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Despite being crowned as the worst P2P infringer in Asia Pacific last year, 2013 has treated Singapore really well with a pleasantly overwhelming number of stellar acts passing through our shores. Those guilty of downloading music off the World Wide Web shouldn’t be too hard on themselves – as long as they pay for their ticket because that’s what matters (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself).
From Laneway Festival’s Alt-J to Justin Bieber, we really have seen it all. With 2013 drawing to a satisfying close, we take a trip down memory lane and look back at (more than) 10 of our favourite moments in live music from this year.
10. Memphis May Fire
Aside from the initial hostility towards an unfortunate sound technician, Matty Mullins and co. managed to put up a pretty much infallible set that the blew the roof off an unassuming function hall. The Dallas-based band proved to us why in spite of their naysayers, they were the ringleaders of this year’s Warped Tour in the face of many a controversial dispute.
9. Demi Lovato
Temporarily shedding the image of a Disney star cum judge on a corporate reality show, Lovato played the part of a soulful rocker-chic well, pulling off heartfelt performances that mirrored her real life struggles. With a well-balanced set list of emotional highs and lows, Lovato’s vocal prowess was duly noted as she remained the role-model and personal hero to her fans.
8.(Tie between) A Rocket To The Moon & The Maine
Before Nick Santino & The Northern Wind, there was ARTTM. Some might’ve thought that it would be too late for the pop-rock outfit, but they made it just in time anyway. Breezing through a 17 song strong evening, it was said to be an incredibly bittersweet experience that left concert-goers breathless all the same.
Their transition from standard issue pop-rock to full blown rock ‘n’ roll is one of the more talked-about things about The Maine. Yet most fail to mention how good they are live as TAB bore witness to a loud and boisterous concert that was already seven years overdue. Not many can boast of surviving an entire song whilst down in the unforgiving pit yet John O’Callaghan’s resilience mirrored his band’s commendable journey of emerging from a major record label’s iron grasp.
7. All Time Low
The Baltimore boys’ previous stint in 2011 might have been overshadowed by the rather gloomy weather but with a brand new album armed with a refined sound, it was perfect timing for All Time Low to come bouncing back for seconds. In the words of lead singer Alex Gaskarth himself, it was “one of the best times (he’d) ever had playing a show” and appreciated the fact that the band could “be so far from home and still feel all that love.” At an ATL show, bra-tossing, dick-joke-making fun is always guaranteed – a trait that has somehow enabled them to be one of the biggest bands today.
6. Pierce The Veil
Witnessing a remarkable rise in popularity no doubt thanks to Collide With The Sky, PTV blew up in 2012, eventually landing on our shores at the modest SCAPE* Warehouse early this year. But no venue was too small for the group of Mexicans from San Diego as they spiced up the start of the year with their no holds barred antics which saw them through a globe-trotting tour. Giving us a taste of the tortilla with up to ten tracks including the world debut of I’m Low On Gas And You Need A Jacket, it felt like an utterly ravishing appetiser, one that should be promptly followed by a full feast of a main course.
5. The Killers
It took a whole decade for the legendary Las Vegas rock band to turn up for their Singapore debut yet Brandon Flowers managed to effortlessly lead his band in a memorable set that saw both nostalgic tunes like Mr. Brightside and more recent offerings like Battle Born’s Runaways. Playing to approximately 60, 000 fans at the gargantuan Padang amidst all the F1 hubbub, perhaps we should count our lucky stars for being able to catch them live seeing that the band has recent embarked on an indefinite hiatus.
4. Fall Out Boy
Irrefutably the Comeback Of The Year, pop punk heavyweights Fall Out Boy bounded back by making sure that Singapore was a stop in their Save Rock And Roll tour - a gesture that touched many (car crash) hearts. Determined to pick up where they left off and more, the beloved quartet triumphantly returned by lighting up Fort Canning Park in a show that went down as an energetic evening not to be missed.
3. Ellie Goulding
British Electronic sensation Ellie Goulding has been on the rise ever since Lights and by the time 2012 saw the successful release of Halycon Days, it came to no surprise that her first concert here was packed to the non-existent rafters of the Esplanade theatre. In spite of the awkward choice of venue, Goulding had no qualms headbanging and losing herself in the occasional sound of synthesizers with a few choice acoustic moments that flaunted her shining vocals that was simply “pure gold.”
