HOUSE OF RIOT: INCH, THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT & CHARLIE LIM – SINGAPORE ROCK COMES OF AGE!

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Well you turn when I talk/Run when I walk/Rise when I fall/Burn when I shiver/Smile when I frown/Go when I come around/You twist when I shout/In when I’m out/There when I’m here/Why do I bother?/Laugh when I’m down/Whine when I make a sound

I didn’t realise how much I would be affected by The Great Spy Experiment’s swan song performance until I sang along to “The Great Decay” and I lost it – the tears rolled freely and all the precious memories flooded into my mind.

One of many emotional high points of House of Riot’s ambitious concert to put Singapore indie music where it belongs – in the mainstream. How else to describe a concert at a packed out Esplanade Concert Hall where I failed to recognise the majority of the audience? This was no longer an underground movement, this was a Singapore audience doing something never done before, paying hard-earned money for SINGAPORE acts playing at arguably one of the best (and most prestigious) concert venues on the island!

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iNCH opened the night, resplendent in a cape playing familiar tunes (“Chefalo Knot”, “The Artful Dodger” & a spine-tingling “Dear Paramour”) and a couple of new tunes (“Lyre Lyre, Hearts on Fyre” was particularly affecting). It was clear that the enormity of the night’s achievement was also weighing on iNCH as paid an emotional tribute to those who had been supporting her music since 2009. It was a victorious comeback for the petite singer-songwriter, with a new EP due in September.

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Hard to believe that the GSE are no more but all things must pass and surely, there could be no better way for this Singapore indie rock institution to say goodbye! It has been eight years since I first thrilled to their music and tonight the songs seemed stronger and grander – from “Late Nite Request” to “Class ‘A’ Love Affair” – it was an emotional farewell. It was a proper Singapore rock send-off in a venue more suited for classical music, which in itself was so symbolic. An unforgettable performance from a beloved S-ROCK band. Thank you and love always – Saiful, Fandy, Mag, Khai and Song!

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And finally, Charlie Lim  – surely, the brightest hope for Singapore rock. Backed by the Mothership, Charlie played tracks off his hit new double EP Time/Space with aplomb and finesse. Personally, I favour the folk-rock majesties of “Light Break In” (kudos to the string section of Lisa Haryono, Josh Wei and Kim Eun Hyung), “Choices” and “Bitter” where Charlie’s heartfelt lyrics are expressed in rustic tones but my new favourite “I Only Tell the Truth” (this time with Charlie on keyboards) also provided a memorable ‘lump-in-throat’ moment. Triumphant!

The audience stayed behind as Riot chief honcho Mike See took time to appreciate everyone who played a part in the magnificent venture. It was heart-warming to see a primarily mainstream audience giving a standing ovation to a group of Singapore indie artists (and I include managers and crew into that description) and receiving the deserved recognition that has for so long been denied. Mike rightfully described the success of the event as historical – those of us who remember the scene of a decade ago would have never imagined the scenario which unfolded before our very eyes. But tonight on June 6th 2015, Singapore rock came of age.

… still there’s more … 

 

HOUSE OF RIOT WITH CHARLIE LIM, INCH & THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT!

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On 6 June, House of Riot – home to Singapore’s well-loved independent acts, Charlie Lim, iNCH, and The Great Spy Experiment – presents an ambitious live show in homage to made-in-Singapore music, at The Esplanade’s grande dame The Concert Hall.

#sgindie music at the Esplanade Concert Hall? Somewhat unprecedented but surely the potentially record-breaking triple bill stands perfectly placed to do the deed.

Tickets for the Riot show are now on sale at SISTIC, and priced at S$50 for normal admission; S$40 for students and NSFs.

S-ROCK FLASHBACK! THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT (2007)

An interview with one of Singapore’s finest, The Great Spy Experiment, for the STASIS 10 event. From 2007.

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Do I really need to introduce this band? Suffice to say that GSE is/was the band of 2007. Take it away…

2007 was a good year for GSE – any particular high point that sticks in the mind?

Fandy: The US trips definitely and of course the release of the album after sooooooo long. The album marks a milestone in our otherwise mundane lives as rockstar wannabes. heh.

