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Lady Gaga - The Cure

 

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New Band, half•alive's Amazing Talent Could Take Them Places!!
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Album Review: The Maine Revives Our Emo Phase With Latest Album, 'Lovely, Little, Lonely'
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Album Review: Chill Out To Chase Atlantic's New Sensual Music
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What a fabulous end to something magical.

At 7:15pm, the seats in The Star Theatre started to fill up one by one with excited fans who have been waiting forever for Fifth Harmony to perform in Singapore. It was a matter of minutes before the multi-platinum girl group was going to appear on stage as devoted Harmonizers make the finishing touches to their hand-held posters, hoping that their nicely decorated signs would catch the attention of the girls.

At exactly 8:18pm, the lights went down and the chants for Fifth Harmony echoed throughout the theatre. The time had finally arrived.

Donned in their red hot tour outfits, Fifth Harmony made a dramatic entrance with the female power anthem of 7/27, That's My Girl. As their fists punched the air in the chorus, an array of lights moved in the same fashion as fans happily joined in the iconic choreography of the song.

Lauren Jauregui shouted out the audience saying that this was their last show on the 7/27 tour and that Singapore had an obligation to be the loudest. The crowd roared in reply, knowing in their hearts that it is such a privilege to be present at the show that marks the closure of another significant chapter in the lives of the girls.

The ladies transitioned to throwback songs Miss Movin' On and Sledgehammer before pumping up the party with the cleverly-written Reflection and ever-so-filled with sass This Is How We Roll.

Heartfelt songs Scared Of Happy and I Lied continued to carry the set along. The lyrics of these songs resonated so well with the audience; Harmonizers sung them back to the girls with such raw emotions as they connected with each honest line.

The quartet belted out Write On Me before going backstage and reappearing one by one to sing their verses in No Way. They later united in perfect harmony in the chorus as they finished up their flawless performance of the song. Throwing it back once again to their first studio album, the melodic low-register We Know sounded unreal LIVE. The foursome cruised through the fan-favourite tune of their earlier days.

Dinah Jane took centre stage to address the audience by saying that she could not believe that the band was finally in our home, Singapore. She continued to engage the crowd by reading out signs that caught her attention like "your high notes are higher than my grades" and "#TeamValmani". She carried on by saying that although we are all strangers, to give the person next to us a little Squeeze. The girls too shared a moment among themselves.

BO$$ followed the cute moment and proved what a classic 5H track it is as it clearly reminds us all that these ladies truly embody the spirit of excellence in all they do like Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey.

It was Normani Kordei's time to have a little chit chat with the fans as she acknowledged that it took almost 5 years for them to finally make a trip to Singapore. With such a genuine heart, she thanked the Harmonizers present for making their dreams come true and that they would be nothing without the fans. She proceeded to ask the audience to guess the next song which was Not That Kinda Girl that had a really cool dance breakdown during the Missy Elliott rap.

The loveable girls started randomly singing "Singapore" and giggled about the fact that it's so funny to sing it as our country's name contained the word "sing". This is exactly why they are so precious :')

What's a concert without a little screaming competition? The girls split themselves into two teams. Team #Norminah took the side to their right and team #Alren was in charge of the other. Lauren was so adorable when she was hushing her side of the crowd because some of them screamed even though it wasn't their turn. After all the expansion of lungs, the crowd was sure ready to flex. What a smooth transition into All In My Head (Flex).

Our Polynesian queen Dinah grabbed a Singapore flag from the audience and exclaimed "don't mind if I do" in a cheeky voice. She continued to express her gratitude to the Harmonizers for being so loyal and defending them whenever annoying comments about them are made online. The family-loving gal gave a cute shout out to all their mothers for being so supportive and teaching them the ways of being Brave, Honest and Beautiful.

At the end of the song, Ally Brooke was seen wiping away tears from her face as she confessed that Dinah made her cry during the song. (Aww, can they get any cuter?) The oldest of the gang quickly moved on and thanked every single person of the 5H crew by name. She began declaring her love for the next song Gonna Get Better which is actually her favourite song from the album as it reminds her of a special memory.

Reality began to sink in as chart-toppers Worth It and Work From Home were performed. Harmonizers knew that the end was near and soaked in every single remaining moment left of the concert by dancing their little hearts out.

