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Carly Rae Jepsen - I Really Like You

 

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Album Review: Smallpools - LOVETAP!
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Album Review: Charli XCX - SUCKER
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Album Review: Sleeping With Sirens - Madness
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Ed Sheeran basically gave the performance of his life at The Star Theatre in Singapore, though the theatre is way too small to contain all the Sheerios in Singapore.

Tickets were gone in 8 hours and people on carousell were re-selling tickets for about $500 each. Maybe he should have added a 2nd night, or an upgrade of venue to accommodate the many Sheerios in Singapore! (Take note AEG.)

This one’s for the Sheerios who couldn’t make it to the concert, and for the ones that just want to relieve the best of the concert all over again!

 

Top 5 Highlights

5. The A Team - This is how it all started! Ed's first ever single remains iconic till this day.

4. Lego House - Ah, back to the nostalgic days of 2012.

3. Photograph - Phenomenal songwriting and a beautiful voice sums this superb performance up.

2. Thinking Out Loud - Ed's most popular song to date got the largest reaction from the crowd!

1. Sing - The grand sing-along finale! 

 

A video posted by @Feeza Monjeng Petrova (@monjeng) on

 

Ed Sheeran has proven once and for all you don't need five good looking guys to put on a show, all you need is a mediocre-looking man and a guitar. Come back soon, Ed!

Photo Credit: Tan Chee Meng (Facebook)

Written by Nur' Atiqah Najib

The train ride to the concert venue was a juggle between downloading the quintets' latest album, Four, and struggling to distinguish the similar openings of each song so the concert wouldn't sound like one track put on loop. That, as well as not looking like a lost sheep in the expected sea of prepubescent girls, each probably having memorised every song by heart. Exiting the train station, I was greeted by a fan base whom 90% - I suspect - were younger than myself, some even accompanied with parents. Ten points for effort for you Sir/Ma’am, I thought to myself, each time a parent flashes me a dispirited smile. The snaking lines outside the several entrances, most would say attest to the popularity of the group, for which I was served with 25 minutes of waiting time before I was whisked, or rather, pushed into the stadium.

Up and coming local DJ, Lincey delivered for the opening act, serving a mash up of current chart toppers including songs from Styles’ ex beau, Taylor Swift. Following which, an assortment of music videos and misplaced Korean advertisements took over. Local YouTube sensation, Hirzi Zulkiflie, did not miss out on putting a show while waiting, swaying his hips to the tunes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga – a performance that the audiences lapped up. For close to 45 minutes (after the purported start time, mind you) hits from the likes of 5SOS and LMFAO blared, to what I assume, to be hyping up the crowd or in my head, giving young teenagers a taste of an expurgated version of the recently cancelled FMFA. However, as each song faded out, the screams got louder.

After a long time coming, the lights dimmed and the hysteria rocketed to a whole new level (and decibels) I’d never imagined possible. To the ascending introduction of Clouds, a sea of iPhones, tabs and Go Pros surfaced, taping Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne as they took to the stage. Even with considerable height, it was pretty darn hard to take a good look at the lads when you have tiny screens covering your view in every direction. Thankfully, the giant LED screens helped me to avoid the pain of craning my neck and being ambushed in the face with flaying hands and gadgets.

While I have attended concerts and performances that saw more audiences than today, I certainly underestimated what the pain of 30,000 screaming teenagers and pre-pubescent could inflict on your aural senses. I’m surprised that none of the members are partially short on hearing after their countless of shows, meanwhile my ears are still ringing. While the sound system at the newly opened Singapore National Stadium fared well, reverberating and powerful, at times it still drowned out in the cries of the ‘Directioners’. With that being said, the audio engineers have to be careful, as the booming also tended to override the vocals at focal points. Although that obviously didn’t seem to bother the sea of pumping estrogen, who were either screaming or singing along inaudibly. The constant and ever increasing flow of high-pitched screams did not go away from the moment the lads reared their chiseled faces all the way to the last note in the groups’ well-loved “Best Song Ever” with which they wrapped up the night.

