Laneway Festival Singapore 2013 | Review
Scorching sun + New location + Nonstop fantastic live music + A Sea of indie kids
Laneway Festival Singapore 2013
Dressed in our festival’s best and armed with our personal survival kit (sunnies, sunblock and a bottle of water), we braved the heat on 26 January and made our way to The Meadow at Gardens by The Bay for one of the most anticipated yearly events, Laneway Festival Singapore. Greeted by a snake-like queue upon arrival, we thanked our lucky stars we did not have to queue and hurriedly made our way into the festival site.
Quiet is definitely the new loud. The soft and hushful music of Kings of Convenience was the perfect opener for the festival as people were warming up to the festival site and began basking under the sun on their mats. The soulful whispers of the dynamic duo, Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambæk Bøe’s, melted the scorching heat away as they played songs from their “Quiet is The New Loud” and “Declaration of Dependence” albums. The audience burst into a cheer when they heard the opening of “Mrs Cold”, which is clearly the crowd’s favourite. Other than the predictable antics of Erlend Oye who could not stop making the girls giggle with his awkward dancing and the band playing a set of wondrous songs, Eirik made my heart felt warm as he recited a poem he made up during his time in Singapore called Zebra Crossing. Eirik interacted well with the audience that afternoon despite being the quieter and less popular of the duo(ironically as he is the voice of most of KOC’s songs) Kings of Convenience ended their 1 hour set with the funky “I’d Rather Dance With You” which got everyone up to their feet and dancing themselves silly with Erlend Oye who performed a short performance of his dance routine from the video. How apt.
Kings of Convenience
We recharged ourselves with food and refreshments as we enjoyed the music of Polica, Cloud Nothings and Divine Fits from our trusty mat. Spectacular performance from newcomer, Polica, who got the crowd cheering for more despite it being her first performance in Singapore. Cloud Nothings were a tad too noisy in my opinion to play in the early afternoon but nevertheless, they were entertaining to watch. We were thrilled when Divine Fits, a combination of band members from Wolf Parade and Spoon, performed their hit single “My Love is Real” which set off some robotic dance movements in the crowd.
Temperature was running high as we eagerly waited for Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson, Brynjar Leifsson, Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson and Kristján Páll Kristjánsson of the Icelandic indie folk band, Of Monsters and Men, to come on stage. The band received a standing ovation from the audience as soon as they stepped on to the stage and strummed the first notes to their epic music. I was overwhelmed with excitement as they played hit singles such as “Little Talks” and “Mountain Sound”. I have never danced so much in an entire set of a band’s performance and there is just something about music from Iceland that creates a warm and fuzzy feeling deep in our hearts. Three cheers for Of Monsters and Men!
Of Monsters and Men
We “celebrated rock” (pun intended) as Canadian rock duo, Japandroids, gave an energetic set of fast drums and even faster crunching of guitars, rocking the house at Laneway Festival Singapore with hits from their latest album “Celebration Rock”. The audience went into a crazy spur of fist pumping and foot stomping went they played “The House That Heaven Built” . It was a perfect contrast from all the happy music we were hearing all afternoon. OH OH OH OH OH OH OH OH!
Too tired to be on our feet after Japandroids for Nicholas Jaar‘s spaced-out trippy set(which was a tad too short and sadly, no encore for his fans), we were all pumped up when Kimbra came on stage. Performing infront of a ever-so colourful background and a well-dressed band, the very spunky New Zealand singer got us clapping and grooving to the jazzy beats of her band and hits such as “Settle Down”. Her stage presence was whimsically amazing, even Erlend Oye could not stand being backstage and was spotted watching her set from the audience. Imagine Katy Perry on acid with a sprinkle of jazzy electropop, that’s Kimbra for us.
It was dusk was when small-town New Jersey band, Real Estate, came on stage. Having their music labelled by Pitchfork as “the beauty of life seen in retrospect, especially young life in small towns”, I anticipated their set the most as “Days” happened to be one of my favourite albums of 2012. The band opened their set with “It’s Real”, an enjoyable summer track which helped cool them down from Kimbra’s loud and high-energy set. I have always enjoyed Martin Courtney’s remarkably effortless singing but watching the band live as they played tunes such as “Easy” and “Green Aisles”, just gave me more reason to kindle a deeper love for the minimal band . I enjoyed Real Estate’s set thoroughly although they had a few problems with the sound system and attempted too many new songs on their first performance in Singapore. It was a shame that the band was given an evening set as the music of Real Estate is better enjoyed as an afternoon delight.
Bat For Lashes
Finally, it was down to the last 2 acts of Laneway Festival Singapore 2013 and an hour away from midnight when Australian spacerockers Tame Impala came on stage. Welcomed to the stage by Alex Bleeker of Real Estate, the band kicked off their groovy set with “Solitude is Bliss” which caused my boyfriend to forgo his duties of snapping photographs of their set but instead in a karaoke session with the band. Forget LSD, magic mushrooms or recreational drugs, we were high on Tame Impala’s music and Kevin Parker’s voice during the duration of their set as the band played hits from their new album “Lonerism” . “Elephant” was stompingly flawless and I cannot described how impressed I was that they sound even better live. Thumbs up to Kevin Parker for choosing the perfect closing song “Half Full Glass of Wine” when we were asked to to make a decision between that and “Apocalypse Dream”. It was the much celebrated choice among their fans in the audience as they erupted in a psychedelic frenzy. Although Tame Impala sent us to a happy realm of hallucination during their short set, the only thing that was incomplete was an encore and trippy visuals.
Having not know any of Gotye‘s songs except for the obvious and infectious number “Somebody That I Used to Know” when I first came to the festival, his set was not one that I would mind missing. However after the media photo conference, I was smitten with how humble and sweet the Grammy-nominated singer was as he kept a genuine smile throughout despite being swarmed by us, pesky writers and photographers. It gave me a reason to pay extra attention during his set and I have to say I was impressed with how multi-talented the Belgian-Australian singer is as he played and switched between several instruments on stage while singing hits from his breakthrough album “Making Mirrors”. Kimbra joined him on stage when it was time for the much awaited song of the night(you should know which song I am talking about) and the audience were absolutely thrilled as the duo sang with so much chemistry, just like in the video. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed Gotye’s mellow and interesting closing set although it was a puzzling choice to be the closer for Laneway Festival Singapore 2013.
They say third’s time the charm; this year’s lineup was just as marvelous as the past years and the new location was a refreshing change for festival goers. Kudos to the team behind Laneway Festival Singapore who has kept the festival consistent throughout the years and impressing us with new improvements each year. And that, makes me wonder what’s in store for us for next year’s festival…
Text by: Erin Riduan
Images by: Trisno Dimas
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