Jan 112014

Suzanne Vega returns to Singapore in April. Only 245 tickets will be available for this special intimate performance. Vega is touring in support of her new album “Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles”, to be released on 2 Feb 2014.

Date : 1 April 2014
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Venue: Esplanade Recital Studio
Tickets: $148 on sale at from 23 Jan 2014.

Dec 152012

American songstress Rachael Yamagata returns to Singapore for a fifth time, in support of her new EP Heavyweight. Concert promoters Greenhorn Productions recently announced that Yamagata will be performing on 2nd March 2013 at the Esplanade Concert Hall and that tickets at $48, $68, 88 and $98 (excluding Sistic charges) will be available from soon. Stay tuned for details soon at the official Facebook event page. In the meantime, check out the title track of her new EP below.

Official Site

Oct 042012

Classic. Passionate. Authentic.

These words were not far from mind when watching English singer-songwriter James Morrison in his full pomp at the Esplanade Concert Hall on the night of 2nd October. In an era where pop idols come across as fake, studied and pre-fabricated there is a genuineness about Morrison that is hard to ignore. This honesty in purpose is communicated by his uncanny revocation of old skool blue-eyed soul and by his amazing larynx. Backed by a group of competent musicians, Morrison was able to focus on doing what he did best – sing – and connect with his audience with his boyish charm.

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Sep 112012


I must confess (and stop me if you’ve read this before!) that prior to this concert, I had never heard the music of Ingrid Michaelson before. Sure, due to my mentoring of several female singer-songwriters it was impossible not to have heard of her but actually sit down and listen to the music? Nope. Much of this was due to certain (negative) perceptions of her music, details of which I will not bore you with.

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Aug 252012

It’s hard not to be smitten by Czech singer-songwriter Marketa Irglova. The young ‘girl’ from the Once movie, with her naive charm and baby-face appeal certainly captured the hearts of the audience at the Esplanade Recital Studio on Thursday night. Backed by Aida Shahghasemi (on Daf and vocals), Rob Bochnik (on guitars and vocals) and Joe Doyle (on bass) – the latter two also being part of The Frames and Swell Season – the music was presented in subdued tones, which suited the surroundings perfectly.

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Aug 232012

When I interviewed Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos a couple of months ago, he expressed a certain incredulity when I asked him whether he expected to be playing in places like Singapore, when he started to put together his music seriously, all those years ago. I am sure that he was equally blown away by the ecstatic response from the packed out Esplanade Concert Hall on Tuesday night, consisting mainly of tween hipster kids!

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Aug 112012

Jo Hamilton by Joanna Kwa

Jo Hamilton: it’s not a name that will instantaneously ring much bells in people. It painfully showed, with the scarcity of audience in the capacity of the Esplanade Recital Studio. That, without the consideration of the media coverage portion of the seated. One could tell that it somehow affected the artiste herself, with the look of contented disappointment across her face, in her eyes – in that split second moment she allowed herself to display her vulnerability.

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Aug 022012

I am really looking forward to the Passion Pit gig at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 21st August. if the new album Gossamer is any indication, it’s gonna be one wild party! I spoke to main man writer/singer/producer Michael Angelakos (above) recently and he struck me as a deep-thinking young man deadly serious about his music. So check out this music video of “Constant Conversations”, one of the standout tracks on Gossamer as its freeze-dried re-modeled 70s soul vibe will remove any doubts about what you should be doing on the night of 21st August. See you there!

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Aug 022012


Metric (viz. Emily Haines, Jimmy Shaw, Joshua Winstead and Joules Scott-Key) came to Singapore and made the Esplanade Concert Hall appear to be a victorious homecoming. Such was the extent of the band’s appeal that its Singaporean fans were on their feet screaming when the lights came down BEFORE Metric took to the stage!

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Jul 132012


“I’m just as fucked up as they say…”

Canadian band Metric is a true-blue indie artist in every sense of the word. Formed around the nucleus of singer-keyboardist Emily Haines and guitarist Jimmy Shaw in 1998, Metric has made its distinctive music on its own terms. Synthetica is the band’s 5th album and quite possibly its best yet.

