Category Archives: Concerts

A Lovely Day at Laneway

There were some bumps along the Laneway road, but it was stellar ride nonetheless.

I’m loser with no friends so I had to plough through the hipster fest alone but I have absolutely zero regrets. However, I only attended half the festival and entered the grounds at 5pm. There was no re-entry and I didn’t feel like wallowing by myself for a full day. Plus, I didn’t want to throw my money down the drain by paying for overpriced food which could at least pay for a week’s worth of lunch. Even though I only attended half the festival, I left with a full heart (yes, this is a cringe-inducing sentence).

I was there when Laneway alumni The Internet started their set to a very eager audience who were happy to welcome back the band. I was kind of indifferent to their return and was honestly just patiently waiting for Mac Demarco’s set to start. But band members Syd and Steve Lacy are enjoying some sort of rising influence and you can hear the enthusiasm from the crowd. They were extremely excited for Steve Lacy so much so that I was wrapped up in the energy (which was mostly made of attraction for Steve). While I was bopping my head along to The Internet, waiting for Mac, I realised that The Internet might just continue to rise in popularity if this alluring charm of theirs manages to captivate an even bigger audience.

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Another returning Laneway alum is Mac Demarco, who is probably the prince of the indie scene but being trapped amongst his fans was tormenting (and I’m one of those fans). I’m fine with a couple of people shoving me to get to the front as long as they’re aware that they are horizontally challenged. I got shoved by so many huge titans and they all blocked my view of the pepperoni playboy (which made me pissed). God bless Mac Demarco for his music because it was the only thing that made me forget about how I’m sandwiched between jerks chanting “USA” out of nowhere. Chamber of Reflect on your behaviour please.

Shout out to Andy who sang “Under The Bridge” out of key but his candid rendition still makes me laugh and brings me joy because I too relate to not having a partner.

One of the harder bands on the line-up, Wolf Alice, definitely brought it. Ellie Roswell, the lead singer of the alternative rock band was at that moment, the epitome of female empowerment. She looked so elegant in her white dress and neatly tucked blonde hair but the girl could shred on her guitar while delivering some impressively fierce vocals. She balances the line of femininity and ferocity with such effortlessness that just leaves me absolutely envious. As much as I love this band, I hit a low point during their set when they were performing one the fan favourites “Bros”. Ellie told the crowd to dance along with their best friend and since I am a lonely loser, had nobody to dance with (oh woe is me). I had to just constantly tell myself that I am an independent mofo that doesn’t need anybody while internally crying and screaming. I just had to yell my unwanted emotions out as I sang along to their song “Space & Time” (which is a banger btw).

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Slowdive legitimately had me in a hypnotic state that I don’t remember much except an inner feeling of calm and ecstasy. Also a girl yelling “IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL I COULD CRY” which sounds extreme but I share her sentiments.

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The highlight of the night was hands down the man who just oozes charisma and confidence, Anderson. Paak. PAAK ME, I love this man. His stage presence is truly divine. Hearing and watching him perform with a million dollar smile was like catching a glimpse of paradise (despite being drowned by sweaty young adults). The man got me to get low during “Lite Weight” which basically meant doing squats for 5 minutes and I willingly obliged despite being averse to exercise – that’s how much this man has me wrapped around his little pinkie. And it wasn’t just me, he had the whole crowd bewitched. It was an unforgettable atmosphere that was thirst-inducing (not just for water, but also for Breezy Lovejoy making some hot moves on stage). One qualm I did have was the technical difficulties his set endured, forcing the already aggravated crowd to wait another 20 minutes. I had to breathe in the musky air of the people around me and listen to them chit chat arrogantly about their superior music taste (me heaving a big sigh right around here). But would I wait an eternity for Anderson. Paak? Yes Lawd!

Anderson isn’t the only one who possesses a magnetic stage presence because Father John Misty, or Josh Tillman, has a way about him that you just gravitate towards. Mr Tillman has a lot to say about the glaring flaws of humanity (which I think sometimes just goes over a lot of listeners’ heads) but masterfully constructs his beliefs into songs that are memorable and substantial. You can look at his music as somewhat preachy, but he sways you with his melodies and cleverly written lyrics that is brimming with playful wit. It’s hard to knock Father John Misty as merely pretentious especially after he delivers a fervent performance that just shows he belongs on the stage. I regret not being closer to the stage to soak up his spirited energy because I talked to a stranger in an attempt to make friends, and I don’t think she liked Father John Misty so we stood near the back. (She eventually ditched me when she left to “go to the bathroom” but I was secretly relieved to be by my lonesome again).

