Hostess Club Weekender returns for second show

Following a successful debut in February, Hostess Entertainment has announced a second edition of the Hostess Club Weekender on our shores.

This time slated to be held at Infinite Studios, the line-up boasts indie darling Cat Power as headliner, along with an intriguing selection of acts which include Blonde Redhead, Perfume Genius, Sohn and Toy from the label’s expansive repertoire.

The first Weekender, which brought us the National and Mogwai along with rising up-starts King Krule, Asgeir, and Buke & Gase, launched to a massive crowd at Fort Canning Park earlier this year.

The adventurous line-up adds to what is becoming an increasingly saturated year for shows, with many fans likely to still be recovering financially from Laneway and the first Hostess Club Weekender and preparing for the slew of shows to hit us in July including Slowdive, The 1975, and Bombay Bicycle Club.

This latest announcement comes as part of Hostess Entertainment’s regional expansion, with shows also announced in Manila and Taipei. The Japanese independent music company opened its first Southeast Asian office in Singapore last year.

By Andrew Koay

Hostess Club Weekender Japan sparks rumours for a second Singapore edition

This afternoon, Hostess Entertainment announced Perfume Genius as the latest addition to the Hostess Club Weekender that will be happening in Tokyo on 21 and 22 June.

For the eighth instalment of the festival, one-man-band Mike Hadreas will be joining HighasaKite, SOHN, The Bohicas, Cloud Nothings, and Joan As Police Woman as part of a 10-band line up.

The last four acts will be announced in the coming weeks, the next being a duo, as indicated by the cartoon silhouettes on the poster.

HCW8_poster_Joan[spacer height=”10px”] The Hostess Club Weekender, presented by Ynos, a sister company of Hostess Entertainment (which set up shop in Southeast Asia in October last year), typically happens three times a year in Tokyo.

The most recent Weekender, held back in February, saw selected artists headed on the Hostess Club tour throughout Southeast Asia, and ended in our sunny island earlier this February.

The debut Singapore edition included five (The National, Mogwai, King Krule, Buke and Gase, Asgeir) out the the ten artists that played on the Japanese line-up, and drew a pretty massive crowd at Fort Canning Park.

With the exception of Perfume Genius and Cloud Nothings who have played here before, the rest of this upcoming June Weekender’s line-up is made up of a bunch of relatively new and unknown acts. Given the huge success of the inaugural Hostess Club Weekender in Singapore, could there be a possibility that there will be another festival in store for us? 

Any guesses who the last four mystery artists may be? 

By Maria Clare Khoo

5 things we learned from the first Hostess Club Weekender in Singapore

We managed to pin down some of the acts at the inaugural Hostess Club Weekender in Singapore and ask them some questions (King Krule got away though — don’t kill us).

Here’s what we learned:

1. Ásgeir doesn’t care if you don’t understand Icelandic

When asked if he felt any pressure to write songs in English now that he’s breaking as an international artist, he said “Yeah it should be like that. I should feel some pressure, but I’m not that kind of a guy, y’know, I don’t want to feel under any pressure with artistic decisions, it doesn’t add up, so I always feel like I can do whatever I want, so that’s just what I’m gonna do.”

Has he even tried writing in English (as opposed to writing in Icelandic first, then translating)?

“Yeah we’ve done some songs after the album release that were written in English, but It’s something I don’t even think about too much. I think i’ll always keep the Icelandic, I love to sing in Icelandic, I think the Icelandic will always be there.”[spacer height=”10px”]

2. Buke and Gase use the same vocal effects as our very own Weish

We spotted Arone Dyer using a pret-tee fancy device to add vocal harmonies during her set, and asked her to tell us more.

“Our friend Reggie Watts passed that on to me, and I didn’t know what the fuck it was. Then we started like kinda started playing around with it before our last album, General Dome, and we ended up writing a bunch of songs with this thing. So it’s really influential in how the last album turned out I think.”