Obviously Dinah had to slip it in somewhere in the concert and asked everyone to support their girl Normani on Dancing with the Stars. Indeed, what a beautiful friendship all the girls share. They definitely represent the true meaning of girl power in a world where hate is so prevalent.

At 9:40pm, confetti showered the first few rows marking the official end of the night as the girls thanked everyone for their continuous support one last time before disappearing one by one down the stairs.

 

Y'all totally SLAYED it girls! It was definitely a dream come true for all of us and we can't wait till the next time y'all are back here again to tour 5H3 ;)

Setlist:

1. That's My Girl
2. Miss Movin' On
3. Sledgehammer
4. Reflection
5. This Is How We Roll
6. Scared Of Happy
7. I Lied
8. Write On Me
9. No Way
10. We Know
11. Squeeze
12. BO$$
13. Not That Kinda Girl
14. All In My Head (Flex)
15. Brave Honest Beautiful
16. Gonna Get Better
17. Worth It
18. Work From Home


Photo Credit: Alvin Ho for LAMC Productions

Coldplay has grown a lot as a band since their last outing in Singapore with their Viva La Vida tour. One massive stadium tour and three albums later, Chris Martin’s merry men have finally made their grand return to Singapore.

Whilst checking into the venue was a breeze, I had to address the elephant in the room. Yep, that massive empty plot of land between Pen A and Pen B. So much so that the entire Pen could be moved a good few meters forward AND there would still be space for Pen A ticket holders to move around the place. This made for an awkward empty 1/5th of the stadium floor for absolutely no reason. Perhaps it is for safety but… THAT much empty space? (pic was taken 10 minutes before showtime)

Queues for food inside and around the stadium were snaking, overpriced and pretty much left me with no choice but to hold it out until the gig is over. Don’t bother trying your luck at the nearby Kallang Wave Mall because it’s worse. Despite the stalls conveniently located behind my seats, nobody left to get drinks mid-show. Now that’s when you know a show is good.

Thankfully, Jess Kent entertained the crowd in a rarity where an A-list act actually has a legitimate support act in Singapore. Of course, her songs were rather foreign to Singaporeans but they were catchy enough for them to Shazam her breakout single, Get Down, before her set was over.

Coldplay took the stage promptly at 8pm with a severely scaled-down fireworks display accompanying the finale of the title track, A Head Full of Dreams. As promised, the audience were a part of the show and it gave the concert a breath of fresh air as everyone pumped their xylobands in the air. There's just something special about uniting everyone in the same building regardless of where you're from or what you speak eh?

The crowd was definitely a mixed bag when it came to their newer songs, like Birds, especially the older working-age crowd who only seemed to stood up for songs like Yellow and The Scientist, both released more than a decade ago. In a drastically underappreciated sit-down moment from the crowd, Chris performed Til Kingdom Come (Singapore’s Instagram request song) and messed it up mid-song. Oops. That video should be somewhere in the depths of YouTube by the time this is up.

Singapore also hosted the tour premiere of their pretty bad Chainsmokers collaboration Something Just Like This. Although Princess of China was cut from the setlist, it was surprisingly one of the best moments of the entire show and warmed up the crowd for an even bigger bangerA Sky Full Of Stars. The energy never went down throughout the lengthy 2-hour set  with the frontman jumping, sprinting, and hopping across the stage even as the finale’s fireworks set to Up&Up filled the stadium.

Many fans up close might have also caught this special moment that might land Coldplay into hot water as the band openly expressed their support for the LGBTQ community. 

 

A post shared by June Wee (@juneywee) on

Coldplayers at the B-Stage were treated to a much better show than those nearer to the main stage, with the larger-than-life visuals not fully visible upfront. Fret not, the enormous production value of the entire concert makes every seat in the stadium worth every single cent. Singapore has never hosted one on this scale before, save for maybe one of Michael Jackson’s gigs at the old Stadium from back in the day.

Whilst acts like Ed Sheeran are perfectly fine in the nosebleeds as he relies on his vocals, and Taylor Swift being entertaining enough to warrant a front-row ticket, Coldplay does both and does them well.

