Last weekend i went to the maiden event of Java Soundsfair 2014. The three day event featured with international artist such as the queen murderer of the dance floor, Sophie Ellis Baxtor, Skapara a.k.a Tokyo Ska Paradise, Asian Dub Foundation. Local musician was represented by the likes of Tulus, Maliq & D’essentials, The SIGIT , Mocca and Demajor’s gang such as Sore, The Brandals , Leonardo and the impeccable six and many more. Held in the main halls of JCC, It has staggeringly 9 stages with almost 30 bands playing each day.

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Coming from the organizers who delivered Java Jazz, Java Rockinland and Java Soulnation, Soundsfair was touted as “mind-blowing modern entertainment at its best for young, urban, modern and creative people”.  The concept was unclear for me. Lots of unheard of bands, the rock line up that wasnt really hard enough  and theres also a small indoor dance stage set up like a club hazing with cigarette smoke (goddammit you ignorant people). Hipster maybe the word to summarize the concept of this year Soundsfair.

It was still fun nonetheless due to the performance of several amazing artist. So here are my highlights of Java Soundsfair 2014 from attending two out of three days.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor

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Sophie was unbelievably beautiful. When the stage curtain was starting to open, i though i was watching a walking mannequin wearing red sundress. Her show at Soundsfair was divided in two parts. The first half, Sophie and the band played repertoire from her latest album Wanderlust. Second half, she put his dance shoes on and played medley of 2000’s classic tunes such as Moloko’s Sing It Back, Spiller’s – Groovejet, Modjo’s – Lady and her own’s Take Me Home. The show was closed with Murder on the dance floor.

Im interested in her release Wanderlust. Away from the image of the dancing queen of 2000 ish,  Sophie explored simple arrangements folk-esque pop  and lyrics about European fantasy of abandoned house on the hills with beautiful witches inside. Check out my fave tracks from her Soundsfair set to peek what Wanderlust is all about.

Sophie Ellis Bextor – The Deer & The Wolf

Leonardo Ringo & Impeccable Six

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Cassuari stage was located near the prayer room on the basement level JCC. It was literally an underground stage for up and coming band. On the second day, theres one band extraordinaire which gathered significant crowd and turn this somewhat forsaken smallest stage in the show into sweaty crowded Las Vegas lounge from the late 60’s. Leonardo and the Impeccable Six was that band.

With three piece brass section and contra bass, this band played big band style swing jazz which Frank Sinatra are famous for. Really really fresh and entertaining especially when they play the cover of Louis Prima – Gigolo. I can still hear the audience shouting “GIGOLO!!!” and “NOBODYY” when i was sorting and looking their gig pictures to be uploaded. Intimate, entertaining and refreshing, Leonardo Ringo and The Impeccable Six is one of the local indie rising band whose gig you should really check out.

Sound of The Corner Session 9 : Leonardo Ringo and The Impeccable Six

Tulus

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One word is associated Tulus music is : comfortable. Listening to Tulus is as therapeutic as sitting in an living room while sipping hot chocolate on a rainy day. Its relaxing, calming and comforting. His self titled debut album is so good, the tune which i sing the most from the album was the Intro(Merdu Untukmu). It was easily top 5 Indonesian albums on my list.

Comfortable is also the aura which he projected on his Soundsfair session. Tulus was so polite, smiling, communicate happily with the audience while delivering perfect pitch accompanied with . He was so confident, its like hes playing in his own living room. Tulus was the best performer for day 2 and this makes me look forward for his upcoming Gajah solo concert on December.

Pongki Barata feat Tulus – Seribu Tahun Lamanya

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

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Just after Sophie Ellis Bextor, i immediately rushed to the Garuda Indonesia stage to see Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (TSPO). At this point, i never see them live even on youtube. I only listen to one of the album and to me it was ok. Surprisingly, the venue was jam packed. Several people were wearing suspender and bowl hat, clearly hardcore ska fanatics. Never knew that they had such a following here.

TSPO opened with Godfather’s Speak Softly Love played on a trumpet. Instant chill down to the spine. Then 10 japanese came to the stage wearing suits like a fucking Yakuza. These guys were really not playing around. When they drop their first down beat, the whole place gone mental. It was impossible to stay still when they played high energy tracks such as Down Beat Stomp, Natty Parade, Tongues of Fire, Shot in the Dark. TSPO turned already crowded Garuda stage into beautifully orchestrated chaos. Everybody was dancing, pogo-ing with big smile on their face, surreal. Their music was very technical, most of it was instrumental but it  has animalistic groove which just instantly feed the your urge to jump and do the pogo dance.

After one and half hour of constant pogo stomping, my leg gave up on me. I couldnt barely walk and it was the sweatiest concert in my life. Hell of a good time. TSPO live was one of a kind experience and im a devoted fans just because of that.

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra – Shot In The Dark live 

Posted by Kiki Ahmadi

Professional in Telco and Digital industry in Indonesia | Currently pursuing master's degree in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship in University of Manchester

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