the last time i was at a gig of the singer-songwriter variety (in the obligatory small intimate venue) was like twelve years ago at the irish centre in brum, when i saw an alaskan lass named jewel kilcher making idle chat with the audience, whilst clipping her fingernails, in between songs. i do listen to music of “this sort” but when it comes to gigs like these, they’re simply common as hen’s teeth. okay, i did see tommy emmanuel and rob+gab in the last few years, but i tend to gravitate towards the pompuan sort (cakap lah apa korang nak cakap – wa tarak peduli wan). nevertheless, when i heard that there was one at no black tie last month, i grabbed the chance and hitched a ride to jalan mesui with some old mates from the old jamming days.

i’ve only read/youtubed about such gigs in KL and have heard a tune (or two) from the likes of reza salleh and azmyl yunor (err.. does panda head curry fall into this category?). the NBT gig was called acoustic vibes and showcased liyana fizi (of estrella fame, and, yes, i did see her and her friends play a club show a few thousand miles away only recently), shanon shah, izzy mohamed and trent williams. bad luck has it that shanon couldn’t make it but they (luckily) managed to wrangle reza in doing a set (he actually came as a punter only to end up getting paid to play!).

no black tie is a lovely venue, with its wood paneled walls exuding great acoustics. can’t imagine anything larger than a trio onstage especially when there’s a baby grand on stage right. we’ve only perched ourselves around a table on the mezzanine floor when liyana got onstage to start her set. it was a real treat to hear estrella tunes stripped bare to the bone. her set included the main estrella staples of ternyata, take it slow and stay, which she played last. oh, the untitled tune she sang in manchester now has a title – killing me.

reza salleh got on next and played a string of tunes from which there was only one that i know (smoke city, what else?). my favourite of his set had to be the diabetes type 2 blues which lightly lamented on his father’s recent diagnosis of the said ailment. and here’s a clip (thanks, alicia!):

izzy mohamed is a different kettle of fish. she’s got a soulful voice which i really like. her songs seemed more pensive as compared to the earlier two sets, reminiscent of sarah mclachlan and women yang sewaktu denganya. and, no, i don’t even know any of her songs but i’m sure some (if not all) material in her set were from the music player on her myspace page.

for the first time in my life, i left the gig before the final performance got onstage. i’ve missed opening acts but never the headliners. so, can’t really tell you what trent williams is like! what to do, it was a school night and my friends have to work the next day.

gila rawk. hehe.