Happening once a year, it always catches you from behind with your pants down. No its not time to file income tax, but the largest live music festival on our rock-deficient island Baybeats. Its going to be hard to squeeze out a full report on the 3 day festival in a few words, but hopefully this turns out better than the tight coils on my lawn.
The Atmosphere for Baybeats was electrifying with street stalls, art exhibitions in the ‘Observation Deck’ such as the morbid artist Derek Hess with his apocalyptic illustrations and not to mention the two stages holding a total lineup of 30 bands from around the region and beyond. Security was tighter than previous years, with a substantial presence of blue-uniformed shoe gazers that herded wannabe moshers in and out of the Arena stage pit with each performance there. Most significantly, the rumour that Baybeats was going to charge a cover fee was finally dispelled as droves of music fans thronged the free festival.
All the bands in the lineup this year were tight; no disappointments. I was going from the chill out stage to the arena like a pendulum. Some of the distinct highlights for me were Australian Angelas’s Dish that came across like a calmer version of Simple Plan. Also on day 2, American Velvet Teen was electronically seduced garage rock that had a keen experimental edge.
Singer Judah Nagler was indeed doing an interesting suede / Bjork thing over his band’s electro-indie soundscape. Impressive. West Grand Bouvelard’s new vocalist Daphne Khoo of local television fame intrigued listeners with upper range serenading but it’s going to take some time before former vocalist Bryan’s shoes are completely filled.
Local heroes Electrico surprised seasoned listeners with their new rock sound on day 3, following the recent launch of their latest Album ‘Hip City’ with a very obvious shift away from pop. But who am I kidding, I was there to watch keyboardist Amanda Ling do her thing… she did get into FHM’s top 100 after all.
However, the best local band performance would have to be Plain Sunset, believed to be a dead project from 2 years of inactivity, the 4 piece had incredible rapport with the revelers on the big stage. Their crowd was chanting “fuck you, fuck you” to the MC’s banter. Speaking of the profane, where the hell were scene favorites Ronin? Their stark absence from this year’s lineup raised many questions.
Allegedly some bands such as deserved placement on the Arena. Clown rocking Tiramisu, Great Spy Experiment, Astreal and Japanese Panda No Panda had a vibe going that was anything but ‘Chillout’. I’m looking forward to next year already.
– For more information visit www.baybeats.com.sg and leave me alone, she was 16, I swear.