KL Blues Community Gathering - October
October 11, 2011

Taken from the KL Blues Facebook page. That's me trying to sing but instead ended up looking like Rocky Balboa. "Adrian..."

The Sun was just setting after a long hot weekend in Damansara Damai. But in the heart of the Damansara-Sungai Buloh border suburb, Hot Pot Cafe was just waking up from slumber, cruising into the evening with the return of the KL Blues Community Gathering.

It’s been more than a year since the last gathering. And the local Blues scene has been on a break, or hibernating, if you will. The bands have been playing, here and there, but it’s been many moons since the last congregation of makers and lovers of the music. Time was nigh for the community to make a comeback.

The owners of Hot Pot, Dino and Doc Fazah, experienced musicians in the industry themselves, were gracious enough to host the celebrated night. It was a milestone, so to speak, for KL Blues as the event marked the beginning of the organization’s journey to continue its mission in keeping the Blues alive. Hot Pot would be the first of many venues that the community plans to tour to in spreading the music and the love that comes together with it.

Fresh from the historic reunion of Blues Gang the night before at the Dua Raksasa concert with Sweet Charity in Stadium Merdeka, Zizi and Jim got the ball rolling with their energetic rendition of evergreen Blues classics from the back in the day. One does wonder how they managed to lift the spirit of the floor and keep the energy high after a long night at the stadium. We all know that Jim is a seasoned runner, so perhaps we could ask Zizi next time he’s got any petua; and if it involves Tongkat Ali.

Taking over the stage were newcomers Minetrane. Formerly of The Big Pink and The Terence Chong Blues Band, Minetrane is made of four white-collar musicians who have been keeping a close eye on the expertise of their predecessors to keep on learning the tools of the trade. Gathering songs that they have performed separately earlier in different bands, Minetrane paid tribute to the likes of Stevie Wonder, BB King, Bill Withers and Jimi Hendrix. With Dino joining and adding some spice on the piano, it was certainly a good night out for the community’s latest four-piece act.

As the evening got warmer, with faces familiar and new filling the floor, crowd favorite Bluestreat came up to bring their game on. The band had previously, in an earlier KL Blues series, graced the grounds of The Duke in Duta Vista for their Tribute to Dire Straits gig. It’s not every day that you come across a band capable of paying an ode to Mark Knopfler and friends. But Bluestreat is not your everyday band. Performing their own compositions as well as Classic Rock tunes of Pink Floyd, Bluestreat got the crowd moving and dancing to the beat like a bonfire in a dark starry night.

Joining them soon after, making his special appearance for the night, was the Godfather of Malaysian Blues himself, the one and only Ito of the legendary Blues Gang. The writer was in Stadium Merdeka the night before amidst the thousands witnessing the return of his band on stage. But to be inches closer to the man at Hot Pot was certainly a night to remember. With the crowd dancing to his Malaysian Blues anthem Apo Nak Dikato, Ito was joined on stage with his son. It was a father and son fare that signifies the inheritance of the local Blues scene to the next generation; for the old, to pass the baton to the young.

Speaking of the young, closing the night was local harp extraordinaire Zhin Wong and the musician who’s known by all, and has been everywhere, Aznan Aziz. They had earlier joined Zizi and Jim for a beautiful rendition of the Muddy Waters classic, I’m Ready and John Mayall’s Crocodile Walk. But when they took over the stage as the clock ticks closer to midnight, the energy of the place remained upbeat with Zhin’s energetic and soulful mastery of the harp and Aznan’s gorgeous singing and guitar works. The passion in these guys brings chill down your spine.

With Monday looming closer to the end of the weekend, the first “return” of the KL Blues Community Gathering ended on a high note. It has successfully paved a way for the next episode of the series and the crowd simply couldn’t wait as it has now created a buzz in the community. So stay tuned, and keep on sweatin’ the Blues!


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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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