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Golden Dragon Takes Gold

An Indonesian group with a surprising quality has taken the title of ASEAN’s best band.

Last week, I mentioned the first-ever annual ‘redAMP–Are You ASEAN's Best Band?’ contest, which culminated in a big concert event in Kuala Lumpur on Friday with the unveiling of South-east Asia’s top band.

The three finalists, (who came out on top in an online voting contest over thousands of entrants), battling for the title were Indonesia's Golden Dragon, the Philippines’ Pancake 80 and Thailand's Sixty-Nine. They were joined by one surprise wild card group, Malaysia’s own Stonebay, which surprisingly ended up taking the 2nd runner-up spot, over original top three band Pancake 80.

The group that took the top spot, winning amongst other things $15,500 worth of band development services and a recording contract, was veteran amateur group Golden Dragon, an 80s-inspired rock/pop group that has been together performing for a decade and aspires to become ‘the first commercial Mandarin music band to emerge from Indonesia.’

And according to the Jakarta Globe yesterday, it’s this particular quality, not necessarily superior musical talent, which really made Golden Dragon stand out amongst the other groups who supposedly all ‘had almost the same musical ability.’

Rather than having Indonesian lyrics like most bands in their native country, since Golden Dragon actually performs in Mandarin, they have a unique sound and may in fact have the potential to gain a loyal fan base from the Chinese community in Indonesia.

I suspect another factor that made the band stand out is their eye-catching stage attire, which usually consists of anime hero-style costumes. But for Friday’s performance, it was old-fashioned Chinese Army uniforms.