Having caught the first two episodes of Live N Loaded on the idiot box, I very eagerly scuttled down to Mediacorp studios for the live recording of episode 3 to experience the crowd for myself. A quick glance at the lineup I was provided with left me a little less than enthused however, especially in the wake of the previous two “Sonic Youth” bands, Lamp Post Shadows and Finding Michelle, both of which delivered lackluster performances in previous weeks. To be honest, my expectations of finding a fresh act that even remotely excited me didn’t run very high, although the prospect of seeing some of the local legends I grew up with (Plainsunset, Kate Of Kale) in this environment did throw a little kick in my day.
Plainsunset opened the show with a frenzied offering of the fan favourite Girl On Queen Street, meant as a recording for their webcast episode on the LNL site, which has become a bona fide content aggregator for a small pool of local music as of late. Even with the ridiculously compressed studio sound, it was still an enjoyable atmosphere, one that carried on into Find A Way, Johari Window, Plainsunset, and The River Song, and had the crowd chanting for more.
Marchtwelve, a band I haven’t seen in a long time were also present on the show to deliver their tune Dear You, labeling themselves “Death Pop” on national TV, and giving me a good chuckle in the process. I’d still really like to know where they got that from.
Kate Of Kale, another band I haven’t seen in a long time, delivered a kicking rendition of “Soundtrack To The Perfect You” a killingly simple pop punk tune that sticks with you for a very long time; a very subtle juxtaposition against EN-X, who played shortly before them, and oddly enough, dressed like them as well. It would be appropriate to mention that a good image isn’t an all-encompassing that floats your music, especially when it comes to the conviction behind playing rock and roll or punk. Substance counts too, perhaps to a greater extent. EN-X should definitely take note; they have a substantial ways to go.
As has become customary at local shows these days, the very obliging kids were in attendance, albeit with a markedly increased arsenal of kung fu moves to fling at each other and resplendent fashion victimization. As I stood out of range of their flying limbs and cursory self-awareness, I was left wondering if any of them realized how daft they looked trying to kill each other.
About midway through Kate Of Kale’s set, a minor scuffle erupted somewhere within the bowels of the pit. Amongst the sea of pugnacious faces, I barely noticed that a scuffle had erupted until Nizam of Plainsunset, Bass in hand, began gesticulating at someone in the crowd from the stage. Evidently respect for the artists has fizzled somewhat. Fortunately the producers had the presence of mind to bring in more security personnel to handle similar situations.
Further observations also led to wonder if the kids on the show were even aware of their significance in the greater scope of things. Seriously, “Hello Michelle”? You guys should be holding up signs like “I Love Plainsunset”, or “We Want *insert band name here*”.
I have to admit though, even though I was expecting to be disappointed by the “Exposed” bands on the show, they held some merit, particularly the acoustic duo One Hot Minute from NJC, who had some very decent melodies and vocal harmonies going; very workable, and definitely appealing to their peers. I was also thoroughly impressed by singer-songwriter Racheal Teo’s performance. Pervy Boy however, as they have consistently done so for an extended period of time, failed to impress, delivering a set that was at best mediocre. If the voting system results in bands like them being put on the show, I suggest that the producers take a second look at its feasibility.
Ultimately, being present at this episode of Live N Loaded left me with mixed feelings. Of course the advent of someone championing the cause of local music is something to be thankful for, and further kudos to them for securing a platform (for a few more episodes, at least), but ironing out the kinks should be the topmost priority now. Perhaps some streamlining would be in order e.g. a more stringent act selection process. Come on, we can do better than that.