IGNITE! Music Festival

with Weish, Enecdote, Take Cover, Bear Culture, The Sam Willows, The Summer State, Arajua, Youthwreck, We The Thousands, Barricade, The Sets Band, Tiramisu, West Grand Boulevard, A Vacant Affair, Caracal

Republic Polytechnic Lawn
23-24 August 2013

Photos by Jared Rezel

Two Seas ‘I Will See You In Empty Spaces’ EP Launch @ Aliwal Arts Centre (17.08.13)

Having reviewed Two Seas’ debut EP, I Will See You In Empty Spaces (and oh, what a beautiful work of art it is!) earlier this month, we headed down for the EP’s launch last weekend.

The party was at Aliwal Arts Centre — a quaint location — and the lineup for the night was an unforgettable one. Atlas, 7nightsatsea, A N E C H O I S and For Better Endings were invited as special guests to celebrate the launch.

Guests were greeted at the door by a lovely merch booth filled with t-shirts of the performing bands. Entry was $12, which included the band’s EP – a steal considering the acts that were taking the stage. Entering the performance hall, the set up was simple – a cosy stage for the bands, with a backdrop for visuals consisting of old Disney cartoons, aquariums and jellyfish.

Atlas wasted no time in kicking the night off. Despite a minor setback due to technical difficulties (this is where a band armed with a couple of jokes can win the hearts of many), in the beginning, the band filled the venue with solemn ambient music as the crowd started filling up the place.

The band which was formed in early 2011, describes their music as indie-experimental-ambient. Mixing ambient guitar riffs, math rock asymmetrical time signatures and frontwoman, Catherine’s powerful, soulful vocals, watching the band live was a spectacle.

Combining 3 songs with smooth musical interludes which assisted in the transitions between the songs, Atlas wrapped up their set with two new songs, ‘Treading Softly In the  Half Light’ and ‘Attracted Dynamics’ that incorporated heavier electronic elements which made it difficult to resist dancing/grooving to them.

While waiting for the next act (7nightsatsea) to get ready, the audience, consisting largely of fans and friends of the several bands, mingled, bought merchandise and took in a breath of fresh air, to prepare themselves for the rest of the night.

7nightsatsea, a four-piece post rock outfit, took to the stage with a powerful, impactful opening that got the band several nods of appreciation and approval from the crowd. A constant from the band were their heavy,sharp guitar riffs, the dark, melodic grooves in their songs that slowly build up, albeit some quietening down towards the breakdowns and then back to the building up till the whole band explodes with a fury on guitars and drums.

The band’s setlist included the songs, ‘Fajr’, ‘Quiver’ and their last song, ‘Trailing Ghosts’ which garnered cheers from the crowd as the lights went down, marking the end of the set. As the song slowed down, the band wanted the audience to know that they were not finished just yet. An immediate harder sound came in showing the both the band’s heart and energy, giving the audience one last burst with everything they’ve got.

Following that, A N E C H O I S  took to the stage and brightened up the mood with their song, ‘Love & Serenity’ which had a happier sound. The band, which has toured Philippines, brought a different type of post rock to the night. A more progressive sound complimented by their impressive instrumental prowess.

For their song, ‘Out & About’, the band got audience members to clap along and be part of the delivery of the song. ‘Wraith’ one of the songs from their sold out EP, A Shadow Of Sound. New songs such as ‘Future’, ‘Circles’ where frontman, Zeek, invited Ilya of Elskur to accompany him on vocals, and ‘Emmastoned’ which had the sweetest lyrics by far, were all part of the band’s presentation as well.

A distinct change in the overall sound of the night came in the form of For Better Endings. This hardcore band does not mess around and they mean serious business. With an unmistakable air of energy, the band was not afraid to be….. too loud. Starting things off with their song, ‘Curtain Call’, in which vocalist, Damian, describes as “A song about kids trying to live their dreams.”, the band threw the crowd into a frenzy.

With this being their last local show for a very long time, this band, which does not believe in being confined to a stage, gave audience members a welcomed heart attack in the form of intense structured chaos.

Finally, the host of the evening, Two Seas, kicked off their last show, with an interesting entrance, and expressed gratitude to the many people who were involved in making the band, the EP and the event such a success. Frontman, Jerald also thanked the bands that performed and it was a pleasure for them to have such amazing local acts, gracing their EP launch.

