Indonesian Jazz Festival  
When considering the name of the country featuring the globe's largest jazz festival, many people would most likely suggest America? Or somewhere in Western Europe? But the answer is somewhat more surprising. Believe it or not, the world's largest annual jazz festival actually takes place in Indonesia. And it's getting bigger every year.
The Bali Live International Jazz Festival has become the largest of its kind anywhere on the planet. This year marked the tenth anniversary since its inception, with the Java Jazz Festival expanding into the Bali Live International event, taking place between the 5th and 8th March 2014.
The festival is a truly cosmopolitan and international affair, featuring top jazz artists from many different countries. Indonesia's home-grown talent also has pride-of-place.
This year the festival got off to a toe-tapping start when several of the main acts performed in a series of 'pre events', designed to showcase some examples of the performers. Various venues on Java were utilised for these impromptu gigs, including the Hard Rock Café in Kuta, the Jazz Café and Uma Cucina in Ubud, the Mozaic Beach Club in Kerobokan, the Le Meridien Hotel in Jimbaran, and many others.
Saturday 8th March saw the main festival event, with an open-air concert running from two in the afternoon until eleven at night. This took place at Taman Bhagawan, the perfect location for hours of full-blooded jazz performers, set against the beautiful backdrop of the blue ocean beyond. The atmosphere of gently lapping waves created a visual feast as successive trombonists, trumpeters, double bassists and several other gifted performers ran through their paces.
Few jazz venues anywhere can compete with a 100-metre stretch of white sands, running by the idyllic village of Tanjung Benoa. Another plus for this location is the fact that the area where the musicians perform is so handy for amenities. This is particularly the case if you are stopping over at the Nusa Dua resorts – 20 minutes from the airport, and a mere 30-minutes from Kuta, Denpasar or Seminyak. For visitors coming into this part of the world, the fantastic array of jazz exponents on offer is simply one part of the overall experience. Fans who have made the trip on previous occasions enthusiastically describe the warm welcome they receive on the island, as well as the beautiful sights and sounds to behold in the Balinese setting.
As for the musicians who formed the main part of the festival entertainment this year, the line-up read like a who's who of the Far Eastern jazz world – the Earth, Wind and Fire Experience featuring Al Mckay, Kevin Briggs and Sandy Winarta, Nita Aartsen, Israel Varela and Yeppy Romero, the Rio Sidik Quarter, Nancy Ponto and the Soul Brothers, Massive Soul featuring Dee Rice, and many more.
The annual festival is also hugely popular with local audiences because it provides home-grown talent with an enviable opportunity to demonstrate their talents to a far wider audience than they are normally used to. The finest jazz musicians in Bali and Indonesia can hone their craft here, prior to performers from many different parts of the globe demonstrating why they have become so successful.
J Rocks – Rocking the Indo music scene  
Since forming in Indonesia over a decade ago, J-Rocks have been wowing an army of devoted fans with their energetic brand of Japanese-influenced rock n roll. Lead vocalist Taufik Rachman, together with guitarist Sony Ismail Robbayani, bassist Swara Wima Yoga and drummer Anton Rudi Kelces, began their meteoric rise with an appearance at a music contest. Jakarta was playing host to the 'Nescafe Get Started' competition, aimed at uncovering new talent. Sponsored by the record label, Aquarius Musikindo, J-Rocks succeeded in coming top, winning the opportunity of a lifetime for any ambitious young band – the chance to take part in a compilation album.
Topeng Sahabat was the name of the band's debut album, released in 2005. As things started coming together for J-Rocks, they also contributed two songs for the Dealova soundtrack album – 'Into the Silent' and 'Serba Salah'.
With the release of their follow-up album, Spirit, two years later, the band really stared to attract a powerful fan base (known in the Indonesian media as J-Rockstars). This covered a variety of bases, including classical music and rock n roll, guaranteeing that it would have widespread appeal in Indonesia and beyond. A single that came from this album, 'Kau Curi Lagi' was notable for featuring the talented Japanese guitarist Prisa Rianzi as a guest musician. Sticking with that connection, around this time the band also made a video for their single 'Juwita Hati', filmed in Japan, and directed by Hedy Suryawan. With Japanese locations forming an eyecatching backdrop, the video was to considerably widen the young Indonesian band's audience – in Japan the young fans have really lapped up J-Rocks.
