Tag Archives: Plainsunset


Picture by Aloysius Lim

Apologies are in order cos this review should have been published at TODAY at least two weeks ago but for some reason – technical hitches etc – the article never appeared. And so, a much belated review of Plainsunset’s triumphant celebration of The Gift’s 10th Anniversary follows.

In 2015, Singapore will celebrate its 50th year of independence. Whilst clearly much has been written about the miraculous economic progress that the country has experienced, it might be argued that this success was achieved at the cost of Singapore’s artistic soul. But slowly but surely, that state of affairs is beginning to witness a sea change. Since the modest revival of Singapore-made rock music in the 1990s, only one band has lasted the course – weathering a break-up in the mid-2000s and the loss of a founding member to come on through the other side still as vibrant as ever and still as relevant to their loyal fans in 2014. That band, of course, is Plainsunset.




PLAINSUNSET is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of their 2003 release, THE GIFT, with a limited edition collector’s vinyl, cassette & a one-night only show on February 8th 2014 at TAB, where they will play THE GIFT in its entirety. Early bird tickets on sale (till 13 Jan) for $15 here (Standard price is $20). More information available at the Facebook Events page.




(Press release)

Snowbird Productions proudly presents “The Ataris: Live in Singapore”. This will be the exclusive first ever performance of legendary American punk rock band on local soil. This event will be held on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 from 7pm – 9.30pm at the Boiler Room, St James Power Station. Plainsunset and Rancour will be opening the show.



The line-up for this year’s Baybeats Festival (29 June to 1 July at the Esplanade) is decidedly Singapore-focused with 21 (!) local acts sharing the various stages with acts from Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan. The emphasis on Singapore acts befits the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Esplanade, a venue that has impacted the local music scene in a highly positive manner in the last decade.

So mark your calendars on the above dates and look out for Obedient Wives Club, For This Cycle, King King Jane, Black Diamond Folds, Godzilla, Rudra, Rachael Teo, ANECHOIS, Cashew Chemists, The Fast Colors, Embrace Them Ghosts, Great Spy Experiment, Plainsunset, Deon, MONSTER CAT, Pep Talk, Inch Chua & Metric System, Run Neon Tiger, Cockpit, A Town In Fear & In Each Hand a Cutlass.

An exciting time for the indie music scene beckons…


The first major rock festival this year arrives on our shores this weekend as The People’s Party takes place from 3pm to 10pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Looking at the wide array of bands, it’s comforting that the organizers have made it a point to spread the range of bands over several countries from local to regional to international. With top headliners like Metronomy, The Naked & Famous and Bombay Bicycle Club mixing it up with our very own Monster Cat, Plainsunset, The Analog Girl, Muon and In Each Hand A Cutlass, The People’s Party sounds like a groovy ground-breaking event not to be missed.

Tickets available at SISTIC.


Fred Perry Subculture Night – The Perfect Fifth at Zouk, Singapore

The fifth time worked the charm – and shamefully, it was my very first.

Fashion and music reunited once again for another night out in this city, this time around for Fred Perry, well-known for its laurel wreath, tip and tennis connection. Head-turning performing bands were all dolled up in their latest apparel, while striking their very own musical stuff onstage. It was good to see them drenched (applicable to both bands and apparels here).

The night of music opened up with We The Thousands, rocking it out like true progressive and alternative rockstars do, and it could not have been a better way to jumpstart the night and the mood of the show into. Anthems-arising, punchline-worthy and heartfelt emotions were delivered rocksteadily throughout their set, and it would not have been a complete We The Thousands set without the lads leaving us begging for more with a rockout and “dramatic” finale that involved some very active pouncing about the limited space stage.

The Lost Hat serenaded the mixed crowd of some foreigners and mostly hippies next. With samples and background of different musical instruments, they engaged the crowd more so with their charisma, clearly knowing and hitting on the right notes and spots that the audience were all just out to have a good ball of a Friday night time. Lead singer Faizal Bohtiar did his best in pouring out his feelings into the microphone and onto the stereos, and nothing beats that with a smart cap (probably from Fred Perry, too) and an accordion in hand. Some soulful singalong, accompanying handclaps and bodies swaying were infectiously caught on. The Lost Hat looked more than pleased to have worked and engaged the crowd in this way and manner they did.