The reason I probably traded my free Wednesday night to be sandwiched between sweaty girls half my age, was to answer the curious question of: “Can One Direction sing live?” With the presence of technologies like auto-tune, you can’t blame me for doubting the vocal abilities of musicians in recent years. However, with the 4 and a half years they’ve spent in the industry, One Direction, had certainly time to spare, to polish themselves to be a well-oiled performance machine, singing with as much verve and passion, switching lines between one another effortlessly (risking coming off as overly rehearsed though). A special mention, however, is in order for Horan, who not only caught my eye with his boyish looks, but had clearly developed as a guitarist from his early days in X Factor.

While they demonstrated their vocal capabilities credibly, the appeal of One Direction laid in the harmonious juxtaposition of their personalities (and good looks, duh). With their eclectic mix of haircuts, accents and choice of tattoos, the British-Irish group were undeniably charismatic, mastering the ABCs of providing fan service and ensuring that their fans felt appreciated. Cue: Ear-piercing, migraine-inducing screams. Conversing affably between songs, they were generous with their thanks and compliments for fans, or army, for their fervent and undying (don’t forget hormone-filled) support throughout their musical journey. Not forgetting to mention how “beautiful” of a city Singapore was and how much they loved their fans just as much.

While I may not have left the venue a convert, I am definitely excited to see the direction (lol) that the group is taking with regards to their creative choices. The synth-heavy smash hit single, Steal My Girl, in their latest album, amongst other tracks proves for one that One Direction may just intend to ditch its previous sugary-pop boy band image.

All photos by Anisa Abdul Latiff for Spin or Bin Music

lindsey stirling concert review singapore

Lindsey Stirling’s Shatter Me concert got off to a rough start – she had forgotten to put on her inner ears. But that didn’t stop her from conquering the MasterCard Theatres stage at Marina Bay Sands with openers, Beyond The Veil and Mirror House. This scenario bore an uncanny parallel to the 28-year-old violinist’s early career, which was fraught with challenge upon challenge, from the 15-minute violin lessons to the live TV rejections on America’s Got Talent. “It’s ironic that the very reason that I was told I would never succeed is the exact same reason that I have,” she expressed.

lindsey stirling concert review singapore

Now, before an audience of 1,500 in the city-state on the other side of the globe from her home country, she’s prancing, dancing and making merry to crowd-pleasing originals such as Round Table Revival and Shadows. With only a total of three performers on stage – Lindsey, drummer Drew Steen, and keyboardist Jason Gaviati – it ran a risk of appearing too bare. Thanks to the zestful, technicolour lighting effects, the screen that played music videos, and Lindsey’s high-energy moves, it didn’t.

lindsey stirling concert review singapore

Petite, pretty and perky, she kept up with the EDM-heavy numbers, romping from one end of the stage to another, making high kicks, and even bending over backwards literally (boy, does she have sturdy legs) – all without missing a beat or a note. And to think she has to juggle that with maintaining a proper posture for the violin and pulling off intricate runs and solos! To catch her breath, she slows it down halfway with an acoustic bit of Transcendence.

lindsey stirling concert review singapore

Love was in the air that night, not only from fan to celebrity, but also from fan to fan – more specifically, two fans who’ve known each other for 1,000 days. Right in the middle of the concert, during the acoustic set, Lindsey called on an audience member. “Are you here with a special someone?” Lindsey inquired. “Yes,” replied the lady, saying with much amusement that he’s in the loo at the moment. But of course, he was never more than a room away from her. He was, in fact, back stage with a bouquet in hand and a ring in his pocket. Yes, it was a proposal, of the most romantic proportions, at a Lindsey Stirling concert. And what could be a more befitting follow-up song than John Legend’s All of Me, done stripped down?

lindsey stirling concert review singapore

Despite it being a largely instrumental concert, Lindsey did get up to the microphone more than once to sing a few lines – our favourite was Stars Align – and it immediately apparent that she had the vocal chops to up the ante on her next album. Saving the best for last, she ended the awfully fleeting 90-minute set with a series of top-drawer hits – Master of Tides, Crystallize, and the latest and best of all, Shatter Me. Lindsey may not be your typical music megastar, but there’s no question that no one else can pull off what she did that night.