J-Rocks have one huge claim to fame. They are the first ever band from this Far Eastern nation to have recorded in the Abbey Road studios, most famously used by The Beatles for their album of that name, recorded in 1969. J-Rocks used the session in the London studio to record five songs, which made their way onto their Road to Abbey EP, released in 2009 – exactly forty years on from those Beatles recordings. The J-Rocks EP contains two versions of a song called 'Fallin in Love', one recorded with Indonesian vocals, the other with vocals translated into English. In addition, there ara three other songs – 'Road to Abbety', 'Hanya Aku' and 'Meraih Mimpi'. The EP is also notable for its picture sleeve, which features the young Indonesians aping the world-famous zebra crossing shot that was originally posed by The Beatles back in 1969.
While this may have been a cunning publicity stunt, J-Rocks are in no need of self-promotion – they have a huge number of followers in any case. Not only does their eclectic musical performances ensure maximum coverage, their individual styles are always guaranteed to put them at the centre of attention. J-Rocks are famous for their towering hairstyles and dramatic stage gear. But neither are they 'teenybopper' rock exponents. At the 2008 festival A Mild Live Soundrenaline, they were voted 'Best band to free their voice', pipping established rock bands such as Gigi and Nidji. (It was winning this accolade that led them to being booked into the Abbey Road studio).
Power Slaves – Rich Rock n Roll  
Their website might state '100% rock n roll', and they might take their name from an album by English heavy metal giants Iron Maiden, but there is far more to this Indonesian band than just bombastic loud guitars. Indonesian music fans are known for their appreciation of energetic music, but they also like subtlety.
A classic example of what Power Slaves are capable of can be seen by tapping into YouTube, where there are many examples of their excellent songs. Impian has attracted almost a quarter of a million hits.
It commences with a drum intro, leading to a soft but insistent section of acoustic guitar, the output layered through effects pedals to give a soothing melodic introduction. As the verse unfolds, the video complements the soft rock background, introducing an attractive female who appears to be re-arranging a collection of Disney miniatures (or could a quirky game of chess be in progress?) The viewer's attention is captured by close-ups of this stunning model, filmed in soft focus and highlights. Shortly afterwards two females brandish fireworks. After a cut back to the 'toy chess', the chorus really kicks in, with keyboards and power chords colliding while the vocalist reaches his hands out imploringly towards the camera.
There is nothing original in this soft hard approach – it was pioneered by US proto-grunge rockers Pixies in the late 80s, and brought to the fore by Nirvana. Nevertheless the technique is just as effective now as it has ever been. Just as the verse lulls the listener into a false sense of security, along come the crunching guitar to rouse you from your state of relaxation! While the verse is all wistful shots of the singer and the model, playing chess, then holding hands seductively as they linger over their next tactical move, the chorus is more conventionally rock n roll, showing the Power Slaves on stage, plugged into their amplifier stacks.
By the second chorus the camera is panning over the model lying back, her beauty illuminated by flickering candles. The film cuts to a shot of the girl apparently involved in an argument while hunched over a pool table.
The song approaches a climax at 3:25, when a close-up of the pool balls breaking cuts to a guitar (and the sub-titles state 'Wow'!) The solo is layered with effects, so that a punchy rock n roll lead is tempered with melody. The guitars continue feeding over the vocals, propelling the song towards its finale. At 4:38 a minor chord change drops in, and the piece slowly unravels towards a majestic fade-out.
All in all, Impian is a triumphant example of how a rock band can alter tone, pace and volume, reaching a whole new audience in the process. This is a classic song that would work well in any setting where you were hoping to create am atmosphere – such as a romantic evening in, featuring candles and a sumptuous meal. But the song would work equally well in a live setting, with those powerful guitar lines erupting from speaker stacks.
The Djakarta Warehouse Project  