Sadly, stadium gigs in Singapore are mostly a miss in terms of sound quality with many complaints stemming from previous concerts at the National Stadium. Fortunately, something was finally done to fix the poor audio. Gone was the reverb and echo that made the latter half of the stadium sound like the Chris Martin’s vocals passed through a massive body of water. All thanks to the additional speakers that hung from the roof and what I assume to be meticulous audio calibration, which worked!

The band's solid performances and insane production made for a very special first night for Coldplay in Singapore. Nights like this make all the shit you take for being a mainstream Coldplay fan worth it.

Night 2, here I come.

Credit: Mark Cheong (Straits Times), Holmen Tham, Nicole Chang

Australian pop band, Masketta Fall released their debut full length album, Golden, in December of 2016 and they just began their album release tour throughout Australia.

The tour kicked off in Melbourne on the 18th of February and I had the privilege of attending the show. This had been my second time seeing them live after attending a gig last April, and I had high expectations from them.

Their set followed performances by Canberra band, Drawing North, and Adelaide band, Stansbury, both of which played spectacularly.

Masketta Fall then kicked off their set with the title track off their album Golden. With more of a rap/spoken word component compared to their other songs, Golden was a good choice to open with as it got the audience joining in, sounding like an introductory chant to hype everyone up. They followed with one of their older songs, Parachute, which got everyone jamming out and singing along to every word. 

They continued with a few other songs from their album, Highway Holiday, Mercedes and C.H.L.O.E. Before performing C.H.L.O.E., though, guitarist Ben Downing gave the audience a little background to the song: Ben had finally managed to ask a girl for her number, but it turned out that the number she'd given him was a fake! "Chloe you're too good for me!"

It was after this song where Masketta Fall's other guitarist, Daniel Molivas (Moli) had left the stage to take a breather as he was feeling unwell. Nevertheless, the rest of the band continued on with a couple of slower throwback tracks: Do You Wanna Dance, which they lovingly dedicated to Moli, and their classic acoustic cover of The Killers' Mr. Brightside. The crowd sang along to these much loved favourites, with the intro riff of Mr. Brightside enough to send everyone cheering and screaming. 

A common tradition at live shows is for the artist to play a "flashlight song," as I like to call it, where the whole crowd whips out their smartphones, turns on the flashlight, and raises it, creating a beautiful starry view from the band's point of view. Masketta Fall's flashlight song, Let There Be Light, from their Parachute EP, was played next, which Moli returned for, before heading back to rest. 

Things hyped up even more after that as they dished out one of their singles, Summertime Girls, a song about just having fun in the summer. Sticking to the theme, dozens of blow up beach balls came bouncing out from the back of the stage, thanks to the band's family and crew.

There was a slight twist in mood after Summertime Girls when they played Douchebag Love, one of their first few songs which had never made it onto an EP and was only properly released on this album, so a lot of newer fans did not really get the sentimental old-age value of the song.

I remember when they played this song live last year, they brought two members of the audience onstage to put on a Barbie and Ken doll mask and pretend to be the stereotypical douchebag couple, which is what the song is based off. Unfortunately, that did not happen this year so we missed out on a few extra laughs. The beach balls were still bouncing around the audience though, so that kind of made up for it.

Going off Douchebag Love and C.H.L.O.E., I find that I quite like how the backstories form their songs because unlike a lot of other artists, the songs don't come out angsty and heartbroken but rather carefree and fun, so kudos to Masketta Fall for keeping it chill.

Butterflies and Defenceless, two of my favourites from the album, came next and from the crowd response, I’d say they were a lot of others’ favourites too. A lyric video for Defenceless had just been released a couple of weeks prior, and it was made up of fan submitted photographs of the lyrics created in all sorts of ways.

To build up to their next song, Rollin’ With The DJ - a bouncy R&B/pop tune - singer Braden Daniel and guitarist Ben had a little sing off to a smooth beat on the drums courtesy of drummer Jamie Ross. Their little battle consisted of classic songs like Macklemore’s Thrift Shop, Ed Sheeran’s Don’t, Queen’s We Will Rock You and many more all time favourites. The beat rolled over (pun intended) to Rollin’ With The DJ and had everyone bopping along.

