Marié Digby Acoustic Live in KL…

by KV

Overheard in Starbucks IOI Mall; a Chinese dude on the phone: “I now at Setarbak ah, you now come Setarbak find me ok!”

If Marié Christina Digby‘s recent acoustic showcase at 1 Utama on Wednesday night was to prove anything, it was that loads of Malaysians watch YouTube, loads of Malaysians love to just be at a free concert even when they don’t know who the heck is performing, & loads of Malaysians were there to just take photos of her rather than listen to her sing.

& honestly, yes, at first I was there mainly because I was curious of the hype of this gorgeous-on-video Japanese Irish-American (yet another rojak hottie) who’s most popular due to her doing an acoustic “ella ella ella” & posting herself on YouTube. & because I don’t have to spend a penny to satisfy my curiosity. What I didn’t expect was the truck loads of people that were already cramming near the stage at the ground floor anxiously waiting for her appearance more than an hour before 8pm. So I positioned myself on the 1st level balcony; at least from there I really get to see the whole of the stage rather than getting sardined down there in front of the stage. The anticipation of the crowd was noticeable & growing, & catapulted a level higher when 1 young girl who was at the 1st row suddenly collapsed, though fortunately she regained consciousness a minute later. Maybe a guy farted beside her.

Anyway, the emcees started off the night & were disappointing (though VJ Jay looked good), going slightly overboard with their self-centered ramblings. Then 3 contestants who were selected to compete for the Yamaha APX-500 guitar prize went up on stage to sing Digby’s “Say It Again”. The 1st was Kimberly, only 12 years of age, who was a nervous wreck but recovered & hit the high notes convincingly in the chorus, followed by a dude who totally bombed with his over-the-top antics & for holding a piece of paper containing the lyrics. Yeap, he couldn’t remember the lyrics, & as hard as he tried to be charming, he made a complete fool of himself. The 3rd contestant was a girl who was forgettable, & anyway we all knew who was going to be the winner, since it was going to be decided by the volume of the crowd’s cheer. Everyone however just wanted to get all this done with as quickly as possible, because we all wanted the guitar chick on YouTube to start singing!

Cameras & camera phones flashed furiously when the extremely lovely (& I mean by golly, REALLY LOVELY) Digby finally stepped on stage, flashing a smile so sincere & endearing, accompanied by her guitar bloke whom she later introduced as Lance. With a shy wave at the crowd & the customary “Apa khabar?”, she started off the first few chords of “Say It Again” on her Yamaha L Series to the hoots, cheers & applause of the crowd, who began to push forward to catch a better glimpse of her. I could tell those at the ground floor, even those quite at the front, could not see squat. Haha! Should have taken the escalator up a floor eh?

She went through 3 instruments in total, first starting off with that Yamaha L Series, then doing a couple of tracks on the Yamaha keyboard before finally slinging on the Gibson for the last few songs, including “Umbrella”, which she performed alone on stage sans Lance. Digby possessed a kinda soothing & unbelievably sweet voice (i.e Holly Brook), just the kind I adore. Her songs were fairly simple & safe, but nevertheless poignant & easy on the ears. She may not be as skillfully effortless as KT Tunstall on the guitars, but she still looked comfortable playing & singing live. In the beginning, the 1st thing that caught me slightly off guard was how much bigger she was in person. The next thing I noticed was her unblemished skin, lolz. As she breezed through her songs effortlessly, I was pretty impressed by how comfortable she seemed on stage in her own skin, radiating such a natural down-to-earth personality. She spoke humbly, waved shyly at times, but was just so darn hopelessly sweet (there is no other word!) all throughout her appearance, fully endearing herself with ease to the crowd. I do like her outfit that night as well, the dress & the boots rocked! Blessed with such engaging, alluring & doll-like beauty is perhaps a bonus but not such a good thing for her music however, as most of the crowd that night were definitely clamouring for her because of her looks. Look at how crazed the crowd was lining up for the autograph session at GAP after the performance. I however, was appreciating her music, though saying I was not infatuated by her sweet demeanor would be a really big fat lie.

