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Concert Review: The Maine Live in Singapore // ‘American Candy Tour’

News

11th September 2015

Last week I attended The Maine’s concert in Singapore. It was the last stop of the American Candy Tour before the band heads out to their Free For All tour all around the U.S. Now, if you do not know who The Maine are, here’s some basic information:  The Maine have been around since 2007 with 5 album released as of date. The latest album ‘American Candy’ was released in late March this year. The band consists of 5 members, John O’ Callaghan (vocals, guitar) , Kennedy Brock (Guitar) , Jared Monaco (Guitar) , Pat Kirch (Drums) and Garrett Nickelsen (Bass Guitar) .

Photo Credit : Upsurge Productions

Photo Credit : Upsurge Productions

Front row for The Maine. Now this was one great experience.

The band started the concert with a track off  ‘American Candy’ called ‘Miles Away’ – the crowd immediately sang along and cheered as loud as they could for the band, considering this was their second time in Singapore, the fans including myself were really excited.

After ‘Miles Away’ , they performed ‘Run’ and ‘Growing Up’. During ‘Growing Up’ , John had us all put our phones and cameras down to enjoy the music instead of focusing on getting a shot of them. Although there were some fans who were quite cheeky and still had their phones and cameras up, the band and fans pointed them out and we all had a good laugh before everyone finally had their cameras kept away and they continued with the song.

‘Inside Of You’ was up next followed by ‘Misery’ and ‘My Hair’ which were all amazing live. Watching the band rock out with their instruments, and still interacting with the fans while performing was really nice to see.

Photo Credit : Upsurge Productions

After which, they performed ‘My Heroine’, a song off their album ‘Pioneer’. This song made many fans really excited because they did not play this song when they were here the last time, and you could hear everyone singing along to every word. They then moved on to ‘Same Suit, Different Tie’ , ‘Like We Did (Windows Down)’ and ‘English Girls’.

The band slowed things down by performing ‘Jenny’ where they dedicated the song to one of their close friends in the crowd. ‘Into Your Arms’ was up next and they left the stage leaving John alone to perform the song. This part of the concert made many fans really emotionally and tear up as, before the start of this song, John talked to the crowd about how we should wake up everyday being grateful, and that our dreams and aspirations no matter how big or small can be achievable , “This is your life, you only have one chance at living okay?” he then brought the crowd back into the song and we all sang along to the chorus of ‘Into Your Arms’ which was a magical moment.

Photo Credit : Upsurge Productions

Photo Credit : Upsurge Productions

Everyone then came back on stage to perform ‘Identity’ and the crowd became louder than before. The band did a cover of The Rolling Stone’s ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ where John jumped into the crowd and we all had a blast as everyone was jumping around and of course, because John jumped into the crowd to perform the song, everyone swarmed to where he was to get photos and videos of him. Although he had a hard time coming back out to the stage, he still made it out eventually, and performed the next song ‘Love and Drugs’, followed by ‘American Candy’.

Photo Credit : Upsurge Productions

Photo Credit : Upsurge Productions

The band ended off the set with ‘Let’s Eat Grandma’ which is definitely a song you would need to experience live yourself, as well as ‘Right Girl’ .

Overall this concert was one hell of a ride and I’ll definitely attend it again.

Most of the fans had the opportunity to interact with them before the concert as there was a signing organized. They were all so humble and lovely and took their time which each fan, talking to them and asking how they were. It was really sweet of them.

Photo Credit : Upsurge Productions

Photo Credit : Upsurge Productions

If you love in the U.S. be sure to check out their upcoming tour which is free – anyone and everyone can attend it. Check out their website : http://wearethemaine.net to find out the dates and information about the tour. I would definitely recommend you attending it if you can!

Article by Cristal Faith Lim

 

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Concert review: Natalie Prass in Copenhagen // From Sass to Prass

Folk, Jazz, News, Pop, Singer/Songwriter

19th August 2015

Natalie Prass was on tour with Ryan Adams as his opening act earlier this year. Unfortunately, an airline strike from SAS prevented her from joining him in Copenhagen, but this did not stop Ryan from giving the audience the experience of her music. He came out on stage in a dress and tights, and became his own opening act and alter ego: Natalie Sass.