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It’s always always nice to hear of musicians being buddies with other musicians, and interesting to hear cases of songs being shaped by the sounds of specific instruments. Incidentally, sub:shaman and [.gif] frontwoman Weish also uses a TC Electronics Voicelive Touch, and she’s recently upgraded to the second version.[spacer height=”10px”]

3. Mogwai almost had a song called “Gravity Dong”

There was “too much alcohol involved”, says Barry.[spacer height=”10px”]

4. … and they have weird band rules too.

For a band that sounds like each member uses twenty effect pedals all turned up to 11, Barry says “no chorus pedals, that’s a horrible effect. We’re not allowed to use them”.

Also, band members are “not allowed to watch the movie Titanic. If you watch the movie Titanic then you’re no longer in Mogwai. It’s true”.[spacer height=”10px”]

5. Nirvana is the bomb

Despite playing completely different styles of music, Ásgeir, Buke and Gase and Mogwai all named Nirvana among their favourite and most influential acts. Therefore, Nirvana is the bomb. But wait, we’ve known that since 1989, right?

Okay, scratch that. This doesn’t count…[spacer height=”10px”]

5. Matt Berninger would do okay on reality TV

As we know by now, his brother Tom was in The National’s entourage for their High Violet tour, and shot a tour film while on the road. Except it’s not really a tour film, it’s more like an invasive, opportunistic cameras-in-your-face piece. But Matt says “I think we all feel totally comfortable with it and actually very happy with it because it shows a sweetness — except for me — for the rest of the guys in the band.”

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[spacer height=”10px”]”It’s a funny movie, kind of a sad movie too, but I think everybody feels that it’s probably a better portrait of the band than if there had been a documentary specifically about the band ‘cos it shows us talking about family, and all that kind of stuff. You probably learn more about the band the way than hearing us talking about making records or whatever, so I think everybody is really happy with the way it turned out.”

By Don Shiau

Hostess Club Weekender @ Fort Canning Park (22.02.14)

Hostess Entertainment is a strange creature. They aren’t a concert promoter, in the way Chugg Entertainment, LAMC or Midas Promotions are. They’re a Japanese music label first and foremost, but they also organise elaborate shows–or ‘Weekenders’–thrice yearly in Japan. These events are showcases for their roster. And boy is it a huge roster, encompassing a broad sweep of established independent labels such as 4AD, Rough Trade and Matador.

It’s hard to appreciate how unique this label-cum-promoter concept is, since most music festivals in Singapore are already watered-down, single-day, city-based, no-camping affairs (to wit, Laneway Singapore is really ‘Laneway Lite’, and Big Night Out is a tiny spin-off from Big Day Out). It’s just as hard to appreciate how diverse Hostess’ acts are, since punters normally associate bands with their international, and not regional, distributors–if at all. The upshot is that Hostess Club Weekenders are virtually indistinguishable from ‘proper’ festivals held here.

This is no complaint, of course. The inaugural Singapore Weekender brought back heavy-hitters Mogwai and The National to our shores, and brought in what many felt was a glaring omission from Laneway Singapore 2014’s lineup: King Krule. Coming on midway through the proceedings, the I-can’t-believe-he’s-only-19 Archy Marshall bristled with loose-limbed, adolescent restlessness. The sublime combination of his gruff, assured vocals, classy jazz stabs and the evening glow provided enough reason for the Fort Canning crowd to get off their picnic mats and jive along.

Earlier, Icelandic flavour-of-the-month Asgeir delivered a surprisingly underwhelming set, whisking through tunes from his English debut In the Silence dispassionately. His five-piece backing band reproduced everything from the strident majesty of Torrent to the laconic longing of Going Home note for note, but without the scale and intensity of the recorded versions. We couldn’t tell if it was his inner glaciers reacting uncomfortably to Singapore weather, but Asgeir just seemed out of it, acknowledging neither audience nor event, and walking wordlessly off the stage after he was done.

