Wednesday, August 08, 2007


This is my 100th post so perhaps it's fitting that it's a summary of Baybeats, the biggest indie rock festival of the year.
Different groups of people approached Baybeats 2007 differently.
For the diehard moshers, it was the perfect opportunity to gather friends together and mosh and bodysurf. For the indie rock fans, it was a chance to catch great bands, both fledging and established, in the live element. For the casual visitors to the Esplanade, it was a fascinating gawk at the alien world that is the Singapore indie scene.
For me personally, I considered Baybeats 2007 to be a buffet meal, where an assortment of sonic delights awaited. However, like most buffets, it's always about astute selection rather than wanton gluttony, in order to extract the maximum benefit, without suffering indigestion.
The obvious highlight to me was the Mercury Rev gig, which was eye-opening and inspiring and perfectly justified the organizers' decision to break from tradtion and present a ticketed performance from a renowned alternative band. The Rev provided a wonderful example of artistic and commercial success model that our own bands would do well to emulate...
Out of the ten new bands given the Baybeats showcase, I must say that I was impressed most by Allura, the Fire Fight and King Kong Jane - which of course reflected my own bias and prejudices towards music, that it is first about the songs and then about the performance.
Yes, I am sure the indie rock purists will point out that these bands have more mainstream appeal than some of the rest but from my perspective, it's where these bands will be, come August 2008 that will count in the long run... and that's where appeal does come in handy.
I also appreciated the acoustic performances put together at the Singapore Art Cafe especially Warren Chan, Reza Salleh, Love Song and City On Film - alas I missed Sunday's sets - and the warm atmosphere and sweet tunes that resonated that sunny afternoon has served to inspire certain future directions from yours truly. More of which in the weeks to come...
With my emphasis on Singaporean bands, I missed many many of the foreign bands' slots but did view the Blindside show with respect and awe. A good combination of song power and performance savvy - images of the high-kicking, jack-knifing vocalist will forever be burned in my memory and all that in the Singapore humidity!
So where does the Singapore music scene go from here - to the next gig, the next CD release, I suppose. We've just got to have a paradigm shift to what local bands can achieve. I mean, where we can get to the point where Singaporeans (and foreigners) don't question the wisdom of forking out hard earned money for the sake of a Singaporean band then we're moving in the right direction. The talent and potential is certainly there. The belief and the commitment, I'm not too sure. If unless we can build up a nurturing environment, rather than one that puts (and pulls) down, it'll be a bit of a lost cause. I'm not saying to soften the truth or lower the standards when it comes to evaluating our own music but giving it an even chance to grow and mature...
Most of all, those two days and four nights were fun also for the many many people who made it all worthwhile, so a shout-out to Josh, JBarks, Jon, Iain, Chris (the Fire Fight), John Chiong (WMUM), Razi (Rockstar Collective), Beni, Adam, Bonk, James (YaWA), Fahmie & Mojo (Pinholes), Joseph, Lumpy, Leonard Soosay, Warren, Reza, Pat, Jack, Aaron, Matt, Han Quan, Mark.
And of course, Inch, you rocked girl (as always)...
...and there's more...!!!

Oh, thanks to Blueprint Studios, you can get a glimpse of what the fuss was all about here.


Malz said...

Hi Kevin,

I love your blog. You really know where all the exciting gigs are taking place! I just had a question for you - I am looking for live music for a company event (high-end cocktail function). It has to be simple and classy so I was thinking of either a string quartet or jazz. Would you have any recommendations?

Kevin Mathews said...

Hey Malz,

Thanks for the kind comment. You may wanna check out Kewei. Her blog is at
She's a pretty good jazz singer.
Or maybe Rani Singham
You can mention my name...
Do let me know if it works out.

malz said...

Hi Kevin,

Thanks lots! I will check them both out and let the management decide. I will def keep you updated =) I just knew you were the right person to ask!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the faith kevin. i really enjoyed your introspective reviews of Baybeats too.


blueprint said...

hi kevin, thank you for mentioning about my website footage. your reviews are great heheh.
do subscribe to it if you got a youtube account.