Five months later, Natalie and her band finally took the stage at Vega. They opened the ball with ‘Your Fool’ followed by ‘Never Over You’. As a live music fan, you worry about whether or not the artist can take their studio recordings and execute them live on stage. However, with her reputation as a live act that has been spreading like wildfire, it was never anyone’s worry. The strings and horns that heavily shaped her album was not present on stage. With two guitars, a bass and a drum set, she turned the delicate timeless songs into a groovy rock show. Next on the agenda was the old song ‘Sand Dunes’, which started to loosen up a crowd who possibly had expected a quiet evening with no dancing. The tempo was taken down a notch by the melancholic ‘Christy’.

There are no compromises with Natalie. The tenderness she emits does not exclude the muscle and control in her performance and proves you do not have to leave behind the brittleness in exchange for strength. With a fast and upbeat cover of ‘Sound of Silence’ she explained “they only rehearsed it once at soundcheck”, we were invited into their band practice with animated energy and smiles all around.

She continued her journey in mesmerizing the crowd with her single ‘Birds of Prey’ and another intimate cover of Janet Jackson’s ‘Any Time Any Place’. She mentioned the Ryan Adams in drag episode and played her own version of ‘Winding Wheel’, with great appreciation from the audience.

From the rollercoaster ride of a new song called ‘Jass’ (“it’s spelled with the z’s backwards”), which left quite a few people puzzled in terms of what genre that song fell in under, the song ‘Violently’ well, violently pulled at our heartstrings, and the theme continued on through ‘My Baby Don’t Understand Me’.

An unexpected highlight was the spoken word ‘Reprise’ that reached deep. The women beside me whispered to her significant other, “Oh my God, do you have tears in your eyes?” which speaks for itself. Whatever comes out of Natalie’s mouth, she means it, and there are no irony or excuses, which is in contrast to her laidback and chatty atmosphere in between the songs.

Natalie Prass is a mysteriously, tall, dark elf queen from something out of Lord Of The Rings, who with a smile and a riff sweeps in and pulls the rug from under your feet — which of course, you do not even realise until she points at the floor. She has got a touch of the old soulful days with a timeless honesty, and with a final encore of a powerful rendition of ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ the audience didn’t even look down once.

Support:
The opening act was the local band The Orange Grove, who most of all sounded like they would fit right in cruising down Malibu beach to Trestles in the 70s California, with a couple of early Al Merrick-surfboards tied to the roof of a van. Unashamed inspired by the likes of Grateful Dead, they won the crowd over song by song. The band in the current constellation has only been together for a little over a year, but there was undoubtedly much experience between them displayed in their performance. They released their debut album Stare Into The sun earlier this year, you can watch the video to ‘California Night’ here.

Setlist:
Your Fool
Never Over You
Sand Dunes
Christy
Sound Of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel cover)
Bird of Prey
Any time Any Place (Janet Jackson Cover)
Winding Wheel (Ryan Adams cover)
Jass
Violently
My Baby Don’t Understand Me
Reprise
Why Don’t You Believe In Me

Encore:
You Keep Me Hangin’ On (The Supremes cover)

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Concert Review: Frank Turner at The Hippodrome, Kingston

Editors Choice, Events, Folk, Rock

18th August 2015

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or yet to experience him, you may well have heard of Frank Turner’s incredible prowess as a live performer. It’s not rare to hear musicians described by their fans as “even better live”, but in Frank’s case it really is true. His recorded tracks are already excellent, but they’re brought to a new, explosive life when Frank, often backed by his band The Sleeping Souls, as he was at The Hippodrome, break out their matching white shirts and black jeans and hit the stage.

This performance was a particularly special one for Frank and co., as they played past midnight into 7th August to ring in the release of their latest album, Positive Songs For Negative People, in perfect style. After some excellent support from “lyrical genius” Chas Palmer-Williams and Americana/folk-punk acoustic singer songwriter PJ Bond, Frank and the band burst onto the stage of the intimate venue with “Get Better”, the meteoric first track released from the new album, which got the highly-anticipating crowd fully pumped from the first chords.

The gig was, of course, a celebration of the new album release, and so the set list was full to the brim with almost every track from the new release. However it wouldn’t be a Frank Turner gig without a few classic favourites, and that’s exactly what came next in the form of the hopeful, patriotic “If I Ever Stray” and “Long Live The Queen”, a grief-ridden but beautifully spirited lament to a deceased friend. Beloved classics – all of which were from Frank’s collection upbeat, anthemic offerings, in keeping with the celebratory tone of the evening – often came sandwiched between new tracks (each and every one of which was as brilliantly written, gloriously performed and gratefully received as the next); after newbies “Demons” and “Josephine” came “Peggy Sang The Blues”, followed by fast-favourite “Glorious You” and top-tappingly rosy “Love Forty Down”.

