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Taylor Swift - Out of the Woods

 

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Album Review: Tokio Hotel - Kings of Suburbia
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Album Review: The Madden Brothers - Greetings From California
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Album Review: Rahul Advani - Night Stories
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One of the most respected names in modern pop culture, Mariah Carey, finally made her way back to Kuala Lumpur for her second concert – The Elusive Chanteuse Show (her first was back in February 2004). I am pretty sure I am not alone in having an OMG-I-CAN’T-BELIEVE-I-JUST-SAW-MARIAH-IN-THE-FLESH moment. 

Looking pretty and fresh, Carey appeared on stage during Wednesday’s concert at Stadium Merdeka in a black buttoned-up jacket outfit to a strong crowd of 12,000 fans in plastic raincoats. Suddenly, being drenched under the relentless pouring rain wasn’t such a big deal after all. The pop-diva smiled and waved to the crowd as she opened the show with Fantasy, followed by Touch My Body.

There were a couple of random/spontaneous interludes including one where she was making up lyrics “It’s raining, it’s pouring, what are you going to do when lightning strikes? Just hold on tight, Kuala Lumpur” before encouraging us to shake, shake, Shake It Off. I was slightly let down that Through The Rain wasn’t included in her set list. It would have fitted nicely in corresponding with the weather.

Fans who attended her Charmbracelet World Tour a decade ago may remember that Carey only stuck to her bright pink spaghetti-strapped top and tight-fitting blue jeans throughout the concert as a result of the strict dress code regulations. Thankfully, history did not repeat itself. This time, she had several costume changes including a glamorous black gown with a plunging neckline and snakeskin-print trench coat.

One of the more notable outfits was when Carey sashayed unto the stage again in a one shoulder long Grecian pink dress to perform one of my favourite Mariah Carey covers, I’ll Be There, (by The Jackson 5) with backup singer and long-time friend, Trey Lorenz. Their duet was first featured in Mariah's 1992 MTV Unplugged album. 

The most memorable moment of the night for this writer came when she sang her gospel-inspired song Fly Like A Bird while seated on top of a large piano. Mama Carey not only took us to church, she carey-ed us up and beyond to the heavens. That's right,the best-selling female artiste proved that she still has it despite hitting some sour notes recently in Japan.

Frankly speaking, Carey’s is no longer up to par compared to her prime years. But albeit having to sing one octave lower (particularly on her classic songs such as My All, Hero and aforementioned cover, I’ll Be There), the 44-year-old singer hardly faltered whenever she did her signature whistle register throughout the night.

Another personal favourite moment was when she belted out her much-loved ballad Hero and was accompanied by a black and white video footage paying tribute to all the inspiring heroes who have made their mark on the world. From Gandhi, to Princess Diana, Oprah, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Teresa, this performance was one of the most poignant parts of the evening.    

Yeah, there may have been a few glitches here and there. The long wait, thunder and lightning, fire (the stage had a little mishap), technical issues, and the exasperating bad weather… All that being said, it was a real privilege to witness the legendary Mariah Carey singing live and gracing us with her incredible voice.  

Carey ended The Elusive Chanteuse Show with her signature mega hit We Belong Together and returned for an encore for crowd favourite Always Be My Baby and Butterfly (Reprise). Carey’s musical style may have changed over the years but to echo one of her fans, “she was, she is, and she always will be…”

Mariah Carey’s The Elusive Chanteuse Show: Tour Live in Malaysia 2014 Set List:

1. Fantasy
2. Touch My Body
3. Shake It Off
4. Emotions
5. Cry
6. Fly Like a Bird
7. My All
8. Heartbreaker
9. #Beautiful (with Trey Lorenz)
10. I'm That Chick
11. Honey
12. I'll Be There (The Jackson 5 cover) (with Trey Lorenz)
13. Thirsty
14. Meteorite
15. Hero
16. Supernatural
17. We Belong Together

Encore:
Always Be My Baby
Butterfly Reprise

Favourite vocal performance: Fly Like A Bird, I’ll Be There

Favourite Visual Footage: Hero

Shout outs during the show: L.A. Reid (I’m That Chick), Monroe & Moroccan Cannon (Supernatural)

****

The concert was organised by IME Productions and supported by Malaysia Major Events, an agency under the Tourism and Culture Ministry.

