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Sia - Cheap Thrills

 

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album picks

Frank Ocean Finally Releases 17-Track Wonder, 'Blonde'
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Hey Violet Revives Early Pop-Punk Sound With 'Brand New Moves' EP
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Album Review: Drake's 'Views' Is 80 Minutes Of Unsatisfied Expectations
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As I try to recall the brilliance I’ve been presented last night, I can’t help but come up with the cliché pun of finally panicking at the disco. But Panic! At The Disco’s Singapore show ensued not just a certain panic. It came with the majestic feeling of an overdose of satisfaction that I’m sure everyone in the room has experienced.

For a moment, I was reminded of how it feels to be 16 and excited again. As soon as the lights went out and Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time started playing, murmurs turned into electrifying energy that I’d perfectly compare with a full cardio workout.

There is no doubt that Brendon Urie, the last remaining original member of P!ATD, is an ultimate performer. Despite playing mostly new songs, which I’m more of a fan of, he brought an authentic stage presence that fans of all ages enjoyed.

I was surrounded by female teenagers who prior to the start of the show nervously discussed A levels and having tests the next day. The same fangirls also pushed me towards the barrier, bringing me right in front of lead guitarist Kenneth Harris whose riffs I admired from a short distance.

As I continued to sway along the waves of young fans, the euphoric crowd started to get a little out of hand for my miniscule body to handle. A guy started screaming, “THIS IS A MOSHPIT!!!” as he elbowed people in front of him not exactly for the intention of having a good time and enjoying the music, but somehow to just show off his “wild side.” Bro, take it down a notch, will ya?

But the night was so euphoric that no one even bothered to pay attention to the aforementioned attention-seeker. All eyes were on Brendon who after belting out songs like Hallelujah and LA Devotee turned to the keys and played one of my favorites, Nine In The Afternoon. The most anticipated cover though, is the one Brendon wished he had written himself – Bohemian Rhapsody. If Freddie Mercury was alive, he would give P!ATD more than just a pat on the back for their flawless execution.

Gushes ensued one more time as Brendon took his shirt off, blessing everyone’s eyes with the presence of his half naked and sweaty body. In no way am I promoting double standards nor do I support objectification, but I do confess gushing over the majestic sight along with other fangirls.

Brendon might be doing shows for around 12 years now, but the class act still hasn’t lost the drive of bringing smiles (and tears) to his fans. More than that, he is an artist with a heart. How does a person come up with such enthralling hooks, deliver it live on the other side of the world and still be so grounded? Of course, he hasn’t done all of it himself. But Brendon, devoid of any pretentious formalities, genuinely thanked everyone for coming. “It’s more than what we expected,” he told us over heartwarming giggles.

I'm sure majority of the audience would have wanted to hear New Perspective and Northern Downpour live, but we really can't complain. Still, everything felt right. P!ATD finished off with Victorious and in that moment I’m pretty sure my soul already left my body.

If there’s anything I’ve gotten from that gig last night, aside from a rejuvenated soul and a backache, it’s the realization of how strongly strangers can bond over music. Nothing feels better than being in a mosh pit, staring at a band with deep admiration, and singing along to songs you’ve only repeatedly played in the bus. Shall I say, it's a hell of a feeling though?

******

“We're feeling so good. Just the way that we do.”

 

Setlist
Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time
Vegas Lights
The Ballad Of Mona Lisa
Hallelujah
Time To Dance
Emperor’s New Clothes
Girls/Girls/Boys
LA Devotee
Ready To Go
Nine In The Afternoon
Bohemian Rhapsody
Golden Days
Miss Jackson
Crazy=Genius
Death Of A Bachelor


Encore
I Write Sins Not Tragedies
This Is Gospel
Victorious

Photo Credit: @nicshields via Twitter, Aloysius Lim, LAMC Productions

22 years after the release of their self-titled debut album, Weezer finally made a stop in Singapore on 15 August 2016. For those who waited for just about as long as I have been alive for this concert, it would be an understatement to say that this concert has been highly-anticipated. 