 

 

I stayed around for Bonobo and The War on Drugs knowing that these two were kind of the stars of the whole line-up. But look, I’m neutral on these two musicians. I don’t hate them, but I don’t love them either. It’s possible that I might come to be more interested in both of them in the future, but for the time being, I’m okay with sitting down and watching them on the screen.

Like Anderson, Bonobo also suffered from technical difficulties (like Laneway, get your shit together because I did not pay good money only hear problems with your sound system). It’s especially frustrating with Bonobo as his sound is recognised for being more polished or refined. It’s what makes his music more prominent than his (I want to say electronica?) counterparts. What made it even more disappointing was that his vocalist’s mic had some issues as well and her voice couldn’t shine through (use your customers’ money to fix this Laneway). But the silver lining was that I think people were drunk enough to dance and wobble their head along to Bonobo anyway.

I had similar feelings during The War on Drugs’ set as I did at Slowdive’s set. It was made clear why this is a grammy-nominated band with their excellent musicianship and songs that conveyed a magnitude of emotions and earnestness. I’m complimenting the band to the high heavens now but the truth is I left early because I wanted to catch the last train home (woops). Nevertheless, I sincerely enjoyed what I did hear and experience from their set and I think the band’s heartfelt indie rock sound was a perfect choice to close the entire festival.

Laneway wasn’t perfect; I was alone, there were technical issues and I hate crowds (hipsters that remind me of my own presumptuous self are particularly bad). But music has always been a priority for me, something that I religiously follow and something that also acts as a companion (perfect for someone with no friends, like me). Laneway delivered on that front and I wouldn’t mind being slightly miserable again if I can revel in amazing live music.

 

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Not Fazed One Bit

IMG_54072If 4 big burly men willingly and wholeheartedly declare that they’re a “lucky girl” repeatedly, Amelia Murray has successfully infected her diverse audience with her bright, bubbly and glowing indie pop hits.

Amelia Murray or aka, Fazerdaze, caught attention when her single “Lucky Girl” became one of the many viral indie songs that YouTube sometimes just won’t stop recommending you (but i’ll gladly take it over any vlogger that YouTube won’t stop shoving down my throat). The lucky girl collected a few million views from her saccharine song that was just sticky with peppy synths and mixed with composed vocals that just feels like it’s in a far away place. However, the song doesn’t accurately represent the rest of her album “Morningside” which might even sound like a laid-back listen just for leisure. But Murray has some angst and agony that she showcases in songs like “Friends,” “Half-Figured” and “Misread”.  She sounds a tad bit more vexed in her shortcomings such as not being able to equally divide her attention among her friends or even not fully understanding her feelings towards someone (same, honestly). The instrumentals become more fierce, almost emulating Angel Olsen in way (at least that’s how I hear it). Her album doesn’t fall flat on one song style and it was even better to hear that variety live on stage.

It wasn’t much of a stage by the way, it was more of like large desk in a very poorly ventilated room but the intimacy of the setting was very apt for a musician like Fazerdaze. Being only about 2 meters away from her felt quite surreal (or it could be because I was lacking air). She seemed to be such an amiable person and constantly communicated her appreciation for her sold-out show (she also stopped the show for a girl who passed out from the humidity,  you can’t be any more of a better person that). The sentimentality of her songs that shares her personal emotions resonated with a lot of teenagers, some, who were at the show, were quite exuberant and lively. That energy is sometimes pretty rare at concerts in Singapore where stiffness and rigidity is commonplace sadly. It might sound like any other indie music to an outsider, but there’s a poignancy to her songs that has a great effect on a fan.

Amelia wasn’t phased by the uncomfortable environment and braved through the heat with her audience (who were all drenched in sweat) and it showed some form of resilience on her behalf. Even if the energy from the crowd died down eventually (unsurprisingly because it was literally hard to breathe with no fresh air), she never really showed any signs of slowing down and progressed with a good level of vigor.  When the much anticipated song “Lucky Girl” began, the crowd (or at least me) went nuts. I did mention the men who unashamedly chanted I’m a lucky girl right? Our high energy was reciprocated by Amelia’s enthusiasm and her “stage dive” – she joins the crowd and rubs elbows with us peasants while still jamming on her guitar (so cool). She made what could have been and unbearable night, a pretty remarkable one honestly.

P.S. To further emphasise her friendly personality, she was actually patient enough to meet and greet almost every single one of us hipsters who are undeserving of such kindness.