Opening the set with tracks of their EP, we could see the influences the band drew their experimental sound from. Two Seas played a new song which had a gentler sound. A farewell and appreciation video by close friends and the rest of the band for the two guitarists, Darren and Zachariah, was shown much to the guitarists’ surprise.

Following the heartfelt video, the band played a beatiful acoustic ballad and then went out to play a couple more of their songs as a full band. Two Seas ended the amazing night with their song, ‘Glassmouth’, the first song they wrote together as a band.

It was a sad farewell to the band from fans and friends alike. Two Seas was a band that was irreplaceable but we are still optimistic to see what the future holds for the remaining band members. As well as with the local acts that night, we can safely say that Singapore’s music scene is blooming and we are definitely looking forward to hearing more from them.

By Irfan Margono

How to write a worksheet: Pairs in Hong Kong

Mid September, Pairs are headed to Hong Kong to do two shows at Saffron On The Peak, HQ of Metal Postcard Records. I’ve put together the line ups for both shows, with quite a bit of help from Arthur from Tigerbombers.

Now that everything is confirmed, I sent out an email to the venue and the performers with a bunch of info that I thought was relevant. I’ve harped on before about how venues here don’t send out worksheets, so thought I’d post something that I actually use. I don’t do this for all shows, but most — and I’m not saying this is the best way (kind of am, though) or the only way to communicate with bands, but I do think that it can help put people on the same page and let them know what’s happening, so that people aren’t rocking up to play thinking they can put their fifteen friends on the door, or that they are getting paid a few thousand, or that all the promotion will be done for them.

Take from this what you will, ignore, adapt, change — whatever.

Hey guys,

Thanks so much for agreeing to play with us on the weekend of September 14th and 15th. We’re really excited to come back and stoked we can play with all you good heads.
Here’s the info. If you have any issues with whatever, don’t be a shy guy, let us know. I run a pretty tight ship show wise but I’m open to suggestions.

TIMES
Before you read the set times, let it be known that I’m king jerk with this. Stick to your times, please, please, please.

Saturday:
9.00pm – Doors open
9.10pm – 9.40pm – Snoblind
9.55pm – 10.25pm – Ponyboy
10.40pm – 11.10pm – Tigerbombers
11.20pm – 12.00pm – Pairs

Sunday:
3.00pm – Doors open
3.05pm 3.35pm – Bloodcult
3.50pm – 4.20pm – Laura Palmer
4.30pm – 5.10pm – Pairs

Sunday afternoon one is tough because we have a flight that evening so need to leave on time.

SOUNDCHECKS
Times coming soon, a bit closer to the date.

BACKLINE
Gretsch Drum kit
Fender guitar amp
vox guitar amp
ampeg svu bass amp + Cabinet
Theramin
mics and mic stand X 2
NO DI BOXES provided
mix desk has 8 channels

PAYMENT
Both nights will be $55 entry. On Sunday it will be $30 for those under 21 (ID required). It was my idea to keep it as low as possible because fuck expensive shows. Would prefer more people can come and enjoy whatever the night has to offer. Sean has been awesome at accommodating my anti-business idea and will most likely be running this show as a loss.
You won’t get paid a lot, maybe a couple of hundred. We’ll divide the door up evenly and fairly.
But I will make it up to you with love and doing interviews for my blog and helping spread your tunes around where possible.

DOOR SPOTS
1 per member. This is my idea. I’m not a fan of door spots but know how often people ask to be on the door. It’s easier to just say ‘sorry, Pairs are jerks and are only giving us plus one and so my girlfriend/boyfriend is coming.’ Anyway, 1 per member.

PROMOTION
Poster is attached. Share it around where you will. Totes up to you.
Here is the Facebook event. If you want to be a moderator, let me know!
https://www.facebook.com/events/619057024806212/
I’ll be updating it as time goes on.
We’ve organised a radio spot on the Saturday to help plug the show. If you have any friends who write blogs / magazines / radio shows / websites / whatever, please let them know the shows are on and that Pairs are more than happy to do any interviews or press.
Of course, word of mouth is always the best! The more people you tell (don’t pressure or bully!)