Djakarta Warehouse Project is Ismaya Live's annual dance music festival. They accomplished to be the biggest dance music festival in Indonesia, and also one of the biggest in Asia. The festival has featured the best International acts and Indonesia's best electronic artists/djs. With the highest production quality of sound and music, it is a dance festival that you will not want to miss.

Djakarta Warehouse Project has presented special performances by International DJs and performers with different music genres, ranging from: electronic, house, progressive, techno, trance, drum and bass, to dubstep. They have featured the biggest EDM stars like Avicii, Calvin Harris, Paul Van Dyk, Markus Schulz, Martin Garrix, Bob Sinclair, Roger Sanchez, Kaskade, Ferry Corsten, Nervo, Matthew Koma and many more.

Located in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital city, is Indonesia's largest electronic dance music festival and one of the largest in all of Asia. It is now a two day event (after running for five years as a single day event) that turns the city's international exposition centre in Kemayoran into a huge music techno arena where the global superstars of dance and electronic music grace the stages and entertain a huge crowd of international spectators with bass pumping music, impressive pyrotechnics and lighting that makes it feel like the whole festival is from an entirely new dimension. The festival takes part towards the end of the year in December, and this is one party that you don't want to miss.

The majority of the artists pump EDM, house and techno music through the speakers, although there is a huge variety of electronic and dance music on show. Previous superstars have included the likes of Martin Garrix, Nicky Romero, Skrillex, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Bob Sinclair and Avicii performing over multiple stages, both sheltered and open air. The main stage is an open air place called Garudha Land with world class technics, impressive visuals, and huge aesthetic structures featuring a massive sculpture of the mythical bird Garudha, hence the name of the arena. The stage times for all the performances becomes available in early December on the official website, in the days leading up to the opening of the event.
It has become a favourite amongst performing artists due to the vibes and atmosphere, and also the energy from the crowd. What is often seen in Indonesia and not in other festivals heavy countries like Australia, is that the crowd, while enjoying a big party, will also sit down, relax and chill out between sets, and that the people are very polite and friendly, and often don't drink themselves into oblivion as is more customary at other international festivals.
The huge venue is packed full of spectators who sing and dance long into the night, dressed in neon paint, flashing lights and glowsticks. The event also prides itself on being visually spectacular, with massive firework displays, impressive lighting shows and lasers, professional dancers (sometimes suspended from the top of the stage) and pyrotechnics. The event annually attracts over 75,000 people, and although this is mostly a local audience, there is also a large attendance of international guests accounting for around 20% of the total figures.
Music tends to start around 4pm in the afternoon and continue until as late as 4am in the morning. For those who are not satisfied with ending the party so soon, there are usually a number of after parties happening all over town in venues such as the Colosseum night club where they tend to start at around 5am and continue until as late as 10am, often featuring DJs from the festival to continue the party vibes. The Colosseum can accomodate over 3000 people, and to see such a huge crowd enjoying a massive party at the usual time when people are commuting to work is completely surreal.
Travelling to Indonesia in December is quite interesting as it is the peak of the wet season, and being a tropical country, Indonesia can have a lot of rain. The festival features several outside stages, and when asked about this, the Djakarta Warehouse Project's “media guy” referred to only as Kevin in an interview, stated that they pay a black magic wizard to hold off the tropical storms, and that he only gets paid if it doesn't rain. Previous events have miraculously encountered relatively good weather, although the Jury is still out as to whether this is due to the efforts of a black magic wizard or just a coincidence.
The festival market in Asia is really just beginning to boom, whereas in other continents some of the larger, more established events have been traded in for smaller, more local, more boutique standings. More people are travelling to Southeast Asia for mega festivals and so they are attracting a lot of big names and more money is being spent on making them even more amazing, and compared to the prices of many international festivals, you get a lot of value for your money. DWP is quickly becoming a standout name for electronic music and a permanent standing in the lineup of mega festivals supporting this music, and we can expect many big names and changes in the future.


