So we just walk back to our hotel with 2 Balinese metalheads who lived in hotel 2 blocks from us.

9th March 2015


We woke up early in the morning and when straight to have a breakfast Nasi Padang at rumah makan next to our hotel. Good price with tasty meal. Badril tried nasi with rawon sapi and vege, while I tried nasi with gule ayam, telur goreng and vege. After we went to Anggerik Mall to shop some local Indo pop albums and then to Tanah Abang. We’re making mistake for not going to Tanah Abang at the first place since they are closing the business at 5.00 PM. Luckly, Thamrin City still got something to offer. We have some dinner and brought some fabric to our loved one at home. The route from Thamrin City to our hotel is only 4 KM, but Ojek riders forced us to take a ride with them for RP15000 (RM4). Because they really need that money and begged us to ride with them.


We took Ojek and since they’re bunch of honest riders. I reward them extra cash, so everybody can be happy. Like Mustafa said to me last night, it’s important to make everybody around us to be happy.

Badril slept early that night. He must be tired walking all day long. Nothing interesting on TV, no dukun selingkuh sinetron that night. After finished my instant soto ayam mee, I shut down my system.

10th March 2015

We, Muslim always woke up early because we have Morning Prayer to be performed at 5.30 AM local time. After done with packing, we went to get a breakfast at rumah makan next to the hotel and get our asses to Sukarno Hatta International Airport immediately. Well, the interesting fact about Indonesian, is the supir… 4 out 5 taxi drivers are well educated men, their taste in music is excellence, (driver day 1: listen to MALMSTEEN, JOE SATRIANI, BACKMORE, IKLIM, driver day 2: listen to MALMSTEEN, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW, BON JOVI, driver no 3: listen to SHIELA MAJID, VAN HALEN, RUSH), they knew what is going on with Malaysia, and expert in current economic situations!) Never talk bullshit with these guys.

 
At the airport we met up with Aussie metalheads and had some stuffs traded with. Cool guys. We reached KL by Garuda at 3.00 PM. And then took another flight to Kepala Batas at 9.00 PM.

Tired but fun, I still have to ride with my bike for 40KM to home sweet home.

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