Heavyweights Plainsunset rounded up the enjoyable night, and was the main reason for the attendance of many out there that night. How did I know that, you may ask? The lips motioning and singing along clearly and in sync with the lyrics of their songs, and the noticeable male fanatic standing directly below Jonathan Chan, messy hair-banging to every tune, whom was also namedropped collectively by the band members. This definitely comes with the many years of experience and being in the local music scene, which we all have to give kudos to the band for staying and sticking around for some long, in something we all know could be tougher than meets the eye and a constant struggle to find oneself in. To all Plainsunset fans that were not there, here’s something to get jealous about – they debuted a new track that they had been working on for the first time.

Thank you to all the bands that performed and lit up the stage that night – rounding up: We The Thousands, The Lost Hat and Plainsunset – and not forgetting, making it possible, Fred Perry. And thanks for the Fred’s Punch, a special cocktail concocted by 42 Below given freely throughout the night! We had a blast, and till the next time.




Tis a good time to be a S-ROCK fan! Especially this weekend as two significant events take place which spotlight the local talents we have in our very own indie music scene.

First up, on Friday 18th November, the fifth installment of Fred Perry Subculture Night goes down at Zouk from 8pm (doors open at 7.30pm) with We The Thousands, Lost Hat and punk vets Plainsunset. On Saturday, 19th November, the likes of In Each Hand A Cutlass (above), Ingride, Run Neon Tiger, Obedient Wives Club, Cheating Sons and Plainsunset (once again!) bring S-ROCK to Tiong Bahru Park for LEPA(R)K!

So there you go – take your pick or take it all – the choice is yours. Fly the flag, come on down, see you in the pit…




No, this is not another whinge about how poorly Singaporean bands/musicians are supported in their homeland. At least, it’s not intended to be. As the manager of Cheating Sons, I have witnessed first hand how a Singapore band is received outside of its own country and it is often disappointing to come home from that high to play to less than enthusiastic audiences.

In my 20s, there was barely a local music scene (other than cover bands) and bands/musicians were treated with some contempt as useless good-for-nothing slacker hooligans who should cut their hair and get a proper job. Much has changed of course and even the powers-that-be are beginning to recognize that rock bands who play original English music (S-ROCK) have a part to play in the development of a vibrant arts, cultural and entertainment scene in Singapore.

The dilemma is a classic chicken-and-egg situation. Local music fans are very brand-consious when it comes to music and obviously Singapore rock bands have no brand value at the moment. But in order to concoct an image and build up a repertoire that will achieve a substantial fan base, these bands must first be given a chance to shine, that is to say, Singaporean audiences would have to – in George Michael’s parlance – ‘listen without prejudice’.

And as wonderful as it is for us to have top notch foreign bands playing in Singapore, wouldn’t it be amazing for local music fans to be living in a vibrant music scene similar to that in Iceland or New York or London? Imagine if you had been able to watch U2 or Radiohead grow from a local band (in Dublin or Oxford, respectively) to an international act – wouldn’t that be something to be proud of or to brag about?

Seriously folks, music fandom is the most important component of a thriving music scene, more than bands/musicians, promoters or government organizations. Thus, if you are reading this and you are a music fan living in Singapore, I would entreat you to give S-ROCK a chance! You can do so by coming down to LEPA(R)K! at Tiong Bahru Park on Saturday, 19th November from 5pm to 10pm when bands like Plainsunset, Cheating Sons, In Each Hand A Cutlass, Obedient Wives Club, Ingride and Run Neon Tiger will be performing. Existing S-ROCK fans, I would encourage you to take on the mantle of S-ROCK evangelists and try to get as many people as humanly possible down to LEPA(R)K to celebrate and enjoy some great rock music. Let’s make sure that this will not be the only time that a CC supports a S-ROCK event. It’s all in your hands…

Admission is FREE.



Tonight was the night of wrap party for the Rock Your World series at Timbre @ Substation. I was looking forward to the good food and company. But apparently, apart from the bands performing I was the only invited musician that turned up. Wonder what that says about me. Sadly, the Groovy Persons who were supposed to come both couldn’t make it. Wonder what that says about me…probably nothing.


Whatever, nevermind. The food was excellent and one serving more or less satisfied my craving. The music was good with Jack and Rai, West Grand Boulevard and Plainsunset providing great acoustic entertainment. Jack complained about the nightmares he and Rai have been having trying to their album out. It’s been awhile and I hope and pray that the prolonged delay will be over soon so that I can get my grubby hands on a copy of In Stores Now. 

West Grand Boulevard is a popular rock band in Singapore and they are known for their energetic live sets. But tonight I saw another side of them that I really liked. Without the sound and fury, I could really appreciate the melodies of their material and loved the harmonies of Brian and Dharma. Good stuff. Plainsunset closed out the night with a clutch of their beloved tunes. Strictly Jon and Sham, Jon weathered the effects of the flu to turn in a competent vocal performance. You do know that the band has an album out now right? And you do know that its an essential purchase right? Course you do.

