Wednesday May 11, 2005
Pop Shuvit leads the way to the roots of KLHCBy IZUAN SHAH
For Pop Shuvit’s maiden Saturday Rock Fever showcase at Hard Rock Cafe in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday, the enterprising rap-rock quintet brought an extra initiative for heavy rock fans – the promised revival of the hardcore heyday of the 1990s and the re-introduction of its key purveyors. KLHC (Kuala Lumpur hardcore), the underground institution so many urban mainstream rock outfits of today once looked up to and savoured as musical and ethical role models, was set for a resurgence.
The only surprise was, the ones to bring KLHC back was Pop Shuvit, perhaps the most unlikely bunch to celebrate this nearly forgotten scene. But the Shuvit crew were insistent on getting back to the roots.
Pop Shuvit’s Moots and JD (right) willingthe crowd to get their groove on.
For the band, it was a tribute to the heroes who paved the way – and also an opportunity to give back. For the KLHC mavens who agreed to guest star, it was a welcome opportunity to kick-start a genuine revival.
Like many of its heavier peers who haven’t made the mainstream breakthrough, Pop Shuvit made it known that they too were part of the faithful crowd that attended every Chronic Mass, Projekt AK and Basic Rights show in the mid-1990s. The band members themselves admitted to having organised this Hard Rock Cafe revival joint as a gesture of giving back to the inspirations that led to the birth of the group.
So how was the show? Did the old skool hardcore faithful turn up?
Energetic and heartfelt
For the record, the show wasn’t a disappointment by any measure. It was solid, professional, energetic, celebratory and spectacular in some instances, and often heartfelt in delivery.
Opening act They Will Kill Us All turned in a display of experimental/art-rock hysterics, with its theatrical frontman Hafizul’s schizophrenic charisma blinding the stage with a whitewash of emotion.
Next, Project AK, KL’s rap-core pioneers came alive with the original line-up intact (including rappers Rudy and Nazry, and charismatic bassist Zani), and Nox of Chronic Mass as guest. Projekt AK pulled off a spirited set with originals Acid Trip and Bring It Back (off the scene-defining 1996 compilation Visionville Hardcore), and a couple of Rage Against the Machine covers and Just Another Victim, taken from the Judgement Night soundtrack.
When it came time for Pop Shuvit to come on, the five-piece crew bounded into their set, opening up with a snappy triumvirate of its three most reliable showstoppers, Here & Now’s breakthrough single Old Skool Rocka, Back to My Roots (which vocalist Moots dedicated to the evening’s tributary theme) and the oldie Skater’s Anthem.
As more Shuvit tunes flew by (including the 2002 hip-hop sleeper hit, Conversations), the crowd who did turn up remained unresponsive despite Moots’ best persuasions and attempts to stir some interaction and movement. A cameo by the literally larger-than-life Bob (of KU2 fame) followed – on a cover of the Kool and the Gang sleaze ball, Get Down On It.
The Pop Shuvit crew – driven by the exciting presence of Moots, flanked by flame-haired guitarist JD and bassist AJ, and styled-up by drummer Rudy and turntablist DJ Uno – bounced back to rock the joint with guests Eunus of Basic Rights and Nox on the thrasher Rather Be Dead (Swedish punk outfit Refused) and the Mass’ hardcore anthem Togetherness.
Moots and company then closed with a bang, throwing down their fight song, Put ‘Em Up, borrowing Rage’s Take the Power Back for added effect and then finishing the job with a party tune (Jump) and a common band favourite, Lies.
After the collective dose of adrenaline, the ball was back in the fans’ court.
Beyond the 200 fans, curious contemporary emo/punk/hardcore types, where were the old faithful? Where had all the hardcore kids gone?
It could have been: “Maybe the ‘core’ isn’t so ‘hard’ as it used to be.”
Whatever it was, life goes on for Pop Shuvit and like any bona fide new generation Malaysian rockband worth its salt, this group will take such minor knocks in the chin and plough on.
For Eunus, Nox and Zani and their bands, it was a shot they took with visibly all the spirit and passion they showed almost 10 years ago, or at best, it was a prelude to something bigger.
A proper revival album, or genre collaboration and musical experimentation, perhaps.