“Malaysians are funny. We don’t really know who we are, but we’re very happy.”
So says FMF Malaysia head promoter Iqbal Ameer. That may well be true of Malaysia: a place of several races, cultures, religions and societies all on one spot, but when it comes to Festivals, it appears that the population of Kuala Lumpur know exactly what’s going on. It’s Day 1 of the third Asian installment of Australian-born Future Music Festival – the Rumble In The Jungle and there’s no subtlety or introspection in sight. Instead, with the backdrop of Bukit Jalil stadium on one side and Kuala Lumpur’s hot, hazy grey BladeRunner esque night sky on the other, Australian flavoured EDM rockets across some 30,000 people in the arena, bouncing off the backs of a multitude of stobes, lasers and smoke blasts. “In just three years EDM has become the accepted norm” states local KL electronic ambassador DJ Eva T. Sure enough, her warm up on the Deadmau5 and Friends stage started as the night intended to continue, firing out volleys of electro and paving room for the three big acts of the night.
First up were Canadian beat chompers Adventure Club, who played a surprisingly vocal set – panning away from their usual hoovery-bass sound and going down the mainstream remix route to the delight of possibly one of the best looking crowds Data Transmission has ever seen. There were flags, there was laughs, there were people crying at drops and there was an abundance of stage diving. In typical competitive spirit, Aussie EDM poster boy Will Sparks was not to be outshone, arriving next and managing to jump from the stage floor onto the decks in one movement – where it was revealed he was indeed DJing in his boxer shorts. No doubt comments would’ve been made, if the crowd hadn’t been busy contending with vast amounts of both champagne and Sparks’ latest remix of Garrix’ Animals being sprayed across them. Newly wet and newly whetted, the crowd bayed as Deadmau5’s entourage arrived – the big bad wolf of weird headgear set up a perimeter around the stage – photographers, film crew, security were all kicked off as he took the sound uncompromisingly down his own tech-heavy path. Credit where credit’s due, his retrospective set- combining his latest and some of his earliest work did go down a treat.
The crowd here are a different species altogether. Perhaps it’s the heat. Perhaps it’s the centuries of living as a mixed community but there’s an overwhelmingly genuine energy at play. They lack the self-conscious cool of the UK crowd, or the capital-letters hype of the US EDM scene, all around stacks of speakers are playing driving, driving basslines and yet the crowd are relaxed, steady, absorbing the heat of the moment alongside the heat of the night. And with 80,000 tickets sold and night 1 of 3 over without a hitch, the organisers can afford to relax a bit too.
Written by: Ally ByersPhotos by: @ByersAlly