ROCK THE SUB, Saturday 6th June 2009. Timbre @ Substation / Guiness Theatre
Having a mindset that gigs always start fashionably late, I walked into the Substation at 7pm to find The Fire Fight sound-checking. I’ve always enjoyed going for The Fire Fight gigs, and Saturday was no exception. They played songs from their 2007 EP, as well as new songs from their upcoming full length album. The audience responded positively, singing along to favourites like Dreamer and The Train Song.
There were some technical difficulties, but that didn’t stop the boys from playing an outstanding set. The Fire Fight boys still pressed on and did whatever they could, despite the difficulties. I was impressed by Iain, who still played with the same fervency he’s always had, despite recently sustaining a knee injury. He did a excellent job, which was commendable, although he was limping after the set.
The last time I caught Allura, I was blown away by how consistent they sounded. I was a bit surprised to find that this time around, Allura didn’t have the same prominent trait that had set them apart from other local bands. However, I did enjoy their set, especially one of their old songs (Closure), which was done in a different way.
A Vacant Affair played a dynamic set. They played a mix of songs from the 2007 EP and their full-length album, which was released late last year. I wasn’t too pleased with the sound, but Matt’s energy was contagious, and within moments, there were people moshing near the stage. There were so many people in the Guiness Theatre, and people continued to stream in throughout the set. A Vacant Affair has certainly come a long way, having opened for numerous bands like As I Lay Dying and Story of the Year for last year’s Taste of Chaos tour, amongst others.
Urbandub brought the night to an end with its catchy and expressive lyrics. I’d heard them on Myspace early last year, and I liked their music. I missed them the previous time they were in Singapore, so it was a treat to finally catch them. By that time, Timbre was packed with people, even while they sound checked (to rapturous applause). They played a variety of songs, especially ones from their second album, which I really liked. When they ended the set, there were unanimous shouts for an encore, which Urbandub happily obliged.
Some of the other outstanding acts included Nothing to Declare, Caracal, The Great Spy Experiment and For this Cycle. Credit must be given to the wonderful people who selected the acts. It made the gig one of the more notable ones in the past few months.
The thing that surprises me is how divergent yet congruent home grown and regional bands are. Experiences, culture and beliefs are all part of the musical process which helps to shape a band’s music. Often, we want similar things in life, which enables us to create bonds with other like-minded individuals. In perspective, Urbandub and The Great Spy Experiment might be from different regions in Asia, but each still has the ability to draw from their own experiences in order to reach out to their audiences.
There’s so many facets of our scene and I admit that a lot of times, I come to gigs with preconceptions about certain bands. How many of us can honestly be willing to give a band a chance to share with us what they feel without being so judgemental based on what we’ve heard or perceived? Have we reached a point where we’re only willing to stay for bands we like instead of discovering other bands we might not have heard of?
I’m a strong believer that we must always keep pushing ourselves further in order to improve ourselves. At the end of the day, I’m grateful for the people who believe in our scene and are willing to have gigs like Rock The Sub to showcase local and regional talent.
Everyone left Timbre with smiles on their faces, proving once more that Rock The Sub was an immense success. Many thanks to Timbre Music and The Substation for putting together a stellar show.
I must admit that I was thoroughly blown away by Urbandub. Their brand of melodic emo hardcore went down well with the crowd and they were entertaining from start to finish. The strange thing was that the technical sound problems that had plague S-ROCK bands throughout the gig seemed to magically disppear during Urbandub’s set, which sounded really good.
So what it is, a more professional attitude and approach? I just can’t put my finger on it. All I can add to Rebecca’s review is that we definitely need to up our game if S-ROCK bands are to be taken seriously in the region, never mind at home. Overall, Rock the Sub was a success but after three years, it may need some tweaking and reinvention. In fact the entire S-ROCK scene really needs a jumpstart to get things moving on to the next level. What that means, exactly though, is still in the air.
…still there’s more…
(Pix by Thomas Tan and Firdaus)