Perhaps he should’ve taken a cue from Buke and Gase, who opened the Weekender with aplomb. Sitting in the centre of the stage, in the direct glare of the sun, the Brooklyn duo snapped and banged away enthusiastically at their homemade instruments. They persevered on through the scorching heat, multiplying their output through effects pedals, creating a buzzing, angular and playfully melodic racket many times bigger than themselves. Pixie-like singer (and ‘buke’ player) Arone Dyer paused between songs to towel herself, drink water and exclaim lighthearted disbelief at the weather, eventually tumbling backwards in relief at the end of the set. It was a charming, casual start to the event, and a reward to the few who bothered to turn up early.

Of course, if anyone was going to make an even bigger noise, it would be Mogwai. As night fell, the Scottish post-rock pioneers launched a full-on aural assault, alternating between tense, sparse notes and sledgehammers of sound. Material from their mellower synth-driven latest release, Rave Tapes, sat comfortably with ear-splitting classics like Ithica 27 ϕ 9, though song order hardly matters for a band whose primary weapon is an endless tug-of-war between loudness and softness. When they were soft, you could easily carry on a conversation. When they were loud, their dense, searing riffs, lurching drums and spectral vocoders threatened to burst every speaker at the venue. In fact, they probably did, because The National’s closing set suffered from an unsatisfying sonic mix.

Sound issues aside, The National closed the night–and coincidentally, the Asian leg of their Trouble Will Find Me tour–with a typically grandiose performance. Looking equally dapper and dishevelled, Matt Berninger was the perfect avatar of his band’s whiskey-fuelled first-world misery. He played his part to the hilt, striding uneasily around the stage as if to work off his agitation, taking dramatic swigs from a wine bottle, slamming his microphone into his chest, and dropping to bended knees when the weight of the world got too much. At the show’s climax, Berninger disappeared into the crowd, pushing all the way to the back, like a man who had finally lost both his mind, and his way. Given how much Trouble Will Find Me resembles preceding album High Violet, there was a strong consistency of mood throughout the 19-song performance, though hardcore fans would decry the (necessary) displacement of many of High Violet‘s finer moments, such as Runaway and Conversation 16. Nothing on the new album tops Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks as a lighters-aloft closer, however, and Berninger and Co. sang us home with that number just as they did in 2011, leaving its heartbreaking refrain “All the very best of us / String ourselves up for love” lingering in the air long after the close of the event.

By Don Shiau

Hostess Club Weekender to bring five international acts to Singapore

Following the announcement of the launch of its label in Singapore a month ago, Japanese independent label Hostess Entertainment Unlimited has just announced that it will be bringing their live series Hostess Club Weekender (HCW) to our shores.

HCW for the past two years has become a permanent and hugely popular fixture in the Japanese live calendar, and has so far presented Hostess artists established and new of the calibre of Vampire Weekend, Dirty Projectors, Travis, Bloc Party, Hot Chip, Spiritualized, Dinosaur Jr, Toro Y Moi, Youth Lagoon, Deap Valley and Perfume Genius.

Hostess Club Weekender to bring five international acts to Singapore

As part of Hostess’s continuing regional expansion, HCW will take place in Fort Canning Park on Saturday, 22 February next year. The inaugural show in Singapore will feature critics’ darlings The National, Mogwai, as well as up-and-comers King Krule, Asgeir, and Buke & Gase to make a compelling and relatively fresh line-up.

“It’s been amazing watching HCW grow with its audience and gradually start to matter in other countries as well, ” says Andrew Lazonby, Hostess Founder and CEO. “It’s made with us as fans of the music in mind, and we’re excited to be able to now properly introduce the unique Weekender vibes to Singapore.”

With the onslaught of events including Laneway and HCW hitting Singapore in January and February next year, indie music fans of the region have exciting times ahead and a big hole in their wallets to look forward to.

Ticketing details will be announced soon.

By Cindy Tan