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Lulled by Lucy

img_5310-edited.jpgSomething’s changing in Lucy Rose, but her warm and kind-hearted self always shines through.

Lucy Rose is on tour to promote her new album and film “Something’s Changing” and I was eager to catch a glimpse of what “changes” the singer-songwriter had to share with her fans. Her short film documented her gutsy journey to travel Latin America (despite being warned about the dangers), solely depending on the support of her fans. Her fans would book shows for her and she would perform for them in return. It was heartwarming showcase of graciousness on both ends, the singer and the fans. You could feel special knowing that she was sharing these profound moments and revelations that she experienced during her time in Latin America. I’m a crybaby, but watching these heartfelt interactions between Lucy and her fans made me tear a bit (I now realise watching Lucy Rose live usually makes me cry actually).

This genuine allure of Lucy Rose is what attracted me to her music, it’s sincere and relatable. She writes music that’s so calming and reassuring that it’s hard not to come back to it. She even manages to add a little more ‘Latin flavour’ into her new album “Something’s Changing” which gave it more dynamism than her previous albums so it was interesting how it would play on stage alongside her other music.

Her charm on stage is magnetic and has an adorable wit that hard to match. She’s so comfortable and confident on stage that even when she expresses doubt in singing “Like An Arrow” without the crowd’s help, it’s hard to believe. Her performance was sentimental and especially in an intimate setting, the emotions felt like they were revved up. I’ve said that I was a crybaby before but it’s always a challenge to hold back tears and an apple in my throat when I hear “Shiver.” Lucy herself also always seems affected by the song with tears welling up in the eyes, which just tells you how much of herself and her emotions she inserts into her music and performances. Just to add on to how brilliant she is, she is a great live performer, never showing any signs of a slip-up except forgetting the lyrics to “Our Eyes” for the first time ever which was forgivable (it’s okay Lucy, you’re human). But nevertheless, she never sounds far off from her studio-recorded self, she sounds better actually because of this greater connection she has with her audience.

Her commitment to her fans is commendable. She met almost every single one her fans (those who were willing to brave the long line), hugging them and engaging them in actual conversation. She wasn’t a star out reach in those moments, she was kind of like your trusted companion. She basically gave boasting rights to everyone who could now say “hey, I know Lucy Rose personally.” I myself had the pleasure of meeting her in the flesh and she said she liked my shoes and I said that I liked her shoes and … you get how awkward I am now. But you know that cozy feeling when you listen to her music? It’s exactly that when you meet her but so much better because she’s encouraging, amiable and I could list all the synonyms to describe her compassionate character. Even though I’ve seen her live once at Neon Lights, it was still a great seeing her live again. (Heck my friend’s seen her five times and she still can’t get enough and I guess that’s impact of Lucy Rose).

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Doused with Diiv’s Delightfulness

IMG_5245 editedWho knew a band like Diiv could warrant mosh pits and crowd surfers?

Zachary Coleman, the frontman of Diiv, may not seem like much but this timid and gentle being produces some delightful music that manages bring a calm over me. Listening to ‘Oshiin’ is like an ethereal escape into a different space dimension (with the exception of Doused which is just a banger). ‘Is The Is Are’ is a mouthful to say and also levels up the intensity of the music from ‘Oshiin’. It definitely shows a distinct shift away from the slow serene sound that I enjoyed a lot more in their previous album. But even with slightly more vigorous songs under the band’s discography, I was still only expecting an intimate night with them accompanied with a tranquil energy.

The show was not at all what I was expecting. People right in front of the stage seemed a bit more enthusiastic than usual and started moshing during the third song. I was pretty taken aback because I don’t always encounter such an energetic crowd in Singapore. The mosh gave me an opportunity to push my way to the front though. I only managed to keep my place at the front for a short moment cause my stamina’s low and this mosh was almost never-ending (so were the crowdsurfers, like once or twice just wasn’t enough for them goddamn). The band played off of our rambunctious antics and their momentum just kept on going (see, this is what happens when you actually move during a concert). Zach and co. responded accordingly and became much more engaging with the sporting audience.

And Zach may be the face of the band but he’s not exactly a frontman in the conventional sense. He’s not exactly one for great conversation and I get that (I’m socially inept myself) but to suddenly converse about baseball on stage was little awkward for the rest of the audience. It was pretty funny though and I get that it’s Murica’s favourite pastime. So long Zach was there before me in person instead of flaking out like last year’s Laneway, I was satisfied.