The alt-rock heroes brought us back to the era when Beverly Hills was played repeatedly on MTV, jamming through old hits such as Pork and Beans, Say It Ain't So and Island in the Sun. They also played a couple of new releases such as opener California Kids and King of the World.

Watching Weezer play was like watching a group of friends jam out in their backyard - the concert was a straightforward, non-pretentious celebration of indie rock where everyone was just having fun. In between songs, frontman Rivers Cuomo did a short cover of FUN.'s We Are Young and even paid tribute to Joseph Schooling's historic Olympic win before calling it a night with Buddy Holly.

The gig was relatively short and lasted only a little over an hour. However, if you were to ask someone who has waited 22 years to watch them perform live in Singapore, I'm sure he/she would probably say that it was worth the wait.

Photo credits: Spin or Bin Music, Aloysius Lim, LAMC Productions

As the rest of Singapore spent their Wednesday evening catching Pokémons, a lucky crowd at The Colesium was treated to Charlie Puth’s incredible tunes. By tunes, I just don’t mean vocals. I meant effortless playing on the keys along with his equally talented live band.

For starters, Charlie Puth isn’t your typical YouTuber turned popstar nor is he a “manufactured” artist. The guy can determine the key of anything that makes sound! So consider yourself blessed if you were able to witness his music live last night.

Unlike any other concerts, the show started out on time, at 8pm to be exact - a new sensation for concertgoers. Singapore’s sweetheart, iNCH, warmed up the audience with a few originals such as MouseDeer and a cover of Death Cab For Cutie’s I Will Follow You Into The Dark (which gave me intense FEELS). But despite being initially oblivious of an opening act, the crowd turned out to be receptive and really supportive of the local talent.

When fans started chanting Charlie’s name, all hell broke loose, at least for the people in front of the mosh pit, which was slightly out of my line of vision due to my lack of height. So, as soon as I somehow saw a tall guy wearing a white T-shirt emerging from the backstage, I knew that Charlie’s first show in Asia was about to start.

Succeeding jokes about Singapore’s literal “warm welcome,” Charlie opened the show with an intersection of jazz and pop – something that completely captured the vibe of the rest of the evening. Some crowd favorites would probably be the hits, Marvin Gaye, One Call Away, We Don’t Talk Anymore, and See You Again.

My admiration for Mr Puth grew stronger as he improvised a jingle about his fascination for Singapore’s unique culture, specifically how we eat noodles for breakfast. Never have I imagined myself watching an American popstar compose and sing a tune with the lyrics,“In Singapore, we eat noodles for breakfast.” But I’m glad I had the privilege to do so.

Moving on from Charlie’s antics, the 24-year-old musician showed off his beatboxing skills at certain interludes, adding a diverse twist to the jazz-pop aura.

The less popular track Losing My Mind, was a literal pun in itself as hearing the drummer play the beat live made me feel a little giddy. As someone who repeatedly played the song in a dimly lit room, I have personally become attached to it and even ending up calling it the “2002 song” because of it’s early 2000s and RnB vibes. No shame in that!

Like any memorable show, it needed to come to an end, much to the dismay of those little girls around me in whom I see a part of my younger self.

Charlie sure knows how to pull everyone’s heartstrings with his romantic melodies despite confessing earlier in the press conference that he has never been in love. But the short set didn't hinder the night from becoming worthwhile. “I would do more but I only have one album. I need more material," a few words from Charlie that left avid fans something to hold onto.

One thing's for sure, Charlie Puth’s wit and charm will bring him to greater heights, and it has been an honor to watch his music progress from the beginning.

Photo Credit: Marcus Lin for Midas Promotions, Aloysius Lim

Everytime I am reminded of how British singer-songwriter, Jasmine Lucilla Elizabeth Jennifer van den Bogaerde a.k.a. Birdy, is two years younger than me, I can't help but think to myself:

"What the hell am I doing with my life?"

At the tender age of 20, Birdy has already achieved more than what most of us could only dream of and blessed are her fans in Singapore as it was the only stop in the Southeast Asian leg of her Beautiful Lies world tour. 

