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The Weeknd - Starboy ft. Daft Punk

 

album picks

Album Review: Chill Out To Chase Atlantic's New Sensual Music
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DNCE's Debut LP 'DNCE' Is Definitely A Jam-Packed Party Playlist!
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Grace VanderWaal Launches Her Music Career By Getting Real On Her Debut EP 'Perfectly Imperfect'
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SBA 2014
SBA 2013
SBA 2012

 

 

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On the 12th of February, I had the privilege of witnessing UK band As It Is close their second Australian tour in Adelaide. Held in Fowler’s Live, As It Is’ performance was preceded by five other bands; three of which were local Adelaidean bands, After Change, Runaway Weekend and The Chase, while the other two Australian support bands, Between You And Me and Undercast, had been on the whole tour alongside the English band.

I personally had only become a fan of As It Is a few weeks before, and while also having never visited Adelaide, let alone the venue, I had no idea what to expect but I geared myself up for a wild night anyway, and boy was I not let down!

Prior to the main performance, audience members drifted between the bar area and the adjacent staged hall, but as soon as As It Is hit the stage, everyone took to the floor with screams and applause of welcome.

Considering the notably small venue, and an audience of only about 200, the band, fronted by Patty Walters, was already able to get the crowd jumping and sweating during the first song of the night, Pretty Little Distance, off their new album okay. Then, just mentioning the title of the next song, Cheap Shots & Setbacks was enough to send everyone into another wave of sheer excitement, because I mean, which fan doesn’t love a classic?!

Things took a slightly more passionate and emotional (but by no means any slower) turn with Hey Rachel, as the music video and backstory to the song had only been released a few days before, where Patty explained, “The song is an apology I'm relieved and proud to have finally said.” 

The band then continued with a couple more songs from their first album, Never Happy, Ever After: Sorry and Speak Soft. Between songs, As It Is was joined by some of the members of Between You And Me and Undercast who pulled little pranks and just had all sorts of fun, including wrapping As It Is guitarist, Andy Westhead in duct tape, and placing a bucket over their other guitarist, Ben Biss’ head.

This was then followed by Soap and Austen, off okay, and then Can’t Save Myself off their first album. As okay is still a fairly new album, I could hear the difference in volume as the audience sang out the lyrics to the newer songs, as opposed to when an older song was playing, but that did not stop the crowd from consistently going wild and moshing during every single song. 

Can’t Save Myself was finished off with powerful vocals by bassist Alistair Testo, as Patty said that they have a tradition where if it’s someone’s birthday, they’d have to sing a song. Naturally, everyone then sang Happy Birthday to Ali and a cake was brought out and smashed into his face. Amidst the celebration, a life sized statue of a kangaroo was also carried out and placed in front of drummer Patrick Foley and quite frankly, I think we were all hoping that someone would sit on top of the kangaroo for a song or two.

After that, things took a slower turn with songs Still Remembering, My Oceans Were Lakes and Curtains Close. Heat picked back up with a couple of classics, Concrete and Horoscopes – complete with adrenaline filled stage divers – after which Patty let it be known that they had one more song and another three more for the encore. “Do you want us to just stay out here and play four more songs or do you want us to play one more song, leave the stage, you cheer and say nice things about us and we come back out for the encore?”

Of course to make things more interesting, everyone cheered in favour for the encore, so The Coast Is Where Home Is was played before the band left the stage. The crowd burst into chants of the band’s name and a new wave of screams erupted as the members took to the stage again with Patchwork Love and then the title track of their second album, Okay. The performance ended with a literal bang of streamers and confetti as they played their final song – arguably their most famous song – Dial Tones. Members of Undercast and Between You And Me joined them onstage for the finale; beers were chugged, tops and trousers removed and silly string was sprayed.

 

By the end, everyone was sweaty and tired; ears were ringing and heads were buzzing but fans pushed aside all that and made their way out of the hall to wait for the band to emerge from backstage for a casual fan meet and greet. I also got the opportunity to exchange a few words with Patty Walters and he was super sweet as he welcomed me with open arms when I told him that I was a new fan. I commended him and thanked him for his band’s great performance and he thanked me for coming as well. 

