Saturday, January 31, 2015

Review: Laneway Festival Singapore 2015

I am pleased that I was able to attend my third Laneway in Singapore this year. This time, it was bigger and better. A sold-out event with the estimated crowd of 13,000 with a lot of great performances from great bands throughout.

Here is the list of all acts I've seen. Ranked all the way down to the best act of the event. (I missed Chet Faker and some from Cloud Stage, though. Too bad.)

13. Enterprise

One improvement I've made over the past 3 years: managed to catch the first band to play at Laneway (missed Kings of Convenience and Vance Joy before). And I'm proud it was Malaysians in the form of Enterprise.

12. Eagulls
And then came this post-punk band from UK, Eagulls. The positive warm-up continued. A good set after Enterprise. 2 out of 2.

11. Courtney Barnett
This girl wowed the crowd with her voice and movements on stage, in the plainest clothes you'll ever see from a female vocalist. Reminded me of Juliet Simms sans all those accessories on her.

10. St. Vincent
I only managed to catch this set briefly before I walked off the venue. Her presence alone amazed me before she started playing her guitar. From what I heard, her performance was good. That hair and dress? A+

Oh another achievement unlocked: didn't miss the last act of Laneway (missed Gotye and James Blake in last editions).

9. Jungle

So the hype about Jungle is true. They moved the crowd with their groove and fun music. They funked them up. I can see that from far. The set was lively.

8. FKA Twigs

Another hype proven not just a hype. FKA Twigs. She sang, danced and mesmerized her Robert Pattinson fans and haters.

7. Angus and Julia Stone

The relaxing set from the siblings. A needed temporary departure from rocking tunes of Pond, Eagulls and Courtney Barnett sets earlier. Sing-alongs from the crowd made it a beautiful scene at The Gardens by The Bay.

6.Future Islands

Best individual performance of the night by a vocalist in a band. Energetic. Holy shit. What the hell...

5. Mac Demarco
Viceroy ambassador, Mac Demarco. Jokes, banters, cigarettes, cigarette on guitar, crowd-surfing, Coldplay's Yellow cover and some anthems sung-along. He rocked.

4. Banks

Failing to watch her set in full at Good Vibes last year, I could not miss her this time around. She sounded better and looked sexier! Her hand movements on stage is the runner-up to Future Islands vocalist's Best Individual Performance. Her neck... God!

3. Little Dragon

They enlightened the night with some great electronic music + lightsaber powers! The outro of some of their songs were just brilliant. I danced. Sounded better than Chvrches here last year. There I said it.

2. Pond
No wonder why the crowd went quick to fill up the floor to see this band. Pond is the surprise hit of the day! Slotted earlier in the day didn't mean they are smaller than others. Their dynamism was constant and their set was tight. I should have ranked this band down there at No. 1. But... oh well,...

1. Royal Blood

...Royal Blood is the best rock band I've seen at Laneway Singapore. There were mosh pit and scene. Was this Laneway? They played all the songs from their great debut album (what else?) but still, it was bloody royal and tight! They may have paced-down some of the songs but that was the only point that disappoints. Nevertheless, they were still sound great the entire time. Just two guys on stage making heavy sounds like there are 4 or 5 of them in a band. Kudos, Royal Blood!

Urbanscapes 2014 @ Genting Highlands

I would like to share with you 10 best things about Urbanscapes 2014 at Genting Highlands (because man, I like to do lists!):

Starting with number...

10. The venue.

This year's edition of Urbanscapes was held at Genting Highlands, another new site chosen after Serdang and Padang Astaka. I loved it! Why? It was quite near from my home. And the parking area was okay and provided for FREE! A little financial improvement from last years.

And still got the signature mud.

9. Side activities

I played ping pong, I drew, I ran through a brief rain, I played games organized by Nando's and got rewarded. One thing for sure, comparing to last Urbanscapeses, this year I did a lot of things besides enjoying live performances.

8. The Lemonheads

Seeing this 90s music sounding bit like Oasis was a pleasure.

7. Biji-Biji 

An area was reserved for Biji-Biji to showcase their creative inventions. There was a cool idea where I got to trade my healthy sweat (biking) for a sight of green liquid getting ejected from a water tower.

6. Food and beverages

San Francisco Coffee's buy 1 free 1 beverage promo. Nando's rewarding free meal vouchers via games. Nuff said.

5. North Bangsar

New thing I discovered at Urbanscapes. It got Borat-like Jon Mayer, funny signboards, cartoonist Zunar getting jailed and... Pony Eusoff.

4. Kimbra

I saw her last two years at Singapore and this time around I got to see her performing some songs from her new wicked album 'The Golden Echo'. Energetic as usual. The dress was so Kimbra.

3. Upfront Stage

Like last year at Serdang, I fell in love with the amazing Upfront Stage as it continued serving superb live sets with great sound and lighting system. I love it more than any other stage! Maybe I just love indoor-like stage and I have this belief that the smaller the venue and closer you are to the music, the better live music experience you would get. Too bad I only saw a few acts there; Cashew Chemists, Ali Aiman and... I'll tell you later.

2. Local Natives

Urbanscapes has this habit of introducing cool new music to me. And I have this habit of liking to discover new music and bands. I never heard any Local Natives' music before so I was skeptical about this unknown band they brought to the event. Well, now I am thankful to the crew I have seen one of the best live performing acts this year. Everything was moving on and off the stage. With an excellent Talking Heads cover performed alongside their owns, Local Natives were one of the magics which happened that night.

1. Jagwar Ma

Jagwar Ma! The last band I saw on Upfront Stage and boy, it was THE highlight of the event, for me. The band, the music, the crowd, the set-up (well, it's Upfront Stage! It can't do wrong.) and everything else about this performance were perfect. Perfect in the form of 10/10! So tight and mind-blowing.