Just got back from the Round Two of the Baybeats Auditions 2013 and we wanted to put out a quick response whilst our thoughts and feelings are fresh in my mind. This is the seventh year of the Baybeats Auditions where young local bands are given an opportunity to showcase their talents during one the largest alternative rock music festivals in the region. This year’s slate of hopefuls have thrown up a diverse array of bands/artists signaling a sea change in the very definition of alternative rock music.
First off, we want to congratulate all 16 bands for giving it their best shot. It is instructional to note that playing at the Baybeats Festival is not the be-all-and-end-all for aspiring bands/artists although it can be a useful launching platform for a new band. It is heartening to see the different bands provide a snapshot of what can be available in the S-ROCK scene in the years to come. we want to highlight bands that – in our humble opinion – represent exciting prospects for S-ROCK.
We have already mentioned The Good Life Project before and for the second time running, we were firmly convinced that this band was a good notch above most of the others with its command of groove, melody and dynamics. Visually and sonically, it was difficult not to be struck by the performance of singer Pamela Song as once more, she dominated the stage with her presence and vocals, with bassist Tasha Wong and violinist Kim Eun Hying providing secondary focus. However, the efforts of the entire band, including keyboardist NAz, guitarist Sano Shimano, drummer Boey Yong Jie and turntablist Louis Q contributed greatly to the overall picture. And it was a very pretty one!
In fact, the only other band that could possibly match the overall intensity and maturity of The Good Life Project was sub:shaman, who impressed all present with its superb performance that contained melodic strength and experimental nuances, although its esoteric approach may take time to warm up to. Certainly, the judges were well won over.
Kudos to Tricks & Cider who proved that they had a couple of ‘tricks’ up their sleeves when it came to adding a certain edge to their smooth pop-rock vibe. Armed with a ‘rockier’ image, the band impressed the audience (filled with many adoring fans) and the judges with an edgier version of the band that auditioned in the first round. Personally, I think it worked a charm and although there is obviously more work to be done, it cannot be denied that Tricks & Cider are moving in the right direction, whatever the final auditions result might be.
Also worthy of mention – Mannequins‘ faithful revocation of 70s powerpop, which had much of the audience applauding. No frills rock n’ roll was the order of the day and it was great to see this genre so handsomely revisited in this fashion. Stopgap recalls the early 2000s Britrock of Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party and its tight musicianship was laudable. Dropbeat Heartbeat continued its upward momentum, although there were the odd missteps, overall, the band was in top form and proudly flew the flag of Lion City Pop-Punk with aplomb!
At the end of the day, it’s left to the judges whether any of the above-mentioned get the chance to grace the Baybeats Festival at the end of June. Come what may, I hope these bands will persevere with music making and never give up the ghost, no matter what. Whilst some may consider the local music industry to be on the “verge of extinction”, here at Power of Pop, we echo the words of S-ROCK legends Humpback Oak that there is “no finer time to be alive” – especially if you’re a lover of Singapore rock! Now is the hour!
…still there’s more…