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May 292012

This news just in from Greenhorn Productions – Canadian indie pop-rock quartet Metric will make its Singapore debut on 31 July at the Esplanade Concert Hall at 7.30 p.m. Tickets priced at $68, $88, $108, $128 and $148 (excluding SISTIC fees) will go on sale on 1 June 2012 through SISTIC.

Official Site

In the meantime, check out the official lyric video for “Speed the Collapse” off the upcoming new album, Synthetica.


May 262012

Greenhorn Productions is pleased to announce that INGRID MICHAELSON will be performing LIVE! in Singapore for the first time on 10 Sep 2012 at Esplanade Concert Hall at 9 p.m.

Tickets priced at $68, $88, $108, $128 and $148 (excl Sistic charges) will be sold through Sistic from a date to be announced soon. Stay tuned to Greenhorn Facebook page for details.

Check out the amazing music video of “Blood Brothers”


May 252012


Date: 2 October 2012 at 9 p.m.

Venue: Esplanade Concert Hall

Ticket prices: $68, $88, $108, $128, $148, $168 and $188 (excluding SISTIC fees)

Sales start on 25 June 2012 through Sistic

Sep 242011

What distinguishes a Justin Bieber concert from a hipster gig in Singapore? Probably the age of the screaming hordes – the response is the same. Concert-going for the hipster in Singapore is all about the live experience and less about the music.

In the case of Swedish singer-songwriter, the music is a strong evocation of the 60s – from Spectoresque girl-pop to the West Coast psychedelic rock sound of the Jefferson Airplane, Lykke Li’s music is very much rooted in the past. And when Lykke Li raised the ghosts of yesteryear, that’s when the music transcended the somewhat hipster tendencies of her weaker moments.

And this was never more evident than on Sadness Is a Blessing where the spectre of the Ronettes’ Be My Baby was glimpsed. Similarly on the dark psychedelia of Youth Knows No Pain where Lykke Li channeled Grace Slick with Ray Manzarek’s organ thrown into the mix (for Rich Kids Blues). Elsewhere, the Bo Diddley rhythmic exercise of Get Some delivered a primal appeal that crossed over the decades. However, on the songs where Lykke Li simply aped either the likes of Coldplay (Possibility) or Fleet Foxes (Unrequited Love) – her encore, ironically enough – her distinctive musical personality disappeared.

Of course, these nuances were lost on the hipster crowd screaming “Marry me” during the quieter moments (totally destroying the mood) or the female stage invader whom a bemused Lykke Li simply ignored until the lame attempt at disruption petered out. Lame and dumb. Kudos to the Esplanade security for restraint, it must be noted.

So in the final analysis, there is a sense that Lykke Li certainly possesses the potential to be a serious artistic singer-songwriter, one wonders whether the commercial appeal of the hipster audience will derail any such ambitions and dilute Lykke Li’s artistic integrity. Her performance at the Esplanade Concert Hall perfectly summed up her dilemma.

Thanks to Greenhorn Productions. Picture by Jonathan Kwa.


Apr 072011

Hey my fellow SG music fan, are you getting jaded by the numerous musical offerings coming our way at breakneck speed? Well, even in these congested gig times, the recent announcements of concerts by two UK acts has caught the imagination of the music punters here.

First up, TAB Singapore is hosting Welsh singer-songwriter Gruff Rhys – best known as the frontman of iconoclastic band, Super Furry Animals – on Friday, 29th April. More details here.

Also, in August, Greenhorn Productions are bringing Northern Ireland band Two Door Cinema Club to the Esplanade Concert Hall on the 11th. RSVP at Facebook.

Definitely two gigs not to be missed.

Mar 172011

(From Greenhorn Productions)

We have just been informed that WHITE LIES have regretfully had to cancel their Asian tour due to the situation in Japan. The band hopes to perform for their fans in Asia another time soon. Ticket holders who bought by credit card will receive an automatic refund from SISTIC to their credit card account. Other ticket holders will be able to get their refund from SISTIC directly. Ticket holders are advised to contact SISTIC from 21 March 2011 regarding when to process the refund of their tickets.

Feb 182011

As a musician and writer, it is often difficult to separate the roles when making an assessment of a fellow musician in writing. In popularity terms, American singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata scores high with young Singaporean women, having easily sold out two shows at the Esplanade Recital Studio (seating around 245). Outnumbering the men by two to one, there was little doubt that Yamagata’s appeal lay in her confessional relationship-based lyrics and her engaging live banter, rather than her musicianship.

