Hello music lovers — we’re back from Good Vibes Festival 2018 — barely recovered from two solid days oscillating between chugging our way through beer-tent madness, and then hanging out with hundreds of glittered hipsters near the alcohol-free stage area, tryna get Vince Staples’ attention.
Spoiler alert: He didn’t respond to F*#! That.
Good Vibes can best be described as Malaysia’s Glastonbury, if only because both are held outside on farm lands of sorts, and both can turn into rather muddy endeavors. A bomoh (shaman) must have blessed the sky last week, though — there was nary a drop in sight, and our Hunter Wellies became rubber calf sweathouses within 1 hour of arriving.
At one point our iPhones told us it was 19 degrees Celsius, but we couldn’t tell with the boots. Ah, well.
After a full 48-hours of digesting everything we saw, we’re ready to lay out our five favorite moments from the festival, in no particular order, and with details limited to the amount of drinks we had drunk by then.
Here we go:
We’ll be honest with you, reader: When we saw this year’s line-up, we felt mildly crestfallen. Last year’s killer closing band Phoenix was replaced with Lorde as headliner for 2018. You remember her from high school. Kind of awkward. Might sing Royals?
Anyway, SZA was the one artist we were REALLY looking forward to seeing, and she didn’t disappoint. We cried a bit during Drew Barrymore, the ultimate side-chick anthem of our misspent youth.
And, she wore a saree! She was so charming, natural, and even brought her Mum out for a festival-wide Happy Birthday. At one point she went into a sequitur about visiting Taman Negara, the national nature reserve, and cut her own rambling off. It was great, and it made us determined to see her again in a smaller venue.
2. Majid Jordan.
The Toronto duo played an afternoon set on Sunday, and brought their smooth R&B vibes to ‘Vibes. They say in show business, you either “got it” or you don’t: Majid Jordan have it, and can get it. Ahem.
Their set played to less of a crowd than some of the acts who performed later in the evening, but they brought an intimacy to their songs that had the crowd completely in the moment with them.
Their simple stage set-up, with Jordan Ullman spinning, and Majid Al Maskati singing with all the sex appeal of Ginuwine at his prime. Playing their last album The Space Between from the comforts of your home can at times sound too … synthesized? Live, though — Al Maskati’s voice and dance moves take center stage. Swoon.
3. Everything that came out of the Electric Fields stage Saturday.
Saturday Selects, a label and DJ collective based in Kuala Lumpur, was featured at the only other stage that wasn’t part of the main stage set-up on the first day of the festival.
If you’ve ever found yourself in Bangsar on a Thursday night, and wondered what all the fuss was about lined-up outside of S I X, the bar/club epicenter of KL’s hip hop youth scene right now, it’s the Saturday Selects night.
We found ourselves well and completely torn between checking out bigger international acts, and these guys who killed it to the point of police coming to observe the thumping masses. Their DJs played a range of tribal drum beats, to hip hop, to bass, to that EDM that was amazing right before it became the EDM we know and loathe today.
They collectively possessed more swag and bravado than their more internationally recognized counterparts at Good Vibes, and if you’re at all curious what that means — check out when either Reddi Rocket, Lionel Rizki, Smiley, DJ Vin, Roshan and especially Naufal + I-Sky are playing.
Disclaimer: We didn’t make it there Sunday, but from what we saw on social media — it looked turnt.
We’re going to say this, and we don’t want to discount anyone out there, but Malaysia’s best rapper right now is a 20-something year old, bada** woman named Zamaera.
Coconuts KL has been a long-time fan of hers, after catching her casually spit rhymes like she was at New York rap battle four years ago.
Over the last years, she’s just gotten better, and by that — we mean great. She dropped a new single, Wanita, last year, and brought all the heat to an all-Malaysia crew at a taping of Yo! MTV Raps.
Watching her live on Saturday, she went from a more well-read Lil Kim, possessing the kind of stage presence and voice of Erykah Badu. Our only qualm was the early slot she was put in — but we’re certain she’ll be headlining in no time.
5. All that festival fashion
Some of it was ridiculous, some of it was ingenious, all of it kept us entertained. There were folks we saw wearing an ushanka hat (you know, that furry Russian hat) among thousands of sweating bodies in the equatorial tropics, and there were those wearing acid-trip yoga clothes.
Our personal favorites were a group of teens who fashioned the best-looking necklaces we’ve seen out of ACE Hardware-bought chains and padlocks.
Festivals have become the fashion catharsis of our time: Wear a bikini if you like, wear furry boot covers if you saved them from your years at Gatecrasher, dump as much glitter on your body, or just put on a pair of sweatpants because nobody gives a f*ck at these things, and that’s brilliant.
Special shout-out to the handsome man in the tie-dyed kaftan: Function, style, and easy bathroom access never looked so good. We only have this group shot of you on the far left for inspo — but we want you to know that you, sir, are a superstar. You know what we’ll be wearing next year.
OK, now for the Three Things We Didn’t Vibe:
1. Lack of art
One thing that seemed lacking this year was the kind of interactive art that we’ve all come to know, love, and take photos in front of at festivals. Their was a large corporate presence, with Toyota, Rimmel, U-mobile and UOB all having kiosks with relatively attractive seating areas — but where was the art, for art’s sake, we ask.
Please, bring it back!
2. No booklet with set times
Is Good Vibes on some kind of no-waste tip? When we entered the festival, we found only one sign, at the entrance indicating who was playing when and where. Granted, it’s a pretty simple stage set-up, and with only the Electric Fields tent being apart from the two main stages that were next to each other, but STILL. We don’t accidentally want to watch The Neighborhood, and miss Naufal + I-Sky.
Good thing we had Reddi Rocket’s Instagram post to refer to for the entire weekend:
3. Corral-like layout
This year’s layout differed slightly from other years in that all of the attractions were focused on the perimeters of the grounds, with only the beer tent in the middle. It just seemed a bit flat, and lacking the warmth of a hearth and home. Does that make sense? It would have been nice to have a few nooks and crannies to explore, and not just a big empty rectangle with stages on either end.
Conclusion: All-in-all — one of the best weekends we’ve had this year. We look forward to seeing what 2019’s gonna look like.