Music & Nightlife

Your guide to the best bars and clubs, live music, concerts and DJ gigs in KL

Music

The best gigs in KL this week

Whether you’re an avid music fan or just need a live music fix, we have you covered. This week’s picks include the Pitahati, Gaslight Shed Sessions and Findars' regular Serious Play Improv Lab.

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Music

Pitahati interview

We speak to Pitahati, the local standout band fusing nusantara impulses with psychedelic fuzz on their latest LP

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Music

Introducing: Ramayan

Everything you need to know about the local Malay act and why they should be on your radar

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Bars and pubs

Coppersmith

Troika Sky Dining’s latest cocktail bar is on point.

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Good Vibes Festival

After a one-year hiatus and two (teaser) sideshows, Good Vibes Festival is back with a new home that is The Ranch, Genting Highlands.

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The best gigs in KL this week

Music

Live Fact presents...

This Thursday at Live Fact presents Janitor, Elmu Hisab, Yong Yandsen & Ian Han, and Korean electronic and psychelic duo Tengger. This show also acts as the KL leg of ‘One Month Festival’ which takes place worldwide at underground and possibly offbeat music venues for the whole month of July.

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Music

Gaslight Shed Sessions

Gaslight presents a ‘mixed bag’ night by showcasing musicians of different styles and genres. The lineup includes Bayangan, Sound of Kites, Jes Ebrahim, Momin Deen and Ariff AB. Don't forget to support the venue by purchasing drinks.

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Nightlife

Solid Gold

Happening on Fridays, Solid Gold is one of the mainstays at Pisco Bar with Mr Backsounds and guest DJ Mmmeng. Join the duo as they bring you a night of alternative, electro, indie and more.

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Nightlife

Outlook Festival KL Launch Party 2016

Loops Collective is throwing a massive party in conjunction with Outlook Festival 2016. Joining the festivities will be drum and bass producer Royalston from Sydney, Australia. The first room will be for drum and bass as well as dub and beats lovers where Royalston, DJ Low, Ken DMA, Mac, Naxx and Tubby will be taking the decks. For house and techno fans, head to the ground floor where the music will be brought to you by DJ K x Groovedoctor, DJ Miss SS and RXG x DJ Tee.

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New bars in KL

Bars and pubs

Coppersmith

Troika Sky Dining’s latest cocktail bar is on point.

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Bars and pubs

Coley

The next time you’re at DR.Inc, skip the coffee and head towards the back for a drink instead

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Bars and pubs

Virgin & Throne

A new speakeasy joins the growing pack of hidden bars in the TTDI area. There’s no signboard, but look for a shiny shield plastered on a door along Jalan Datuk Sulaiman (here’s a hint: it’s near Food Foundry). Head upstairs and you’ll be greeted by a knight in shining armour. Virgin & Throne is separated into two sections, the bar and the back area. The bar area is a combination of both the medieval and the modern, with throne-like stools and chic couches. The back is the VIP area, complete with snug Chesterfield sofas and a long table for big groups. Thick curtains are used to partition the areas if you want privacy. Cocktails are the main focus here. A favourite is the Marshmallow Milkshake, which has cream, vanilla and a vodka-infused marshmallow – tastes just like a vanilla milkshake. For first timers, they recommend the two namesake cocktails, Virgin and Throne. Virgin is a sweeter choice with fresh berries and is vodka-based, while Throne on the other hand is a gin-based cocktail with fresh fruit juice. If you’re feeling peckish, the Virgin Nachos are an excellent savoury option that comes with a side of guacamole, tomato salsa and sour cream. For bigger groups, you can’t go wrong with the Meat Platter that has lamb, beef, spring chicken, sausages, as well as potatoes and peppers on the side. There are also black pepper and barbecue sauces for dipping.

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Bars and pubs

Nant Whisky Bar

Located on the first floor of the new RP Entertainment Centre at The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Nant Whisky Bar (the first outside Australia) is one of the more handsome bars we’ve seen. Warm orange lights bring your attention to the bottles on the shelves; chic furniture and wood accents are dotted throughout the space. Separated into various areas where customers can enjoy their whisky, there is the cigar lounge, an entertainment room that’s equipped with a pool table, a tasting room and a common area with sofas and tables. Hailing from Tasmania, Australia, Nant is an award-winning label of highland single malts. In KL, you can find four of Nant’s single malt whiskies – Nant Sherry Wood, American Oak Bourbon Wood, French Oak Port Wood and American Oak Sherry Wood Cask Strength. For beginners, they recommend sitting through a tasting flight to get to know the flavours and characteristics of each whisky. Fun fact: If you order your whisky on the rocks, they’ll serve it with actual granite rocks that have been frozen. We think it’s an ingenious way of keeping the whisky chilled without it being slowly diluted over time. If you’re a fan of cocktails, the bar here throws together some mean whisky cocktails, including classics like Old Fashioned and Whisky Sour as well as some contemporary signatures. Coffee fans will love The Black Ray Espresso Martini. The whisky is infused with coffee, making it their version of an espresso shot. There are also other drinks on the menu like

