Girlfriend in a Coma – a tribute to The Smiths and Morrissey

Jakarta’s Britpop tribute scene might be in a coma, but the few remaining enthusiasts are still trying to keep it alive.

As you might have guessed, Girlfriend in a Coma was a The Smiths/Morrissey-tribute event where ‘old’ Britpop-inspired bands took the stage and sang to songs of the British music legends. The event was held at Lobbyn Sky Terrace, a rooftop bar of Liberta Hotel in Kemang, on Thursday, January 31, 2019. It was quite a quiet evening, and those who came were either the band or their friends.

I also fell into the above criteria as I went there primarily to see Cumi, my karaoke friend from Antara, and Molly, my bandmate – even though our band is having difficulties in waking up from our hiatus. I met former colleague Riki, fellow GFJA frequent visitor Satrio, and Cumi who brought two new friends of his from the Antara journalism training (which currently take place). I also met Octa, a fellow Holland alumnus whose band he managed, Karnatra, also performed that evening.

The gig was casually fun, and even though I had to go to an office dinner earlier and only managed to arrive at 8.30, the gig had not yet been started yet. So I did not miss anything, haha.

Cumi’s band, Ruby and the Long Story, opened the gig. It was maybe more of Cumi and the long history of Ruby and the Long Story, as he was actually singing and playing the guitar on his own, while the rest of the instruments were being played digitally from a laptop. I think it is the main challenge for bands whose members are already over 25 and working and having their own families that they no longer have time for music.

Anyway, Cumi played three The Smiths hits that all started with the letter ‘T’: “There Is A Light (That Never Goes Out), This Charming Man, and The Boy With The Thorn In His Side”. He also played two songs of his own, “Sinar Bahagia” and “Badut”.

The next band was The Strangeways, which from the name of the band it was very much obvious that they were inspired by The Smiths. It was followed by Karnatra, who played more Morrissey than the other bands.

Last but not least, the most anticipated band of the evening: Planetbumi. Those who grew up in the 90s and noughties and into the local indie scene must have known the band. They are very experienced in playing Britpop songs and when they took over the stage everybody just came down to the floor and sang their hearts out to “Still Ill”, “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, and the song which title was used for the gig – “Girlfriend in a Coma”.

After all the bands finished playing, Eka Annash (of The Brandals) took over the deck and played some Britpop-related anthems, including Rialto’s “Untouchable” and New Order’s “Regret” (yay!)

It might have not been a crowded, indie-hip kind of gig like what used to happen in 2007 (see an article from Bystanders here), but at least it gave us a sort of nostalgic entertainment as we were entering our 30s (and 40s for some) where the music has changed without us having been able to keep up and the indie scene has not been as active as it used to be.

ps. I won a t-shirt from a quiz by answering a very easy question, to name 5 songs from Morrissey.

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