Perhaps one of the best-received highlights of the night was “The Ballad of Me and My Friends”, a constantly firm fan favourite from Frank’s first album, Sleep Is for the Week, that he’s only recently started to perform again – to everyone’s joy – after several years of leaving it out of his set lists. And, of course, a night in a Frank Turner audience would never have been complete without “Glory Hallelujah”, the perfect singalong track “The Road” and the illustriously raucous anthem “I Still Believe”, of course featuring the tradition of the crowd sitting on the ground a leaping up into a dancing frenzy on drummer Nigel‘s cue. Accompanying these to close the show were “Mittens”, the latest, already hugely popular track to be released from the new album, and “The Next Storm”, a powerful song of hope and anticipation.

An encore quickly came, of course, opened with new track “The Angel Islington” and followed by three hugely popular older numbers; the slightly calmer “The Way I Tend To Be”, the fail-safe dance-inducing “Try This At Home” and the stridently vitriolic and effortlessly fun “Four Simple Words” to close the show on the ultimate high note.

This being the fourth of five Frank gigs I’ve attended, this show had an atmosphere like no other; Frank ran on pure happiness, joyful anticipation and adrenaline as the new album he was clearly (and deservedly) so proud of was released to the world, and the crowd were raised to ceiling vicariously through his elation. Every live performance by Frank is pure glory, but there was something so wondrously unique about this night in Kingston that made it one of the best gigs we, as Frank Turner fans, have ever witnessed.

Article by Amie Bailey

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Nick Mulvey // Summer Series Gigs

News, Singer/Songwriter

22nd July 2015

Throughout this (not so summery) British summertime, Somerset House are providing us with beautiful music as part of their Summer Series Gigs. Singer/songwriter artists from James Bay to George Ezra are performing at this prestigious London venue, lulling audiences into a care-free state of bliss.

Tuesday 14th July came around incredibly quickly as I woke up to my Nick Mulvey ticket sat gleaming on my desk. As I tried out what seamed to be every item of clothing in my wardrobe and ate all easily accessible food that stood to attention in the cupboards my excitement grew.

We ungracefully hurried to the front of the courtyard when 19:30 hit and managed to secure a place at be barrier, ready to be wowed. After a captivating performance from Aurora, Nick graced us with his incredible talent. Starting and finishing with his most popular hits, Nick also included some more personal performances. He faultlessly covered Björk’s ‘Bachelorette’ which sent to the audience into a dream of silence and swaying. Opening lyrics ‘I’m a fountain of blood in the shape of a girl’ are so powerful that he repeated them, our hearts throbbing as he did.

The Cambridge singer/songwriter formed a particular bond with the dedicated-despite-downpour audience by telling us the story of hit ‘Cucucuru’ which was written from a poem he was once given on the back of an envelope. This set the scene for what was my favourite performance that I have witnessed in the flesh.

Mulvey’s rare, exquisite talent mesmerised the filled venue seconds from Waterloo Bridge and left us feeling at peace as we waltzed to the station pasts London’s lights, awaiting the comfort of our beds.

Article By Sophie Hope

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Concert Review: Twenty One Pilots Live in Singapore // ‘Blurryface Tour 2015′

Editors Choice, Pop, R&B/Hip-Hop, Rock

21st July 2015

I recently attended a Twenty One Pilots concert here in Singapore and below is my review.

But first, if you do not know who Twenty One Pilots are, here’s some background information. The band was formed in 2009 consisting of 2 members, Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dun. Before getting signed with Fueled By Ramen, they released 2 albums called ‘Twenty One Pilots’ and ‘Regional at Best’ in 2011. They then released their signed debut album ‘Vessel’ and most recently this year, ‘BlurryFace’. You can check out our review of ‘Blurryface’ here : ‘Blurryface’ Album review

A short while ago, Twenty One Pilots had their first show in Singapore and it was mind blowing. It consists of amazing lighting in conjunction with Tyler’s strong vocals and Josh drumming with all his might. Considering the fact that Tyler recently had a throat infection which caused them to cancel their show in Taiwan, they put on an amazing performance in Singapore.

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They started off the show with ‘Heavy Dirty Soul’ during which both Tyler and Josh were wearing masks. Once Tyler started rapping and Josh started drumming, the crowd went wild singing along to every word. They then moved on to ‘Stressed out’ followed by ‘Gun For Hands’ , ‘Migraine’ and ‘House Of Gold’.