They ended their set with a single, Love Me Like That which got cheers from all around, before running offstage. But of course, everyone knew better and screamed and chanted for an encore so it was no surprise when the boys, Moli included, came back onstage and finished everything off with one last song from their album: I Believe.

When it was all over, Masketta Fall, as well as opening bands Drawing North and Stansbury came out to the hall to meet with fans. I met all three of the bands (Masketta Fall for the second time) and exchanged thanks with them - they’re all really friendly people, by the way.

Overall I’d say I was impressed even for my second time watching Masketta Fall live because they’re very energetic, and it was extremely admirable of Moli to keep trying to perform for us despite being ill. So, if you ever get the chance, do catch them live for just an all round enjoyable time filled with fun and good vibes.

 

Watch the creative lyric video for Defenceless (featuring Holly Martin) here:

 

Photo Credits: Billboard, Spin or Bin Music

There was a period of time when I used to play Explosions In The Sky’s The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place on repeat as I did my exam revision. It was a semester or two of pure post-rock bliss that aided my dreaded study sessions. I won’t consider myself an avid fan of the band, but when I heard that they were coming back to Singapore, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to catch them live and lose my post-rock gig virginity.

The 3rd of March was not exactly the perfect date for a concert except for a few fans already free of academic obligations. I was greeted with sightings of a man reading a novel, couples cuddling on the ground, and a student who was digesting his economics notes – all making good use of their time before opening act Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO) graced the stage. 

 

When you're at a concert but econs is life

A post shared by Muhd Farhan (@zomgfarhan) on

Unknown Mortal Orchestra exceeded many fans’ expectations. The band blew the crowd away with their consecutive mix of R&B and indie rock songs. If Tame Impala, Toro y Moi, and Mac DeMarco all had a lovechild, it would sound like Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Vocalist Ruban Nielson emitted energy unlike no other. Never have I been so immersed in an opening act such as UMO, despite only hearing their songs a few times on YouTube. This is all thanks to Ruban dancing along to crowd favorites, The World Is Crowded, Multi-Love, and Stage or Screen.

Having been already overcome with a sense of satisfaction after UMO’s set, I was prepared to leave the front of the mosh pit and just watch Explosions In The Sky from the back. But of course, I needed to see the band play at least one of the songs I only used to listen to online up-close. So, I stayed on my spot.

Explosions In The Sky undeniably created an ethereal ambience almost comparable to one floating into space. For most fans in the crowd, it was pure ecstasy, but for me, it was a surprising dissociation from the music. Why wasn’t I captured by their live performance? I had no idea. Maybe live post-rock performances aren’t my thing.

But still, I soldered on and tried to appreciate what was in front of me. Every song played received roaring applause, from their first song Yasmin The Light, to the much-awaited The Only Moment We Were Alone. Who exactly wouldn’t be enthralled by the band’s soft mellow tunes that suddenly turn into heart-racing tempos? Apparently, me, and boy was I disappointed with myself for a moment.

I knew that hearing First Breath After Coma was supposed to be breathtaking (no pun intended) live, but I was shocked by my lack of receptiveness as I stood there unfazed. I really wanted to relish the moment!

My utter indifference, however, was met with guys aggressively banging their heads and fans that chose to quietly appreciate the music with crossed arms and eyes closed. I watched them from afar and realized that perhaps there will be moments where I lose myself completely in a mosh pit as a fan, and there will be days where I just stand solemnly at the side and be an observer – both of which are completely okay.

I left the concert venue with a new appreciation of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, but came to the conclusion that I prefer to listen to Explosions In The Sky from my headphones in the comfort of my own home.

My inability to appreciate live post-rock music made me realize that I don’t have to like everything. I’m still waiting for the time when I can fully immerse myself in such music that would make me go, “Hmm, this makes me feel alive.” But for the mean time, my fondness of Explosions In The Sky will remain solely within the four walls of my bedroom during late revision nights.

 

Setlist

Yasmin the Light
Catastrophe and the Cure
Logic of a Dream
Greet Death
First Breath After Coma
The Birth and Death of the Day
With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept
Colors in Space
Your Hand in Mine
Disintegration Anxiety
The Only Moment We Were Alone

 

Photo Credit: Symmetry Entertainment, @khojennifer, @axelante, & @linsinlohan via Instagram

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)