Bangkok’s premier indie pageant returns

“This is international,” MILLI reminded herself mid-set at Maho Rasop Competition. Remembering the world wide-minded Bangkok fest’s audience, the Thai rapper commenced to introduce herself in English. Finally, nevertheless, she gave up, and immediately after acknowledging the group with a handful of jokes and laughs, proceeded to tear the home down, seizing the phase with a assertion-creating general performance.

That minute captures the narrative of this year’s Maho Rasop. The 2018-started festival’s preliminary editions founded it as a tasteful purveyor of Western indie royalty (imagine Bombay Bicycle Club, Deafheaven, or The Horrors) and a desired destination fest on the Asian circuit capable of drawing marquee names. But as Maho Rasop re-emerged for its 2022 return, a brief scan of the 3rd edition’s line-up revealed a change in method. When celebrated names did obtain their way on to the monthly bill – indie rock favourites Final Dinosaurs, A Position To Bury Strangers and DIIV, for illustration – a clear billboard act was nowhere to be found, an absence that drew criticism on social media.

Final Dinosaurs at Maho Rasop Festival 2022. Courtesy of Maho Rasop Festival 2022

But a further search into the festival’s midcard choices showed that selection may well have been intentional. Revealing a wealth of cult favourites from Asia and over and above, the lineup study like it’d been ripped suitable out of the playlists of a devout indie scholar in defiance of the level of popularity-primarily based logic of intercontinental festivals. This 12 months, Maho Rasop seemed to winner a purer philosophy to competition-goers: appear and be blown away, streaming numbers be damned. And believers who designed the trek down to Rangsit Park more than November 19-20 were being richly rewarded with unconventional programming and remarkable performances by the unpredicted and the underdogs.

Tokyo Shoegazer at Maho Rasop Festival 2022
Tokyo Shoegazer at Maho Rasop Pageant 2022. Courtesy of Maho Rasop Festival 2022

The festival’s indie rock bread-and-butter demonstrated this dynamic, wherever smaller, Asian acts persistently outshone the more renowned counterparts bigger up the poster. Whilst DIIV, for instance, turned in a tame, underwhelming established hampered by specialized difficulties, Japanese veterans Tokyo Shoegazer upstaged all of the festival’s louder outfits with mind-boggling volume, delivering a blissful tsunami of rapturous sounds through a grand total of 11 amps. As Fazerdaze’s bed room pop stylings remained largely lethargic on a massive stage, Tokyo’s DYGL delivered a convincing indie rock counter, providing an energetic acquire on their new materials which liberally drew on comforting dream pop and British touchpoints like the Stone Roses.

Dogwhine at Maho Rasop Festival 2022
Dogwhine at Maho Rasop Competition 2022. Courtesy of Maho Rasop Festival 2022

In this spirit, Maho Rasop’s programming was attuned to the pulses of the Thai and Southeast Asian scenes. Experimental rockers Dogwhine received intense help in an early afternoon established, the group shouting together to their saxophone flourishes and article-hardcore intensity, though indie poppers KIKI followed with a vibrant, seven-member showcase of their debut ‘Metamorphosis: Closing Stage’.

Kiki at Maho Rasop Festival 2022
Kiki at Maho Rasop Competition 2022. Courtesy of Maho Rasop Festival 2022

But certainly major the demand for the Thai contingent was MILLI. Pirouetting, throwing punches and flexing sharp dance moves, the rapper dominated the phase with effortless charisma, all although flanked by a strong six-piece band. From having more than F.HERO’s verses on ‘MIRROR MIRROR’, to igniting singalongs for cuts like ‘17 mins’, to presenting an effortless choose on ‘Mango Sticky Rice’, the MC held a captive viewers of converts for an hour even regardless of illness, proving herself a consummate performer deserving of her ascendant status.