Photo credits: IME Productions

The F1 race has come to an end, and Lewis Hamilton has won for the 7th time this season and is the new leader of the Formula One World Championship. Thousands of fans are streaming into the Padang to catch diva Jennifer Lopez perform for the first time on our sunny island since 2012.

Jenny was scheduled for the main stage at 10:30pm and didn’t show any diva-esque behavior, surprisingly turning up on time. Everyone was sweaty and irritated by the haze (the PSI was 129 at one point of the concert) but nevertheless, the turnout was huge, attracting a crowd of over 60,000.

She kicked off her 90 minutes set with First Love and worked the crowd with her flashy set and amazing dancers. Who would have thought she would remember her last trip here vividly, even describing the weather when she was last here.

She moved on to familiar songs Let’s Get Loud, Love Don’t Cost A Thing, proving that her voice has barely changed even after all these years in the music industry.

Newer songs off her 8th studio album A.K.A. were a little foreign to the audience, but that didn’t stop them from jumping along and grooving to catchy singles I Luh Ya Papi, and of course her current single, Booty.



 

Mandatory pics of da Booty here.



There were uncountable costume changes throughout her set, taking place during the flashy interludes which kept the crowd wanting more. She even premiered the live version of her new ballad Never Satisfied here in Singapore!

In a rare personal moment with the audience, she took selfies with a few lucky members of the crowd and even personally reached out to receive a bouquet of flowers from lovely fan @SarahJLovers all the way from Indonesia!

Oh and she ended the set with not one but THREE encores! Just when we thought she has ended her set with Dance Again, she came out to On The Floor & Jenny From The Block. People were starting to leave when she came out yet again to perform another track to end the amazing show!



It was evident that the production of the show was definitely top notch, from the explosions of light, colour, pyrotechnics, set pieces and choreography. Oh and Jennifer’s dancing is certainly one of the highlights of the entire concert, outshining her backup dancers (p.s. some of her backup dancers have worked on Justin Bieber's Believe tour!)



JLo has defied the laws of aging by proving she can certainly work that Booty even at the age of 45. She can certainly bust out better moves than in her prime, all the while making no attempt to lip-sync. What a true performer and entertainer.

Overall, the show was great fun, everything you expect from one of the most influential entertainers in the world. She may not be the best vocalist of all time, but her dancing definitely made up for it.

Till then, Jenny!

Photo Credit: All photos by Holmen for Spin or Bin Music

We made it to Singapore, well, kind of. Apologies in advance for my static show tonight guys, you'll miss out on my questionable shapes tonight.”

Semantically, the above caption by You Me At Six frontman Josh Franceschi could have spelled disaster mere hours before the Weybridge rockers’ maiden concert here. Seated snugly in a wheelchair with a cheery thumbs-up in the air, Franceschi however, was all smiles in his cheeky Instagram post. Sprained ankle or not, the singer appeared to remain properly chuffed just managing to finally drop anchor in Singapore – a sentiment mirrored by his bandmates and fans alike which would later translate quite majestically that very same evening.

*SCAPE The Ground Theatre was a divergence from the humongous festivals or upcoming arena tours YMAS were steadily getting accustomed to. Yet adorned with the all-pervading Roman “VI”, reality finally sunk in - that the time was nigh and that the lads were actually going to materialise right before us at last. Calling out the miscreants who skived off school to be present, The Caulfield Cult’s wry acknowledgement (in true Holden fashion) of their subordinate status did not mar their efforts in putting up a crushing set. Alongside professing their adoration for male genitalia, Nick Kumar and gang visibly wrung themselves out, complete with an apologetic comeback that hastened the already bubbling anticipation.

