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Hotspots for gigs are always changing to adapt with the times. We take a look at a new wave of music venues in the Klang Valley that double as experimenting grounds to keep the music scene going.
A healthy music scene needs a good base of small gigs going on, and that means having more spaces to cater to niche performances and audiences. While established music venues like No Black Tie and Alexis Bistro do their part in keeping Kuala Lumpur’s live music scene going, the emergence of new gig spaces means more diversity, and more places providing a platform for fresh new talent to perform before an audience. Here are some of the Klang Valley’s new wave of music venues doing just that.
Perfect Square Space
Located in TTDI, Perfect Square Space is arguably the most strategically placed music venue on this list. It shares a space with music merchandise haven BONE Collector Store, whose storeowner Izwan Haris co-founded the music venue in October 2016 with Muhammad Rashwan Azhar and Uzayr Khalid Kushairi.
If you’re looking to find raw talent, then Perfect Square Space can be your new regular spot. Born out of the partners’ desire to provide a platform for new musicians, they aim to have a gig every two weeks. The founding trio rolls with a punk-like DIY spirit in running the makeshift space, although musically they attract a diverse range of performers. Past gigs have featured metalcore band As Simple As Death, local power pop veterans Couple, and even Singaporean indie-electronic duo .gif.
Address: 147A Jalan Aminuddin Baki, TTDI, 60000 Kuala Lumpur (016 888 0407).
Attention to technical detail is what makes Playspace stand out from other music venues. A passion project between experienced performing arts producer Cathy Chin, Tempered Mental vocalist/bassist Melina William, and live events and studio production veteran Anthony Yap, Playspace highly prioritises acoustics and quality.
On top of being open for event space rental, Playspace organises two music series of their own. Sound Bites focuses on highlighting experimental work established artists are working on, which has featured the likes of Seven Collar T-shirt, Azmyl Yunor and Orkes Padu, Liyana Fizi and Nastia, to name a few. Meanwhile, Rawr Sessions highlights newer acts to the scene.
Address: G3, The Place, No.1, Jalan PJU8/5G, Damansara Perdana, 47820 Petaling Jaya, Selangor (011 2626 2744).
Live Fact was specifically set up to fill the vacuum left behind following the closure of Kakiseni Free Space (an event space housed within the now-closed SStwo Mall). Founded by Mak Wai Hoo of Soundscape Records, Shane Tan of indie Chinese music label Dong Tai Du, and Manji Hwang of Citizens of Ice Cream and The Maharajah Commission fame, Live Fact is possibly pounding the pavement hardest to get the best acts in their venue. “We’re a completely independent, self-sustaining live house. We wanted to create a space where musicians aren’t afraid to have a show for less than a hundred people,” says Shane.
The venue currently hosts between eight to ten gigs a month. On top of local bands, Live Fact often plays host to niche acts from around the region. Past acts include Japanese experimental guitarist Yoshitake EXPE, eclectic South Korean indie band Goonamguayeoridingstella, and Indonesian dream pop act Lightcraft.
Address: 33-2, Plaza Danau 2, Jalan 3/109f, Taman Danau Desa, 58100 Kuala Lumpur (012 377 8558).
Credit: Khalil Makata
Accessibility is the name of the game at ATAS. Sound engineer Mohd Najib Abdul Shukor (or more fondly known as Bijan) founded ATAS in July 2016 as a way to provide new acts access to great equipment inexpensively, which also includes providing multitrack recording gear for those looking to cut a demo.
ATAS hosts its own ATAS Music Series that cycles between singer-songwriter theme nights and a general local bands night. The extensive setup at ATAS has made it popular to a diverse rotation of musicians ranging from jazz singers like Atilia, to smaller punk bands and even post-hardcore outfits like Maddthelin. Accessibility at ATAS also extends to the cover charge, which only costs RM20 for gigs under their namesake music series. And with how the venue has positioned itself to attract more DIY gig organisers, ATAS is definitely on its way to becoming a major a space for newer bands to come and prove their mettle.
Address: F-5-1, Level 5, Parklane Commercial Hub, Jalan SS7/26, Kelana Jaya, 47301, Petaling Jaya, Selangor (012 217 8534).
Credit: All is Amazing
The Bee, Publika
The Bee, Publika may already be a household name amongst gig-goers, but its first renovation after almost six years of operating as a restaurant and gig venue is worthy of a mention. With an emphasis on improving the space for live shows, The Bee’s new facelift includes improvements to the sound system and soundproofing, as well as a bigger stage and a dressing room for performers. There’s even a dedicated DJ console for DJ gigs and a new games area.
The Bee has also upgraded its regular events list to go alongside the new makeover. Femme Bam is the new arts and music ladies’ night every Thursday, while Double Bill takes place every second and fourth Friday of the month as a platform for emerging acts to pair up with more established names from a similar genre. Popular indie club night Indiego & Co. has also found a new home at The Bee every Saturday, and the last Friday of every month hosts Raising the Bar, a homegrown series that showcases new R&B and hip hop acts in Malaysia.
Address: 36B, Block C, Level G2, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 Kuala Lumpur (03 6201 8577). Open daily, 11am-late.
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