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Saturday, September 15, 2007

“THIS IS AMERICAN MUSIC!”

You got to hand it to Josh, the leader of the Fire Fight for his gumption. Most bands would – when faced with similar circumstances – give in to the environment, stare at the ground and proceed to go through the motions.
What am I’m talking about?
Just hours ago, I was outside the Heeren at the *scape road show as gawking Orchard Road shoppers gave half-interested glances at the live Singapore music being showcased.
When I arrived, Marchtwelve was halfway through their set. Vocalist Dewi looked rather subdued and guitarist Joseph had to explain to the crowd that Dewi was under the weather and had undergone wisdom tooth extraction earlier in the week…
Poor thing!
Let me tell you that I’ve experienced wisdom tooth extraction and it was a tribute to Dewi’s passion and commitment that she gamely sang all those high & powerful notes. But clearly she was in much discomfort…
The moment the Fire Fight cranked up Candela, you just knew this was on an altogether different level. And when Josh introduced the band as a foreign band before launching into an impassioned When Spring Comes Home (clip below), it was both commentary and humor at the same time.
Priceless!
Despite the tiny ‘stage’ and limiting sound set up, the Fire Fight managed to get it together enough to really put up a good show. Sure, Josh’s vocals would go flat now and then, Chris’s keyboards would go in and out and it was difficult for the band members to hear anything on the monitors but the boys did not let that get in the way of a sincere attempt to connect with the audience.
And isn’t that what it’s about?
Oh… and the Fire Fight will be back at the Heeren tomorrow at 5pm… don’t miss it!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

YaWA JAM SESSION CLIP NO. 2

Enjoy...

ORDINARY IS KING

You and Whose Army? (YaWA) is the name of a young Singapore band. It's also the name of a Radiohead song. Well, of course Radiohead was also the name of a Talking Heads song... but I digress.

On Monday, the guys (and gal) were kind enough to invite me to one of their jamming sessions where they were working on a new song. (A short clip above).

Though, the Radiohead references are obvious, I'm beginning to sense a bent towards jazzed-up psychedelic space rock ala Pink Floyd in the YaWA method. I like!

And this is certainly the case with new demo (fresh from the oven!) of Ordinary is King which displays all the qualities that I truly dig about YaWA. Intriguing songwriting and tight musicianship - not to mention the skills of one of the best young guitarists in the country!

Oh, YaWA consists of Adam (bass), Benita (drums), Bonk (guitars/vocals) and James (lead guitar) and you can find Ordinary is King at www.myspace.com/yawamusic.

Do check YaWA out when they next play and hopefully that will be very soon...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

ROCKIN' THE CBD!

It was a bit strange to hop onto the MRT at Somerset and head towards Raffles Place on a Saturday evening. You see, I work at Raffles Place and thus, it was weird attending a gig in the heart of the Central Business District. But go I did... and it was cool to see the Great Spy folk twice in two days! All looking casual, it was fun to just chat. Best part - my own signed copy of Flower Show Riots (In stores now - you know the drill... go get it!) finally delivered into my grubby hands.
By the time the band went on, it was 6.30pm and as they launched into a seven song set, the sound was just awful as the guitars went AWOL and the bass was simply overwhelming. Seriously the quality of sound technicians we have in Singapore has got to be raised somehow if the local music scene is going to improve and grow.
Thankfully, the kinks were sorted out just in time for my fave GSE song viz. Late Night Request. No Great Decay or Captain Funkycurls but it was good that the band could fit in the quieter moments on the album, like the medley of The Sunset Theme and Miss Kensington. And when Siti in the City arrived to close the set, the CBD was truly rockin' (though the crowd was erm sittin' in the city!) with the drumming duel of Fandy and Saiful a visual and sonic treat!

I hung around with the band - together with Des and Amanda (Electrico) - for a bit while taking in Analog Girl, MUON and Moods - just realized how cute Amanda is (well, so is Des but well y'know)...

*Whew*

Now that's what I call a good day of music...

... and there's more ...

B.Y.O.M.

Yesterday marked the final Open Stage @ scape this year and I got to the Youth Centre at about 2.45pm and as usual Edward was there to greet me and once again, I felt so much at home. Also present were Mr & Mrs Soft (i.e. James and Lesley) on video camera duty and the stage was set for some new local music.
Four bands were being showcased (I only caught three for reasons elaborated further) and before the bands came on, I had a good chance of chatting with Jack and Rai and as usual, we traded choice jokes. One in particular I'm still giggling about. If you want details you just have to ask Jack and Rai the next time you see them! Sorry...
First up was Jess Chen and Jess played three songs. I like Jess, he has an interesting Jon Bon Jovi-Kurt Cobain hybrid vibe going on and it's always refreshing to hear original acoustic pop-rock tunes, although I am concerned about the distinct lack of hooks in his songs.
Next was a young quartet called Silouette who managed a longish set of originals and covers. What the band lacked in finesse and competence, they attempted to compensate with sheer enthusiasm and confidence. Still, the songs all seemed to sound the same and the singer tended to shout and strain his vocals. That said, the guitarist did a good job in providing the tone and colour of the songs.
Now, HYR is a busy busy guy (more than usual!) and with the 881 soundtrack taking off (both in Singapore and Malaysia), the man is really in demand. Still, he managed to spend about an hour or so, sharing the kids about music making in Singapore. What HYR does well is making himself relatable to the kids and despite his tendencies to just 'talk cock', the audience can really sense his passion and his generous heart. If nothing else, the kids will be inspired to consider opportunities in music, even so-called unconventional ones.
Just before I ran off to Raffles Place to catch the Great Spy Experiment, Blackstar came on to play what I can only describe as cock-rock. Unlike Bad Obssession, Blackstar sure don't look the part of cock-rockers, more like indie rockers and of the Cheena variety! Ironcially enough, I liked their GNR, Black Crowes, Aerosmith schtick. Quite authentic I thought. Two songs and I was off!

... but there's more ...