The band did put on a solid performance, sure Zach’s vocals were sometimes hard to hear but isn’t it most of the time anyway? Fan favourites like “Under the Sun” and “Doused” really got that lively crowd I mentioned before to mosh some more. I was starting to think I should have warmed up before the show.  Despite initially being a particularly serene band in my mind, DIIV somehow spurred these robust youngsters to take full advantage of their youth by moshing or crowdsurfing (cause you can’t do it when you’re 60 right?)

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By the way, shoutout to the poor guy who kept asking them to play ‘Earthboy’ and they never did. Hearing him request the band play ‘Earthboy’ so many times made it comical, like an extra in a show who kept having his ice cream ruined.

 

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All of a Sudden I Miss Explosions In The Sky

Me being me, I missed Explosions In The Sky when they first came to Singapore in 2013 but in my defense, I had a national exam coming up (excuses). This post-rock outfit just manages to strike a chord with me, and many others I’m sure and there was no way I would miss seeing them in the flesh. There was a particularly large crowd that night, pleasantly surprising the band who didn’t expect so many people to show up (it’s nice to see a band being fully supported by a sizable crowd). They absolutely deserved that crowd, delivering a compelling live performance.

The supporting act, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, was a band that managed to show off their wide range of musicianship during their set, going from slow and psychedelic “Ffunny Ffrends” to the upbeat and dynamic “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”. I’ve heard many compare them to Tame Impala but I think that UMO has a sound of their own with Ruban’s sultry voice that’s full of affection, singing about issues that he is emotionally invested in such as his polygamous relationship. Their music also has a bit more funk that contrasts with his  mellow voice makes it more textured and enthralling to listen to. I love the diversity of this band’s discography and it was a blast hearing a passionate performance from the band. UMO and EITS may be an odd pairing but UMO’s soulful and psychedelic sound nicely accompanies EITS’ ethereal music.

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Proudly introducing themselves to hail from Texas (their love for the Loner Star State was quickly established by Munaf), Explosions In The Sky put up a surreal performance that was unforgettable. The band is known for their work on the TV show Friday Night Lights, producing the theme song of the show and several songs for the soundtrack. Their music is one that evokes strong emotions in a person, it is notable and memorable without the assistance of words and lyrics. Friday Night Lights has definitely benefited from EITS’s ability to add sentiment to a pivotal moment of a story which what differs the post-rock outfit their contemporaries such as This Will Destroy You, Mogwai or even 65daysofstatic. It’s because of EITS’s straightforward compositions of crescendos and melodies which provides a a sound that is somewhat much more tender in the post-rock genre, resonating with a wider audience (like me).

To hear their music live, elevated those strong emotions, captivated me in a moment of absolute awe. I was engaged in some sort of narrative that was brought to life with the guidance of the band’s music. Even though they’re not a band that gets you pumped with hands in the air, the crowd around me were more than engrossed in a world of their own. It was a varied set list that delighted long-time fans (like my brother who takes credit for introducing me to EITS) with favourites like “Your Hand In Mine” and “The Only Moment We Were Alone”. The band also performed new songs off their recent album The Wilderness  like “Logic In A Dream” and “Disintegration Anxiety”. That album took a different direction from the band’s past discography, showing off the band’s experimental creativity. The few songs from the album also contributed to diverse sound in their live performance. My personal favourite from the band, “Catastrophe and the Cure” is a song that has brought me through some rough times ( basically not getting good grades and typical shit like that). The moment I heard it, I immediately relived these memories I’ve associated with this song (I’m sure you can do that with any song but this song specifically has accompanied me through some tough times). Hearing them perform this song live was like having a friend comfort you in a time of need and it was hard to keep my emotions in check (cheesy, but true).

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The band played so well with an intensity that left me preoccupied with these uplifting feelings  that were still lingering from the concert. Their concert was one that impacted me to a point where I found myself missing the moments of the strong emotions that I had while watching this band play stellar music.

I also kind of miss seeing Munaf sway from side to side, totally focused on his guitar.

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Neon Lights’ Spectacular and Muddy Affair

The semester is over and how do I celebrate? By drudging through mud on festival grounds. Only for Neon Light’s stellar line-up would I ruin my new shoes. I read someone’s review about the festival somewhere about how he wasn’t into ‘indie’ music and thought that the festival would only attract a small crowd of hipsters and I was baffled. Neon Lights had an amazing range of acts being featured on their stages and I was extremely grateful to soak in some jazz, funk, hip hop, pop, RnB, folk, electronic, post-rock and of course, indie rock during the weekend. Whoever claims Neon Lights to be only an exclusively hipster event clearly did not enjoy the festival as a whole, or in the words of The Sugarhill Gang (one of the acts featured), they did not JUMP ON IT. Sure I saw a good amount of flower crowns but I’m pretty sure those got destroyed in the rain and mud.

