So I went down to the Fruit Records gig at Earshot, the Arts House and arrived at the following conclusions about the Singaporean indie scene -
1. Different genres have different supporters. The audience at this gig was composed of very different people from the alternative rock gigs e.g. the recent one at Home Club.
2. The three Singaporean bands that played before Ferns were unfortunately way off the mark especially Quasimodo and Backspace who came across as amateurish: out of tune guitars and vocals and unremarkable songs, I tried my best to stay awake. Yes, folks, that bad. Shamejoannshame were quite tight but I could not understand their music, which sounded like they were auditioning to provide music for TV soundtracks, background musak that lacked focus and direction. Back to the drawing boards, people!
3. Malaysian bands are ahead of their Singaporean counterparts. Thus far, the likes of Couple, Bittersweet and Ferns have displayed considerable professionalism, maturity and songwriting craft that put many Singaporean bands in the shade.
Sad but true. Ferns were polished and presented songs that were distinctive and well-written even if their overall sound owed a huge debt to Felt, Orange Juice, Josef K and of course, Belle and Sebastian. It was not easy to make out what vocalist Warren was singing but the melodies were sharp and the chord structures were charmingly inventive. Note - Earshot is not a great venue...
But I glad I went to the gig cos I met Ben Harrison whom I'd not seen for too long a time. Great to talk to someone with similar musical sensibilities. FINALLY! Thank the LORD! Seems his band etc has been spending more time in KL than in Singapore so obviously Ben shares my view.
Which is why I do not intend to be part of this indie scene - the way forward is the mainstream which at the moment is the Cheena music market and the local pub circuit. I want to make a difference... where it matters... so in the meantime I observe, comment and promote the worthy.
And ... tomorrow is another opportunity to assess three more local indie bands who will be opening for Anberlin and Copeland.
... see you there...?