Jakarta – As many as 14 bands performed at the High Voltage – Save Our Democracy concert that was held on the grounds of the March 1, 1949 General Offensive Monument or in front of the Yogyakarta Presidential Palace Agung Building in Central Java on the evening of Saturday February 3.
The scores of bands from heavy, black to death metal and hardcore musical genres rocked the stage at an event held to voice the concerns of "underground" musicians about the state of politics ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
Horush, LVPJR, RottenPig, Murder27, Bruthus and Abnormalrisk were some of the series of performers on the night. The strains of distorted sound and pounding drums combined to raise the mood of the mosh heads who elbowed each other in the mosh (slam dance) pit.
Event coordinator Nana Yushendra explained that the initial aim of the concert was to popularise hard rock genre music among broader layers of society.
However, as time went by the musicians felt the need to express their concerns about the state of democracy in Indonesia, which they consider to be suffering a setback ahead of the 2024 elections.
"The relationship with music, is that these metal kids are free to express themselves, make choices. Regarding the democratic atmosphere in our country, they also feel it", said Yushendra.
For them, the move by the Constitutional Court that ruled on a judicial review of the minimum age limit for presidential and vice presidential candidates – opening the way for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka to run as a vice presidential candidate – was the trigger for their opposition to dynastic politics which is destroying and killing democracy in Indonesia.
One matter has not yet been resolved, claimed Yushendra, is that metal heads or metal music fans grew more angry after President Widodo's statement on the president and government officials being allowed to campaign and take sides in the elections.
"We're not partisan. Metal heads are also worried about whether or not this election will be fair, honest, produce decisions that are in favor of the ordinary people", Yushendra continued.
Metal heads, claimed Yushendra, feel that it is more appropriate to raise their aspirations from the stage through hard rock music acts rather than taking to the streets.
Yushendra said that metal music concerts of this kind have been held several times with the intent of responding a variety of issue that have caught the public attentions, such as for example Israeli aggression against Palestine.
The High Voltage – Save Our Democracy concert was planned three weeks ago. According to Yushendra, the timing of the concert coincides with the wave of criticism that emerged from the academic community towards the Widodo administration ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.
Yushendra hopes that the roars of metal heads representing society can reach the ears of the Widodo administration by holding a concert right in front of the Agung Building.
"Hopefully the government will hear our heartfelt cries, to properly protect democracy. Yes, hopefully Pak [Mr] Jokowi will hear", concluded Yushendra.
Olga (24), a student at Yogyakarta Atma Jaya University admitted that it was difficult to catch the lyrics amid the screams and growls of the metal band vocalists on stage. However, the loudness of the music was enough to make her emotional.
"Yes, the music is just right for moshing to release emotions from those who are making democracy even more rotten", said Olga. (kum/DAL)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "14 Band Metal Jogja Konser di Depan Istana, Resah Demokrasi Era Jokowi".]