Overall I have to say, As It Is, as well as the five other bands put on a really amazing show and it is one I’ll definitely remember.

 

Set List:

1. Pretty Little Distance
2. Cheap Shots & Setbacks
3. Hey Rachel
4. Sorry
5. Speak Soft
6. No Way Out
7. Soap
8. Austen
9. Can't Save Myself
10. Still Remembering
11. My Oceans Were Lakes
12. Curtains Close
13. Concrete
14. Horoscope
15. The Coast Is Where Home Is

Encore:

1. Patchwork Love
2. Okay
3. Dial Tones

*****

Don't worry if you missed out though, here's As It Is' new music video for their single Hey Rachel!

 

Photo Credits: Kirsten Moore Photography (Facebook), Bring The Noise, @AsItIsOfficial (Twitter), @moloneygeorgia (Twitter)

Initially seen as a step backwards from last year’s exciting line up, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2017 surprisingly proved that not even a heavy downpour could stop the grandeur the festival continues to execute annually.

Attracting a crowd of thousands were four stages shared by a range of both local and international acts, promised to bring music discovery to a whole new level. Catching a certain band might be every fan’s initial motive to attend the festival, but it’s definitely inevitable not to leave without being captivated by a band’s live music for the first time.

Delighting the slightly small crowd in the early afternoon was Australian artist Tash Sultana performing at the Bay Stage. Though it’s a shame that not even half of the grounds were filled to watch her play the ever so captivating chord progressions in Jungle and effortlessly alternate between a windpipe and an electric guitar.

Switching the mood to a fierier ambience were punk rockers Luca Brasi’s thundering set that attracted a number of hardcore fans, mostly in their teens, who belted out an incomparable energy as they moshed in front of the Garden Stage. All these happened as the rest of the laneway-goers, still transfixed to their seats (aka the ground), watched from afar. For a moment, they were entertained not by the act onstage, but the aforementioned teenage boys’ aggressive yet entertaining moves.

It wasn’t until in the middle of Sam Rui’s set that it started drizzling. But the local act maintained her charm onstage with her atmospheric vocals as she debuted a new single, Solid Gold, played a cover of Jojo’s Too Little Too Late, and endeared her fans with her most popular song, Better. Having been lucky enough to catch KOM_I of Wednesday Campanella after Sam Rui’s set, I was welcomed with the sight of the bubbly Japanese performer being thrown over the crowd while inside an enormous inflatable balloon. Some of her other notable antics at Laneway were giving away free matcha to the crowd and singing on top of a ladder. I must say that this is the level of dedication every artist should have.

Moving on to another local act was shoegaze band Astreal. Considered to be music veterans in the local scene having formed in 1992 as Breed, Astreal didn’t seem to be much of a crowd pleaser as evident from their unexpected shy demeanor.

Enduring what turned out to be heavy rainfall, crowds started gathering in front of the Bay Stage yet again for AURORA’s set. The Norwegian singer-songwriter bewildered us throughout her mystical set, performing songs like Running With The Wolves and Conqueror. Aside from her mesmerizing stage presence and undoubtedly alluring vocals that could just transport you to places, the 20-year-old musical wonder is beyond her age when it comes to communicating with fans. I had the pleasure to meet AURORA and was left almost speechless with her endearing gaze that just translates her genuine appreciation towards her supporters.

Gang of Youths frontman David Le'aupepe was fascinating to watch as he slayed song after song with his quirky dance moves. He was also quick to respond to members of the crowd by reciprocating their greetings with winks and shout outs. The band captivated the crowd with catchy anthems such as Vital Signs and Magnolia and their it was a pity that their outstanding set was limited to only 50 minutes.

On another note, if Tame Impala went metal, it would sound like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. It’s spellbinding in a way that just wakes one up, which prepared us for Whitney’s mellow set that happened afterwards. Braving the rain despite being already drenched, I waited right behind the barrier for Whitney like a true dedicated fan and sang along to a few of my favorites, Polly and Golden Days. The band also treated us with a cover of Bob Dylan’s Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You that triggered a male fan to confess his love for the band through deafening screams – though this received giggles from the crowd, it was amusing to see Julien Ehrlich responding with a shrug. For some reason, I was enthralled by Whitney’s “low key” aesthetic and seeing them live just escalated my fondness.