Power Slaves – Up The Tempo  
The statement on the Power Slaves website, that the band indulge in '100% rock n roll' is certainly no empty boast. Check out the clip of their track 'Indonesia'.
This bears all the hallmarks of a classic rock video, with close-ups of the various instruments are they are introduced to the track. There are jump cuts to a sea of youthful hands brandishing the national red and white halved flag, and at 0:30 this is expanded to silhouettes defiantly punching the air along with the rousing music. As enemy airplanes cruise past threateningly, the hands grasp larger flags to wave in defiance.
The intimacy of the video transforms at 0:49, as the cameras introduce a clip of Power Slaves performing before a crowd of adoring fans, hands (and Indonesian flags) thrust into the air. The song progresses, gaining in power, and the silhouettes seem to grow ever more prepared to defend their country, producing weapons which are waved menacingly.
While all this makes for an effective backdrop, it is the live clips that really bring home the band's latent power. The vocalist continually gestures to the adoring audience, imploring them to hang on to his words, with the band producing suitably strident chords. At one point there is an effective shot of a guitar, with the camera clipped to the head, focussing on the fretboard. The keyboard player, face masked by ubiquitous cool shades, layers the track with melodies, while the guitarist thrashes out his licks beneath a white stetson (managing to look far cooler than when U2's The Edge used to wear one!)
The vocals alternate dramatically between atmospheric crooning, rising to a powerful crescendo at 2:12. Heydie Ibrahim certainly has a full range, conveying all the atmosphere that is required. Guitarist Kolem kicks into a soaring solo, while the rhythm section of drummer Vidi, second guitarist Randy and bassist Anwar Fatahillah, together with keyboard player Mandy, ensure that each aspect of the song gathers momentum.
By 2:45 the thunderous crescendo has died down to a gentle verse, allowing the crowds to join in. Heydie is seen amongst the fans at the front, bravely continuing with the song as the adulating spectators clamour for the microphone.
The climax of the song occurs with the musicians taking theirfoot off the throttle for a moment, allowing the baying crowds to take the lead (which prompts Mandy to cup a palm to his left ear, goading them that they are not singing nearly loud enough). As the music faded, only the drums remain, tapping out a military tattoo.
This is a terrific example of how Power Slaves are able to whip up their fans by employing a mixture of melody and amplification. Unlike a lot of rock music, where volume seems to be the be all and end all, this Indonesian band can certainly rock, but they can also carry their fans along by producing excellent songs that are also atmospheric.
Shorthand Phonetics – Music and Film  
Most rock bands are content to live up to a certain set of expectations. This often follows a well-worn pattern: the first album is packed full of punchy material designed to gain maximum attention. By the second album, the emphasis might be on taking things down a gear, with many outfits displaying tendencies of getting introspective and moody. Indonesian band Shorthand Phonetics don't follow any of those rules. They simply focus on producing great, original rock music, whether that's for release through the usual channels, or as the atmospheric backdrop to a film.
Although Shorthand Phonetics are most known for their lo-fi indie guitar sound, they are no strangers to mainstream success. In fact, their film score album 'Score No. 1 (Dream Chase) in A major, Op. 17 for Three Electric Guitars, One Bass Guitar and One Drum Kit', made the number one spot in the 'Top Indonesian Albums of 09', produced by the influential Jakarta Globe newspaper. Never a band to scrimp on the somewhat poetic (indeed outlandish) album titles, this was followed two years later with 'Cantata No. 6 (Assistants of Assistants) in Varying Keys, Op. 25 for Three Electric Guitars, One Bass Guitar, One Drum Kit, One Tenor and Additional Voices Where Appropriate.
In fact, these highly literal descriptions of their album contents is one of Shorthand Phonetics' most instantly recognisable attributes. It conveys a quirky mix of serious intent coupled with a zany sense of humour. But when it comes to actually delivering the goods, the Bandung group is focussed on creating original music that will live on in their listeners' memories (long after most other indie bands have been superseded by the latest hyped-up indie bands).
The defining feature of Shorthand Phonetics is their instantly recognisable guitar sound – or should that be 'three guitars' sound? These are often played in a choppy or 'staccato' style that allows the guitar line to dictate a certain amount of rhythm for any song. This is frequently counterbalanced with a more gentle but insistent strumming, allowing layers of melody to be injected into the piece. As for the rhythm section, very often anything goes, with madcap drumming competing with nihilistic bass lines.
On top of all this, the vocal performances are often dead-pan, or deliberately understated. Shorthand Phonetics are not known for huge, anthemic choruses sung in cod-operatic style. Instead they paint little vignettes that describe the nuances and irritations of everyday life. The equipment used captures this lo-fi technique to perfection, with webcam microphones or a laptop taking the place of the arsenal of marshall stacks that have been the rock band staple for decades.
The band itself was formery a five-piece, consisting of bassist Alfonsus Tanoto, guitarists Kevin Yapsir and Daniel Sastro, drummer Alvin Lasmana and guitarist, vocalist and programmer Ababi Ashari. Established in 2003 or 2004 (the exact date has been open to debate for a while), they were eventually signed to Yes No Wave Music in 2007. Their debut album was another ditty that didn't exactly roll off the tongue – Fanfiction: From the Seriously Absurd to the Absurdly Serious.
Following the album's release, the bulk of the Shorthand Phonetics departed to pursue academic careers, leaving driving force Ababail Ashari to continue writing material under the band's name.
The colourful world of Indo rock  

