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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.
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:
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.
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.
Yasmin the Light
Catastrophe and the Cure
Logic of a Dream
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
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.
1. Pretty Little Distance
2. Cheap Shots & Setbacks
3. Hey Rachel
5. Speak Soft
6. No Way Out
9. Can't Save Myself
10. Still Remembering
11. My Oceans Were Lakes
12. Curtains Close
15. The Coast Is Where Home Is
1. Patchwork Love
3. Dial Tones
Don't worry if you missed out though, here's As It Is' new music video for their single Hey Rachel!
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.
Cigarettes In The Theatre
Do You Want It All?
Changing of the Seasons
Come Back Home
Are We Ready?
Je Viens De La
I Can Talk
Eat That Up, It’s Good For You
What You Know
Photo Credit: Secret Sounds Asia, Dominic Phua, @iamkennethlee via twitter, @leenosaurus, @elynazulkifli, & @qisfis via instagram