A short round-up of recent shows I attended.
Andrew Hung @ Kult Kafe, 5 March 2016
Better known as one half of Bristol electronic duo Fuck Buttons, Andrew Hung played an hour-long set at Kult Kafe filled with bleepy bloopy songs from his Rave Cave EPs, and a couple of Fuck Buttons songs thrown in. I went alone and stood at the back nursing my beer until he started. It was a decent turnout; about 30 people I think. I was handed a free poster as I left which was nice.
Panama @ The Substation, 6 March 2016
Painfully short and unsatisfying – that was the general consensus after Panama’s debut gig at The Substation. I went with S and we sat outside eating burgers and fries from McDonald’s while waiting for the doors to open. They came on at 8.35pm and played their swoony romantic tunes that had everyone grooving and swaying. Then they announced that they didn’t have much material and that they would be playing their last song. I looked down at my phone and the screen read 9.08pm. No way – they’ve got to be kidding! The audience thought so too and cried out in disbelief, refusing to budge when they finished playing and walked off stage. One enthusiastic fan threw back their song title – “It’s not over!” – imploring them to come back for an encore, but alas the gig was really over.
Granted, it’s hard to expect a band with a handful of EPs to their name to jam for two hours, but I wish they had played just a bit longer or done a cover or two. Come back soon guys, and let’s have a proper full-length gig this time.
Death Cab For Cutie @ The Coliseum, 7 March 2016
This was a pure nostalgia show for me. I’d seen them at the Esplanade Concert Hall in 2008 and when they returned for their second gig at Fort Canning a few years later, I’d kind of gone off them. I wasn’t as enthused about their recent albums, and the departure of Chris Walla further deepened the disconnect. Seeing them at The Coliseum and hearing their old songs brought back memories when I listened to Transatlanticism on repeat on my discman. And sometimes that’s enough.
Paskura @ Hidden Agenda, Hong Kong, 8 March 2016
While searching for upcoming indie gigs in Hong Kong, I discovered that they were playing on my first night there. Frankly, I had no idea who they were but Russian progressive rock/post-rock/post-metal sounded interesting so I went. They put on a good show and were really enthusiastic to be playing in Hong Kong. Pity the crowd was so thin, only 15 or so people turned up. The venue was pretty cool; it’s located on the second level of a industrial building which is reached by a cargo lift that’s accessed through a small door in the shutters. We definitely need more of these underground music venues in Singapore.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ MacPherson Stadium, Hong Kong, 11 March 2016
I’m not a big fan of post-rock, but when I found out Godspeed You! Black Emperor were playing at MacPherson Stadium, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see the Montreal legends. It was a solid gig with beautiful music and visuals, and they did an encore which is apparently very rare for them. There was a crowd gathered around the sound booth after and I ambled over to see what was going on. Turns out they were giving away strips of film and I got a piece with a word that I couldn’t make out.
Chad Valley and Blackbird Blackbird @ Cafe Hillywood, Hong Kong, 12 March 2016
I enjoyed Chad Valley’s set much more than Blackbird Blackbird. The former had more interesting and complex tunes and friendly stage banter, while Blackbird Blackbird’s songs got repetitive fast. I thought it was strange that though it was supposed to be a live set, he just played the tracks on his laptop and strummed some guitar over them. I’d have been satisfied if it was just Chad Valley headlining, they were that good.
The Observatory @ The Substation, 19 March 2016
I haven’t really kept up with The Observatory but their latest August is the cruellest is their angriest, noisiest record to date. I’d read that it was inspired by the haze and the SG50 celebrations last year, and it shows in the accusatory lyrics and sheer wall of dissonance. They played two sold out shows at The Substation and it was a blistering affair from start to finish. Thankfully I was standing at the back so my ears were spared from ringing afterwards. The covers of The Cure’s ‘Fascination Street’ and Talking Heads’ ‘Burning Down The House’ were a nice touch. They’re truly one of the best local bands around.