FREE DRINKS
More info on that closer to the show.

COMMUNICATION
Keep me in the loop with what is happening and if we can help and all that shit. Anything, just drop us a line. A good night is one where everyone knows what’s happening and can relax and party and what not.

LOVE
Again, awesome we get to play with all you guys and hang out on a mountain. We’re really looking forward to it!
Any questions, comments, suggestions, hatred – just shoot me back an email and all will be good.

Thanks again!
Love always,
xxoo

By Xiao Zhong
Guest writer, Slink Rat

Pairs will be playing the following shows throughout China, Hong Kong, and Korea this September and October:

13/9 – Guangzhou
14/9 – Saffron On The Peak, Hong Kong
15/9 – Saffron On The Peak (afternoon show), Hong Kong
1/10 – Strange Fruit, Seoul, Korea
2/10 – Radio Star, Jeonju, Korea
3/10 – Horus Music Garage, Daegu, Korea
4/10 – Basement, Busan, Korea
5/10 – Freebird, Seoul, Korea

Metallica @ Changi Exhibition Centre (24.08.13)

It’s testament to a band’s fanbase when they can, without having it sounding like pompous exaggeration, use a song that speaks with increasingly bombastic metaphors about how epic their show will be to open every single one of their concerts. Shredding and rocking out to a crowd of over 30,000 — an unprecedented number and a historic moment in Singapore gig history (Singapore Indoor Stadium only holds 11,000) — Metallica scratched the itch to Hit the Lights that Singaporeans have had for two decades.

Another departure from the norm, Metallica had two opening bands, because that much hype needed to be built up. In fact, the whole set-up felt almost festival-like, down to the surprisingly delicious food being sold on location. Opening band The Sacrilege was up first, almost three hours before Metallica took the stage. An odd choice, as they appear to have almost no history at all in the local scene, the only trace of them online being a Facebook page created half a week before the concert. Cover songs like ‘Hysteria’ by Muse were played, to a crowd that seemed more interested in their food than the band.

The second opening band were old-timers Anvil, another odd choice, but for quite the opposite reason; they deserved to have a headlining show of their own! It was a pity watching Anvil perform to a mostly unethused crowd that was really just there for Metallica. A fair number of the older crowd were clearly acquainted with them, though, shouting along to tracks like ‘666’ and ‘Metal on Metal’, and there were definitely more than a few mosh pits to go around. Steve Kudlow pulled out all the stops in his performance, with wacky antics like using his guitar pickups as a microphone (which this writer had no clue was possible). At one point, Steve took out a vibrator, eliciting a roar of laughter from the crowd, and proceeded to alternate using it both as a capo and as a pick.

It was a good hour after Anvil left the stage before Metallica finally took to it. The crowd cheered wildly every time there was a hint that the band might be taking the stage — there were a fair number of false alarms. But when ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ started echoing the venue, and the projectors spat out the scene from ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’, the crowd went completely ballistic.

From anthemic ‘Hit the Lights’, to the peerless ‘Master of Puppets’, and the face-melting ‘Ride the Lightning’, Metallica threw out heavy hit after heavy hit with no remorse. And it’s a good thing they did so early, because the audience were noticeably running out of steam before they reached even the halfway mark. Right on cue, the band slowed straight down, playing their mellower, less mosh-able songs, like ‘Welcome Home (Sanitarium)’ and ‘…And Justice for All’, giving the audience some time to recharge and recuperate.

Anyone who has ever watched Metallica’s live videos would have recognized their sprawling dual-level stage, reproduced almost identically sans exploding balls of fire (likely due to a government regulation of some sort, for the band has had them for most of their concerts on this very tour). And it showed, for they looked right at home on stage as they bounded from one part of the stage to the other. Despite having a slightly different set-list at every show, Metallica still pulled off the entire night without skipping a beat.

And what’s a heavy metal concert without booming sound? The acoustics at Changi Exhibition Centre were spot on — and it was loud. Yours truly can still hear his ears ringing two days after the concert. The only complaint would be a decidedly recessed bass during Metallica’s set, which seemed like an overcompensation after the ridiculous bass during Anvil’s set that, I kid you not, one could feel reverberating through the entire body.

