what’s so happy about a heartbreak party

lost spaces
Talitha

in my pursuit of KL’s artsy fartsy art scene, i said “yes” in a heartbeat when taliza invited me to join her friends to catch lost spaces and talitha’s gigs at urbanscapes house. 

i’ve mentioned this before to multiple friends that since coming back to KL and being given a taster session on what is presumed to be KL’s creative art scene (zhongshan building, cooler lumpur, merdekarya and now urbanscapes), malaysians can be quite the artists, even in comparison to my experiences of artsy manchester (and we’re talking about manchester here, home of afflecks and oasis and the 1975, the actual hub of england’s artistic sub-culture). i love what they’ve done to the art scene here, by incorporating local elements and experiences to make it feel all the more familiar, all the more malaysian. it feels fascinating to me particularly because most of my life growing up in alor setar, i have rarely come to associate my surroundings with art. music, paintings, exhibitions etc that i learned about growing up were all sourced from the internet, and in my mind’s eyes were pretty much a foreign affair. it wasn’t until i went to sunway and met a group of creatively like-minded friends (studying a-levels, of all things), that i started to realise that there is an actually abundance of malaysian art, albeit more obscure than their western counterparts. (see “In convo w/ visual artist LITH NG on her show @ Urbanscapes 2018” written by my friend Ellen on her friend’s urbanscapes exhibition)

lost spaces is one such band that i discovered when i was looking up local artists on spotify. shun was the one who introduced them to me, the lead singer being a friend of a friend. and i was pleasantly surprised by how quickly i took a liking to their music, considering the fact that i have zero knowledge of the local music scene. they describe their music as “groovy indie pop with hints of ambient R&B” [1]. with heavy usage of dreamy synth sounds and malaysian-accented monologue inserts (as heard in instant.romance, where two boys discuss about the millennial woes of finding love), lost spaces makes music that is bound to make you dance or at the very least tap your foot along to, until you realise the inherent melancholy interlaced within the lyrics and you’re a bit confused because the song is upbeat but the words are so, so sad. (seems like we’re miles away from happy days / we seem to be stuck here looped in a fuzzy daze)

also they have really aesthetically pleasing single covers and i am weak for pastel colours of the pink to purple range.

Talitha’s gig was next and the Heartbreak Party was actually hers, in conjunction with her EP release of BOYS. her new EP is called BOYS, but the actual best track of it is called GIRLS. (if this isn’t a metaphor for real life, i don’t know what is). and it really is a heartbreak party, isn’t it? her songs sing of feelings of sadness, betrayal and disappointment in relationships that maybe hit a bit too close to home once or twice. it felt like maybe we were all supposed to cry together instead of sing along during the gig. (he doesn’t / he doesn’t want me enough to love / love me enough to try / he wouldn’t / no, no, he wouldn’t look me in the eye / even when i told him i’d try)

after the party, taliza and i headed for the balcony of the third floor of 2 Hang Kasturi for an impromptu shoot, something that i hadn’t done in nearly four years. and it felt really nice. there were other people around too, so there was no helping the initial awkwardness of people staring and a four-year hiatus (and an oily complexion after having just emerged from a crowded room), but it felt familiar, and it was taliza, and it was one of the few moments so far during which i felt the complete compatibility of my surroundings, and being in the city of KL. 

check out taliza’s instagram for the shoot:

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Footnotes:

[1] "Lost Spaces: An Indie-Pop Band Which Will Fill Up the Twilight On Your Daily Commute", Friends of Sevenpie, December 4, 2017 
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Our Sunset Over the Castle on the Hill

We only decided to go to Ed Sheeran’s Manchester show a week before the show itself. Over dinner. We got our tickets from Twickets and on the 24th of May, after our IP law paper, Ee Min, Yee Lin, Ash, Jia Yang, CC and I headed for Etihad Stadium.

Getting to the stadium proved to be an issue in itself at first. Manchester Metrolink had special security measures for an event day as big as Ed Sheeran’s concert apparently, and it took us about an hour of waiting time just to get on a tram, and we eventually only did so by forcefully squeezing our way into the absolutely jam-packed carriages. It was a highly uncomfortable 20-minute ride and you could see everyone audibly gasp for air the moment the tram doors opened upon arrival at Etihad.

Ed’s entrance onto the stage was…to be honest, quite befitting of his super humble character. No fanfare or anything fancy like that. He appeared, got on stage, and immediately started singing. A man who gets straight to the point.

Just gonna outright admit that the songs of his that I was most familiar with were entirely from his + album from eons ago, a distant phase of my life. It reminded me of driving in my car after freshly acquiring my license for the first time at 17, and gushing about his music with Irfan back in college. It felt quite surreal, like a clashing of worlds.

But I’m glad I got to make new memories to associate with his newer songs, in his actual literal presence at that.