Making up Poptart were Singapore DJs weelikeme and KiDG that brought the party to those who sought for shelter from the rain in the White Room. Catering to the hipster crowd that evening, the duo played songs by Two Door Cinema Club and Grimes, and ended their set with Stereophonic's Dakota.

Returning to Singapore with electrogaze instrumentals were Tycho, who brought out ethereal vibrations through their soft melodies some of which were Awake and A Walk. But what seemed to be the highlight of the festival was Glass Animals’ infectious zest that radiated throughout the crowd as the band hooked everyone with their brilliantly crafted visuals. Bringing all of their album covers to life, every song played was accompanied by enchanting lighting the color of their specific album – blue and purple for Zaba and yellow and orange for How To Be a Human Being. Though let’s not forget the star of the evening, a lone pineapple that was later held up high by Dave Bayley as he performed Pork Soda, and of course, along with a giant inflatable pineapple being passed over the crowd.

Ending the final set on the Bay Stage was Nick Murphy, previously known as Chet Faker, who astonished the exhausted audience with his downtempo music. Though I only got to catch Gold and Fear Less, it’s safe to say that the Australian artist was one of the most anticipated acts of the day, still drawing a large crowd at 11pm with his hazy synths.

Thanks to the unexpected downpour, the enigmatic air of what everyone else would assume taste like the pretentious air or “festival-goers” and their undying obsession with flower crowns, Laneway turned out to be a dynamic gratification that was enjoyable for everyone regardless of age.

 

Text: Teejay Vergara and Ling Donwei

Photo Credit: Spin or Bin Music

Paving their way to what turned out to be another killer show in our tiny island, Two Door Cinema Club proved that indie rock is still alive and better than ever – an undeniable respite from our weeknight routine.

The moment the lights went out, seats were immediately forgotten as fans ran to the front to form their own mosh pit. Why a seated venue was booked, we’ll never know. But we’re thankful for the air-conditioned room that made raving less unbearable.

Crowd pleasing in every angle, the Irish lads played an endearing show mostly consisting of songs from their first two records, despite promising a tour for their latest album, Gameshow. Though we’re not going to complain, as every song played was a raging dance anthem synonymous to frontman Alex Trimble’s magnetic energy on stage.

Opening the night with sheer excitement was Cigarettes In The Theatre. The band then showed off their frolicking riffs in Undercover Martyn that invited fans to sing back, “She spoke words that would melt in your hands,” in unison.

Hitting me with that spark of momentary bliss was the moment they played Changing of the Seasons that followed a relentless wave of energy from the crowd as we were presented with Bad Decisions, Lavender, and Next Year.

It’s not everyday that you get to feel that sudden rush of adrenaline through your veins that was made even more spellbinding by captivating visuals and blinding lights. They did well on this one.

It was a dream-like hallucination executed in the best possible way as TDCC undoubtedly blurred the lines between reality and a psychedelic realm. Bassist Kevin Baird’s trance-like gaze as he effortlessly played contributed to this whole essence. How someone could be so "lit" and "chill" at the same time remained a mystery to us.

Reminding us of the pursuit for consumerist ideals, TDCC delved into Are We Ready?, inviting everyone to sing along to the bridge, “I saw the world today, it comes in green and gray” - portraying the colors of a dollar bill, seemingly a metaphor for money quickly enveloping our society.

Still roaring with pumping enthusiasm, we were presented with the feel-good tunes of Eat That Up, It’s Good For You that sounded almost surreal live.

Ending the night with the much-awaited What You Know, yet still elevated with cheers, the band manifested a nourishing euphoria that kept our spirits rejuvenated even for a brief period of time. 

For most of us, TDCC kicked off a great first gig for 2017 and it truly was a memorable one.