Making her humble entrance to the stage, the night kicked off with Growing Pains. Birdy shone with talent and charisma beyond her years. Even with minimal audience interaction as a way of letting her music do the talking, she enthralled the standing crowd with her dreamy vocals. 

Alternating between the keyboards and guitar, Birdy's flair for music is indisputable - even a simple strum of the guitar with her delicate fingers sent chills down our spine. 

The songstress displayed her newfound versatility whilst playing a series of upbeat and empowering anthems such as Hear You CallingWild Horses and Keeping Your Head Up, although never straying too far from her signature piano ballads. The biggest tear-jerker of the night was Wings, that subdued the audience and induced the feelings of a fresh heartbreak.

Despite her impeccable vocals, it was a shame that Birdy's concert lacked in intimacy, especially for one who composes such heartfelt music - though nothing a little more time and on-tour experience could help improve easily. 

Nonetheless, the songstress ended the night with the Skinny Love, bringing us 5 years back when the release of her Bon Iver cover first catapulted her to fame. The maudlin rendition certainly did not disappoint as audience members raised their cameras in hopes of bringing back a piece of the rendition home with them.

Photo credit: The Gathering

I'm convinced that Tegan and Sara are ageless vampires who have lived through centuries and will continue to live on forever. If one day my suspicions are revealed to be true, my response to the news would be: "I KNEW IT."

Why do I believe so strongly that they are blood-sucking mythical creatures?

Well firstly, the Canadian twin sisters have not aged a day since 2013 when they first performed in Singapore at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Additionally, unlike a frustrated fan who felt the 3 years was already too long a wait and yelled: "IN 2013 YOU SAID YOU WOULD COME BACK IN 2014 BUT YOU ALSO NEVER COME", the duo didn't seem to think so. Perhaps because 3 years is nothing when you have lived hundreds of years? Hmm

The duo took the stage decked in a sleek all-black ensemble - in true stereotypical vampire fashion. Coming from the style icons themselves, they paid Asia the ultimate compliment when they spoke of how stylish Asia is, prompting Tegan to suggest kicking Sara out of the band so keep take all the money the band makes and spend it on Asian food and fashion. Halfway through the set, Tegan mentioned how she did not feel tired even though they just flew from Hongkong and will be flying to Taiwan the next day. The most obvious reason to why they can still feel so alive despite such a tight schedule? Vampires.

There was no discrimination whether you were a fan of Tegan and Sara's newer or older hits, for the concert setlist was a satisfying balance of both. In between songs from their 2013 album Heartthrob and their latest album Love You to Death, old favourites such as Walking with a Ghost and Nineteen also made it to the stage. 

The duo played their biggest earworms Boyfriend and Closer, however, the crowd favourite of the night has to go to the retro-infused U-Turn.

Although Sara admitted that the twins have been doing well for themselves, their friendly banter with the audience proved that they truly are still the same humble indie duo that fans first fell in love with. Dedicated fan Jia Min who got the initials of Love You to Death shaven on the side of her head also had luck on her side when Sara recognised her from Instagram and gave her a shoutout. 

Tegan and Sara did the best they could to keep their show as intimate as possible in a concert hall as huge and atas as The Star Performing Arts Centre. Before these two, I never quite liked The Star as a concert venue before as it always felt too solemn and I've seen all too many bands/singers who had an extra tough time working up the audience there. Yet, what took most up till the encore to get the audience up on their feet only took Tegan and Sara one song to see everyone dancing and clapping along. True skill or vampires? You decide.  

The show ended in an encore of ballads that made our hearts ache as each song went by. As Sara made countdowns of the number of songs left in their setlist, we could not help but hope the concert goes on forever. Alas, before we knew it, their 1.5-hour concert had come to an end. Their vampire-like compelling effect on the audience left us wanting more. By the end of the night, I reckon majority would have willingly let the vampire twins suck their blood dry. 

 

Photo credits: Live Nation Lushington Singapore, Instagram @chiajiamin @blueramen