(Written for NOAH’s live session introductory in www.soundsfromthecorner.com)
If I ask you to name the biggest band in Indonesia today, what could be your answer?
Before I wrote this introductory, I was trying hard not to relate the band’s achievement with their vocalist’s big incident (so big that I don’t need to explain to you again what happened, right? If you are from outside the country, you could simply browse the net), which panicked the whole country at that moment. I wanted to separate that specific case with NOAH’s credibility as a band, as musicians and etc.
After thinking for a few hours, I finally concluded that my attempt was useless, because the more I want to write about this band, the more I realized that the significance of Nazril Ilham’s case is essential, it could become a solid bargaining position to name NOAH as the biggest band in Indonesia today.
Another thing that snitched my attention is the fact that Ariel – once a vocalist of a band, now an approved Rockstar – is very open and comfortable to talk about his dark days at Kebon Waru. On stage between songs at Rolling Stone when this session was recorded, he told the audience about stuff that happened behind the steel bars; that sincerity and bravery is indeed, mind blowing. And for that reason, I also want to remind you again about what happened.
There was this moment when teachers in schools checked student cellphones, see if they have the amateur videos. Bandung city council once forbids him to enter the city. Even worse, dozens of shallow minded community prohibited him for being a Moslem. Endless wearying drama from those info-fucking-tainments discolored the real perspective of the case. He was once the public enemy of this “educated” and “religious” country. The surprising release of two 3GP videos caused massive pandemonium of moral and positive behaviors in Indonesia. Unarguably one of the biggest events in Indonesia at that day. Major character assassination.
At that time, I was so sure that Peterpan’s career- or at least Ariel’s – is going to be over soon. Facing that kind of situation, other bands usually hire new vocalist and polished a new image to gain and climb for another good momentum. Lukman, Uki, Reza and David chose to wait. Years passed without any news related to the music. Just gossips and infotainment. Very frustrating.
Long after all of that fuzzy mess, I was standing in the middle of Rolling Stone Indonesia live venue, between a strange composition – awful lot of MILFS and police officers. Both are the perfect example of how big Ariel’s case was: The MILFS for being MILFS and police officers for being too paranoid. It wasn’t RATM or effing Pussy Riot, it was just NOAH for god’s sake and I saw tens of police officers prepared for the concert. With that combination, the sold-out gig was nice and strange in the same time. But that was just my first impression.
I already did my homework by listening to “Seperti Seharusnya” which surprisingly good! The performance itself was great, smart setlist, smart arrangement – my ace that night was “Di atas normal” – which featured a nifty addition on strings, and fun dynamic (FYI I hate the album version). They gave a proper amount of sound exploration and good showmanship. As predicted, massive sing along during “Separuh Aku” was very cool, and a plus point for putting the song –not as closure – but in the middle of the setlist. Another highlight was my personal favorite from the newest album “Terbangun sendiri” AND, a sweet cover version of Coldplay’s first global hit Yellow.
On the other hand, (Disclaimer: This paragraph is not an exaggeration) that night, what I saw is not just a gig, but also a statement. A strong statement about how you struggle through deep shit in your life, passed your lowest moment and be there again on the stage with your best friends doing what you believe and showed the world that you survived. The best feeling in the world, I guess. The wheel is turning, lesson learned. And the prophecy from all of those shallow minded people is wrong. Despite all of the contradiction, NOAH, factually, is the biggest band in Indonesia today.
This time we’re doing it a little bit different. While other videos in SFTC consist of three songs, we give you whole exclusive concert duration of sixty minutes. Without further explanation, Ladies and Gentlemen, Sounds From The Corner and Musica Studios present you the biggest band in Indonesia: NOAH.