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Latest music interviews

Music

Pitahati

We speak to Pitahati, the local standout band fusing nusantara impulses with psychedelic fuzz on their latest LP

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Music

Yuna

Yuna, it appears, can do no wrong. To Malaysians, Yuna is many people: the first Malaysian to break into the American market after signing a deal with New York-based label Fader in early 2011 (she’s now attached to Verve Records); a local darling-turned-international force; a fashion muse with her own clothing line whose success and style is changing and challenging Western views of modern Muslim women. It’s easy to understand where Yuna gets her reputation. In the years since her career took off, the Alor Setar native has won over legions of fans with her brand of tender, triumphant indie-pop tunes laced with folk and R&B. She intersects every world she creates, bridging the literal and cultural distance between Kuala Lumpur and adopted home Los Angeles with a practised ease – more than that, she inhabits these worlds with an intimacy that people latch on to, and latch on fast. Ahead of the release of her third studio album ‘Chapters’ on May 20, she put out lead singles ‘Crush’ featuring Usher and ‘Places to Go’ – both potent reminders of Yuna’s continued reign. You must get this question a lot, but do you have any plans for permanently settling down in KL? KL is my home. I’m based here in LA, but I think in the future I might consider settling down in Malaysia when I start a family. I had such a great childhood [in Malaysia], I want my kids to have the same experience. 'Regardless of what music I put out, be it a Malaysian project or an English album, [my fans would] r

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Music

Mark Gergis

Mark Gergis might not make the rounds in Billboard, Rolling Stones or even Pitchfork, but he has over the years collected music and sounds from all over the world, particularly the Middle East and Southeast Asia

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Music

The Observatory

The Observatory is a Singaporean band – but they’re not just any Singaporean band, they’re the Singaporean band.

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Latest album reviews

Music

Beyoncé – ‘Lemonade’ album review

★★★★★ Beyoncé worked with so many people on ‘Lemonade’, her sixth album which she dropped in late April with an accompanying short fi lm, that its credits run to 3,105 words. It’s a testament to her star power that none of her collaborators blabbed before the surprise album release – Bey’s second in a row after her 2013 self-titled LP. But it’s also a testament to her star quality that despite the many, many cooks in this kitchen, ‘Lemonade’ feels like an album only Beyoncé could make. ‘Lemonade’ is officially billed as ‘a conceptual project based on every woman’s journey of self knowledge and healing’, but the narrative is really one of marital infi delity. ‘How did it come down to this? Going through your call list,’ she sings on the deceptively breezy reggae bounce of ‘Hold Up’, before issuing what sounds like an ultimatum on the brilliant, Jack White-assisted rock stomper ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’: ‘If you try this shit again / You gon’ lose your wife.’ The electro blips of ‘Sorry’ feature another killer couplet: ‘He only want me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair.’ Beyoncé stops short of singing ‘My sister Solange appeared to attack you in a lift after the Met Gala in 2014’, but this is still startling stuff which must be tough for Jay Z (who appears in the short film) to listen to. As the story progresses from rage to reconciliation, ‘Lemonade’ continues to thrill musically. Bey teams with The Weeknd for ‘6 Inch’, a kind of strip club update of

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Music

PJ Harvey – ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’ album review

★★★★☆ Last winter, PJ Harvey sealed herself behind one-way glass in a room beneath Somerset House, along with her band and producer Flood. Visitors to ‘Recording in Progress’, which was billed as an art installation rather than a music event, could see and hear the two-time Mercury-winner making her ninth album. The result is ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’, which deals with bearing witness in another sense too. Over four years, Harvey and photojournalist Seamus Murphy spent time in Kosovo, Afghanistan and poor areas of Washington DC, notebook and camera in hand. What they saw furnished a volume of poetry and images, footage for music videos and a documentary, and finally these 11, frequently thrilling but more often deeply uneasy, songs. As album genesis stories go, it’s the opposite of Happy Mondays spunking the sessions for ‘Yes Please!’ in Barbados. Full points for earnestness. But the ‘writer as camera’ approach puts Harvey on dangerous ground. Her 2011 album ‘Let England Shake’ charged through centuries of war in a characteristically full-blooded act of imagination. Here she observes the current aftermath of geopolitical fuck-ups in diligently literal detail. ‘A white jawbone, syringes, razors, a plastic spoon, human hair, a kitchen knife, and the ghost of a girl who runs and hides,’ she lists on ‘The Ministry of Defence’. Harvey’s voice is extraordinary, soaring like a surface-to-air missile. But it’s telling that her muse sometimes feels a little too tethered to