2. Bring Me The Horizon
It was their ground-breaking aural developments in Sempiternal that initially got me hooked but once you’ve been to a BMTH show, you’re never really the same. Backed by the unstoppable force from the Far East that is Crossfaith, Oli Sykes and crew sailed us to the end of the world and back, sating (however temporarily) the teenage angst that has been following the group since their initiation in 2004. With nearly a decade worth of experience, Bring Me has risen high amongst their peers – a mandatory live act to be reckoned with.
Speaking of prolonged bottled up anticipation, the wait for Metallica might’ve went on for a torturous 20 years but as of last August, all hell broke loose at the 40,000 capacity Changi Exhibition Centre – the only existing venue “large enough for Metallica”. On a night that can only be described as sheer metal mayhem of vastly epic proportions, fans both young and old came together to experience the magic that is and always will be Metallica. A historical event for anybody with ears and an obvious champion as far as concerts this year are concerned.
It should be stressed however, that this list isn’t a definitive and is hardly an exhaustive one because really, amazing gigs have been aplenty this year. Acts like The Used, Circa Survive and fun. are definitely worth the mention after personally being held in awe with their respective talents. The debut of festivals like Shut Up & Listen! and Camp Symmetry is surely a sign of better things to come for local music aficionados as 2014 holds the promise of huge names like Taylor Swift and 30 Seconds To Mars.
Photo credit: Sammy Roenfeldt, Kris Gironella, Amos Wong, Alvin Ho, Aloysius Lim, Launch Entertainment, Torey Peter Munkowsky, Marcus Lin
i. is extremely talented but very authoritative
ii. knows what she/he wants and expresses their own style
iii. who exudes great style and personality with confidence
iv. whose character makes them stands out from the rest
Being a diva is all about being confident in your own skin and who you are as a person. Like when I’m driving my 17-year-old Kancil on the road (the car is almost an antique), and if bigger vehicles are bullying me, I honk back with every last fibre in my body!
Okay, that is actually a horrible example. My bad. I think these ladies on this playlist will explain it much better than me; through their songs. Here, they sing about braving through stormy weathers, seizing the moment and empowerment.
You’re probably thinking, oh crap, not another round of Applause, Roar, and Wrecking Ball. No, no, no. They aren't included here. You are sick of it, I’m sick of it, (I assume) even the singers themselves are sick of it. Hopefully you’ll dig into some of these tracks. So here is a look inside my must-have playlist. It’s fun, it’s honest, and it is on constant replay.
What better way than to kick off the playlist with Glee’s cover of Diva by Beyonce. Instead of doing a copycat ghetto version, the Glee kids breathe new life by putting a dance spin to it. Jessie J’s Hero is basically a fuck you to the haters and she has no problem thrusting her middle finger in their face. Very Do It Like A Dude. Me Like!
If you haven’t seen Ariana Grande’s Tattooed Heart performance at the recent American Music Awards, STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING and go watch that video. This mini Maraih Carey is gonna go far.
Since watching The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, I love We Remain by Christina Aguilera even more! When she sings the chorus “burn me with fire, drown me with rain”, I can imagine the scenes playing out in front of me so vividly.
Photo credit: Keep Calm-O-Matic
Can't believe for a second it's already the last month of the year, can you? Neither can I. Year-end examinations (ahem, A-Levels) are, like November, a thing of the past. And whether it applies to you or not, you've all probably felt that extra kilogram of weight lift off your shoulders at long last. In honour of this momentary period of freedom, imminent gifts (or not), and dare I say, lack of responsibilities, here sits the sacred digital mix tape aptly entitled, Thank Goodness It's December.
Groove along to the likes of Bruno Mars and Jessie J, and bop to the beat of Can't Hold Us by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. While you reminisce of those warm July afternoons where books turned into pillows, let the Black Eyed Peas take you away with Don't Lie. Revive that bassline junkie within with Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines. And don't worry, no one will see you flail about like a chimpanzee. Just kick off those sneakers and boogie like there's no tomorrow. While you're at it, don't forget to pump the volume up too.
Photo Credit: Zelazelo
Finally, it is my turn to post up a playlist! For the whole of last week, I had a really hard time deciding what theme I wanted to go with for my playlist. So I decided to ask a friend what kind of playlist she would listen to, and this was what she said: "Romantic love songs, which have a positive influence on me when I am sad, that will remind me that life is magical and full of hope."
