Friday, February 01, 2008


Get the basics right, is what I always say, and you're halfway there. In a music scene dominated by bands trying to sound hip and cool and "with it", it is refreshing to come across a band like Leeson. Comprising of Gerald (guitar), Jamie (vocals), Brian (bass), Thomas (guitar) and Mark (drums), Leeson focus on the fundamentals - melodies, harmonies, tight rhythms and vocal quality - and take it from there.
I enjoyed Leeson's set at Stasis 10 and was suitably intrigued when Brian invited me to its gig at Home Club. Before the event, I sat down for dinner with the group (sans Jamie) and found them pleasingly down-to-earth and keenly aware of the realities of the Singapore music scene. The main objective was to play live and have fun.
This cavalier attitude belied a determination to be unique and exciting in a music scene that so often propounds uniformity over creativity. The three guitar players all sported headwear that seemed quaint and Jamie was attired in a full suit but it was their music that truly set them apart.
Memorable songs with irresistibly catchy choruses like current single, Absolute Beginners ( and set closer, The King are prime examples of the strength of Leeson's repertoire. Primarily Britpop-based and rooted in the classic songcraft of the 70s, these songs prove that there is something special about Leeson and certainly deserving of a bigger stage. Catch them live the next time they play - a highly recommended pop experience.
And guys, thanks for the groundnuts...

... but there's more...


Still buzzing...
...from the distorted noise that passed for sound quality at the Max Pavilion.
Notwithstanding that drawback, deeply impressed with Switchfoot and particularly, Jon Foreman.
The Switchfoot frontman certainly gave the fans their money's worth with his antics. Well, twice he jumped into the crowd and stood up amongst them to sing. He was equally adept with the guitar as he was with the microphone - swinging, leaping and holding the rapt crowd in the palm of his hand. The consummate showman.
Not that the band did not play their part as Switchfoot ripped through their stellar material to universal acclaim - Oh! Gravity, Stars, This Is Your Life, Ammunition, Dirty Second Hands, We Are One Tonight and so on.
However, the coolest moment came midway through American Dream when the band stopped in their tracks, frozen in motion for a couple of minutes - an amazing sight to behold!
As the set wore on, Switchfoot got stronger and stronger and proved themselves to be one of the finer modern pop-rock bands out there.
And that's what I really dig about Switchfoot, they're certainly no bandwagon jumpers but true blue straight ahead rock 'n' rollers.
In that sense, Switchfoot deserved a bigger Singaporean platform to showcase their obvious talent but at least both band and audience had a splendid time.
I know I did.
Kudos to WMUM for a fine show and especially to Esmond for making things happen.
And...a shout out to Keith, Jack, Dong, Iain, Jon, Lennat and the girl who asked me if I was the Watchmen...

...and there's more...


Will probably be there.
You should too... say hi, ok?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Three awesome gigs in six days! It all begins with Switchfoot tomorrow night at the Max Pavilion which promises to be frenetic evening of modern rock pyrotechnics. Switchfoot's three major label albums viz. The Beautiful Letdown, Nothing is Sound and Oh! Gravity are all essential listening for anyone remotely interested in the rock scene in the 2000s. Switchfoot's signature sound is crunchy, melodic and informed with the right 80s influences i.e. The Police and U2. Not only that but this "sweaty" American rock band will be supported by our very own, The Fire Fight and West Grand Boulevard, who no doubt will punch above their own weight. Expecting a hi-energy workout!

Come Saturday and it's the launch of one of the finest Singaporean albums of all time as B-Quartet will bring its cool jazz-rock-pop hybrid to the Playden. I understand that the gig is virtually sold out and I intend to be there early to snag a front row view. Listen, you better be there for the happening event of February 2008 and if not, make sure at least that you are in possession of Tomorrow is our Permanent Address. C'mon!

To top it all off on Monday, it's the fabulous Police at the Indoor Stadium. I've waited for 28 years to watch the Police live and believe me it's gonna be worth it even if I know that maybe they're past their prime - just look at the pix... Still, it's gonna be electric to listen to some of my all-time favourite songs - Don't Stand So Close To Me, Message in a Bottle et al.
Can hardly wait... reviews to come...

... and there's more...

Monday, January 28, 2008


Yes, boys and girls, in less than a week, my missus and I (along with many other Police fans) will get to see Sting, Andy and Stewart entertain us with their unique brand of rock music.
I can barely believe that it's happening next week.
I remember the first time I ever listened to the Police. It must have been 1979 and I picked up two pirated cassettes (hey, it was 1979). One was the Scorpions' In Trance and the other, Regatta De Blanc, the Police's sophomore album.
Funnily enough, I didn't like the Police at first and found the Scorpions more appealing. Hah!
It didn't take long for repeated listens to change that perspective! And that was the beginning of a love affair that lasts to date.
And... Regatta De Blanc remains my favourite Police album of all time - yes, even when set against Synchronicity. Why? Well, it probably contains the most consistent bunch of top notch songs on any Police album. Message in a Bottle, Walking on the Moon, Bed's Too Big Without You, Bring on the Night, Does Everyone Stare, the awesome title track and so on. Each track was unique and could stand alone on its own, even so-called novelty tracks like Copeland's On Any Other Day crackles today.
That said, most of the Police's discography is a pretty no-dud zone (well, yes, there are a few - Summer's Behind My Camel - what's that about?) and thus, the Message in a Box retrospective is rather essential, not only for Police fans, but for any serious music scholars out there.
But if I had to list my top ten Police tracks, it would have to be...

10. Regatta De Blanc
9. Spirits in the Material World
8. King of Pain
7. Walking on the Moon
6. Driven to Tears
5. De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
4. Roxanne
3. Synchronicity II
2. Message in a Bottle
1. Don't Stand So Close To Me

What's yours?