The Indonesia music scene is incredibly rich and varied, benefiting from a range of influences, historic and cultural. Its location on the Pacific rim is ideal for soaking up many of the musical styles which are prevalent amongst other Far Eastern nations.
But one form of music that seems to have been embraced by enthusiastic young Indonesians is rock. Known locally as 'rock indo', there are many aspects of the genre that are fairly unique to Indonesia. One thing that is typical to Indonesian rock is a sense of passion and individuality. All those clichés that can infest western rock, such as singing about drugs, fast cars or faster women, are completely redundant in Indonesia. Instead the songs are far more likely to concentrate on subjects such as modernism, environmental awareness, or sensitive personal politics.
The music itself varies considerably, covering all the different strand of rock n roll. There is a place for the darker side of the genre, with gothic bands and death metal exponents. But the most successful groups manage to blend the edge of loud guitar-driven rock with the popular, radio and download-friendly sensibilities of pop. This is reflected in YouTube videos, which reveal the sensitive side of Indonesian bands.
While the music might display the traditional attributes of rock – strident guitars, pulsating bass rhythms, driving drumbeats, heartfelt vocals – there are invariably strong narratives in the accompanying videos. Stories can vary, but they will tend to mirror the dramatic undercurrents in the music. Subtle verses might be reflected in introspective footage, with the video protagonists gazing wistfully into the distance, perhaps contemplating relationships that are under stress. Then a crashing chorus or soaring guitar solo will elevate the song to new heights.
That there is a huge audience for Indo rock is reflected in the many annual festivals which are organised. These events draw thousands of enthusiastic punters to events such as the three-day Jakarta Rock Parade. The most recent example of this get-together saw over 100 bands being hosted in the Indonesian capital city. A fantastic range of talent was on display, treating rock fans to music covering the full spectrum of rock n roll, from loud to atmospheric, jazz-tinged to out and out metal.
Bands such as J-Rocks are famed well beyond their Indonesian locale. The very fact that they are clearly influenced by Japanese rock n roll and street styles is reflected in their dress sense, and their raucous, almost cartoon-like enthusiasm for presentation. They have a wide fan base, and have played in Japan, where they have garnered a lot of followers.
Another colourful young Indo band is Superman Is Dead. Adopting punk rock thrash and strong pop melodies, they are clearly influenced by American exponents such as Green Day. In fact, they have toured extensively in the USA.
Pop-rock outfits such as Gigi have commanded a lot of local success. Their debut album 'Angan' shifted 150,000 copies, while their follow-up, 'Dunia', sold almost half a million.
Old hands, such as God Bless, who have been churning out rock n roll since 1973, are still flying the flag for no-nonsense, original, passionate, rock indo!