Typical Arsenal lad, a few good performances and then gets injured for the rest of the season,” reads a tweet from an astute observer. With an ambulance readily standing by, the central placement of a pedestal only accentuated Franceschi’s plight, drawing a series of compassionate “Aw!”s from the audience. Like the customised jersey of his beloved club Franceschi would still don, the vocalist did not shy away from such realities but instead admirably embraced them as evidenced by the fact there was a show to begin with, notwithstanding the unfortunate circumstances. Or as he called it, “F***ed [himself], and not in a good way.”

Hobbling onto stage, Franceschi’s woes were for naught as the crashing riffs of Too Young To Feel This Old drowned any and all doubts about the direction the night was heading. The Limp, as the viral phenomenon shall henceforth be christened, worked out to the band’s advantage – spawning spoofs of A Day To Remember, Fall Out Boy and All Time Low in ranging states of disability much to general mirth and spurts of Dear Maria, Count Me In.

Tapping into his inner Jeremy McKinnon, Franceschi’s flair for gruff anthems like Room To Breathe or even the highly-revered, blood-curdling growl during Bite My Tongue were particularly stand-out renditions that might have even broken out several attempts at a circle pit. Bounded by the consistently buoyant leaps by the pairing of bassist Matt Barnes and guitarist Max Helyer, fan favourites including the chant-worthy Stay With Me and Little Death were bellowed back seamlessly, much to the band’s obvious glee.  

Even sitting down, Franceschi’s command of the crowd was masterly in his determination to ensure the audience got their money’s worth. Unflinchingly, he instructed those present to strip, squat and shove, actions adhered to without much qualms. Sinners Never Sleep’s Reckless saw a venue temporarily fanned by the now-traditional swinging of various items of clothing whereas a slew of courageous souls towered above the rest, swaying to the intricate fretwork of Cold Night.

Thanks to the itch Franceschi possessed to muck about, Chris Miller’s searing guitar solos weren’t left unmolested by the ever-hopping frontman who simultaneously mimed sexual intercourse from behind, causing a right old ruckus. Keeping to Underdog's ethos of Down But Not Out and more recently, Cavalier Youth, it should not be understated how YMAS seemed to enjoy themselves as much as the crowd did. The quintet might not have played a single track off the 6 "rare" ones we so wanted them to perform, but in the irresistible spirit of such a vitalising show despite the odds stacked against them, we can't really complain now can we?

Setlist:

1. Too Young To Feel This Old
2. Underdog
3. Stay With Me
4. Win Some, Lose Some
5. Kiss and Tell
6. The Swarm
7. Little Death
8. Forgive and Forget
9. Room To Breathe
10. Cold Night
11. Reckless

Encore:
12. Bite My Tongue
13. Fresh Start Fever
14. Lived a Lie

All photos by Kathleen Cheong for Spin or Bin Music.

MTV World Stage Malaysia celebrated its sixth anniversary last Saturday on Aug 16, 2014 at the Surf Beach, Sunway Lagoon. As with World Stage tradition, this year’s performance was a mixture of R&B, Hip-Hop, Soulful Pop and K-pop from B.o.B, Yuna, Boys Republic and Thaitanium. Minus Jennifer Hudson.

I was actually looking forward to watch this particular diva sing live ever since she won her Golden Globe and Oscar for her ground shattering performance of And I Am Telling You. Were you one of those people stomping their feet in protest and beating their chest a la King-Kong style? No? I guess it was only just this idiotic writer then.

But as they say in show biz, the show must go on. Kicking things off that evening was Thai-American hip hop music group, Thaitanium. KHAN, WAY, DAY, BIG CALO and Tony B did a commendable job of opening the show on a high note. They did manage to score some extra points when they dedicated their latest single,Wake Up (Bangkok City), to the audience by tweaking it to Wake Up (KL City).