Tyler came out in his trademark Kimono, Sunglasses, and his ukulele, and did a cover of ‘Bugatti’ by Ace Hood  and ‘All I Do Is Win’ by DJ Khaled before transitioning to ‘We don’t believe what’s on TV ‘, bringing us to the chorus of the song where Josh took out his trumpet accompanying Tyler with the lines ‘I don’t care what’s in your hair/ I just want to know what’s on your mind/I used to say, I want to die before I’m old / But because of you I might think twice.’  before returning back to his drums.

They moved on to ‘ The Judge’ and ‘Lane Boy’. I felt that ‘Lane Boy’ was one of the highlights of the show as, they had us all bend down before having us jump to the crazy lightings and fast beat of the music. It is a song that you would have to experience live yourself to understand. It was one of the craziest moments in the show where you could feel the ground shake.

Photo source : https://twitter.com/twentyonepilots

Photo source : https://twitter.com/twentyonepilots

Following after was ‘Fairly Local’ and ‘ Holding On To You’, which consists of Tyler climbing into the crowd singing the first part of the song. However, due to dangerous circumstances, Tyler went back onto the stage early as someone got hurt. But, even though all that happened, Tyler and Josh did a great job.

This brings us to the next song which made many fans in the crowd scream louder. ‘Fall Away’ is one of the songs from their very first album, ‘ Twenty One Pilots’. Many did not know the lyrics but they still brought energy and sang along to the parts where Tyler would go ‘ I don’t wanna fall, fall away / I don’t wanna fall, fall away / I’ll keep the lights on in this place / Cause I don’t wanna fall, fall away ‘ .

Tyler and Josh started on the next song which was a cover of Bob Marley’s ‘ No Woman, No Cry’ and transitioned to ‘Ride’ before continuing on with ‘ The Run And Go’, which were by the way, all amazing live. They then brought a fan up on stage to do their signature handshake, with her hands and neck painted in black ink, decked out with a red beanie and black from her neck down, she was dressed exactly how Tyler was in their ‘Tear In My Heart’ video. It was amazing to see such dedicated fans at their first ever show in Singapore.

They ended the set with ‘Tear in My Heart’ and ‘Car Radio’ before coming back on stage for an Encore, ending the concert with a bang, performing ‘Trees’. The song ‘Trees’ was absolutely spectacular live. Even though they were meant to play the drums on the crowd, Yes, on the crowd, they did not due to what happened during the song ‘Holding On To You’ earlier in the set. Instead, they placed both drums onto the piano and both Tyler and Josh got up to the piano to hit the drums.

Photo Source : https://twitter.com/twentyonepilots

Photo Source : https://twitter.com/twentyonepilots

Overall, the show was hands down one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. If you’re ever lucky enough to have Twenty One Pilots heading over to your country for a show, do not miss it. If I had another chance, I would for sure do it all over again.

Check out the tour dates here : BlurryFace Tour 

Article By : Cristal Faith Lim

 

 

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Concert Review: Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros

Editors Choice, Events, Folk, Singer/Songwriter

19th July 2015

This week I had the amazing opportunity to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (ESMZ) live. I had high expectations for this concert since the day I bought the tickets but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the marvellous show that the Magnetic Zeros gave me that night.

To start, the crowd was like nothing I had ever witnessed. The sheer diversity of the people in the hall alone was a sight in itself and the atmosphere was something from another world. There were people of all ages and walks of life, from kids I went to high school with, the girl that works in the LUSH at the mall and even the grade 8 teacher from my elementary school were all there waiting for the vision that was the concert to begin. During what seemed like a years worth of waiting, people talked with one another, others were singing together, everywhere you looked every single person around me was happy to be in the company of each other and soon the company of a band they all love.

After the aforementioned wait was finally over, the lights went dim, the volume went up and the fever dream began. Lead singer Alex Ebert danced onto the stage, clad in his trademark white linen jacket and messy top-knot ready to bring the house down, and that he did. Lights began to flash on the bands back drop and a psychedelic video show began to play in rhythm with the music and it was time to begin.

The massive group brought a show I could have only imagined was real if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. I thought I knew what I was getting into considering I had seen close to every live concert video they have ever been posted online and probably account for a third of the views on their NPR Tiny Desk Concert video by myself. But I was wrong, I knew nothing.

