November 2012

I saw Efek Rumah Kaca at Jaya Pub last night, and it was a special performance. Actually any Efek Rumah Kaca show is a special performance, because they’re that good. But this was extra special, because they expanded from the usual trio into a sextet and rearranged their old songs. They were billed as “Pandai Besi” apparently to provide a psychological edge; according to frontman Cholil Mahmud, it would enable them to do whatever they wanted with those Efek Rumah Kaca songs without having to fulfill any preconceptions that come with the Efek Rumah Kaca name.

This was the second time this line-up performed after their headlining set at the Joyland festival in June. I attended that show, and was quite impressed with the rearrangements. But last night took things to the next level, with the songs departing even further from the originals than when they were performed at Joyland, occasionally being barely recognisable apart from the lyrics. Definitely not a show to be at if you were expecting Efek Rumah Kaca to just crank out the hits. But if you wanted to see the closest thing this country has to its own Radiohead – and I’m not just referring to both bands being led by a diminutive guy with a high-pitched voice – then last night was beyond amazing, as everyone in the audience was mesmerised at all the twists and turns the band put those familiar songs through. There are plans to record these new arrangements at the legendary Lokananta studio in Solo, so there’s a possibility the songs might mutate even further before then.

But until they record in Solo, you can hear the new arrangements in this bootleg

The band:

Cholil Mahmud: vocals, guitar

Akbar Bagus Sudibyo: drums, vocals

Poppie Airil: bass, vocals

Andi Hans Sabarudin: guitar

Muhammad Asranur: keyboards

Agustinus Panji Mardika: trumpet

Photo by Hasief Ardiasyah

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