Speaking of mud, it was probably the most prominent guest of the festival and many people had to say goodbye to their new shoes (that includes me) and festival outfits. But I kind of think that the mud made it more enjoyable cause what’s a  music festival without rain and mud? (Probably clean shoes and feet).

Neon Lights had a seriously mind-blowing line-up but since I’m just one person with no cloning abilities, I wasn’t able to able to catch everything. I did do my darndest (through the mud I might add) to catch a glimpse of every act over the two days and I came out more than fulfilled.

It rained on the first day but that didn’t dampen anybody’s mood, except maybe my shoes (I really loved my shoes sorry I can’t stop mentioning them). The rain may have delayed some of the sets like Lucy Rose’s, but she was so sweet about it her endearing personality just made it all better (like a mom tending a wound). Her songs felt so comforting during the rain and when I saw her tear up during ‘Shiver’, so did I. I even managed to get a picture with her *squeals*. Shura came on next and damn, I didn’t know you before but I do now. The energy she brought on stage was magnetic. She gave everything during her final song and I was left petty much impressed. Of course I couldn’t miss the headlining acts; Foals and Crystal Castles.

And oowee did Foals get me all hyped. Yannis is a born frontman and the rest of them were just on fire (looking at you Jack Bevan). Foals’s discography boasts a good range of indie rock, but songs from ‘Antidotes’ in my opinion, is where Foals truly shined. When I heard ‘Cassius’ live, I lost it. That song is so good, and even better live. That guitar solo near the end of the song probably made my shoes even more muddier, but it was worth it (just for you, Foals, just for you). Just when I thought Foals were the highlight of the day, Crystal Castles shows up and blows my mind away, while attempting to blind me with their strobe lights (thank god I made it out alive). I can’t say that I’m too fond of their songs from ‘Amnesty’ but their old hits still hold up even with Edith fronting the band. She does such a great job imitating Alice (if that’s what she’s going for), someone beside me kept mistaking her for Alice and even screaming Alice’s name (poor Edith). Crystal Castles’ set was a completely immersive experience, I even lost my voice without even realizing it, mostly because I was actually screaming “THIS IS YOUR BAPTISM!” Their set was intense, exhilarating and I don’t mind risking my eyesight again for them.

When we rolled into day two of the festival, we came to find that the mud has just overtaken the grounds of Fort Canning Park and I was grateful to trade in shoes for sandals that day (RIP new shoes though). I stumbled upon Pumarosa’s set and was pleasantly surprised, they had some solid songs that were easy to get into and the singer had a personality that you just gravitate towards. Shame they had such a small crowd. The Tallest Man on Earth, not so tall after all but still amazing nonetheless. He shared some similarities with Lucy Rose, sweet, endearing and he even managed to take the stage even without a full band. It felt like a full set with drummers and everything even though it was just him (I mean, who else could do that?).  When he shared to audience about his divorce, it just made his songs feel a lot more sentimental and meaningful ( chin up Kristian, your music’s amazing). He made enduring the mud a lot more easier.

I have to say that it was kind of jarring to go from folksy Tallest Man on Earth to post-rock 65daysofstatic. But the foursome are an incredible band that has a way of transporting you into another universe. Listening to them live was like being completely immersed in a good book. The four of them were entirely focused on their performance, moving at lightning-quick speed (almost impossible to take a photo) and I was just swept away by their live music. After that, I went to catch a quick look at Yuna and she was just stunning. I’ve never actually listened to her music but she sounded so smooth that day that I couldn’t help but sway to her songs. She was charming, delightful and had such a lush, rich voice and I had no regrets catching her even when I had to rush on over to Jose Gonzalez’s set. That man can serenade me any day, cause the moment he was on stage, I was captivated. His closing song ‘Heartbeats’, just made me want him to play forever.

Sigur Ros closed the entire festival and they blew my mind away. Even as a three-piece, their sound still felt powerful and moving. Jonsi’s falsetto was unyielding and did not let up (damn did that man had some impressive pipes on him). His voice made the entire performance that much more breathtaking. His band members Georg and Orri were also forces to reckon and their high energy could be felt throughout the park (I could almost feel the ground shake for some reason, or maybe my feet were just tired). Their set felt surprisingly short and I was already feeling sad that Neon Lights would be coming to an end.

