Saturday, January 19, 2008


They call it weekend trip. Every 3rd Saturday of the month, the Youth Park hosts several hot and sweaty youths as they mosh, bodysurf and sway to the sounds of S-Rock.

I arrived too late to catch Strayvoice but was just in time for the Pinholes. I've not seen the Pinholes play live for sometime now so this was a treat. The boys were their exuberant selves but sadly Haffiz was recovering from a sprained ankle so he was rather subdued. Still that did not stop the kids from groovin' the usual suspects - Shake and Bake, Long Live Rock 'n' Roll and a stomping Spacemen Over Malaysia, that classic Force Vomit nugget. It was a nice change to see boys and girls dancing along, instead of the usual practice of girls trying to get out of the way of the moshing.Now, the last time I saw Force Vomit play was in the 90s and boy, have they 'toughened up' their sound since. The surf-mat-punk had morphed into something muscular & heavy, neither metal or hardcore, the best way to describe it would be garage-rock. Whatever it was, the kids lapped it up and the moshing began in earnest. The crowd continued to swell and there must have been more than 300 bodies crushed together as Dino and gang held court. The kids hung on every riff and every word, the band was certain the master of its own domain. The guitars were thick and the drums thunderous, a feisty sound that reveled in big drums and direct guitars.
Saw many cool people there too viz. Song & Huzaifah (GSE), Josh, JBarks & Chris (Fire Fight), Syed (WGB), George Chua, Dex (*scape), Esmond (VR/WMUM), Ronny & Jon (Plain Sunset) ... all told a fun Singapore Music Scene night...
... and there's more ...


Been digging through some old mags and cames across quite a few BigOs.
For those born in the late 80s or 90s, BigO (Before I Get Old) was Singapore's premier independant music magazine during that heady era. I was privileged enough to write for BigO from 1992 to its demise as a print magazine a couple of years ago.

In any case, as a bit of a history lesson, I've decided to highlight a few items from past BigOs which I found interesting and hope that you, S-ROCK faithful readers, will also fund rewarding and illuminating. If you want the real deal, I think you can still order back issues from the BigO site and of course, all the images are (c) Options Publications Pte Ltd/BigO. Comments, please.

First off, some pix from a gig called ACOUSTIC POWER JAM which took place sometime in the latter half of 1993 at the MPH Power House at Stamford Road. If you don't know where the heck I'm talking about, man, are you young.... :) As you can see from the pix, I believe it was one of my first performances as Watchmen and it was fun... other than that, it's a bit of a blank... enjoy.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Since the beginning of 2008, I have been gathering my thoughts about the Singapore music scene and what I would like to see in the months to come to bring the music scene into the next stage of development.

First, I would like to suggest that we stop using the terms “indie” or “local” when we refer to our scene. Instead, I would encourage everyone to simply call it the “Singapore music scene”.

The word “indie” is a particularly contentious one and often leads to arguments and divisiveness (and of course, bloody noses). I believe that the Singapore music scene should embrace all genres of music (including hip-hop) and the only criterion should be the quality of the music.

The word “local music” unfortunately has a very negative connotation in Singapore and perceived as “amateur,” “inferior” and “unlistenable”. Again, this is a question of the quality of music, more of which I will elaborate further in a later post.

Thus, we would say that the Great Spy Experiment is a Singaporean rock band, much as we would describe Radiohead as a British rock band or Switchfoot as an American rock band.

I want to see the Singapore music scene viewed as a mark of quality (that word, again) and that Singaporean bands be accorded the same respect as an American or British band before the music becomes an issue. Why do we expect an American or British band to be superior just because of their country of origin? That should never a criterion. But because we know that there are great American and British bands out there in the entire history of rock ‘n’ roll, so we take it for granted that an American or British band is going to be of a certain quality.

However, when it comes to Singaporean bands, we lack that similar confidence. Now, let me tell you that (generally speaking) music fans overseas have no such prejudice about where the band comes from, only if their music is any good. All of our bands who have played overseas will testify to this fact.

On my next entry, I will elaborate a little more about “quality of music” and why that may be the key to Singaporean’s acceptance (and support) of the Singapore music scene.

… still there’s more …


Congrats to the bands who have made it thru to Baybeats 2008.

Another Epic Story
Cardinal Avenue
Midnight Marvel
Morning Utopia
The Oslo Castaways
You & Whose Army?

Personally, I'm really pleased for You and Whose Army?, Leeson and PeepShow! But really for each band on the list, the hard work starts now... :)

... and there's more ...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Rach, our kind organizer, has graciously agreed to grant two persons free passage into Fasten Your Seatbelts on Saturday, 26 January 2008 from 2pm at the Guiness Theatre, the Substation.
Here's what you have to do, dear boys and girls.
Tell me in 25 words or less, who is the hottest band performing at Fasten Your Seatbelts.
And WHY?!!!
Please send your entries to soulalt (at) gmail (dot) com before 11.30pm, Sunday, 20 January 2008 and I'll announce the winners on Tuesday, 22 January 2008.
So, what ya waiting for?

Monday, January 14, 2008


Force Vomit and the Pinholes this Saturday! How to resist, eh? Free! From their myspace, Strayvoice seems out of place with its ambient electronica but hey, I'm willing to give them a shot.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


On Thursday, 31st January 2008, "sweaty" American rock band, Switchfoot, makes its debut live appearance in Singapore. The band's vocalist Jon Foreman kindly answers my nosy questions by email.

What are your expectations about performing in Singapore?

can't wait, it's going to be great.

How did the opportunity to play in Singapore come about?

long story short, we get offers from all over... and we like this part of
the world!

What is the story behind “lowercase people”? What does it mean?

What is its vision and philosophy?

the goal behind lowercase people was to in act out what we sing about
outside of our songs. It started with a record that we tracked down in South
Africa of a choir comprised primarily of orphans.

What were your reasons for leaving a major label and starting

your own independent label?

we felt like we could do a better job representing the music.

lp is more than a label isn’t it? What inspired its genesis?

lp represents a vision.
we want to see things change all over the globe.
we want to bring other people who inspire us up on the platform we've been
given. we want to see community.

Will lp records release music by other artists besides Switchfoot?
What kind of music does lp records intend to release?
Would lp release a Singaporean band (like the Fire Fight or West Grand Boulevard, who are opening for you)? What would it take for that to happen?

right now we're just releasing our own tunes, (and the kuyasa kids).
but maybe someday we will be able to provide more for other bands.
when we know that we can do this with excellence we will try and figure it out.
we have no intentions of becoming "big business"...

How would you describe a Switchfoot concert?

sweaty american rock

How does the band prepare for a tour? What is the best thing about touring?

The worst?

preparation: clean socks
best: amazing musical and interpersonal connectivity
worst: horrible isolation

What is the first thing you’re going to do in Singapore?

get a proper tour of the culture and learn a few key phrases

Is there anything you want to say to your fans in Singapore?

life is short live it well...

So... what are you waiting for? Get your tickets here.