More than food and music, it was fun to chat with Danny Loong on some future musical plans and enjoying good conversation with Jon, a real gent and an asset to the Singapore music scene. The man has a solo show coming to the Esplanade Rectal Studio in July – more of that to come. A shout out as well to Jon Hemsley, Sameer and Ben and of course good ol’ Aloy. 

… and there’s more …


Now you may have read me complaining before about how inappropriate Zouk is as a venue for a rock show. And last night’s launch of Plainsunset’s instant classic of a new album was no different, sad to report. Despite all that, Plainsunset really did put on a ROCK SHOW! 

After 12 years together as a band, Plainsunset knows what it takes to entertain their devoted fan base. With Jon’s affable stage presence, flanked by Sham and Nizam’s kinetic energy and of course propelled by the indefatigable Ronny, who pummels the drum set so effortlessly – the powerful modern tuneful pop-punk that radiates from the quartet can get quite irresistible. The new songs were received with enthusiasm – Johari Window, Interference, River Song and Children – all lapped up by their adoring fans. 

But… almost by cue, once the band launched into an extended selection of their earlier old-school punk material, the body-surfing began in earnest! This is what the fans were waiting for and Zouk was converted into a Singapore indie mosh pit – a sight to behold! 

Even as the band closed out its encore with their signature song – Plainsunset – the buzz in the packed crowd was palpable as all agreed that they had witnessed a monumental gig – despite the technical sound glitches along the way – the strong stench of sweaty bodies permeated the club as the throng made its way outdoors. A magical night – made all the more enjoyable by great company – Mike, Song, Fir, Audie, Josh, Jon, Iain and so on. Thanks also to the WakeMeUp guys viz, Esmond, John, Jon, Sameer for making it possible for Power of Pop to be a part of Singapore music history in the making…

Pix by Fir.


PLAINSUNSET Self-titled (Wake Me Up Music/Universal)

I must say, right off the bat, that it has been an absolute pleasure reviewing this album. Honestly, it has been on heavy rotation on my iPOD since I received the advance tracks weeks ago and it has been loads of fun. So, here’s the play by play review.

Johari Window

A magnificent 6-minute opening introduction to the “new” Plainsunset. Eschewing its punk-pop roots, PS plunges into a throbbing amalgam of New Order, Weezer and Switchfoot that grabs your attention and never lets go, despite its length. You’re gonna be bopping.


Remarkably, PS ups the ante with this thoughtful rocker and a chorus that will have all and sundry singing along – “Who are we to interfere with you/Interfere with me/Interference”. Indeed. 

De Oppresso Liber

The mark of a first class songwriter – choruses that hook the listener and then reel them in. The chorus here is reminiscent of one of my favorite bands viz. Watashi Wa (a defunct Tooth and Nail band) and is strong enough to run and run. No mean achievement.


… and the hits keep on comin’ – Children is probably the song I go to the most on this album. It’s a mid-tempo beauty with yet another killer chorus and a wonderfully controlled vocal performance from Jon Chan. And the sweet dedication at the end is the icing on the cake…


Unusually, one of the weaker tracks here finds PS attempting a more classic rock sound. Doesn’t quite work out, guys. I appreciate eclecticism but the experiment doesn’t pan out.

Song of Achilles

… but here’s an experiment that does succeed. Progressive-punk is probably an unwieldy description but great instrumental performance from the band. Kudos to Jon, Sham, Nizam and Rony!) Debuted live at Baybeats 2007, it’s an inventive and interesting track.

River Song

Simply lovely. A song about the Singapore River. Hopefully, one day, this will be a National Day song. Dreamy and blissfully melodic. A nice change of pace to most of this rollicking album.

Postcards from Paradise

A little too much emo-punk by-the-numbers with a thin melodic line that doesn’t quite leave any mark.

Sweetest Nothings

I like this! Slightly folk-rock-centric with its twangy guitar and mannered vocal. Again, the tune could have done with beefing up but the overall vibe is pleasing.

Greatest Days

And so the boys end this heady trip with a back-to-basics punk pop hammering that will certain get the “indie” kids moshing! Good energy and attitude – old school style…

In the final analysis, one could safely say that PS has “re-invented” itself to suit modern times and has succeeded gloriously. Over the course of these 10 tracks, there are hiccups and missteps but all relatively minor when held up to the power of the many many highlights found here. It may be a cliche to declare that Plainsunset is an essential album for all fans of the Singapore music scene.

But it’s the honest-to-goodness truth