Photo credit: UnUsUaL Entertainment

Concert Review: The Gathering

By Nikita Feb 15, 2015

Battling the intensity of the sweltering heat on Valentine’s Day, true blue concert revelers were present at “The Gathering” from as early as 12pm to secure a vantage point. Held at Fort Canning Green on the 14th of February 2015, this was the absolute way to spend a Saturday especially if you missed the Laneway Festival! Beach mats were strewn over the grass patch as concert goers made themselves at home while sipping on their ice cold beer.

A total of 8 music acts performed at the inaugural event including local acts, Charlie Lim and Pleasantry as well as international bands  Belle and Sebastian, Caribou, Temples, Tune-Yards, Real Estate and How To Dress Well.

This is what you have missed at the festival!

Best Act Of The Night - Charlie Lim & The Mothership

Don’t you find that local bands are severely under rated as compared to international bands? How many times have people cited that local bands have poor stage presence?

Well, Charlie Lim & The Mothership absolutely proved us wrong.

Commencing strongly with a jazz pop feel, Pedestal had the crowd swaying to its ebullient love ballad. Melting the hearts of many with his smooth inclination towards the upper register, fans were hypnotised by his velvety vocals. Additionally, a sense of penetrating dynamics was felt from the gritty guitar grooves, pulsating drums and booming bass-lines during the instrumental fills.

HANDS DOWN CHARLIE LIM WAS THE BEST ACT OF THE NIGHT!

Best Stage Presence - Tune-Yards

Decked in psychedelic apparels, lead vocalist Merrill Garbus wafted the crowd away with her semi rap and inimitable vocals as fans echoed bloops and zagging keys.

She is indeed the Real Thing as her lyrics suggests. She has this African tribe vibe which she incorporates into her singing together with her bold display of self-confidence and strength of personality.

The 36-year-old occasionally teased the audience with frequent pauses in between songs - vaulting while playing the drums and prancing around with her back up vocalist. “I guess I have to play more shows to swim at Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool as I don’t have the money now”, she knew how to interact with her fans and her set felt so ever short.
 

Best Band Who Had Chemistry With The Crowd - Belle and Sebastian

Have you imagined yourself sharing the same stage with Belle and Sebastian? Yes, that happened to a mob of concert goers when Stuart beckoned them to join the band on stage. Nostalgia filled the air as supporters cooed to their favourite tunes My Wandering Days Are Over and I'm A Cuckoo, the perfect band to end the night with an oldies aura under the blanketed sky.
 

Best Band With Stupendous Dynamics - How To Dress Well

Electronic Dance Music quad How To Dress Well kicked off their set with an expressive war cry song, A Power. With the aid of cans of Tiger Beer, Tom Krell was high and immersed in the music with extreme gusto.

I love the interchanging mics which he used for his normal and echoing voice which enhanced the overall appeal of the song. There is so much soul in his voice that it lingered in our heads before they slowly dissolved.

 

Best Band That Got The Crowd Grooving - Caribou

Decked in all white and looking dapper, Caribou wasted no time as they dropped the beats down low for music lovers to sashay their hips to the thumping synthesised EDM tunes.

Maximum pulses rattled by enormous bass and lurid synths accompanied with shafts of lights rays which filled the venue. Everyone was bouncing away and left their worries aside to Can’t Do Without You.

Who needs to go to a club when you have Caribou performing at an outdoor venue at 10pm?! Everyone was in a trance as the music was so satisfactory!

*****

Thank you The Gathering for arranging this event. There is no better way to celebrate such a special occasion with a spectrum of renowned international and local bands! 

Photo Credits: The Gathering 

Usually associated with the hormone-ridden, probably phallus-preoccupied melodrama of pubescent juveniles, pop punk has been a genre that has (in recent times) been regarded with much derision if it caused enough ruckus to even be acknowledged by the stultifying prescriptivism of cooler-than-thou modern music critics.  But what with Paramore – an act born and bred on the Warped Tour –   recently gaining entry into the hallowed halls of Grammy-level recognition, you would think that pop punk was in the process of undergoing a mainstream revival of sorts. The truth is, pop punk never really died – people just stopped paying attention.

