Ah, the *SCAPE theatre. What once used to be called the *SCAPE Warehouse has now been rebranded The Ground Theatre. Probably only really known by the old timers in the scene, these days not many acts play there, most promoters forgoing the small theatre for more sprawling spaces like Fort Canning or The Coliseum.
Not that the choice of venue mattered to the fans on Sunday night. Twelve years after the band releases their first album, this is the first time Taking Back Sunday lands on our shores. With so many fans aching to see them live, the band could have played an acoustic set in the dumpster using only garbage cans and still be performing to a full house. And they’d still probably make a good show out of it, too!
Sometimes, all you need is a solid crowd to make a lukewarm performance blazing hot. Opening act The Cave was proof of that. While fairly competent, the band’s songs were as generically punk rock as vanilla ice cream is generically ice cream. And yet, all it took was a small group of loud New Yorkers jumping up and down and rocking hard to get a good portion of the crowd to follow suit. They weren’t up there for very long, most opening acts aren’t, but it did set the tone and stage for what would probably be one of the most intense and energy-packed performance of the year (so far, at least!).
Now, the *SCAPE theatre is hardly the best venue for a concert. It’s not the most spacious, and the sound is quite frankly, terrible; in fact, so soft that Lazarra’s voice could hardly be heard for a big portion of the set. The point is though, that none of these problems mattered: all that was needed that night was for enough fans to get wild while the band played on stage. And boy were they wild.
That’s not to say the band’s performance was not stellar, though. They were great. Lazarra should give lessons in flair and frontmanning; he’d earn a fortune and we’d be all the better off for it. At one point he threw the microphone halfway across the stage only to jerk it back straight into his hand again… it kind of makes you wonder if the reason why he couldn’t be heard singing half the time was because the microphone snapped while he was swinging it around so much! Not that the lack of Lazarra’s voice really mattered; the crowd was singing along so loudly and so enthusiastically that they drowned out everything else most of the time.
The band threw out song after song, from unanimously loved ‘Liar (It takes One To Know One)’ to old hit ‘You’re So Last Summer’ to recent release ‘Flicker, Fade’. And the crowd was wild. People jumped up and down enthusiastically. Mosh pits were formed throughout the crowd as the audience threw themselves at each other. The pace and energy were relentless. Even the slow ballads had at least half a dozen people surfing on crowds from the back of the room to the front.
It has been a long time coming for Taking Back Sunday’s inaugural gig here in Singapore. Was it worth the wait? The answer could be heard in the crowd’s cheers for the band throughout the hour and a half: a resounding yes.
By Joel Teo