Just last week, we had the chance to speak to Razi Razak, the man behind the Identite series at Home Club every Friday night. It has certainly come a long way; the series’ hundredth show was celebrated last Friday, 12 July.
With ten bands on the bill, some of whom we’ve seen at previous Identite gigs, the event may have sounded like it would have been a massive affair. However, staying true to itself, the relatively small venue coupled with the informality of the bands made the event feel personal and intimate, especially with line-up of homegrown bands.
Armed with a ticket-entitled free beer, we caught the first act, Bravepaper. The singer-songwriter, aka Chris Tang, set the mood with a couple of his acoustic originals and even treated us to a Copeland and Circa Survive cover. The problem with starting off the show with an acoustic set, unfortunately, was that quite a number of people were still hanging around outside, unaware that the show had started. Nonetheless, he still managed to give us the chill vibes and get us ready for all the music that to come.
As soon as Bravepaper had ended his set, Tall Mountains started theirs at the main stage across the room. The two-stage setup was pretty neat, and ensured that all the bands would be able to play immediately without having to spend time setting up after one another. But this also meant that there was no break for the crowd; if we needed to get out to use the washroom or have a smoke, we would miss a few songs.
Sydney Yeo, more commonly known as Tall Mountains, managed to bring most of the crowd into the room as she played her folk pop songs alongside her band, which included a violin, adding an entirely different dimension to the music. A highlight was the mash-up they did with Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me A River’.
Surprisingly, the crowd at this point was still rather quiet for a Friday night; perhaps a tiring day at work or school? To our amusement, Sydney encouraged everyone to drink up, and we did so compliantly.
Exhibitors was up next at the acoustic stage. They dished out several covers like Ellie Goulding’s ‘Lights’, Paramore’s ‘My Heart’ & Emarosa’s ‘A Toast To The Future Kids’. It was their first time ever playing an acoustic set, which became apparent in terms of the almost messy set. However, there was something different about Exhibitors that made everyone happier and the environment more generally enjoyable. It began to feel like the earlier days of Home Club’s gigs, where bands really just played for the fun of it, perfection be damned.
I was highly anticipating the next band to come on — Two Seas. Rather new to the scene, they gave us a really energetic set. The band was tight and the screams, courtesy of vocalist Jerald Giam, added another level of emotion to their experimental sounds. I later caught up with drummer Zakhran Khan, who also designs the band’s art. He stated plainly to me that they do not like being labeled in any particular genre of music, so, for the purpose of this review, I’ll just say that I enjoyed Two Seas’ eclectic sound; they are definitely a band to look out for regardless of what genre you usually listen to.
Rezzarezzarezza’s soulful acoustic set was up next. Afiq Rezza, the man behind the music, looked and sounded incredibly suave with a certain swag in the way he played and sang. However, this was the mid point in the gig and many went out for a break.
Soon after his set, Aspectrum was up at the main stage. Fresh off their EP launch and new branding, these boys really put on an engaging show. One notable performance was their cover of Swedish House Mafia’s ‘Don’t You Worry Child’, which got the crowd passionately involved. They’ve definitely grown a lot since their time as Godzilla.
Mannequins decorated the acoustic stage with their life-sized mannequin, similar to their set-up at Baybeats earlier this year. It was nice to catch them again, and it was nice to see them mixing it up with an acoustic set instead of their usual full band set up. This did not, however, stop them from sounding full and clear. Their set was also filled with energy, as the crowd sang along.
Following Mannequins, The Auditory Effect hit the main stage. Watching them again at Identite, I expected their very full-sounding music to be supported by synth effects and drum beats, but they impressed me even more when they played a song that featured dark house beats. They had an aura of Muse, but with a more experimental edge.
Over at the other side, Yuji of Cashew Chemists wrapped up the acoustic sets for the night. With his Gibson acoustic guitar, he serenaded the audience with some pret-tee smooth vocals. The chill vibes came back as we stood there, transfixed by his performance. He played several of his own originals and then covered a Cashew Chemists song, ‘Over You’ to finish up. Thereafter, our nerves were calmed as we prepared for the grand finale.
Now this was the band that many had been waiting the whole night for. ANECHOIS played a really, really good set. As always, they put so emotion into their performance and music; watching them was like going on an emotional adventure through the soundscapes of post-rock. Many were just absorbed in their music as they played both familiar and new songs, all executed with technical brilliance. They were so well-received that everyone wanted more, forcing the organisers to let them play one more song. Guest vocalist Myn eventually came up to assist them, and they ended the night on a high.
Identite is always going to have a special place within the local music scene. It has been extremely successful at providing a space for new and rising bands to perform, old bands to rehearse new material, and for us gig-goers to discover and appreciate new music. This hundredth show may have been a long one, but it certainly showed us that the local music scene is alive and thriving, and isn’t something that should be at all underestimated or neglected.
By Jared Rezel