It was truly one of the best weekends I have ever had (really). The people weren’t packed in like sardines and nobody gave me the up-down glare, judging me on how I look. The mud may have been a shortcoming but it was kind of a fun one (not exactly fun washing it out though). The line-up was amazing and its range attracted not just hipsters, but almost everybody who is basically a fan of music and having fun.Can’t wait for next year.

On a side note, I did manage to hear The Surgarhill Gang and BADBADNOTGOOD from afar and both of them still sounded splendid, my only regret was not being able to catch them.

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A Weeze-tastic Time

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It’s the first time Weezer are going to step onto Singapore’s shores and no way in heck was I going to miss it (even though I have a morning class the next day). They may have been in the biz for about 20 years but they still seem as sprightly as ever (although Rivers is super pale, get some Singapore sun Rivers). They definitely can still hold their own on stage, giving an excellent performance while making it look completely effortless. With at least nine albums under their belt (a few questionable ones *cough* Raditude *cough*) I was hoping for an extra long set that would please those die-hard fans and also casual listeners. But oh well, the setlist only had 15 songs with the whole night coming to end at a kid-friendly time of 10pm (might as well, I have class the next day).

Weezer did compensate their short set with amzing showmanship which is this band’s strong suit (a striking contrast to their awkward but endearing interviews). They engaged the crowd, kept the energy level up (even though some people in the crowd were dull duds) and even entertained us with a couple of shenanigans here and there. Like that sombrero, that was a cute little prop he had there. Actually, there were absolutely no shortage of props that night. Leis were involved just to sing ‘Island in The Sun’ and Rivers even made a nice reference to Singapore being an island itself (thanks Rivers, appreciate it). A king outfit was even prepared for ‘King of the World’ which rivers donned oh so nicely. At one point, Rivers ran to the back of the convention centre to hug fans (AND I MISSED OUT ON IT). What a good sport though.

There was a nice blend of old and new songs that were played that night with ‘My Name is Jonas’ from the Blue Album and ‘Jacked Up’ from the White Album. Popular hits like ‘Undone (Sweater Song)’ and ‘Say It Aint So’ (the must-plays) were massive crowd-pleasers, at least I was screaming at the top of my lungs. The other albums were not forgotten of course, ‘Pork and Beans’, ‘Perfect Situation’, ‘Hash Pipe’ and ‘(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To’ showed off what their 20-year career was about. I do have one complaint; them mashing up 5 songs together was a little unsatisfying. ‘Dope Nose’, ‘Back to the Shack’, ‘Keep Fishin’, ‘The Good Life’ and ‘Surf Wax America’ are all fan favourites and only getting bite-sized versions of each song just leaves me hanging. I WANNA SCREAM SURF WAX AMERICA! I’LL TAKE MY BOARD FOR GOD’S SAKE.

 

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The encore took a surprising turn, Rivers started covering Fun’s ‘We Are Young’ and I got caught up and started singing along (i’m not even fond of the song but Rivers got to me man). When that ended, he kind of started to read people’s tweets about the show aloud to the crowd. It felt like kind of a bust to me because there only seemed to be about two or three tweets that were in broken English (sorry I didn’t tweet during the show, was I supposed to?) His acoustic version of ‘El Scorcho’ managed to get us back on track and the whole band got back on stage to, (it’s a cliche but I’ll say it) rock it out! They ended the night with ‘Buddy Holly’ and I went all out. I mean all out, people were actually slowly moving away from me (i told you they were dull duds). Even by the end of it, the band didn’t seem to break a sweat and I was praying and hoping maybe (just maybe) they’d play more but alas, my prayers were not answered.

Rivers announced that they’d come back every year and they better because I wanna sing along to the full of ‘Surf Wax America’ okay. I’m expecting you, Pat, Brian and Scott to come again, do the meet and greet again and play ‘Surf Wax America’ AGAIN.

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New Tame Impala, Same Old Psychedelic Vibes

IMG-20160421-WA0003 editedThis incredible psychedelic rock outfit made their way down to Singapore’s shores once again and ooh wee did I have a great time. They were here for a previous Laneway Festival that I was unfortunately was not a part of but thank the lord they came back to grace me with their presence in an amazing location, The Star Theatre. There were assigned seats so I didn’t have to wait in line for hours just to be in the front (phew) and the seats we got were in the front row, right in front of the stage – I was ecstatic. The night was starting off on the right note and I haven’t even broken a sweat (thank goodness since I had an exam the next day, woops). The band even came out on time! (What?! Everybody always comes out late, thanks for the punctuality Kevin, appreciate it!)