The wonderful cocktail of Dangdut  

There are many wonderful forms of indigenous music which continue to inspire generations of music lovers throughout the world. In Indonesia one particular form of music that has endured has been Dangdut.
The term itself derives from the Javanese word conveying the literal sound of a drum (known as the table or gendang). Although there is a certain amount of confusion as to how the expression was first used – some claiming that Dangdut was originally a derogatory term used by the rich to describe music favoured by the island's poor, there is no doubt that the music it inspired came to have a universal appeal.
Is in a foreign the widespread popularity of this type of music is the fact that it is extremely rich and vocals, melodies and harmonies. In addition, Indonesians love to dance to this type of music because of its strong rhythmic content.
Typically, the musicians performing this type of music will consist of a lead singer who is backed by several musicians. The actual instruments employed can vary considerably. As well as traditional bamboo flutes, or drums made from cow skins, their may be guitars mandolins and even synthesizers. It is this latter aspect that makes this music particularly appealing because it is able to transcend genres and traverse cultures. There will never be any danger of this form of indigenous music ever dying out because it has proved itself to be highly resilient in its ability to adapt to modern styles.
While traditional Dangdut is music that may have an echo of the past, in its modern setting it can embrace a whole load of eclectic influences, from house and R&B to reggae and hip-hop. The guitars can even be cranked up to incorporate aspects of western rock music.
If you should find yourself in a city on the island of Java, then the chances are there will be a venue somewhere in the vicinity that will be offering regular Dangdut performances. Even if you don't feel like making your way out to these venues, the events are so popular that they are very often broadcast on TV. And just because it Dangdut is based on very traditional music forms is no reason why it should be considered somewhat dull and old-fashioned. In fact, a fair amount of controversy has sometimes centred around the music form.
Over a decade ago Dangdut musicians found themselves at the centre of a media frenzy. A certain singer, Inul Daratista, was singled out by religious groups for her rather racy style of performing and dancing. Naturally this form of publicity has only helped raise the status of the music form, rather than having the opposite effect, as curious concert-goers flock to the shows to see what all the fuss is about.
Whatever the thoughts of conservative commentators, there can be no denying the enduring appeal of Dangdut. It has become a core aspect of Indonesian culture, and the fact that it brings so many people together in the spirit of shared joy and the love of music is something that should be celebrated rather than denigrated.


Powerful stories from dMassiv  

The YouTube video for the song by Indonesian band d'Massiv, 'Sudahi Perih Ini' has been seen by 8 million viewers. One reason for its popularity is that rather than simply being an accompaniment to the music, the footage tells a story. As the track unfolds, there is a moment of drama that contrasts very well with the delicate nature of the instrumentation. It seems obvious that we are witnessing the demise of a relationship, with a girl shrugging off the advances of her partner.

