Saturday, January 26, 2008


The Esplanade Recital Studio holds about 200 plus people. The band is on the floor whilst the audience is on rows of seating that ascends upwards. Rather like a lecture theatre, actually.
The sound and ambience is first rate and provides the perfect showcase for rising bands in the Singapore music scene.
On Friday (25 Jan 08) night, it was the turn of my good friends, Jack and Rai, to stake their claim as a band to look out for in the Singapore music scene.
And the guys delivered with aplomb!
Backed by Melvin Wong (bass), Vickness (percussion), Joseph Saleem (drums) and Chok Kerong (keys/piano), Jack and Rai premiered all the tracks on their debut album, In Stores Now (alas, not yet available) and the sold out crowd lapped it all up.
I was fortunate enough to get into the venue half an hour early so I could have a front row seat and literally catch the whites of the eyes! And it was worth all the trouble, believe me.
The thing about Jack and Rai is that possibly of all the rising Singaporean bands, perhaps musically I share a certain affinity with the boys in the sense that we both deal in classic rock 'n' pop immortalized in the 70s.
Thus, the songs - whilst anchored in that magical era - covers enough territory to maintain interest throughout. Which means you get power pop (my beloved Fiona - which Jack graciously dedicated to moi!), folk-pop (The Fa La La Song), jazz-pop (Beetle Girl), piano balladry (Hurricane), country rock (Television Affair) and so on.
Which means that In Stores Now is already a winner in my view and with several potential hit radio singles available, I am predicting that the album will make waves in Singapore and abroad. Accessible pop-rock with something for everyone. Ok, I'll leave all that for the album review.
Even more awesome were the encore songs - new track Painted Horses on a Carousel touched on the right points and 3 year-old single This Christmas, a sophisticated 80s jazz-rock gem.
A truly magical night and surely this must be the direction for the Singapore music scene as bands graduate from pubs, clubs and the Substation to headline at the Esplanade Recital Studio and beyond to the Esplanade Concert Hall, the Indoor Stadium and the new National Stadium!!!
It's gonna happen for Jack and Rai...

One more time, with gusto - "FIONA, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO FAR..."


1. Television Affair
2. The Fa La La Song
3. Pixelated
4. Beetle Girl
5. Fiona
6. Contemplate
7. Hurricane
8. Us
9. Release Me
10. Poof
11. Prophet Of Universal Love

12. Painted Horses On a Carousel
13. This Xmas

...still there's more...

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