Tame Impala’s music has always resonated with me, as an introverted loser whose shyness is criminally vulgar (ehh ehh see what I did there with that Smith’s reference? Man, I’m pretentious). Innerspeaker was an amazing album with songs like “Solitude is Bliss”, “Lucidity” and “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind” which they did play during their set. But Lonerism was a whole other level of introverted psychedelic rock anthems. This was an album that got me through some of my lowest points where I felt alienated and worthless, so thanks for the preventive measures (or songs) from a complete breakdown Parker. But seriously, “Why Won’t They Talk to Me?” had such a significant impact on me, it was to the extent that when I heard it live,  tears started to well up in my eyes.

I may have digressed a little too much but hey, that’s what Tame Impala’s music does to you – causes you to enter into a space where the colours are iridescent and your feet feel like they’re no longer rooted to the ground. If you saw me at the concert, I would be embarrassing myself by dancing in my own world and shamelessly calling out to Kevin by screaming his own lyrics to him. These moments  will be forever remembered through some embarrassing recordings of me which I am strangely proud of actually. But I’m pinning my then condition on the captivating light arrangements. The photos I have don’t exactly do justice to what I experienced that night which was like falling down a rabbit hole (a rabbit that was tripping on acid maybe, not like I would know right).

Their set had a good mix of songs from all three albums but of course they had to play a little more of “Currents” which I am not complaining about because that album was superb. From start to finish, I was on board except for maybe “Gossip”, yeah wasn’t too keen on that one. Nonetheless, this album definitely managed to elevate Tame Impala’s standing as a musical outfit. Opening with “Let It Happen”, it got me and the audience (especially me) grooving and jiving from the get go. Five songs later they played “The Moment” which had this Tears for Fears-esque sound and got me dreaming to be in the 80s with blown-out feathered hair and an earring on one ear.

And when that bass line to “The Less I Know The Better” started playing, I was all set and ready to jam out (Trevor I hate you btw, whoever you are). God bless this band for playing “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” for the encore. The former song was definitely a crowd favourite, the audience almost overpowering Kevin’s vocals. There was also an insane amount of confetti that just added to the magical feeling of the night. “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” kind of brought out my atrocious falsetto during the bridge cause you’ve got your demons and she’s got her regrets. You cannot deny that this line is nothing short of brilliant.

The set felt terribly short and the whole thing kind of ended at a kid-friendly time of 10.30pm and I still didn’t manage to get the setlist dammnit. But I left feeling fulfilled and with a sore throat from singing my lungs out. Kevin may have been just a touch off-pitch but the whole night was an amazing experience, listening to the songs that have acted as a comforting friend for me, live, was overwhelming. Thank you so much and just come back okay.

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Laneway 2016

It was time for another round of festival goodness, or at least I thought it was. I guess this year’s Laneway was a passable showcase of “fresh” indie acts with the likes of Beach House, Battles, DIIV, Grimes and The 1975. Yes, The 1975. No hate, they’ve got catchy tunes but I didn’t expect them to replace Tobias Jesso Jr. Come on, The 1975? They should’ve just had their own concert, played more songs and both their fans and myself would be much happier.

And did I say DIIV was part of the line-up? Oh, they pulled out. At. the. last. minute. I was pissed. Sure this year’s line-up was praised to the high heavens but it looked to me as if it was going to be an electronica-fueled day (yes I know there were others like METZ and Thundercat but damn I was pissy about DIIV cancelling). The only few bands I was looking forward to were Violent Soho, DIIV, Battles, Beach House and Grimes. And DIIV cancelled, might I emphasise once more- at the last minute. It definitely dampened my mood (the blistering Singapore heat wasn’t helping either what with me fuming with rage).

But it’s okay, I tried to let that one slide since Violent Soho gave a heck of a show. This Aussie alternative rock band was my saving grace amongst the sea of electronica acts. I’m going to make a lame attempt at a meme because I don’t always curse, but when I do, it’s during a Violent Soho song. A ‘Hell Fuck Yeah!’ to you Violent Soho, your magnificently luxuriant hair brought life to the stage and jealousy to my mind (seriously, I could never wave around my long hair like you guys and not get it tangled into the guitar). ‘Saramona Said’ and ‘Covered in Chrome’ gave me a sensation to scream, shout and jump around hapzardly, as did the people in the mosh who did a wonderful job in having an awesome time (I’m no good in moshes cause I’m a right stiff).

