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Saturday, May 26, 2007

POP CULTURE ALIVE AND KICKING IN SINGAPORE

Literally… but more of that a bit later.
By now, you may or may not be bored with my reflections on the New York trip last month (too bad…) but apart from it being an inspiring experience, I got to meet wonderful musicians who also happen to be cool folks as well.
…but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
Back in December last year, Encik Aidil out of Couple (www.myspace.com/couple) invited Popland to play in KL and there I met the Pinholes (http://www.thepinholes.com/) and the go-go rock wiz that is Famie. During a break, he played this wonderful song, which he informed me was Great Spy Experiment. (www.myspace.com/thegreatspyexperiment). I was intrigued – what an enthralling sound – shoegazing, yes but with a hard rock edge. I liked it immediately.
However, being the lazy sod that I am, I didn’t follow up with GSE until the Singapore Day event when Ric mentioned that GSE would be invited. Then, it clicked – YES!
So, came the preview show, and when GSE went on I was exhilarated. Exciting music. And I was chuffed to be on the same stage as this impressive band but more than that got to know them a little as well – Saiful, Song, Fandy, Khai and of course, Mag – all kind souls. Not to mention, the ever-cheerful Mike See, GSE’s PR manager.
So … with a renewed vigor about all things musical, I jumped at the chance to see GSE at Home Club last night.
Reached there at about 9.45 and was warmly greeted by Haffiz, the theatrical frontman of the Pinholes, then Saiful and Song as Malaysian band Bittersweet (www.myspace.com/bittersweet) performed on stage. Boasting a 80s Britpop influence, one particular tune – A Perfect Match – caught the ear. It’s a cool track. I must get hold of their album for review…
Then Famie came along and invited me to the Pinholes gig at the Art House today – may just check it out. After Bittersweet, came 15 minutes of inconsequential rap before another Malaysian band, Laila’s Lounge (www.myspace.com/lailaslounge) took to the stage and proceeded to demonstrate their early Verve-like shoegazing brilliance. Whilst the rest of the band basically gazed at their erm shoes (!) the singer was rather interesting. He looked like Hossan Leong, had Noel Gallagher’s eyebrows, sang like Ashcroft and provided some operatic touches during the instrumental breaks, which I thought was refreshing.
Then another rap act, before the big one. The crowd swelled and GSE then blew us all away with positive vibes and palpable fervor. Thrilling and when the band launched into Class A Love Affair, the audience went ape shit!
And… this particular guy in the front got so carried away somehow tried to body surf his way through the crowd, his legs were flaying about next to me and I really have to thank God that he almost kicked me full in the face but somehow his shoe merely brushed my cheek and I was unscathed. Crazy!!!
Inch, who was standing next to me, looked at me quizzically. Not sure what happened myself but there you go… God is good to me!
Before you know it, it was over but wow – what a gig! It was intoxicating to feed off the energy of the kids as the music swept them along. The power of pop indeed!
I dashed off at the end of the set and brisk walked over to Timbre for more sedate surroundings and caught the tail end of Timmy’s set.
Went up at about 1.30am to sing My One and Only and Never Liked the Beatles and the night (morning?) was complete. A good start to the weekend, methinks.
… oh yeah, there’s more…

Friday, May 25, 2007

GREY DAY

It’s Friday but sadness fills my heart as Ngak is mourning the passing of his father. His dad passed away on Wednesday (23rd May) night.

The missus and I went to the wake last night and by all accounts Ngak seemed to be coping with his loss.

Not much more I wanna say except to again ask for God’s mercy and grace to be upon Ngak’s dad. Please remember Ngak and his family in your prayers during this difficult time.

So obviously, Ngak will not be at Timbre tonight but I understand from HYR that Jack (from EIC) will be stepping in to help out.

I’ve been invited by Saiful to watch Great Spy Experiment at Home Club tonight (10.30 pm) and will probably go and after that head on down to Timbre to catch Timmy.

See you when I see you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

WAYNE THUNDER

The local music scene is in mourning after the sudden passing of Wayne "Thunder" Seah, best known as the drummer of the Suns.


I didn't know Wayne personally, in fact, I don't think I've even met him. The closest is probably when Popland and Boredpucks shared a page in 8 days almost 10 years ago. See below


Whenever someone so young is cut off in his prime, it is always a shock and will cause us to refelct on our own mortality. As a Christian, I believe that this life is a preparation for eternity and death is not the end but a new beginning.


I pray for God's grace and mercy on Wayne's soul and I pray that his family, the Suns and all his friends find comfort during this difficult time.


I regret that I never got to know Wayne but I am praying that one day I will still get the chance... God bless you, Wayne, may you rest in peace.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

POWER OF POP!

I must confess that I have been neglecting my reviews site somewhat. Too much work is the culprit and now with the songwriting coming back in full force, reviewing music is not much of a priority.

Still...

I have managed to post a new review tonight and you, kind reader, can check it out at www.powerofpop.com

I probably should consolidate all my writing at one convenient spot, shouldn't I?

Comments?

Monday, May 21, 2007

COMPASS DINNER 2007

I've been a member of COMPASS for quite a few years now but I've never been to one of these. But seeing as HYR was receiving an award (Top local Chinese pop song) and that Ngak would be performing, I thought last night would be a great time to turn up finally.

The missus and I arrived at around 6.15pm, registered and were assigned a table waaay to the back. Said hi to Yu Xuan (who sang backing vocals at SG day) and Ngak came along, poor guy, still under the weather but having to perform HYR's winning song. The man's a real trouper!

Then in a bizarre moment, I introduced the missus to Jia Hui and Xiaohan (HYR's partner in FM) and she burst out with "Wah! So young!" Now what is that supposed to mean? Is it a compliment to the missus or an insult to poor ol' me? What did I ever do to you, Xiaohan? The missus was pleased and asked me if I had put Xiaohan up to it? Mmmm?

Anyway... also met Rani and Colin... and settled down to the event and to the Chinese dinner...

Overall, the event was probably too long but the performances were interesting - from Heritage to Corrinne May to HYR/Ngak - there were definite highlights to remember. Particular interest was an award given to veteran Singaporean rock band Heritage - whom I'd first seen as a teenager at the old National Theatre in 1979 and Atwell Jansen talking about the band being "underground rock". He was absolutely right of course as rock music was labelled as "yellow culture" and all but driven underground by the authorities in the 70s. A mistake acknowledged by our esteemed MM stemming from a failure to undertand or grasp pop culture. So is the recognition of Heritage by COMPASS a changing of attitudes. Could be. I hope so. Remains to be seen...

On a lighter note, the missus had spotted Jay Lim (from Singapore Idol fame) at the dinner and had me take a photo of him and her - not my night at all! Thanks, Xiaohan!

Also met old law school friend (who is pretty much a big shot in the CISAC) and I mentioned my current venture in Chinese music and he promptly ran off to get me Billy Koh's contact. A good contact to explore further ...

Anyways, after all that, the missus and the "cradle-snatcher" still had stomach for Ice-cream prata and 'Bomb' at Prata House at Upper Thomson...

and... oh yeah... saw Kewei there as well... guess we must really work together eh?