Last weekend, from July 22nd to 24th, the shores of Carnaval Beach in Ancol Recreation Park, Jakarta, transformed itself into a gigantic rock scene compound as the 3rd edition of Java Rockin’land (JRL) shook the ground with its thunderous sounds. Hailed as the biggest rock festival in South East Asia, JRL 2011 presented a complete anthology of rock music by over a hundred of performers on its 10 spread out performing stages. Rock fans of various generations and genres, along with their distinct styles, constantly moved from stage to stage as music was endlessly played from every corner of the complex.
The first day of the festival was highlighted with some of the best names in Indonesia’s rock scene. The festival kicked off on Friday afternoon, July 22nd on Simpati stage with Indonesia’s renowned Hardcore Band, Seringai. Shortly after the sun set, Pas Band from Bandung became the first to deliver their powerful music at the Main Gudang Garam (GG) Inter Music Stage. The Pop-Rock Band Sheila on 7 from Yogyakarta, altered making the tone a little softer and more cheerful. The crowds danced joyfully as they brought some of their best numbers. We Are Scientists and Blue Red Shoes were among the first international bands to perform in the festival.
The explosive performance of Tengkorak at Tebs Stage caught the attention of the Japanese legendary Heavy Metal Band, Loudness. During a mini press conference, Minoru Nihara, Loudness’s lead vocalist, said that they did not at first know much about Rock Music in Indonesia, but he was surprise that there are also Indonesian bands that play really hard and “tight” music.
As time approached midnight, crowds began to gather in front of the GG Inter Music Stage. Dominated by teenagers, the enthusiasm was almost unbearable as 30 Seconds to Mars, the long awaited band from the U.S, was about to perform for the first time in Indonesia. Preceded by the national anthem of Indonesia, Indonesia Raya, Jared Leto, Shannon Leto and Tomo Milicevic from 30 Second to Mars managed to get the crowds off their feet, and created a frenzy as they played some of their popular songs such as Beautiful Lie, Attack, From Yesterday, and others.
The first night was closed with the flawless explosive performance of the Japanese legendary Metal Band, Loudness.
The second day started early: Propaganda Stage, J.U.M.P Stage, and Hai Mobile Stage commenced their performances as early as 15.45 Western Indonesia Time. Flashes of Indonesia’s Rock History started with Power Slaves, a rock band from Semarang, who had its heydays in the 80’s with songs like “Impian” and “Amoral”. As day turned into night, GG Inter Music Stage featured the most prominent name in Indonesia’s Rock scene: Godbless. Featuring almost all their classical hits such as “Semut Hitam”, “Kehidupan”,” Bla-bla-bla”,” Panggung Sandiwara”,” Bara Timur” and even more sophisticated hits from the 70’s such as “Cermin” and “Anak Adam”, the legendary band could still bring up a stunning performance.
As the Band from Philippines, Franco stormed the Segara Stage, Kensington, who appeared at the press conference in Borobudur Hotel, entertained the crowd at the BNI Dome Stage. Meanwhile, Blood Red Shoes got the crowd jumping at Tebs Stage.
Two great names of the 90’s era appeared at the GG Inter Music Stage. Although no longer with the band Live, Ed Kowalczyk could still amaze the audience with hits such as” All Over You”,” Selling the Drama”, and “Dolphin’s Cry”. The audience also sang along beautifully through “I Alone” and “Lightning Crashes”. Approaching midnight, the Irish quartet, The Cranberries appeared on stage and was greeted with enthusiasm and roaring applause. Not only did they bring all time favorite hits such as “Ode to My Family”,” Just My Imagination”,” Animal Instinct”, “Zombie” and “Salvation”, they also brought some of the new songs from their upcoming album: Roses.
The second night ended with a nostalgic trip to Indonesia’s early metal age with Power Metal, a band from Surabaya who is also one of Indonesia’s pioneer metal bands.
As the festival came to its final day, crowds grew even larger. The highlight of the last evening performance was of the Indonesian heavy Metal Band, Edane, Good Charlotte from the USA, and bringing the art of Speed Metal from Germany to Jakarta was the legendary heavy metal band, Helloween.
Living up to its name, Edane or edan literally meaning Madness, really burned up the crowd with their fast music and thundering drum beats. Wearing all-black costumes, the band and their music actually matched perfectly with the scorching afternoon sun at Carnaval Beach, Ancol. With its signature tapping style Solo guitar, Eet Syahranie sliced Jakarta’s sky with his fascinating skills. As the classic “Kau Pikir Kualah Segalanya” was played, the crowd went wild and jumped around the field.
The front of GG Inter Music Stage was jam-packed with teenagers as Good Charlotte prepared to enter the arena. Hysteric shouts and endless callings of “Good Charlotte-Good Charlotte-Good Charlotte” preceded the bands appearance. When the band finally hit the
stage, the ground was literally rumbling as thousands of fans jump up and down to “Boys & Girls”. The party went on with popular hits such as “Lifestyle of the rich and famous”, “Keep your hands off my girl”,”Riot Girls” and”Like it’s her birthday”. As a special treat to their Indonesian fans, Benji Maden, the lead guitarist sang a part of the popular Indonesian Boy-band hits “I Heart you” under roaring laughter and applause from the audience.
The scene changed from hysteric teenagers to a horde of Black shirts troopers as the clock hit 21.45; it was Helloween time. As they waited for the band, the crowd cheerfully sang the band’s iconic jingle “Happy-happy Helloween”. Soon after, the band emerged on stage bringing the single from their latest album and a question to all the audience: “Are you Metal?”. As the crowd went in a frenzy, the bands played some of its classic hits including: “Eagle Fly Free, The march of Time, I’m Alive, and Dr.Stein”. The band even put up an epic medley from the legendary albums of Keeper of the seven keys part 1 & 2. Amazed by the crowd’s reaction, Andy Derris, the lead vocalist dropped the mike and let the crowd sing for them as the “Future World” was played. Helloween closed its performance with the all time favorite “I want out” which featured mind blowing double guitar solos and high range vocals.
Featuring almost all genres of rock, from the sweet and smooth pop rock to ear deafening sounds of Hardcore Metal, Java Rockin’land has truly been a magnificent journey into the world of Rock. The festival was also solid proof that rock music can also be presented in exclusive packages, complete with vast selection of food and beverages vendors and the convenience of other facilities.
Proven successful this year, in its 3rd edition, Java Rockin’land will surely raise its bars for the next event. More and more international artists and fresh new concepts will likely be the feature for Java Rockin’land 2012, making Jakarta a truly cosmopolitan Music Entertainment Center in Asia.
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