Friday, September 6, 2013

Lamb of God Banned In Malaysia

No surprises here, really. The fact that the band was slated to perform in Kuala Lumpur (KL) on Sept 28 was the real surprise.

For the uninitiated, rock and metal bands don't generally perform here due to the fact that there are government agencies and bodies headed by people who generally view free speech, freedom of expression, choice, rationality, creativity and public discourse as threats to society.

Another big taboo is intelligence.

Most times, religion and "values" are used as tools to quell such threats. Remember how the Taliban banned music in Afghanistan? These guys would do it if they could.

Truth be told, it has been somewhat of a surprise that several rock and metal acts have made it into the country over the last five years. Among those who weren't denied entry include Metallica, Linkin Park, Smashing Pumpkins, Avenged Sevenfold, Slash, Deftones, Korn and Incubus.

Someone must have been sleeping on the job. Well, they made up for it by banning Lamb of God.

Here's a statement from Lamb of God's guitarist, Mark Morton via the band's official Facebook page:

As widely reported, Lamb of God’s concert in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia scheduled for September 28th has been cancelled by the government who refused to issue a permit for the show even though the concert had been on sale and had sold over 1500 tickets.

It is very evident (and a bit frustrating) that the groups, parties and powers that have taken the most offense to our music and lyrics, have themselves only made a passing glance at the content and meanings of those songs. We would invite anyone offended by our music to engage in a discussion regarding the true motivations behind our work, especially before publicly slandering us based on assumptions and shallow misinterpretation.

We sincerely apologize to our amazing fans in Malaysia for the cancellation. Many thanks to all who have spoken out in support of us through this.

We will still be playing the shows scheduled in New Zealand, Australia, and Thailand. - Mark

But in all honesty, its not just the government bodies who are guilty of shunning away good music from our shores. 

Opposition party, PAS - which is just as conservative as the government - has worked just as hard in achieving this and was among those supporting a ban on Lamb of God's scheduled concert here.  

PAS - who are pro-free speech when it suits them - has had a long history of opposing rock music. It most recently threatened to stage protests outside of Metallica's concert in KL last month although I don't recall seeing them there. Then again, with an estimated 35,000 fans in attendance and a sea of black t-shirts as far as the eye could see, it would have been pretty easy to miss a handful of those yahoos.

Nonetheless, PAS' anti-rock music rhetoric seems to have caught someone's attention in the government and to prove its own conservative credentials, it agreed with the former's lame generalisations about Lamb of God's lyrics and implemented the ban.

Goons: 1 Malaysia: 0

One last thing. Did I mention that Lamb of God has previously performed in Dubai? 

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