Saiful: Ditto. But there were also a couple of local gigs which won’t be forgotten for a while, like TPRawks (TPRiots!), Lime Sonic Bang, ZoukOut, Junk Launch, etc. This year we’re starting to see more and more people dancing and singing along at our gigs, and that for me is a huge highlight. We’ve also met some really wonderful people along the way, fans who’ve become friends because of our common passion for music. Yup, it’s been a good year indeed.

What plans does GSE have for 2008?

Fandy: A music video, a concert, several marriages hopefully and a second album.

Saiful: Several marriages?? In one year?? Haha.. Not likely. But the rest, for sure. And if possible, a regional tour for fans in neighbouring countries.

What can fans hope to see from GSE at Stasis 10?

Fandy: The usual champagne fuelled orgy lor.

What expectations do you have for the local scene in 2008?

Fandy: I expect more bands to surface from the abyss, each one better than the one before. I also think there will be more opportunities for bands to showcase with a lot more support from the media and people in general.

Saiful: I’d like to see our local bands break into television. Also, there are a couple of albums due our next year that I’m really looking forward to – I just hope that the general public would show their love for local bands and go out and buy these albums.

Which band are you looking forward to see in Stasis 10 and why?

Fandy: B-quartet. Why? Do i need to say why??

Saiful: Same, but I will say why. Because they’re brilliant.

Now, we understand that GSE will be playing again very soon – in June in fact …

… still there’s more … 

THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT – LITMUS [REVIEW]

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Six years in the making, the sophomore effort of The Great Spy Experiment arrives with the band a completely different entity to what it was when I first met Saiful, Fandy, Song, Khai and Mag in the rehearsals for Singapore Day in 2007. Interim period has seen marriages, children and daily challenges with the ubiquitous work-life balance. Factor in the creative musical need of recording artists and things no doubt become complicated.

Continue reading “THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT – LITMUS [REVIEW]”

THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT’S NEW SINGLE “IN THE SUN” AVAILABLE ON ITUNES 21 JAN 13

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(Universal Music Press Release)

Singapore’s indie darlings, The Great Spy Experiment will be releasing a brand new song on iTunes on Monday, 21 January 2013. Introducing the lead single “In The Sun” from the highly anticipated album Litmus.

“In the Sun” is a song that means a great deal to pretty much every member of the band, though in rather different ways. The premise is simple enough – in essence, it’s about escaping into the mind and to a particularly fond memory (in this instance, of days spent on the quiet Las Cabanas beach in the Philippines). But there’s something so raw and penetrating about the song that brings the listener to a place deeper within – to that place in the mind when unfulfilled wishes reside, to a place of yearning, and to a past perfect love.

The single will be available for download on iTunes from 21 January 2013. More details on ‘Litmus’ will be announced soon.

 

UP TO THE SKY FESTIVAL

We are one day away from this unique indie music festival that features both regional and international acts in equal measure. A rarity in itself on our shores. On that count alone, Up To The Sky Festival at Old School may be the kind of indie music festival that will be more ubiquitous in the years ahead as the stature of regional bands grow surely but steadily.

Check out the exciting schedule below: –

MAIN STAGE

11:30am Gates open

11:30am-12:30pm They Will Kill Us All

1:00 – 2:00pm Sore

2:30 -3:30pm The Trees and The Wild

4:00-5:00pm White Shoes and The Couples Company

5:30-6:30pm The Great Spy Experiment

7:00-8:00pm Chad Valley

8:30 – 9:30pm Deerhoof

10:00-11:00pm Mogwai (DJ Set)

MACKIE ACOUSTIC STAGE

12:30 – 1:15pm Little Fox

1:45 – 2:30pm 9Maps

3:00 – 3:45pm Cambodian Space Project

4:15 – 5:00pm Bani Haykal

5:30-6:15pm Muon

6:45-7:30pm Tenderfist

8:00-8:45pm Zebra and Snake

As you can well see, there’s enough excellent indie music here to satisfy almost every taste or whim. In addition, the festival will also feature video screenings and art exhibitions. More information at the Official Site.

Get your tickets now.