Even as the band exited after ‘Enter Sandman’, the crowd’s chants brought them straight back for a 3-song encor. Hetfield echoed the audience’s sentiments, saying, “We’ve waited 20 years for this. We don’t want more. We NEED more.” Two songs into the encore set, James made a show of pretending to leave the stage, motioning that they had run out of time, much to the chagrin of the audience. But he returned anyway, for a final song of ‘Seek and Destroy’ off their very first album of Kill ‘em All. Metallica-branded beach balls dropped from the sky as they started their final song (can someone enlighten us on where they came from? It’s an open-air venue!), which added an amazing new dimension to mosh pits as people bounced from beach ball to beach ball.

“Is it me or do we not come to Singapore often enough?” Lars questioned a roaring crowd as they ended their set, this time for real. A pose with the Singapore flag, and they left the stage, this time hopefully for less than twenty years before they come back. Because the fans here will never have enough.

Set-list:

The Ecstasy of Gold (Ennio Morricone song)
Hit the Lights
Master of Puppets
The Shortest Straw
Ride the Lightning
Fade to Black
The Memory Remains
Broken, Beat & Scarred
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Sad but True
…And Justice for All
One
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Blackened
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman

Encore:

Creeping Death
Battery
Seek & Destroy (w/ The Frayed Ends of Sanity outro jam)

By Joel Teo

Wang Ge from the hugely famous and incredibly successful Cracked Heel Cream talks Miss Marple

Here we have it, one of the funniest interviews ever on Slink Rat. Fucking Wang Ge whom I know through his work at Vice China and Noisey has killed it. Show me another interview by anyone that mentions watching Miss Marple and then talks about making a post-ambient-revival-core-tronica-hop project that gets no audience, like a real noise night should.

Fuck it, Wang Ge, take what you want. Whatever you see. You deserve it.

How busy are you each day?
I’m feeling busy, although every time people ask me this very question I seem unable to give any specific answer. Going to the office at 10am then off to home at 6.30pm… doesn’t sound busy at all.

A huge part of your job is hearing new music. Do you get tired of listening to new music? What are some of your all-time favourite albums?
Yes, very often, I’m listening to talk shows more often than music these days. It’s a great and honourable thing that you get to hear new music all the time, but at the same time I feel responsible for every track sent or presented to me. I used to believe you have to listen to an album at least three times to make a judgement, now I still do.

And these are my favourite albums in no particular order:
LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem
Talking Heads – Remain In Light
Crass – The Feeding of 5000
Nick Drake – Pink Moon

And I had a teenage crush on Leslie Feist.

How do you stay up-to-date with all the music happenings around the world?
Mostly through my Soundcloud subscriptions and this iPhone app called Shuffler.fm. And from NOISEY, VICE’s music channel. Not self-advertising or anything because I had been reading NOISEY before started working at VICE. I also buy WIRE magazines once in a while, those guys are nerdy and cool as hell.

How is it working for Vice China? You dig working there?
Right now there’s a lot going on and we are still trying to find the right editorial directions and how to make VICE known in China. After all, we’ve only launched less than 90 days. I’m not going to talk about censorship because that seems to have become the excuse for everyone failing to do anything in China.

And yes, I do “dig” working here. Why do you guys use “dig” for “like” anyway? How come “making a hole in the ground” and “like doing something” are the same word?

Fucked if I know, I don’t even know why I say “fucked if I know” – there’s huge parts of the English language I still have no idea about. Soz.

Let’s say some Chinese band is looking for some coverage on Vice China, what are you guys looking for?
They have to be fun and enlightening, or someone we consider as our friends. Willing to give us some exclusive juice, say, premiere their album or single on Vice China like Pairs did. Occasionally, we fuck all these rules and do whatever we want… that hasn’t happened yet.

You mentioned once that you were off to watch some stupid TV. Is that one of the ways you use to turn off your brain? How else do you relax?
Yes, I would say so. It is not so stupid after all. I watch TV mainly to use it as background sound, like music, except I can’t really focus on anything else with music on. I’m also re-watching some Miss Marple episodes these days, and believe me they are no turn-off to any brain — without the nice lady explaining everything with everyone in the room in the end of each episode, I wouldn’t be able to tell who’s who with all those characters.