Be slow but consistent drumbeat keeps a regular rhythm while the guitar picks out some simple, sustained notes. Against this plaintive backdrop vocal comes in with a wistful melody. While the story of regret continues, we see the female again, this time obviously packing her personal belongings away. As she heads for the exit, bag nonchalantly slung over her shoulder, the despondent man perched at the end of the bed reaches out one last time. For a little longer this time, but eventually breaks away to continue her escape. The video is perfectly synchronized with the band footage, because at that precise moment when he lets go of her, the music begins gathering momentum, the action switching from the storyline to footage of d'Masiv.
The walls that have somehow been constructed in this relationship are given a metaphorical twist. As the accompanying melody becomes ever stronger, we see the male protagonist again, this time dressed in a crash helmet and uniform, and surrounded by riot police shields deployed for some civil disturbance. As clouds of tear gas part we see his former girlfriend materializing, surrounded by various fellow demonstrators brandishing placards. Amongst their banners are ecological slogans about saving the planet and resisting climate change, as well as messages about stopping cruelty to animals and general abuse of the environment. The girl marches right up to the row of shields while the riot policeman can only watch her, torn between his duty and his feelings.
There is another flashback to their previous life, where they are obviously having issues. This cuts back to the faces of both, from either side of the wall of riot shields, their expressions consumed with regret. An effective tool here is that the vocals of the song are spoken by the man in riot police gear. While the girl gazes on, someone amongst the other demonstrators wraps his arm around her shoulder – although she is obviously still pining a little for her former boyfriend?
Eventually the stand-off reaches a point where the police must have received orders to clear the streets. Visors are flipped down and they charge into action, truncheons at the ready, while fire and smoke fill the screen. While the action gets messy, with people milling around barbed wire, the music reaches a crescendo, soaring into a powerful guitar solo.
The male protagonist removes his helmet and rushes to the girl's aide as she is roughed up by another policeman. But he can only watch from the ground as she is led away.
The fact the story does not have a happy ending is one of its strengths. d'Massiv are all about making passionate music, with strong lyrical statements, not clichéd rock videos that are merely a tool for selling a band's music. If you need more head over to The bands official site.
Rock in Solo  

While some people love to relax to soothing music, for others the whole point of listening to their favourite bands is to do so loudly. Forget chart-friendly pop or trendy dance vibes – if you are ever visiting Indonesia's capital Jakarta during 'Rock in Solo' time, prepare to have your ear-drums assaulted!

Every year since 2004, between May and November, festival-goers will be subjected to a diverse range of bands sharing one thing in common: extreme volume. The types of music on offer falls into various genres, but none of it would be particularly welcome blaring from an apartment in a crowded residential area. Rock in Solo boasts thrash metal, gothic music, death metal, heavy metal, metalcore and stoner rock. While the very mention of these genres is enough to have the uninitiated running to their pharmacist for a supply of anti-headache tablets, for the devotees of an event that attracted 37 bands in 2012, this festival is wildly popular.
The festival's beginnings were fairly humble. A decade ago, seven local bands gathered together to entertain a small but enthusiastic audience on a single stage. The second event was launched three years later, with festival number three occurring in 2009 – the first to include international bands in the line-up. Ever since that third festival these rock n' roll parties have been held on an annual basis. By the fourth festival seven bands had expanded to three times that number, spreading over two stages. A year after that, for festival number five in 2011, four stages were utilised to accommodate the 33 bands who congregated to wow the mostly black-clad audiences in Jakarta.
As well as the number of musicians who can now been seen at this annual rock event, the size of the audiences attracted has expanded at a similarly ferocious rate. For that debut festival back in 2004, the total of appreciative fans numbered around 1,500. By 2012 this had rocketed to over 8,000.
Rock bands are notoriously short-lived phenomena. For every Rolling Stones notching up several decades in the business, there is a Nirvana, whose career was notoriously short-lived (amounting to albums that, for all they were acclaimed, could be counted on the fingers of one hand). How many of the bands who first graced the stage for 2004's Rock in Solo are still with us? The bands were Tengkorak, Seringai, Down For Life, Sporadic Bliss, Automatic, Russian Roulette and The Brandals. By the following year only two of those made it back to the stage: Seringai and Down For Life.
The most recent event, held at the Kota Barat football field in Surakarta over November 2nd and 3rd 2013, attracted an eclectic mix of raucous rock exponents. Their names, including Behemoth, Noxa, Outright, Psychonaut and Djiwo, may not necessarily be household names in every corner of the globe, nevertheless the enthusiasm and dedication of these bands for providing hours of gloriously passionate rock n' roll noise for their devotees is unparalleled. If you happen to find yourself holidaying in Indonesia later this year, why not visit Jakarta and take in this fabulous array of headbanging entertainment?!


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