Michelle’s People I’ve Watched Live List, updated:

i’m just protecting my soul

Michelle’s People I’ve Watched Live List, updated:

ワンオク イン マンチェスター

Confession: I only started listening to One Ok Rock a month prior, but when I found out Joe would be coming here all the way from Newcastle just to watch them live, I thought I might as well join her after managing to find some spare tickets on Twitter.

On Tuesday morning, Joe left for the SU as early as 8 in the morning to start queuing, but no one else came to form a proper queue until after lunch, and we joined the queue as numbers 5 and 6. Of all the Mancunian days to be outside in the freezing cold for a long period of time, it had to be the day that the temperature was well under 0 degree Celsius for the whole day. Honestly, Joe for MVP of the day for braving through almost six hours of the cold with the help of multiple Costa hot beverages and layers of winter clothes for our spot in the queue.

I had a lecture until 5PM so I rejoined the queue after that, taking turns with Joe to go home and change and grab a bite. Iasmina and Aya joined us shortly after that, and at 7PM sharp, we were released from the clutches of the savage cold and into the excitement that was watching One Ok Rock live with our own eyes!!!

I’ve been to lots of concerts and gigs, especially in the UK, so I think my statement is pretty legitimate when I say that OOR’s stage presence is the best I’ve ever seen. Right from the moment they appeared on stage, the energy never subsided (okay, except for ballads but even then, the hypnotic grip their performances had on us never faltered for one bit) and every single song was a solid ten out of ten. Vocals, guitar, bass, drums; it really was a performance which you can feel the members putting their 100% and more in, and so naturally, you can’t help but give in 100% too.

Also, special shoutout to Taka’s voice for being so ridiculously out of this mortal world. His live rendition of Take What You Want gave me literal goosebumps and at one point, I felt like his vocal performance was too sacred a moment to not be indulged in fully in that present moment that I stopped recording (which is saying quite a lot considering the endless dots of my Instagram stories) and just. Listened. And drank in that instant of being there, in the presence of good music, connected to the band on stage and also to everyone around me belting out lyrics that mean so much to everyone in the room.

I was told that OOR sold out stadiums in Japan and other Asian countries within seconds, so to be able to attend a rather intimate gig of theirs in the front rows of the 900-people capacity hall of Manchester Academy 2 all the way here in the UK sure made me feel like God was being generous in gifting me with luck that night.

The night ended way too soon and we were reluctant, so after the gig, we waited next to their tour bus in hopes of managing to catch a glimpse of them one last time before they leave Manchester for good. Tomoya somehow managed to pass by us unnoticed, and at some point, Taka appeared, during which I was too shocked and seized up to do anything except say “Hi” nervously when we made eye contact for a split second, and then he was gone.

My night ended the way most of my nights this year did: a super late dinner/supper at McDonald’s, and a good couple hours of reliving the concert back in my room with Joe before falling into a deeply satisfactory slumber.

Joe made a vlog:

Michelle’s People I’ve Watched Live List, updated:

just looking out on the day of another dream

Michelle’s People I’ve Watched Live List, updated:

God Bless My Lorde and Saviour

I was actually in Croatia when tickets for Lorde’s European tour went up, and so my ticket purchasing moment saw me riding in the shotgun of our rented car, driving along the breathtakingly picturesque Croatian highway en route to Dubrovnik from Split, partially Google-maps-navigating, and partially buying tickets on Ticketmaster as quickly as possible before they were sold out.

Thus, with a click of the “Buy” button, Chong En and I were going to watch Lorde live in O2 Apollo on the 26th of September.

Pure Heroine was one of the albums consistently present in my 2014 college playlists, a particularly musically magnificent period of time for me, during which I weaved many tales through music together with my friends on road trips or chilling sessions, whilst Melodrama is such an aesthetically fulfilling album filled with both dance-worthy tunes and soul-crushing ballads. There wasn’t a single moment during her show where Ella did not give her hundred percent, and seeing her quirky but passionate dance moves contagiously hyped the hall’s atmosphere up throughout the entire night. Vocals, concepts, costumes, performance – and even merch; all of them were tens out of tens. It was an incredible night.

Despite being on the cusp of her twenties, Ella’s talents shine so brightly in the way she manages to encapsulate feelings and emotions that deeply resonate with those little dusty corners of our hearts that house loneliness and melancholic affection through her lyrics and music, making her songs anthems of the young and misunderstood.

Despite it being a rather solemn period of time for both artists and concertgoers following the recent attack, the spirit of appreciating live music with other similarly musically-inclined people lived on, something that I hold very dearly in my heart.

Khalid was the opening act

Michelle’s People I’ve Watched Live List, updated:

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Throwback to 7 years ago, when I first heard of them because a Tumblr friend of mine posted a photo of the xx vinyl that she’d bought.

Throwback to 3 years ago, when their music was what I sought after when I was in the mood for some masochistic sprinkling of salt over my emotional wounds.

Throwback to 4 hours ago, when I saw The xx live for the first time before my own eyes. It was a night of great music and completely losing myself to dancing (scope that reference) in a crowd of musically like-minded strangers.

Michelle’s People I’ve Watched Live List, updated: