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Saturday, July 14, 2007

TIMBRE @ ARTS HOUSE

Nearer to my office too!
See u there?

Friday, July 13, 2007

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?


Barely a week after Baybeats 2007, SINGfest kicks off at Fort Canning - splitting itself into a day for 80/90s music fans and the other for the kids. I must say that the promoters have done their homework. Pet Shop Boys, Cyndi Lauper and the Stranglers on one side and MxPx, the Academy Is and Avenged Sevenfold on the other. I guess the promoters have figured that the kids like it hard, fast and noisy...
But still, I believe it's a bit of a gamble, especially with tickets priced at a whopping $200 (early birds get $50 off, available now at Sistic) for a one day pass. So I guess if you're hoping to catch the Pet Shop Boys and MxPx (it's possible), then you're screwed!
The other quibble I have is that a music festival designed to celebrate Singapore's National Day only features ONE Singaporean band. The fact that it's the Great Spy Experiment mitigates this omission somewhat but surely, the promoters could have featured at least four local bands instead.
Just don't mention Sembawang festival...

POWERJAM 07

Thursday, July 12, 2007

WHAT'S NEW

Okay, it's done. The Allura piece for Power of Pop's coverage of Baybeats 2007 is available for viewing at the Power of Pop. Comments, please.
Also, out of the blue, I may just be performing at Home Club next Thursday... stay tuned for more details as they come in...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

GREAT SPY LIGHTS UP THE WATERFRONT

I looked at Joan and shouted "They're gonna be big!"
Alright, some context. It's midway through GSE's awesome set at Rampage the Durian - I believe Class "A" Love Affair was being delivered as a hundred or so kids were pogoing (a couple body-surfing, give or take) - and a sense of inevitability began to grip me. That conviction I felt the 1st time I watched GSE in action at the Singapore Day rehearsals at Dragonfly.
"They're gonna be big!"
No escaping destiny, I guess...
Late Night Request. The Great Decay. A Kind of Love. Flower Show Riots. Siti in the City.
The list goes on and on... the soundtrack of Singapore rock circa 2007.
I am begininng to write my 1st profile on the new bands breaking through at Baybeats 2007 and deep in my heart, I want so much for them to grow up and mature in a Singapore music scene that is thriving and of regional and international repute, sending our bands around the world.
Is the Great Spy Experiment where this Golden Age of Singapore rock begins?
Could be... I pray so...
Yet, it's all about attitude because the GSE is not just about great musicianship and great songs but about faith, humility and good old fashioned hard work. I can tell you that each one of them - Mag, Khai, Fandy, Song and Saiful have put much on the line to be where they are right now and deserve everything that's coming to them. I consider it a privilege to call them my friends.
On a special night on the Waterfront, the Pinholes played with their usual panache and incorporated a few new songs into the set and even covered Etc's Handphones on the Dancefloor with guest singer, Ben Harrison, and it was fab to see Ben in his element...
These are truly exciting times for the Singapore music scene and I have the feeling that this is only the beginning...
... and there's more...

BACK TO THE FUTURE

I may have mentioned before in these pages that the Singapore music scene, like most scenes worldwide, is fragmented into various genres and cliques. Yesterday, at the kind invitation of eXe (vocalist of Firebrands), I made my way to DXO Esplanade to experience DEAFON 4 for myself. However, due to the National Day Parade rehearsal going on at Marina Bay, the roads around the Esplanade were all blocked and by the time I got to DXO, it was almost 5pm and by the time Inch and Han Quan (who had kindly agreed to be my company) arrived, it must have been half an hour later.
So we got in without any fuss and Firebrands was deep into its set. The club was fairly populated with a bunch of young kids huddled in front of the stage as the band was delivering its um brand of hard rock. Immediately, I got a flashback to 1978 as it seemed I had been transported to the era when heavy metal was the cutting edge music of the day.
(Yes, I know punk had broken in London around the same time but made little initial impression in Singapore - though I remember a few of us scratching our heads upon hearing the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks at the time - "these guys can't "play" guitar and the singer can't 'sing'... hahaha)
Anyways, watching the kids give (Firebrands' singer) eXe the rock star treatment on a Saturday afternoon brought back memories of reading about tea parties in the 60s where the bands of the day (The Quests, the Cresendos) would play to excited teenagers... not much has changed then, eh?
... and these kids looked to me like secondary school students - all decked in black tees and jeans and carrying on activity that wanted badly to pass itself off as moshing but somehow it wasn't quite...
...which I found quaint, amusing and comforting - I mean, if Firebrands are able to engender this kind of response from their fans, does it matter if their music was not really my cup of tea? Credit where it's due... it takes work and effort to build up a fan base. A music scene is not a scene without fans.So kudos to Firebrands.
Next up, was a pop-punk band called Face Off. Now, the whole idea of pop-punk makes me nauseous. It's really got nothing to do with punk, as I understand it, teenybopper bubblegum pop in punk clothes and it's pretty crass.
However, that's not Face Off's fault is it? Whatever they lacked in technical ability and experience, they more than made up with stage presence, especially drummer Miguel (the little girls' favorite) and vocalist Titus, who looked a bit too happy to be on stage, with his silly grin and NS botak haircut! Nevermind if the songs bit... hard. Maybe they should stop listening to Simple Plan and begin a punk 101 course run by yours truly and purchase every album by the Sex Pistols, the Damned, the Jam, the Clash as homework!
(deep breath)
Thankfully, along came guitar wiz Rosli Mansor to spice up the proceedings with some good old fashioned instrumental virtuosity. With obvious nods to Santana, Satriani, Vai and Allan Holdsworth, Rosli got the teenage set oohing and aahing to his every move, which left Rosli looking very embarrassed and uncomfortable at the attention and yet he was smiling like a nut-filled chipmunk by the end (hey, don't tell me you didn't get off on that, Rosli?)
...and here's how something's come around... playing drums for Rosli was a young man named Adam who happens to be the son of ex-Heritage lead guitarist Shah Tahir (who I saw at my first rock concert at the National Theatre in 1978) - heh! Adam also plays bass in You and Whose Army. More about them later.
With the Rampage the Durian gig imminent, I left DXO - with Inch and Han Quan in tow, and Bonk & Benita (also of You and Whose Army) - and went for dinner...