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Feb 082011

Never underestimate the power of nostalgia. I looked forward so much to catching Foals at the recent Laneway Festival in Singapore, partly because I wanted to close my eyes and pretend that I was listening to the Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen and Talking Heads in 1982! Imagine my disappointment when I had to bail that night before Foals took the stage. But fret not, as Greenhorn Productions will be bringing fellow British post-punk revivalists White Lies for a night at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 11th April! So my date with faux-nostalgia is still on, as White Lies channel Joy Division, Tears for Fears, Teardrop Explodes, Duran Duran and Bunnymen (again!) into one dark-edged, beautiful mess…

More details at Greenhorn’s Facebook page.

Feb 022011

Power of Pop writer Desiree Boey shares with us, her concise thoughts on Villagers’ performance at the Esplanade Recital Studio on the night of 31st January 2011.

I came out of the Esplanade Recital Studio feeling like I’d witnessed something sacred. It was just this pint-sized guy, a mic, his tiny guitar, a pianist for accompaniment on some songs, and some keyboard effects, and it was musical brilliance at its best. Conor O’Brien is a master at his craft. Perfect combination of confidence and vulnerability, amazing control of vocals, killer falsetto, and intelligently artful songwriting that grips your soul.

The highlights (is it even possible to call them that when every song was a masterpiece?) for me were To Be Counted Among Men, Twenty-Seven Strangers, and Memoir. Each of these songs wove a story, and something about the words he was singing and the heart with which he was singing them stirred such deep emotion and left none unmoved.

(Picture by Daniel Lee)

Feb 012011

The adage – “never judge a book by its cover” – comes to life in Conor O’Brien (the brains and voice behind Villagers). Off stage, Conor is slight of build, small statured and soft-spoken but once he straps on that acoustic guitar and sits behind that microphone, he transforms into a giant! The power and intensity of Conor’s performance and songcraft last night (Monday, 31st January) awed everyone present in the Esplanade Recital Studio, without exception.

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Jan 282011

Here’s an interesting story behind the interview I had with Conor O’Brien/Villagers which formed the basis for my TODAY piece. I had originally sent a list of email questions for Conor via Greenhorn Productions. But then I was given to understand that Conor would prefer a phoner instead and so I called him and we had a good 20 minute chat. Subsequently, I received from Greenhorn Productions, Conor’s duly completed answers to my original list of questions!  I had TWO interviews! Therefore, I took the written answers and fashioned the article that you can read in TODAY and now I set out below the full text of the phone interview with Conor – it’s long but well worth reading. Conor is serious about his songwriting craft and he is a shining example of what a modern day songwriter-musician should be – literate, passionate and yet down to earth and humble. If you haven’t got your tickets for Conor’s performance on Monday, I strongly urge that you do so quickly before they are sold out. Get them from SISTIC.

Your debut album was short-listed for a Mercury Prize. How does that make you feel?

I was embarrassed. I don’t enjoy attention that much unless I’m singing. Then I don’t enjoy getting no attention when I’m singing (laughs). I felt somewhat honored I guess – it was a nice thing to hear but my overall feeling was one of embarrassment.

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Jan 222011

As congested as the gig schedule in Singapore for February and March is, one item worth nothing is the upcoming performance of Rachael Yamagata at the Esplanade Recital Studio on 16th February. Certainly, Yamagata has already played on our shores twice before, but this time, Yamagata will be performing an intimate solo set on acoustic guitar/piano in a “up close and personal” setting. Punters who have experienced previous choice gigs organized by Greenhorn Productions like Lloyd Cole, Patrick Watson and Owen Pallett will be aware that these unique shows at the Recital Studio offer a completely different experience from the bigger gigs at the Fort Canning Park, Indoor Stadium or even the Esplanade Concert Hall. Not to be missed. More information here.

On 11th May, at the Esplanade Concert Hall, the popular singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles makes her debut in Singapore and it promises to be a night of pure pop confection. Already in possession of a #1 record on the Billboard Album Charts with Kaleidoscope Heart in 2010, no doubt that tickets for this gig will be a hot item, when they go on sale. More information here.

…still there’s more…