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Music

All Saints – ‘Red Flag’ album review

★★★★☆ Once upon a time All Saints were The Spice Girls for cool people. Named after All Saints Road in Notting Hill, this combat trouser-wearing combo drew from UK garage, electronica and R&B. They smirked, sulked and swished instead of faking showbiz grins. They took a song called ‘Bootie Call’ to Number One years before Drake coined the term ‘hotline bling’. So although their 2006 comeback album ‘Studio 1’ fl opped horribly, Melanie, Shaznay, Natalie and Nicole still deserve the benefit of the doubt. Current single ‘One Strike’ is a sleekly catchy reintroduction and fortunately it’s no one-off. The dramatic ‘This Is a War’ shows off their seamless vocal harmonies, ‘Summer Rain’ is a snakelike slice of balmy R&B and ‘One Woman Man’ wraps a plea for monogamy in glorious sweeping strings. The album’s closing stretch even features some more expansive tracks that lay lovely airy melodies over surprising tribal beats. Given that All Saints originally split in 2001 after arguing about who would wear a certain jacket for a photoshoot, it’s sweet to hear the title track’s nod to female friendship: ‘Why didn’t I stop and listen? Why didn’t I hear my girls?’ But ‘Red Flag’ succeeds above all because it feels grown-up without being boring. The catty dancehall smackdown of ‘Ratchet Behaviour’ is a welcome reminder that these four women should not be messed with. (Spice Girls’ Mel B recently claimed she had a bathroom scrap with Shaznay back in the ’90s: we’d have paid good money to s

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Music

Zayn – ‘Mind of Mine’ album review

★★★☆☆ After quitting the world’s biggest boy band in March 2015, Zayn Malik shared his true thoughts on the group’s music a few months later. ‘Would you listen to One Direction, sat at a party with your girl? I wouldn’t,’ he told The Fader. Though a little ungracious, the diss doesn’t seem to have discouraged his fans: last month, Zayn’s debut solo single ‘Pillowtalk’ reached Number One in both the UK and US. This album continues his move from 1D’s precision-tooled pop-rock into hipper, more intimate musical territory. The crisp choruses of ‘Pillowtalk’ and follow-up single ‘Like I Would’ are slightly misleading, because elsewhere ‘Mind of Mine’ clearly wants to be a moody alternative R&B album. The gentle electronic quiver of ‘She Don't Love Me’ and ‘Bright’ recall The Weeknd, while atmospheric downtempo jams like ‘It’s You’ and ‘Borderz’ have strong echoes of Frank Ocean. Sure, it’s a bit derivative, but Zayn’s distinctive voice – a smokey smoulder with a strong falsetto – will keep you intrigued. In a few years time, Zayn will probably look back and cringe at the way he’s stylised each track title with alternating capital letters: ‘dRuNk’, ‘rEaR vIeW’ and ‘lUcOzAdE’ – which seems to be a song about people who’ve wronged Zayn, and thankfully not an ode to the isotonic sports drink. But then again, his lingering gaucheness can be endearing. When he yelps ‘We'll piss off the neighbours’ on ‘Pillowtalk’, it’s a very British and strangely passive way of announcing that he’s

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KL's best music and nightlife

Nightlife

The best karaoke joints in KL

KL is a karaoke paradise (geddit?), but how good is their sound system, the food, and most importantly, the variety of Queen songs we can sing endlessly to? We rank the city’s best in our list. If you need ideas on the best karaoke-friendly songs to sing, see our list of the 50 best karaoke songs. 

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Bars and pubs

The best bars for gin in KL

In case you didn't know, there's a rising gin obsession in town. Join the gin revival and head to the city's best bars for a gin and tonic, including fancy upgrades.

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Nightlife

The best clubs for dancing in KL

Looking for a fun night out dancing? Check out the best clubs, rooftop party decks and underground DJ dens to bust out those slick moves without shame. If you prefer to sing and dance in a private room (with only your friends as an audience), see our list of the best karaoke joints in town, and be sure to sing along to our 50 best karaoke songs. 

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Bars and pubs

The best bars in KL

Get into the spirit of KL’s vibrant nightlife scene as we round up the best bars for every occasion, including where to drink in the city’s prettiest sights.

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Music

The best live music venues in KL

Indie rock, acoustic folk, jazz – think you can’t find them in KL? These top ten live music venues play all that and more.

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Nightlife

The best bars and clubs in KL

Rooftop bars, speakeasies and the best places to party. Here are the best bars and clubs in KL to blow off some steam.

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