Tag Archives: concerts

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 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, psychedelic and mellow 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 a 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 other 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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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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The Vaccines

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Lonely, bored and bad thank god I’m handsome

That line had been ringing in my head for at least a month, just anticipating The Vaccines’ presence. I was hooked the moment I listened to their debut album and knowing that they were performing here in Singapore for a second time, there was absolutely no hesitation to buy a ticket.

Sure, no one that I knew listened to them but I wasn’t going to let my crippling fear of being unaccompanied stop me (when in reality I was actually starting to regret buying the ticket heh heh). But for Justin Young, Arni Arnason, Freddie Cowan and the drummer (just kidding, Pete Robertson) I overcame my fear, by bringing a book and looking down at  my phone the whole time I was waiting cause what is socialising?

Heck, it was worth waiting under the sun, being alone and surrounded by groups of people (yes, it was that good). The Vaccines’ music may not be revolutionary but damn is it catchy in their own unique way. Fans were already ra-ra-raing the moment they played their first song (because it was ‘Wreckin’ Bar’, am I funny yet?)

Thank god I was right at the front to soak in the goodness that is Justin Young and I swear that he glanced at me several times and even pointed at me (I could be dreaming, but I’d like to believe it’s true). He had this magnetic presence on stage that was hard to ignore, even with Freddie Cowan right next to him. I’m pretty sure he was intoxicated on stage, but that just makes for all the more interesting stage presence, even alluring the audience with occasional sweet talk.

Another reason to be thankful for being in the front is that I’d piss some people off if I was maniacally jumping in the middle of the audience, so thank the heavens I was early in the line. I could’ve also sworn that Arni wanted to throw his pick to me but these two dudes on both my right and left had some sort of long octopus arms that just managed reach out further than I could (darn my tiny arms!)

By the end of it, I was chanting “encore”, unaware that everyone else was chanting “Norgaard” instead. We want an encore people, not just one song. But I did thoroughly enjoy Arni’s weirdly captivating solo, with him singing in this spooky deep alto (GO ARNI!)

Remember how I said Justin was probably drunk on stage? Well, while I was yelling A-M-A-N-D-A NORGAARD, Justin was busy tackling the sound guy to the ground and presumably holding him oh so fondly (I don’t mean anything dirty btw).

Despite being weird and alone at a concert, I have no regrets whatsoever, except maybe not catching that guitar pick from Arni.

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Muse

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*photos are shit cause I was too busy enjoying myself, and I didn’t have my camera with me.

Holy crap are Muse amazing live. This legend of a band manages to bring out a sort of manic energy from their fans with their electrifying performances. Playing hits like ‘Starlight’ and ‘Hysteria’ brought the audience together in almost a cult-like manner proving the supremacy of a Muse song (see what I did there? Supremacy? No? Ok.)

New songs from their recent albums might sound sub-par on their own but with the prowess and skill of Muse’s live performances, they elevate songs like ‘Mercy’ and ‘Psycho’ to anthems that stimulates the audience. But not playing ‘The Handler’ was a big mistake to me because that song is first-rate Muse material and brings me back to the times of ‘Black Holes and Revelations’ (and it definitely beats ‘Madness’, seriously, I just passed the time by snapping photos of Matt).

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My highlight of the night however was when they started playing ‘Citizen Erased’! YES! THANK YOU! I cherished every minute of hearing that song live, I was ecstatic (but I still did really want to hear ‘Map of the Prblematique’, but that didn’t happen).

Sure it was like an hour and half wait for the band to step onto the stage but the next two hours were bewitching, being blessed with the trio’s fantastic energy and flawless live performances. They may be a band of few words, but who cares when you get to sing your heart out to ‘Plug In Baby’ CRUCIFIES MY ENEMIES WHEN I’M TIRED OF LIVING. See, you just can’t help yourself.

I even get to check “fist-pumping to ‘Knights of Cydonia'” off my bucket list.

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Alt-J

 

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*love is the warmest colour (not blue, which is unfortunately the colour of most of my photos.)

Man can this band give me chills.

Alt-J are almost like magicians, putting you into a trance, making you totally unaware of everything else- at least that’s how my brother described me while I was at the concert, describing my “dancing” as hippie-esque and laughing thereafter. Hmph.

But I swear that it’s almost impossible resist the charm that is Alt-J. Hearing ‘Taro’, ‘Nara’ and ‘Dissolve Me’ live, was sensational. This was one my first few concerts and these songs nearly got me emotional. Despite Gwil’s absence, their performances were above par and did not fail to excite the fans (which includes the many Coachella girls that were present and somehow managed to only remember the lyrics to ‘Breezeblocks’ and ‘Matilda’ and yes, I do get annoyed easily).

The band’s distinct musical style is definitely a feat to achieve and deserves the mainstream success it has garnered. Hey, if you know more than 4 songs I’d say you’re a fan already, even if you are a Coachella girl (yes, some Coachella girl did rub me off the wrong way at the concert and not just because she had on a flower crown).

Alt-J, it was an amazing set that transported me to another universe where your sound reigned supreme. Just come back and let me have another fantastic time ok.

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