The night’s festivities continued when five cute Korean boys in black and white apparel emerge on stage with a surge of fire power; sending their Royal Family fan-base into a frenzy withYou Are Special. The audience was also treated to a remix version of their hit, Video Game. After a short video interlude and clothing change, One Junn, Sun Woo, Sungjun, Minsu and Suwoong returned to stage to serenade a luck fan girl during Dress Up before ending their show with Party Rock.

Clad in a white and gold ensemble, our very own home girl, Yuna, was welcomed with open arms and proclamations of “I love you!”. From the moment she transition into her first rendition of Falling, everyone present there were mesmerized by her silk soulful tone and charming demeanour.    

Soft yet powerful, Yuna gave fans what they wanted – a balanced combination of English and Malay songs including Mountains, Lelaki, Dan Sebanarya, Lights And Camera, Terukir Di Bintang, and Rescue. Call me bias, but Yuna was easily my favourite performer of the night. In the midst of testosterone men (and boys), she was the rose among the thorns. Wrapping up her set with the up-tempo song, Come Back, this talented singer-songwriter stood out for being picture and pitch perfect!

Since this year’s MTV World Stage was opened by a Hip-Hop/ Rap group, it was only befitting that another rap artist close the show; and who better than the King of collaborations – B.o.B. The international rapper wasted no time by jumping into a 16-track medley including tracks like Don’t Let Me Fall and So Good.

Throughout the night, B.o.B could be seen exchanging high fives, snapping selfies with his fan’s mobile phones and crowd surfing – all these while spitting out verse after verse. He was in short, quite the performer. While rap and hip-hop may not be everyone’s cup of tea, those who dig it had the time of their lives. 

******

Recorded live for global telecast, the show premieres on-air Wednesday, 20 August at 6.30pm (WIB), 7.30pm (SG) and 8.30pm (MAL) and repeats on the same day at 10pm (WIB), 11pm (SG) and 12am (MAL). It premieres in the Philippines on Friday, 29 August at 10pm.

Photo credit: MTV Asia, Lucas Lau, Kristian Dowling & Aloysius Lim

It was hot, sweaty, smelly and exhausting but it was so worth the wait when those 4 familiar figures appeared out of the white smoke. The 1975 had arrived in our small country and they totally blew the Hard Rock Coliseum away. I can’t count how many times the stage smoked white and everyone was cheering thinking the boys were coming out. It was demoralizing to say the least. Even though an eternity seemed to pass during the wait, once they finally were up on stage, they gave everyone their energy back.

Everyone started jumping to the opening song The City and it did not stop there. The boys from Manchester made us dance with upbeat songs like Milk and She Way Out. They swayed us with the bone-shaking ballads Me and fallingforyou. And the moment every girl in the audience was waiting for, frontman Matty finally giving in to our country’s super hot weather and taking off his shirt.

They just could not stop screaming and that was one of the rare times we would be thankful for Singapore’s weather. The moment that really got me was during Head.Cars.Bending. I mean everyone was headbanging in total sync. It was amazingly connecting everyone together. Especially during the fan-favorite slow-beat Robbers everyone was shouting out the lyrics you look so cold! I really loved the songs where the saxophone player was introduced. It totally brought out a whole new dimension to the vibe in the Coliseum.

These boys really brought their A-game that night and despite their bad-boy attitude with the on-stage cigarettes and alcohol, they showed their surprising compassion when they asked everyone to move back to save the people in front who were like fucking dying in front here mate, to quote Matty.

Overall, The 1975 put on a fantastic show, appropriately ending off with the hits Chocolate and Sex. It was just absolutely amazing to see The 1975 live in front of us and we hope they come back soon. As they promised.

Check out our Facebook page for more pictures of The 1975 live in action!

Photo credits: Dominic Phua and Marcus Lin for Now/Live