 

Setlist

Cigarettes In The Theatre
Undercover Martyn
Do You Want It All?
Changing of the Seasons
Bad Decisions
Lavender
Next Year
Come Back Home
Ordinary
Something Good
Are We Ready?
Je Viens De La
Sleep Alone
I Can Talk
Eat That Up, It’s Good For You
Sun

Encore:
Someday
What You Know

Photo Credit: Secret Sounds Asia, Dominic Phua, @iamkennethlee via twitter, @leenosaurus, @elynazulkifli, & @qisfis via instagram

The Star Theatre remained unlit as ushers guided other concert-goers to their seats with the help of miniature flashlights. It was a quarter past 8 when the lights beamed onto the centre of the stage. Out from the darkness, a lone man made his way under the spotlight, with nothing but a guitar in his hands. Applause and cheer from the audience ensued. 

The man, Mike Rosenberg (aka Passenger), dived into the first song of the night; a solemn and heartfelt performance of Fairytales & Firesides. "This isn't going to be the happiest concert of your life," he clarified, before playing yet another sentimental song, Life's For The Living

Just like a professional busker that he is, Mike did not hold back from making banter with the audience and sharing stories and inspirations behind his songs. Before Travelling Alone, he indulged in a lengthy monologue as he reminisced of the people he met as a busker in the past.

It wasn't until more than halfway through the gig when Mike finally played his multi-platinum hit, Let Her Go and broke hearts all around. 

 
The set was a typical 16-songs long and a good mix of his old and new material. Mike also squeezed in two covers, such as a beautiful rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's The Sound Of Silence and Bruce Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark.  However, to the disappointment of many, favourites from his latest album such as Anywhere, If You Go and Home failed to make it to the cut. 
 
Take a look at Passenger's setlist for his concert in Singapore below!
 
 

(Photo credits: LAMC Productions, Aloysius Lim)

My deep admiration for Daniela Andrade started when I was an “innocent” Secondary 3 student still oblivious of what’s to come - ADULTHOOD. I spent a great amount of time watching her covers on YouTube and being constantly blown away by her originals, particularly this one. So needless to say, when I finally got to stand right in front of her on Monday night as she sang songs she has only written in her bedroom a couple of years ago, I realized how surreal life can be sometimes.

It was an evening so breathtaking, it’s almost impossible to put into words, which makes it also slightly disappointing with the show's small turnout. Everyone needs to experience being in the presence of Daniela’s mesmerizing vocals!

For a YouTuber who gained popularity through song renditions, one would assumed that Daniela would play more of the songs she covered online. But I guess the 24-year-old wanted a different take on her live shows.

The crowd was serenaded by songs from Daniela's EPs, Things We’ve Said and Shore, both of which included songs she performed that sparked familiarity to solid fans. But despite the strong resonation of emotions through songs like Digital Age and Bright Blue, the crowd remained utterly silent - perhaps fans unconsciously knew that the only way to fully immerse themselves in Daniela’s music is to give their fullest attention.

We did have some attention seekers, constantly shouting irrelevant responses to Daniela's questions, but the positivity she radiated in the room was enough to make the audience maintain their full composure even for just a couple of hours during her set.

It was an intimate gig not just because of the small crowd, but mostly because of Daniela looking so effortlessly beautiful under neon coloured lights and as she sang songs like Creep and Crazy, which moved every part of our being. Though I would’ve wished to hear her version of I Will Follow You Into The Dark live, those covers still tugged my heartstrings.

Alternating between an acoustic and electric guitar, Daniela introduced us to a newly written song called Sugar that might be included in her upcoming album. Daniela’s occasional attempt at small talk while trying to tune her guitar filled this constant alternation.

Every song she played with either guitars never fail to give the audience a sense of satisfaction, almost a kind of relief and a heavy sigh that released tension from our tired souls.

She later played more originals, one of which still lingers in my mind is Badly Programmed, a song inspired by an awkward conversation in a social gathering and consisted of her usual effortless yet mind-blowing falsetto notes.

There is nothing more genuine than an introvert trying to play a show in front of a live audience consisting of fans she only used to communicate with online.

An ironic take on life, I must say.

The gig was as solemn as it could get and I have never felt such an authentic connection between a musician and her audience. Daniela's kind-hearted and unpretentious personality radiated through her soulful and delicate vocals, and god, do I just want to be her friend.

 

Photo Credit: The Gathering Asia, @willsputra, @gravityplay, & @jimnin via Instagram