What do you love most about Beijing?  Is it Nick Papa?
Who’s Nick Papa? I’m sure he’s a nice chap. Beijing is now a smoky hellhole and I think I’m just getting used to it, and I might have been secretly proud of the horrible traffic and the air. It’s a sickness.

Why aren’t you in a solo experimental noise band like everyone else in China? I can lend you some pedals and a table that’s too small if you’d like.
Thank you very much man, really appreciate it. But no thanks, I’ve got my mug and chopsticks, my dog can bark on the side, that should be enough instrumental elements for my post-ambient-revival-core-tronica-hop project Cracked Heel Cream. I can scream the word “nothingness” multiple times with gradually declining volume to make it sound echo-y (you need echo for a solo experimental noise project). Also if you want, just don’t come to the show, because zero audience is the key to sound art.

By Xiao Zhong
Guest writer, Slink Rat

Dinah Amira

Dinah has a penchant for music, writing, fashion, and all things vintage. She’s an explorer of the world and seek adventures whenever she can. She hopes to one day fulfill most (if not all) of the things on her ever growing Life List. Oh, she’s also an avid gig-goer. Some of her favorite bands include Meg & Dia, blink-182, Death Cab For Cutie, and Tegan and Sara.

Articles:
Frida – s/t EP

Urbanscapes Festival reveal line-up with more to come

Music and art lovers brace yourselves for Urbanscapes Festival 2013 – The Big Weekend, Malaysia’s largest and longest running creative arts festival, who have just added a number of newly announced acts to their constantly growing line-up.

The festival, now in its 11th year, will return with an explosion in the sky of music, art, fashion, comedy, and visual design, showcasing a diverse line-up of international and regional creative talent for a weekend-long carousel of creativity and fun for all ages.

Finally revealed via a unique QR code hunt, the line-up will be lead by Scottish indie giants Franz Ferdinand, whose exclusive performance at Urbanscapes will be the band’s only Southeast Asian stop of their tour in support of their recently released fourth album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action (26 August).

Other confirmed acts include indie favourites Two Door Cinema Club (UK), Efterklang (Denmark), Tegan and Sera (Canada), Kyoto Protocol (Malaysia), Obedient Wives Club (SG), In Each Hand A Cutlass (SG), Plainsunset (SG); as well as comedians Pierre Hollins (UK) and Kuah Jenhan (Malaysia).

The festival, which has always strived to be a whole creative arts experience, will also feature artwork and installation pieces spread out over four specially created zones. One of the zones, ‘Woods’, celebrates sustainability and spreads good vibes with left-field and chill-out sounds from live acts and DJs, as well as charities, workshops and talks.

With around 12 acres of lawns, hills and gardens, the festival grounds will be filled with activities and art installations, combining European-style pastoral festival chic with the sleek urbanism of Urbanscapes. Punters will have the chance to watch bands from the comfort of a rolling hillside, or get away from the crowd and chill with friends under a canopy of trees and woodland.

This is not the end of the festival’s surprises, keep an eye out as more headliners and collaborators will be announced over the next few weeks.

By Cindy Tan

Other Sounds presents… Mac DeMarco live in Singapore!

Other Sounds is thrilled to announce the Singapore debut of Canadian song-writer, multi-instrumentalist, and multimedia artist Mac DeMarco. Hitting Home Club on Saturday, 7 December 2013, DeMarco and his band will be bringing their unique brand of lo-fi dream pop to a hugely excited and ever-growing audience.

The show will be part of Mac DeMarco’s first ever Asian tour, taking him through five countries before he heads to Australia for December’s Meredith Music Festival where he will take the infamous stage alongside veterans Brian Jonestown Massacre and Deerhunter.

On the same bill are New Zealand noise/punk duo carb on carb, who will be heading across the sea following successful regional Australian and New Zealand tours.

Mac DeMarco will be Other Sounds’ third show since its foray into concert promotion earlier this year, following the success of Melbournian garage trio ScotDrakula’s appearance at the website’s launch party in January, and the raucous and rock ‘n’ roll show with Dune Rats in May.

Other Sounds presents…
Mac DeMarco with carb on carb
Home Club
Saturday, 7 December 2013
8pm
$40 (standard), $50 (at the door)

For the latest updates, head to the Facebook event page here.

Tickets are now available online via Peatix.

By Cindy Tan