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The Weeknd - Starboy ft. Daft Punk

 

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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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Album Review: twenty one pilots Meets MUTEMATH (The MUTEMATH Sessions)
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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

What a start to the off track entertainment line up, 3 days of non-stop music and entertainment at the F1 Singapore Grand Prix!

Kylie Minogue rounds it off on Night 1 of the highly anticipated F1 weekend. It was definitely a show all about the glitz and glamour. Her set started promptly after the second practice race at 11:15PM but the crowd started to build from as early as 9:00PM. We knew it was going to be a night of dancing and reliving hits from the past decade or so. 

Cheers and screams grew louder as time ticked away and the band and dancers took their places on the T-stage. She kicked the show off in her sexy red ensemble, starting off with In Your Eyes and WOW. Like every other concert, costume changes are mandatory. Kylie then re-emerged on stage in a number of outfits ranging from one that seemed to be themed for the race, a black pants suit and denim combo that was most apt for the heat in Singapore.

Kylie first performed in Singapore back in 2008 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and 6 years later she is back! The 48-year-old definitely did not disappoint as she brought out the all time favourites like On A Night Like This, Can’t Get You Outta My Head and All My Lovers. During her set, she also took some time to chat with the crowd namely speaking about the street food in Singapore as well as making a mental note to herself to come back as soon as possible. YES KYLIE!

With Night 1 starting with a bang, thanks to 80s popstar Kylie Minogue, solid F1 concert-goers were in full force for Night 2 of the headlining shows at The Padang Stage.

Indie rockers Bastille attracted groups of teenage fangirls that came with large hand-written banners and whose screams brought out the energy from everyone else in the crowd.

Succeeding the release of their latest album, Wild World, the British lads performed new songs like Good Grief, Snakes, and Send Them Off! – all of which are considered more of a dance anthem than songs from their previous incarnation.

However, it’s not a Bastille show without their most popular hit Pompeii, which frontman Dan Smith started off with a mellow piano intro. The short ballad immediately captured the crowd’s attention as it transitioned to it’s familiar beat, leaving fans with an unwavering euphoria as they sang and join the melodic chorus, “But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?” But the highlight of their set was when Dan Smith stood right in front of the barrier, allowing some lucky few, including myself, to touch his sweaty arms. For avid fans, it was almost immaculate as some even promised to never wash their hands again. Thanks, Dan!

Just when I thought the event couldn’t get any more diverse, there was a swift change in position as young Bastille fans left the mosh pit and dedicated Queen supporters stepped forward to catch their legendary idols. Sporting Queen T-shirts were middle-aged fans whom I had the pleasure to watch tear up out of sheer joy as Queen and Adam Lambert played the iconic hits, Love Of My Life, I Want To Break Free, and Don’t Stop Me Now. As a millennial who grew up with the vague but familiar songs of Queen, thanks to my parents who always used to listen to them, I experienced a sense of nostalgia that resulted to an unexpected pair of misty eyes and goose bumps. I’ve never felt so alive.

The sassy but comedic Adam Lambert embodied the rapture expected from a lead singer. Though we all can agree that no one can ever replace the legend that is Freddie Mercury, Adam effortlessly belted out Queen’s hits  – Somebody To Love, Who Wants To Live Forever, and We Will Rock You. But aside from Adam’s witty demeanor, the spiritual experience continued with Roger Taylor’s drum solos. We were also blessed with lead guitarist Brian May’s psychedelic riffs which he played as he got elevated on stage against a starry screen while being circled by blinding lasers.

Queen + Adam Lambert’s set captured every range of emotions all humans were capable of experiencing, from several Freddie Mercury tributes as well as a David Bowie commemoration during Under Pressure. It was a night filled with delight, nostalgia, and timeless rock music that I’ll gladly tell my future children about.

The third and final night was nothing but an evening of celebration. Indie singer Halsey performed songs from Badlands for the very first time in Singapore, as she mentioned from our interview.

The 21-year-old came on stage carrying both swag and grace, a vibe that might seem humanly impossible to deliver, but Halsey effortlessly brought out during her set. Accompanied by stunning visuals that resembled the theme of her songs, Halsey got the Singapore crowd on their feet with Ghost, Castle, and Colors. Just like other artists these days, Halsey's set induced some kind of sentimentality as she shared her experiences as a “little girl” who only once dreamt of performing for hundreds of people.

But the most moving part of the show happened just before she performed Hurricane, as she reminded the audience, “You don’t belong to anyone but yourself.” Though Halsey might still be in disbelief about sharing the same stage as her mentors and the next act, Imagine Dragons, she has definitely built a name for herself as a solo performer. Not to mention, she was also able to brilliantly execute songs with Justin Bieber and The Chainsmokers - The Feeling and Closer - by herself on the other side of the world.

While indie fans were enjoying Halsey's set, there was another party going on at the Village Stage as a capella group Pentatonix returned to Singapore yet again to perform their mind-blowing songs... without the help of any instruments. The group showed off their popular mix Evolution of Michael Jackson, as well as a cover of Twenty One Pilot’s Ride.

Despite gaining fame only by doing covers on YouTube, Pentatonix flawlessly executed original songs like Can’t Sleep Love which their Singapore fans have waited for quite some time to hear again live.

With Halsey already heating up The Padang with her Badlands tunes, Imagine Dragons picked up from where she left off as they opened with the catchy intro, “I'm sorry for everything. Oh, everything I've done,” which marked the start of their hit song, Shots. The ecstatic audience was treated with heart-stopping and dramatic stage setting that fully encapsulated the vibe Imagine Dragons was going for - fiery yet soul-stirring.

Lead vocalist Dan Reynolds embraced the task of bringing strangers in a mosh pit together with inspirational sayings before playing a personal favorite, It’s Time.

However, before delving more into original songs, Imagine Dragons did a cover of Alphaville’s Forever Young, which undoubtedly sparked an 80s atmosphere for the older fans in the crowd. After playing the nostalgic hit, the band carried on with their set that included a perfect mixture of songs from their two albums - Night Visions and Smoke + Mirrors.

Like the previous night's shows, Imagine Dragons’ set was not devoid of enthralling drum and guitar solos that accompanied their hits, On Top Of The World, I Bet My Life, and Radioactive.

Imagine Dragons might only have two albums, but the Las Vegas natives perfectly expressed the universal language, that is music, through heart-wrenching harmonies as evident in the melodic song, Demons.

Just like Halsey, Imagine Dragons served as a living book of inspirational quotes as Dan advised everyone with the cheesy but insightful reminder to momentarily forget about everything and spend the night solely to celebrate music. With this, the show left everyone physically exhausted, but spiritually recharged. But not only was F1 Singapore Grand Prix a night of celebration, it also ignited a sense of epiphany that would make it hard for any music events in the country to ever top. 

 

Text: Teejay Vergara and Leong Xinyi

Photo Credit: Singapore GP & Alvin Ho