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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

ALL I WANT IS MY CHEWING GUM!

Hope my kind readers will forgive me if I take off my objective reviewer’s cap for this post (about Deafcon 5) and put on my subjective performer’s one.
I arrived at DXO Club at about 11am on Saturday for my soundcheck. The sky was cloudy as I walked in. A band grungy rock band was soundchecking on the main stage and I felt a little lost. Finally found Skylar, thanks to Rachel, and she escorted me to the 2nd floor and showed me the patio where the acoustic sets would be taking place. And it was pouring! No soundcheck for me then…
Met Kamal, the acoustic stage manager and we chatted for a while. Nice boy, 19, and yet again young enough to be my son – we would get on well, as long as he called me “Kevin” – none of that “uncle” or “mister” nonsense…thank you very much.
I found it intriguing that kids (and to me they’re all kids) bothered to spend their time working within the local rock scene, as part of the Firebrands street team. Well done!
I spied that Mark and Aaron (from Allura) were downstairs and so I went to greet them. Matt, Inch and Han Quan came a little later and we had a good chat whilst waiting for Allura to soundcheck. A couple of bands went up before that – shoegaze, rap etc… different genres trading places on the stage – I like the eclecticism, keeps things interesting.
I finally met eXe, he was quite concerned about the downpour but I encouraged him to be positive and to declare that the rain would stop…
When it was time for Allura to soundcheck, I got the call for my own and so I did. Ran through a few songs quickly and a few of the other acoustic bands were milling about and they were kind enough to hand me some compliments. Thanks, guys, chuffed! Always feel like an alien in these events but the kids always make me feel at home. Guess the KIDS ARE ALRIGHT… hahaha!
With soundchecks done, we went for lunch and met Jess Chen, who would also be performing an acoustic set later. Thank God, the rain had actually lightened considerably…
By the time we returned to DXO, the gig had begun, with a fairly good attendance, taking the inclement weather into account.
We headed upstairs and caught For Your Cycle halfway through his set. He seemed nervous but delivered a couple of songs in the modern emo pop style rather well. Jess Chen was next and he came across a tad more confident. Tapping into a more commercial vein, Jess played some covers and originals, the latter, which he announced was currently being recorded for an album release in the coming months. One to look out for...
I went back to the main stage to catch Allura. Despite much cajoling, the crowd was not keen on coming to the stage front. Anyways, despite the dodgy sound and the unusual stage set up (all the players line up!), I thought Allura was in good form. Rather more relaxed than usual, the band looked like it was having fun. They even performed a new song (as yet untitled), which I could not really get into but I think will be a crowd pleaser with its call and response and the coordinated leaps and jumps. Closure is now my favorite Allura song and competes with Indus Gendi’s Then and Now for head space…
Since there was another two hours to my set, I decided to catch the action at the main stage from a comfortable vantage point at the 2nd floor.
Bhelliom deal in – what the band describes as – melodic death rock. The kids were totally into the music and the moshing was in earnest. Even though not really my cup of tea, I had to admire the intensity of the delivery and how vocalist Vivek is able to growl like that… I can appreciate heavy rock music but I need to hear tunes and lyrics to properly understand the songs.
Bad Obsession played a set of covers – the Stones, Motley Crue, Guns ‘N’ Roses – and they were dressed accordingly and certainly looked the part. And the kids moshed as well… slightly different kids I noticed from the ones at the front for Bhelliom. Interesting.
No need for me to get into my moshing diatribes again but suffice to say, I wonder what the parents of these moshing kids would think if they could see their sons and daughters in action. Good thing no parents were allowed in, eh?
Before you know it, the time for my set had arrived…
There were maybe about 20-30 people at the patio as I plugged in. I remarked something about it being more exciting downstairs and got an encouraging – “NO!”
Hee hee… cheap thrill!
So I went about playing my Singaporean songs – all written in the 90s – when these kids were like toddlers (!) and happy to say that most of them got pretty enthusiastic responses (thanks, Aries!).

Set list –

The High Cost of Living
The Offender
Orchard Road
I Love Singapore
Pasir Ris Sunrise
Nothing on the Radio
Gum

Glad to report also that when it was time to sing “All I want is my chewing gum,” the crowd got sufficiently behind it to keep this aging 'protest' singer satisfied…

That was that… brill vids from Blueprint Studios here, as usual...

… and there’s more …

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