The Filters couldn’t pick a better time to unleash their electrifying and potently thrilling sound, right on cue as we gradually return to the familiar pleasures of live music performances— sans social distancing. They recently took centre stage at The Bee for exhaler_final.mp4, blowing the crowd away with their high-octane showmanship and then some.
This homegrown indie quartet consist of Ian Francis Khoo (guitar/vocals) and Aiman Shakirin (drums), as well as Reuben Ravi (bass) and Iain Chan (guitar), and they’ve come a long way from playing in small, intimate shows to signing a distribution agreement with TONGTONG Asia.
It’s a bit difficult to pin down the genre that the foursome is pushing—with my untrained ears and whatnot. It goes without saying that most musicians are improvisers and experimentalists when it comes to crafting, so to label them with one singular genre would be a great disservice.
By the end of the show, I’d say they’re rather Foals adjacent, treading along the lines of math-rock, (upon writing this article I had not known they are a self-proclaimed Fractional Math Rock band). One thing is for sure though, they know what they’re doing, and they’re doing it right. The Filters rose from humble Soundcloud beginnings to international breakthroughs, carving a niche in a sea of local indie acts. And it all builds up to the digital release of their long-awaited album ‘Exhaler’.
The night kicked off to a full swing with Capt'n Trips and the Kid for the opening act, immediately setting the tone as they teased the crowd with their brand of psychedelic new-age bangers such as ‘Jack Smack’ and ‘Big Black Wings’.
When it was time for the boys to step up, everyone was already at an all-time high. From the fringes, I witnessed the crowd go from swaying with phones aloft to jumping straight into the quintessential mosh pit, matching the energy emanating from the indoor stage. Almost like a natural reaction, the crowd roared along to hits from their new album such as ‘John Pine', ‘CMC’ and ‘Cervidae’ while swathed in blinding neon lights.
Amidst the frenzy of it all, the highlight of the night for me was when Ian gave a heartfelt shoutout to his parents at the end of the floor. I also later learned that they are ardent admirers of the band and have never missed a single show since its early formation.
As the boys wrapped up their killer set, the night continued with DJ duo, Fu Juice and a selection of electronic tracks, keeping the remaining crowd dancing on their feet while they nursed their post-gig comedown.
In case you were wondering, TONGTONG Asia, mentioned earlier, is a boutique music company that represents a talented and diverse bunch of independent local acts on their roster such as Airliftz, Lunadira, Orang Malaya, LUST and many more. The record label considers itself unorthodox, giving artists free rein in crafting music while they take care of the nitty-gritty parts of the business. Hit the follow button on Instagram to learn more about the latest updates and upcoming shows from them!