A Shoegaze Night From The Radio Dept.

After a week of facing Kuala Lumpur’s inimical weather, Upfront’s The Radio Dept. gig had become the frosting of the lovely Friday night. It was the perfect break from a harsh week, judging from the faces of the crowd, there was slight excitement but more of the need to unwind with some laidback shoegazing music and decent liquor in hand. Although it started a tad bit late as scheduled, the place was packed with thrills.

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Tenderfist, a local band who have made quite the impression on the international indie society, opened the night faultlessly. The band brought seven of their songs, including “Nightshift”, “Kicking and Screaming“, “Somewhere” and “Postcards” that undoubtedly electrified the audience. In contrast to how awkwardly still the members of the band are onstage, it was impossible for the crowd to not to tap along with the dreamy toy-like beats, even for the first-listeners. The ambience of the venue was engineered precisely with the night’s shoegazers (kudos to the new lighting effects and fog machine at The Bee!), the music daze was drumbeats away to begin.

As the triad enters the stage with a start of their first song, there was an instant chemistry captivated by the music, the band and the audience. “I Don’t Like It Like This” was next, and being the opposite of the song title, the crowd appears to be in favor of how static and nonchalant the band was onstage, with the constantly changing backlights that outlines the silhouettes of the members. Two other songs were played after, including their new one, “Good Cop, Gay Cop. Duncanson later thanked for the night’s enthusiasm, along with some repent that the band couldn’t stay in Kuala Lumpur where he described it as “a really nice place, and I’m not just saying it”. Frankly, the band was not so much into crowd interaction, despite how humble they seem to be, seen from the thank you’s after each song, the only connection made between the band and the crowd was the ecstatic euphoria from the bass, guitar reverbs and the mighty amplifiers.

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“Token of Gratitude” hit the nighttime’s pinnacle, with the song’s heart-piercing strums and the venue’s massive audio, people seemed to be completely in the zone. A personal favorite, “The New Improved Hypocrisy“, was played next, followed by three other songs including the single “Liebling” and the ultimate crowd-pleaser, “I Want You To Feel The Same“. The mass was enjoying the night in different ways, some were mouthing the words quietly, couples were cuddling, a few were dancing with a beer in hand and some were even closing their eyes and nodding along to each beat. The Radio Dept.’s trance-like, shoegazing flair seemed to speak to people diversely, each having an unexplored dimension yet, and with confidence, a lot of people were enjoying. Another new song was played, now with the drums added, and clearly the band was working on yet another anticipating music. The three finale felt eternal, with “Never Follow Suit“, “Heaven’s on Fire” and their most recent single, “David”.

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With thirteen tracks that have been played tremendously, people were nowhere near jaded and kept on screaming for encore. Although the band was known to not play for encores, it was our lucky night indeed that they played another song from “Lesser Matters, 1995. It was an easy A for the band’s performance that night, no shenanigans, no hassle, a truly tranquil night out.