Inevitably for me, Day Three of most year’s Baybeats tend to be a little anti-climatic. After the hustle and bustle of the first two days, fatigue sets in and it has not been uncommon for me to sometimes entirely miss Day Three. So with that in mind, I decided to focus on the performances going on at the Chillout Stage (the Concourse) and found the experience thoroughly enlightening!
Pitch Feather delivered high gloss renditions of its excellent debut album – Mountains and Tides – singer Alberta Leong has an appealing voice that embellishes the band’s luscious take on 70s folk music that very quickly endeared them to the rapt audience. Considering this was the band’s very first live performance, there were nerves and a couple of errors but nothing fatal. Would love to see Pitch Feather develop further in the local indie scene.
.gif provide a polar opposite to Pitch Feather’s rustic warm tones with an electro-pop set that once again showcased the vocal talents of Weish. It was instructional as usual to see Weish construct ambient sounds from her vocals to utilize backings for the songs. Far from being cold constructs, the songs seemed vaguely personal as colours and shapes filled the room (figuratively, of course).
Pixel Apartment (aka Jordan Chia) was a sheer delight – both soulfully and intellectually. Operating his one man band (complete with video!) with the main focus on grand piano, Jordan provided a pleasing set which showcased his skills with electronics as well as songwriting. That said, perhaps the high point was Jordan’s wonderful cover of “What Sarah Said” (Death Cab for Cutie) sympathetically played on the piano. Yet another local musician with loads of talent!
And that was Day Three for me. Well satisfied with the slate of promising local musicians enough to believe that the future of the Singapore indie music scene is indeed bright! Thanks again to all the cool people I ran into today and once again to the Esplanade for putting together another first rate Baybeats Festival!
Typically, I find that the second day of Baybeats is the best of the Festival. I guess it’s part of the programming being on a Saturday and all that. But for me personally, it was day of discovery as well as pride in our local musicians (now, that’s a cause I really get behind!)
It began with lunch with Sean and Dee from Ssighborggg – two expat Americans making a name for themselves in the Seoul indie scene. As always, with music people there is an inexplicable connection that I never take for granted. Fun-loving and humble the duo might be but dead serious when it comes to their music as proven with their distinctive set later that night. One of the most unique aural experiences I have ever had. Kudos!
The absolute highlight for me was the performance of my former NOISE mentees ENEC.E at the Concourse and naturally I was emotionally invested. Just so you know, it was love at first sight with the songs and sisterly harmonies of Lisa and Michelle when I heard them at Thunder Band Slam and I have been a fan since. The stripped down environment suited them somewhat with more emphasis on vocals and ‘feels’ (as the kids like to say) – I must confess that I welled up quite a few times during their spine-tingling set (“Ghost”, “Satellite” & “Crystallized” OMG). Magic!
Lost Weekend – like a few budding bands – had to handle rejection the first time it tried out but the group never gave up and came back stronger. I liked the eclecticism within the band’s early 90s alt-rock vibe and certainly Rachel did her best to capture the crowd’s attention – which she did. Some of the banter was a little awkward, and the band could have been tighter but my feeling is that Lost Weekend is a work-in-progress and that once they hit their stride, they are going to take some stopping. Mark my words!!
Now what can I say about Bani Hidir? I still remember marveling at his drumming skills with the immortal B-Quartet back in 2007-2008 (barely 20 years old) and then falling in love with Page (wherein he sang and played crunching power chords) but last night he impressed the Concourse audience with a set that showcased sophisticated songwriting, mad skills and a boyish confidence that charmed us all! Backed only by the impeccable Naz on piano, Hidir blew everyone away with his seemingly effortless display! So glad that he will be releasing an EP of his new material very soon. Best!
One regional band I was really looking forward to was lightcraft (Indonesia) and they certainly did not disappoint. It was basically unadulterated 90s shoegaze with a hint of the post-punk revival peeping over the reverb-drenched soundscapes. Heavenly! Frontman Imam was intense and driving the band forward with 150% commitment – some of his banter was really emotional and despite the odd technical hitches, the band melted my face many times over. With an epic new song – “The Art of Acceptance” – sweeping me away with waves of white noise I was hypnotized! Best part was that after the show, Imam came up to me and passed me the band’s latest CD – Colours of Joy – humbled! (Glowing review to come…)
Somehow it all came full circle with Inch. My very first Baybeats in 2007 was spent very much hanging out with Allura and living the experience through the eyes of someone like Inch. Hard to imagine how much she has grown up to become the very person she said she would be way back then. Amazing. PoP readers will know how much I loved her sophomore solo effort Bumfuzzle, and “Dear Paramour” had me in tears with the chills running down my spine (not to mention, new song “California”). With a crack band of musicians behind her, Inch ruled the roost and had the audience eating out of her hands – again all I could feel was pride and gratitude for being given the best view in the house for the ongoing development of our indie music scene!
Once again, this post has been personal and confessional and well, nostalgic but honestly I don’t give a fuck. It’s my website and I’ll cry if I want to…
My final word on Day Two goes to Leonard Soosay. Again, I recall chatting with him at that 2007 Baybeats Festival and regret certainly not spending more time with the man since then – he is truly one of the leading legends of our indie music scene when you consider the sheer number of bands and artists he has shepherded in his time as one of our top producers and I really enjoyed our short but insightful chat last night. Something I hope to rectify in the near future – what say you, Leo???