Photo credit: Dawn Chua

Always a boon when given the opportunity to catch Singapore rockers in their element. AND when a good cause is the rationale behind the music event then it is time to pause and consider exactly what that cause is. For the organizers, it’s simple and clear.

Through our event, we hope to generate awareness among youths and reduce the stigma associated with people living with HIV/AIDS. Its time to change our perspectives and #RethinkAIDS!

Well and good. But what are the means by which such message is communicated. Apart from the bands in general bantering awkwardly about this (seriously, just play the music), there was a music video starring The Sam Willows and ShiGGa Shay urging youths to practise safe sex (appropriately enough, Durex is a sponsor). The conservative amongst you might think that abstinence should be promoted but that wasn’t even realistic in the 70s when I was a teenager never mind, 2014!

For me, the event (held at the wonderful Beep Studios) was about the bands and in that respect, overall it was two thumbs up! I missed Aspectrum but managed to get Cashew Chemists run though their refreshing classic pop-rock material. The band debuted new material which kept things interesting. A good thing because some of the older songs are beginning to wear ever so slightly.

The Summer State seemed out of sorts, somewhat. Although I have never been utterly convinced by their “pop-punk” agenda (such as it is), there’s no denying their tight musicianship and singer Bryan Sta Maria’s efforts to connect with the audience. Genuine crowd pleasers that I hope one day will develop a pop-rock writing sensibility. But that’s just my opinion.

Sphaeras‘ set was hit and miss but when they delivered, it was something to behold with new track, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” was fairly convincing math-rock. With more fine-tuning, the band can go far in instrumental rock circles. Pleasantry, as usual, thrilled the crowd with its well-crafted melodic tunes (“False Realities” and “Swan Song” were outstanding) and with her bangs and outfit, singer Samantha Teng came across like a very cool 60s girl. I imagine the band would go down like gangbusters at an overseas festival. A great live experience always.

Last but not least, of course, A Vacant Affair, now veterans of the #sgindie scene possessed a humble swagger and quiet assurance that they are a band on top of its game. The band’s brand of melodic hardcore is rooted in a heartfelt desire to connect with its audience. The singalongs, the moshing and brash adulation of the crowd were proof that AVA achieved its goal effortlessly. New songs sounded promising and hopefully, the band will give us recorded versions pretty soon.

... still there’s come … 


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