MILLI at Maho Rasop Festival 2022.
MILLI at Maho Rasop Pageant 2022. Courtesy of Maho Rasop Competition 2022

That regional range also extended to the festival’s digital offerings. Japanese footwork veteran Foodman shone on the very first night time with an exhilarating cocktail of hyper-revved BPMs and frantic rhythms, when Boiler Room’s very first Bangkok takeover from the festival’s Rim Daeng phase anchored the electrical power of the subsequent day, with glowing industrial rhythms from Malaysia’s Rempit Goddess and tough-hitting drum’n’bass from Thai veteran DJ Dragon.

Regardless of its unconventional choices, Maho Rasop’s performers rarely lacked charisma and star electricity, its phases stuffed with personalities ranging from the coolest to the craziest. Dry Cleaning created an imposing Southeast Asian debut with their sardonic submit-punk, storming by a effective showcase of ‘Stumpwork’ cuts from an ethereal, misty backdrop.

Florence Shaw of Dry Cleaning at Maho Rasop Festival 2022
Florence Shaw of Dry Cleansing at Maho Rasop Festival 2022. Courtesy of Maho Rasop Pageant 2022

On working day two, Korean indie stars Se So Neon ended up electric powered, confidently ripping via solos (‘Athena’) and captivating serenades (‘NAN CHUN’), the latter conjuring a magical sea of mobile-cellular phone lights. They even had a surprise up their sleeves: immediately after the band designed to a rousing finale with ‘The Wave’, leader SoYoon softly introduced “a mate in Thailand”, just before welcoming Phum Viphurit out for a duet of her solo keep track of, ‘Wings’.

Phum Viphurit and Se So Neon's So-yoon at Maho Rasop Festival 2022
Phum Viphurit and Se So Neon’s So-yoon at Maho Rasop Competition 2022. Courtesy of Maho Rasop Festival 2022

Aided by its open up industry placing, Maho Rasop delivered a great deal of these magical and heartwarming moments. Some blended with effortless shows of approach: Los Angeles favourites Moonchild delivered a dreamy, neo-soul showcase against a breathtaking, crimson sunset, while Yussef Dayes took centre-stage Sunday night, mesmerising with a religious display screen of ghost notes and sophisticated grooves.

Yussef Dayes at Maho Rasop Festival 2022
Yussef Dayes at Maho Rasop Competition 2022. Courtesy of Maho Rasop Competition 2022

But that mix of pageant scale and complex mastery culminated in Cornelius’ elegant Saturday established, which felt considerably less like a live performance and extra like a piece of monumental audiovisual art. No matter whether it was the collage-rock brilliance of ‘Fantasma’ to the futuristic seems of his later on album ‘Mellow Waves’, the shibuya kei pioneer introduced a jaw-dropping retrospective of his 20-calendar year discography with mechanical precision. About an hour and a 50 percent, his quartet very easily transitioned amongst heavenly drone and synthpop to frantic sounds rock, all completely synced with an astounding mild and visual display.

Maho Rasop Festival 2022 Cornelius
Cornelius at Maho Rasop Competition 2022. Courtesy of Maho Rasop Festival 2022

No performer appeared to embrace Maho Rasop’s spirit of omnivorous style-agnosticism additional than Haru Nemuri. The Japanese sound-pop artist drew on albums ‘Shunka Ryougen’ and ‘Haru to Shura’ for a blisteringly intense and cathartic established, relocating amongst emo-adjacent J-rock influences to hyperpop-tinged spoken term, all topped with earth-shattering screams. Expending fifty percent her set possibly crowd-browsing or doing atop monitors, Nemuri was satisfied with a rapturous faithful of moshpits, stage divers and new converts. No matter who she was playing to, Nemuri experienced a solitary information: “I hope you can be on your own,” she insisted all through her established to progressively euphoric cheers.

Haru Nemuri at Maho Rasop Festival 2022
Haru Nemuri at Maho Rasop Competition 2022. Courtesy of Maho Rasop Competition 2022

That celebratory concept matches the ethos of Maho Rasop, which means ‘festive celebration’ in Thai. Drawing energy from the spirit of discovery and range, the programming experiment of the festival’s 2022 version was a breath of refreshing air in an progressively homogenous pageant landscape. Powered by an integrity and pure appreciate of music at its most magical and daily life-affirming, Maho Rasop has established itself as a beacon of exciting chance.