20130125-_MG_6649_Sapporo Safaris

Photos courtesy of Sapporo Safaris/Goh Liang Bao

First off, let me get something off my chest. The SCAPE Gallery is a horrible avenue for live rock music performance. No two ways about it – the sound was so harsh and unbalanced at the venue that I felt physically nauseous at times. Which is a pity because certainly the four bands that played at this gig deserved a much friendlier platform to showcase their music. But there you go…


Photos courtesy of Sapporo Safaris/Goh Liang Bao

Seyra – fresh from playing in India – opened the night with its contemporary folk-pop stylings which found an appreciative crowd early on. Whilst the ideas are interesting most of the time, the songwriting lacks a certain maturity to make the music truly memorable. Still a work in progress.


Photos courtesy of Sapporo Safaris/Goh Liang Bao

Which is probably the right descriptor for Ellipsis as well. Relatively new to the scene, the band appropriated a 90s Britrock-shoegaze vibe rather well, which when married to fairly strong tunes make for a intriguing proposition. That said, the drums were decidedly unsuitable for the songs – it was altogether too laid back when it should have been pile-driving and leading the songs instead. Still no denying the promise…

20130125-_MG_6517_The Sets Band

Photos courtesy of Sapporo Safaris/Goh Liang Bao

The Sets Band is probably one of the more experienced outfits on the bill and its confidence shone through well with its take on late 60s blues-rock agenda – think: Hendrix and Santana. Again, I felt that the drumming was a let down – and too much behind the beat that it was distracting. Still, the energy and overall groove signals The Sets Band as one to look out for.

20130125-_MG_6544_Sapporo Safaris

Photos courtesy of Sapporo Safaris/Goh Liang Bao

Finally, the main event had arrived and it’s easy to appreciate Sapporo Safaris‘ ambitious plans to earn their spurs in the local scene with an expansive sound that references The Arcade Fire, The Shins and Of Monsters and Men. With this in mind, there was no escaping the fact that whilst familiar phrases and motifs “Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh” were utilized to good effect, the repetition did make many of the songs sound the same. No argument with the thoughtful arrangements, when multi-part harmonies and trumpets become part of the soundscape, effectively. By all accounts, the band looked in good spirits and played many new songs which suggested that there is much life after the 4-track EP. Good news indeed for all S-ROCK fans.

If you missed the launch, you can catch Sapporo Safaris on Saturday night (2nd Feb) at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre.