ALIVE & KICKING – AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR / SUB:SHAMAN

ASIWYFA_PoP-1
Photo by Aloysius Lim

Sure, as a music lover based in Singapore, one is currently inundated with big rock concert draws like Eric Clapton & The Rolling Stones and with big rock festivals like St. Jerome’s Laneway & the Hostess Club Weekender. But seriously folks, nothing quite beats the experience of watching a cracking band up close in an intimate venue. Nothing.

Photo by Rueven Tan
Photo by Rueven Tan

Which is why it was such an invigorating experience to witness Irish quartet And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA) melt the collective faces of all attending at Zouk last Friday (28th February)! The band’s hi-octane brand of instrumental rock was a breath of fresh air for anyone a little jaded with the post-rock shenanigans of countless Mogwai/Explosions in the Sky copyists.

Photo by Aloysius Lim
Photo by Aloysius Lim

Granted, technical hitches along the way threatened to derail the ASIWYFA joyride but the boys took these challenges in their stride to deliver a pulsating set that focus primarily on material off their latest album – All Hail Bright Futures, for example “Eunoia”, “Big Thinks Do Remarkable” & “Like A Mouse”. The pattern was set – intricate lattices of guitar arpeggios with pummeling drums and loads of energetic fun! Believe me, nobody was standing still engaged by the dynamism of the four hyperkinetic men on stage.

Photo by Rueven Tan
Photo by Rueven Tan

Personally, the highlight was “Set Guitars to Kill”, the song that the band built their reputation on – a fist pumping anthem that reached into your gut and pulled hard, without a single word. The synergy between the four members was a sight to behold with the resultant sonic force irresistible. Earlier on, sub:shaman had acquitted themselves well with their distinctive avant-prog rock stylings although some of their newer material is sounding a little esoteric for my tastes. 

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Photo by Aloysius Lim

All told, a brilliant rock show that emphasized the edge of the fringes of contemporary experimental/progressive alternative rock – heartening to know that the Singapore music scene is able to witness the evolution of our beloved music at such close quarters!

Thanks to KittyWu & Incursive Productions for making this review possible.

 

 

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