Next in line on my personal Laneway list was Battles. But no, some bad luck there as well. Battles faced some technical problems that I’m still unsure about but am nonetheless pissed at (yo Laneway, get it together for the acts I want to see please). It’s pretty punny how people commented that we had to pick our “battles”. Haha, wow, I’m so amused that Battle’s set was cut short while The 1975’s set seemed to go forever (yes, I’m bitter, this mostly stems from DIIV’s cancellation tsk). I did however, get to hear ‘Atlas’ which was basically the main song every Battles fan wants to hear. Props to John the drummer for filling in with such tenacity when technical difficulties started, you one-handedly kept the momentum going (especially in the monstrous heat) which means your sir, are a rockstar.

Beach House was next. ‘Bloom’ and ‘Teen Dream’ are amazing albums in their own right, bringing this dreamy, hazy shoegaze sound to a whole new level making Beach House the masters of this particular sound. I could say the same for ‘Depression Cherry’ and ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ but it seems to me that the band has gotten slightly too comfortable to move beyond and enhance what they’re already good at. Both albums feel longer than they need to be really. However, being right after The 1975, it was a delightful contrast and I sang my heart out to ’10 Mile Stereo’ and ‘Myth’ despite me sounding like a dying cat (sorry not sorry Laneway-goers who were unlucky enough to be around me).

It was almost as if I was experiencing culture shock, jumping from Beach House to Grimes. I can’t admit to being one those who thought ‘Visions’ was an absolute masterpiece (I’m sure it was, but I just couldn’t get into it for some reason) but ‘Art Angels’ was a nice change of pace for the singer-songwriter. Her second album was more commercial and easy to digest in my opinion (I know that sounds weird coming from a  pretentious hipster like me). Claire is 27, but when she’s on stage, it looks like someone who’s still in their teen years, just having oodles of fun with her dancers and featuring artist, Aristophanes. Forgetting lyrics does contribute to her seemingly youth, but with her fantastic showmanship, it was a forgiveable fault (I myself can’t remember what I had for breakfast).

CHVRCHES took over quickly but I was never too interested in their music. They gave a solid and entertaining performance sure, but I was too busy looking for water (screaming along to ‘Kill V. Maim’ is no joke). A side note: it was funny to me how Lauren kept reminding us they don’t get to come to Singapore that often when this is their third time here in three years (bring some other band will ya Laneway, WHY NOT FIDLAR? They were in the Australian line-up!)

Flume tho. I was sceptical at first since I was never really big on DJs or the like (Is Flume a DJ? I’m not sure, so sorry). But Flume tho. His songs allows you to immerse in a parallel universe where there’s a constant cool breeze and club lights shimmering against your face that is lost in reverie.

Honorable mention to The Internet and Thundercat because you guys are so smooth as heck.

This was a long post, but I have my doubts for next year’s Laneway Festival. The line-up better be good, or there’ll be one less Laneway-goer (I know I won’t be missed).

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Circa Waves

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I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely a fan of Circa Waves but they were part of Dr. Martens Stand For Something Tour and it was free, so why not? And I needed to de-stress from the essays I had to write.

Their debut album isn’t half bad, it’s fresh, youthful and easy to listen to. It is kind of the epitome of Indie rock, comparable to The Kooks and The Libertines (hey, I said kind of). There are some earworms once you listen to it long enough, and that’s what I did, I mean you can’t go to a concert and not know any songs right? ‘Young Chasers’ and ‘Stuck In My Teeth’ are my personal favourites the former having this build-up that’s accompanied with this snappy whistle and the latter being this upbeat and cheery tune. The whole album is basically straightforward Indie rock full of easy breezy songs for the summer.

Whoever was a massive fan of the band at this gig definitely got their money’s worth (even though it was free) because you got to stand right in front of the stage without any barriers or whatsoever and actually be within an arms reach of Kieran, the lead singer. Too bad I wasn’t one of these fans, I was content with being in the middle (even though I was sandwiched in between two couples who were stiff as stone, IT’S A CONCERT FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE. DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR ARMS AND LEGS).

I did a good worth of jumping and dancing at this gig, I mean, their songs are mostly this infectious fast-paced songs that are sure to get you on your youthful feet (I realize that I’ve said youthful twice, but at least I managed to avoid saying upbeat again).  Kieran was an engaging frontman and it was exhilarating to be within a short distance of the band. And when I heard the first few chords of ‘T-Shirt Weather’, there was some sort of animal instinct in me to push a few people just to get nearer to the stage (sorry I was an asshole for a moment there). But I had a great time jamming out at the front.

Circa Waves, you did a fine job of entertaining your fans and I do look forward to a second album and I’ll always remember T-Shirt Weather cause in Singapore, it’s always T-Shirt weather.

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