Are you asking for a slap?
This was followed by a string of vulgarities, as I scold her for giving me such a reply. Trust me, she was totally asking for a slap when she said that. Lucky for her that we were only conversing on Facebook and not in real life. Like, seriously, what is that even supposed to mean?!
While I may have made the wrong decision of going to her for help, it was not like I had a better idea anyway. So I decided to give it a try and make a playlist following the description that she has given me! However, another problem was that whenever I feel sad for whatever the reason, I usually like listening to metal songs to make myself feel better. I get that not many do the same so here's my take at a more conventional playlist...
The first song on the list is That Green Gentleman, by none other than by my all-time favourite band in the world, Panic! At The Disco, which is my non-metal, go-to song whenever I feel like shit. Sometimes I just need a messenger from heaven (Brendon Urie) to let me know that "Things have changed for me / and that's okay" with his angelic voice. This is followed by The Killer's cover of Romeo And Juliet (originally by Dire Straits), one of my favourite love songs.
Other feel-good love songs that I included on this playlist are Always On My Mind by Phantom Planet and Good Times By NeverShoutNever, not forgetting Two Door Cinema Club's whimsical track, The World Is Watching. Of course, sometimes words just can't describe your feelings and that's where great instrumentals come in. Recently, I have been listening to a lot of movie soundtracks, one of which is the soundtrack of Little Miss Sunshine. Their opening instrumental, The Winner Is, never fails to give me dem feels.
To end off this playlist, I decided to choose a song that meets the description that my friend gave me. The first song that popped into my mind is Mumford and Son's Sigh No More: "Love - It will not betray you, dismay or enslave you / It will set you free / Be more like the man you were made to be". How beautiful.
So there you go - The Untitled Mix. I hope this playlist reminds you that life is magical and full of hope. If it doesn't, I tried my best but I'm sorry to have failed you.
Photo credit: Bonvallet on Deviantart
Don't you just hate some people who seem to have it all? I'm talking about those who have the looks and all the talent. It's just super unfair, especially for people like me who has neither.
Below are a few big-time movie actors who also turn out to be really talented singers too. I wish I could say I hate them for all their talent, but it's impossible for me to do so. If they were to hold a concert here in Singapore, I would totally get tickets to watch them.
1) Ryan Gosling
Some people may find Ryan Gosling overrated (YOU are overrated) but there is every reason for all the hype surrounding this gorgeous man. Just take a listen to his solo recording below, titled Put Me In The Car. "The women think I'm ugly..." pffft, yeah right. Ryan is also part of indie rock duo, Dead Man's Bones. You can listen to their self-titled album here. It's weird, almost creepy, but also kind of soothing, hmm.
Now, listen to Put Me In The Car. Once you are done listening to it, I dare you to look me in the eye and tell me you don't think Ryan Gosling is the perfect human specimen. I DARE YOU.
2) Scarlett Johansson
I first found out about Scarlett's singing abilities about two years back when I was crazy over the band, Steel Train. The band is fronted by FUN.'s current guitarist, Jack Antonoff, who apparently dated Scarlett when they were in college. I'm not gonna start on how someone who looks like this got someone who looks like this (there's hope for me afterall, guys!!!), but Scarlett later covered one of Steel Train's song, Bullet, in 2010. It's jazzy, it's whimsical and it's a very lovely take on the song.
3) Robert Downey Jr
If RDJ weren't an actor, I would imagine him as a country singer or maybe in a hard rock band or even perhaps a power metal one. I don't know what I was expecting to hear when I was searching for his songs, but I was definitely not expecting this. What a voice.
4) Anne Hathaway
We already know of her amazing vocals from the various movies that she has sung in, but it was especially for Les Miserables that Anne's singing shone in. We have all heard Anne's cover for I Dreamed A Dream from the movie, so hear her less well-known cover of Queen's Somebody To Love that she performed in Ella Enchanted.
5) Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of those multi-talented people that I just CANNOT stand. His cover of Nirvana below may not be his best performance (the chorus is really, really bad... so bad, it made me cringe) but I chose to embed the song here just cuz of the lyrics he is singing: "I'm so horny / that's okay / my will is good" Need I go on?