To be frank, though unspectacular, the 30 minutes acoustic showcase was rather good. However, I have to say the choice of the venue was the biggest mistake. Digby’s songs had that slight indie affecting feel to the pleasant pop melodies, & performing them armed with just a guitar & 1 single backup guitarist was just not made for a shopping complex crowd. A majority were more interested in snapping a good shot of her rather than just listen to her angelic voice. In fact most of the crowd were already losing interest in listening by the 4th song, which is maddening & saddening, really. No doubt a free showcase at a shopping complex would lure a much bigger crowd & make her a household name, but her performance belongs indoors, where the audience would be able to just sit down & appreciate the simple quality of her music in a quiet, relaxed mood. After seeing Digby in action here, I wouldn’t even hesitate to pay for an indoor intimate acoustic performance by her, but that’s just me. That being said, I was still mesmerized & enjoyed Digby’s efforts that night.

Just to add, as I was on the the 1st row on the 1st floor balcony & there were some people behind me who tried to peek above or through, there was this chick who was standing behind me. She was trying really hard to catch a glimpse of Digby, so hard she was practically leaning on me. Now, I’m not complaining but it was rather uncomfortable trying to ignore the pair of fruits that were poking my back the whole time. Halfway through the show however, to my horror I discovered that tropical season was over; the pair of fruits was replaced this time by the chest of a man. “Oh gawd murder me”, I thought furiously to myself, I so DO NOT want to feel a fcuking sausage poking my bloody hamburger ass if that dude was to lean on me. Thankfully he did not, or maybe he just had a small twat. Oh, a Malay dude who was standing beside me was just telling me how gorgeous Digby was, & said she looked “macam awek Smallville tuh, Kristin Kreuk la”. Oh well.

Yay! Digby pointing at me! Or that lucky bastard beside me…

In a nutshell, Digby gave an extremely simple stripped-down sweet (there’s that word again) & unassuming performance, & though she did not make an immediate fan out of me (yet?), she was successful in piquing me to get a taste of her album, soon. Well, there is no doubt however that she sounds more interesting than sultry but dull Colbie Caillat, that other online phenomenon. I may have attended this showcase because it was free, but at the end of it I do kinda feel blessed & thankful that she stopped by for us.

I’m getting tired now, so to cap it off, here’s a really quick review of The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which I managed to catch on the 1st day of showing. Though maturer & grittier, I would say it was overloaded with too many battle scenes that it lost the heart & spark the 1st movie had. Some of the scenes were however well executed (the 1 on 1 face-off between Peter & the King was an example), the grumpy Trumpkin (played remarkably well by Peter Dinklage) & the swashbuckling mouse added some rib-tickling humour here & there, & all in all, the movie did enough to still make the whole viewing an engaging one. Now I am not a fan of the 1st Narnia movie, but I have to admit that there were good things from it; Georgie Henley was extremely endearing as Lucy Pevensie, Aslan was impressive with Liam Neeson voicing it, Tilda Swinton was imperious as the White Witch, & Harry Gregson-Williams composed a lush & beautiful score, especially during the build-up to the final battle.

Prince Caspian

Here, a much taller Georgie Henley still impresses, completely lovable, & has the best appeal of all the characters. However, the 4 Pevensie kids remain very unlikable together & completely have no chemistry with each other. Let’s face it, William Moseley & big-cheeked-sausage-lips Anna Popplewell can’t really act, as much as they have improved this time around. I was especially disappointed with Popplewell’s dull performance, since Anna was given a bigger presence this time around, from her character development to her kick-ass role in the battle. Ben Barnes fares better as the new addition to the cast as Prince Caspian. Aslan was given less screen time this time around, only appearing towards the end to abruptly save the day. The worse was the villains in this sequel, who were just a whole bunch of lunkheads lumbering around stupidly. Tilda Swinton’s deliciously evil presence is felt in that few minutes she appeared, & is definitely sorely missed in this movie. Harry Gregson-Williams returns again & as beautiful as the original scores for the 1st movie were, it was sad to see him basically just reusing & recycling the exact same themes in this movie.

Kevin can’t stop playing Paramore’s “That’s What You Get.”