The tiny stage of the London Music Hall was jam-packed with people and instruments galore. There were two full drum sets, two pianos, and abundance of guitars, trombones, trumpets and what seemed like everything in-between. It was hard to concentrate for the first few minuets between the lights, the people and the total awe of the fact that this day had finally come, but as I started to come back down to Earth my eyes were glued on Alex and it was hard to drag them away. He danced and sang with amazing stamina and the rest of he band followed his lead in a sync that was both fluid and robotic at the same time.

The singing, playing and dancing wasn’t where it ended either. On more than one occasion Alex jumped into the crowd, dancing and handing the mic off to fans to sing and tell stories with him. At another point he reached into the crowed for a girl’s cellphone (who coincidently was named Emily as well, but sadly was not me) which was recording and he sang and spoke to create a video for her before handing it back to her. He dragged people on stage held hands with close to everyone in the first three rows and even had fans pick the set-list at different points in the show. Somewhere in the middle of the show as well the music just stopped, not for an intermission, but to grab joints from fans in the crowed to take a quick puff and pass, and the sold out show roared the a freight train.

With all of this interaction within the crowd you think that people would become aggressive as most people do in a mosh pit concert situation, but it didn’t. In all the concerts I have attended at the Music Hall this is the only one where no one pushed, no one shoved and everyone seemed generally happy to just be there with this band. It was all good vibes and through the concert it seemed they only got stronger.

As the set started to come to a close the band took a pause, gave each other small nods and then Alex proceeded to sit on one of the stage speakers as the lights dimmed. Everyone in the building seemed to know what was coming and as the band stood silent Alex slowly belted out “ALABAMA” and the crowed responded “ARKANSAS” Alex then responded to his patrons “I DO LOVE MY..” and again the crowd responded “I DO LOVE MY MA AND PA”, then the band started the tempo picked up and it was like a religious awakening has started.

As the bands most popular song ‘Home’ bled trough every wall and bounced off of every surface in the hall, it was like the Magnetic Zeros had truly brought me home. They reminded me why I love them and why I love music; especially live music as much as I do. I looked around the at what was no longer a crowd but a congregation, staring and stinging along with Alex who had become their preacher and I was truly home. As I’m sure everyone in that building was too. Sadly the concert ended one song later and for a few days afterwards I had what felt like a small hole in my soul because I had to go back to real life.

But in the words of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros themselves, “Holy-Moly-Me-Oh-My” what a show, what a night, it was worth the wait and a great big thank you for reminding me why this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Article by Emily D’Orazio

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Concert Review: A Ginger With A Loop Pedal Changed My Life

Editors Choice, Events, News, Pop, Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Videos

7th June 2015

This week, thanks to a very well thought out early-birthday gift, I had the chance to go and see “Ginger Jesus” himself, the one and only Ed Sheeran. Now, as someone who generally feels that concerts are life-changing experiences needing to be had by everyone, this is the first one I have been to that I can say I was seriously moved by.

The first thing you need to know about an Ed Sheeran concert is that he is the only one on stage. There is no band, there is no back up singers, there is nothing but a guitar, a couple of loop pedals at his feet and of course Ed himself.

To be brutally honest this had me in a slightly sceptical position at the beginning of the concert, although I had seen recordings of his live performances online before, this was a have-to-see-it-to-believe-it event for me, and well, I saw and I now certainly believe.

Ed not only has a set of vocal chords like no other but he uses a loop pedal and guitar to create complete and utter magic right before your very eyes and ears. During his performance of ‘Give Me Love’ it is almost like you forget that he is the only one on stage, it sounds as if there is a choir of Ed’s serenading the stadium. During ‘You Need Me Man, I Don’t Need You’, you almost want to hold your breath as you can’t help but think his guitar might go up in flames at any moment due to the astonishing speed of his strumming, but wait, is that drums you hear too? Nope, that is the loop of Ed banging away on his guitar to create yet another element to his performance. He truly is a marvellous one-man band.

He also never stops for more that 30 seconds at a time to switch guitars or have a mouthful of water. Never in my life have I seen one man play with such stamina and consistency. His songs blend into each other like cream into coffee and in in the time that one song has bled into another you can go from dancing to crying and right back again without even realizing what has hit you.

Ed lives up to his nickname as “Ginger Jesus” a million times over and I feel like I have been blessed by the music god’s to have seen him put on a show like he did. I never thought that I would be so taken back by a guy with a loop pedal and an acoustic guitar, but here I am in complete shock and awe of what I have just witnessed. I have fallen in love in that mysterious way that Ed talks about in ‘Thinking Out Loud’ let him make you fall in love in that way too, go see an Ed Sheeran concert. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Article By Emily D’Orazio

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