That’s pretty much what New Found Glory has been trying to postulate for the later part of their 18 years in their role as the scene’s staunch big brothers, advocating and nurturing like-minded individuals, fame and fortune be damned.  MTV airplay or lack thereof, the Coral Springs quartet has so far stood the test of time, pushing on in the face of controversy for all the right reasons. It’s a wonder then, that after nearly seven years since their stint on a heterogeneous (and currently defunct) Singfest, NFG only recently staged their first “proper punk rock show” here.

A resurrection of sorts was also in order for local outfit Aspectrum who in spite of their pursuit of further academia, managed to come together for one last time. Roping in founding member Shaun Sloane, the four-piece’s set was characterised by the raucous outbursts of their tight-knit unit of appreciators in what must’ve been a terribly bittersweet albeit triumphant experience.  It’s a real shame too – we were just getting used to the growth of Tejo D’Cruz’s majestic mane.

Ludicrously greeted by The Lion King’s Circle of Life (aka AH ZABENYA), Sydney-based openers Cambridge were determined to be the ostentatious Rafiki by ushering in a frenetically paced intermission. Transitioning seamlessly into DJ Snake and Lil Jon's booming club banger Turn Down For What, melodic anthems like Black Dress saw vocalist Brad Smith manically pacing the stage, unabashedly expelling, "You're not the one, but I've got a feeling that you want (want, want, want) it!"

Irrefutably the most invigorating segment of the quintet's performance, their crushing Taylor Swift cover was a standout that saw many "(slam) dancing like they were 22." Such an unadulterated zest for the Style singer was seconded only by (NFG bassist) Ian Grushka's subtle, sparkly "13" plastered on his bedazzled instrument of choice. And then there’s that custom pick-guard displaying his mug with Swift herself. But I digress.

New Found Glory themselves divulges a flair for the dramatic, with a pseudo-grandiose entrance of Judy Garland's Battle Hymn of the Republic (not to be confused with the Old Trafford chant Glory, Glory) – a recognisable play on words whose Biblical/patriotic underpinnings complements the ambitiously altruistic pathos of Selfless. This sense of blind faith borders on naïveté but maybe it's the band's inherent, adolescent-like idealism supplemented by the mandatory angst of Don't Let Her Pull You Down or Truth of My Youth that still resonates amongst the evenly split demographic of current teenagers and new, reluctant adults.

Much like Aspectrum’s ringing war cry of “I wanna dream 24/7,” NFG reiterates that they started out with a sole ambition in mind – to escape the normalcy of their Floridian suburb and go on tour. As lead guitarist Chad Gilbert earnestly avows, “We’re gonna be here forever!” it seems like the dream hasn’t really changed and it’s going to remain that way for an indefinite period of time. With the furious help of ex-Set Your Goals drummer Mike Ambrose, frontman Jordan Pundik coaches the crowd in the fist-thrusting, gang vocalising routine of The Worst Person – a beefy track that appears to take aim at their fallen guitarist Steve Klein. On the other end of the spectrum, a sickly sweet rendition of Sixpence None the Richer’s Kiss Me, the disputed power ballad, It’s Not Your Fault and the quirky “do”s of Hold My Hand populate the 21 song strong setlist without a hint of irony.  

Despite their median age of 35 and the ever-looming responsibilities as either a paternal figure or a fiancé, New Found Glory’s continued embrace of perpetual teenhood (wondering aloud the about the hazards of having monster-sized domestic cats, attributing drummer Cyrus Bolooki’s absence to an inability to utilise contraceptives) is in itself punk rock. The reward for doggedly chasing the thrill of performing their art is that they get to be NFG, posi-jumping, baggy bermudas and all. It is a privilege they clearly cherish and as long as they can belt out a mean tune, pop punk will always have its loyal and doting fathers to count on.

Setlist:

1. Selfless
2. Understatement
3. Don’t Let Her Pull You Down
4. Resurrection
5. Hit or Miss
6. Something I Call Personality
7. Hold My Hand
8. Anthem for the Unwanted
9. The Worst Person
10. Truth of My Youth
11. Listen to Your Friends
12. It’s Not Your Fault
13. Ready and Willing
14. Failure’s Not Flattering
15. Kiss Me
16. Dressed to Kill
17. Intro
18. My Friends Over You

Encore:
19. One More Round
20. Truck Stop Blues
21. All Downhill from Here

Photo credit: Impact Live/ Pennylane Events