Kasabian with special guests The Vaccines

Venue: Fort Canning Park, Singapore
Date: 8th February 2012
Promoter: LAMC Productions
Review by: Joanne L.
Special Thanks: Andre and the LAMC Productions team
Photos by Cliff Y. – Kasabian + The Vaccines

The set up was inconspicuous – a simple stage opening into the expanse of greenery at Fort Canning Park. Rich with history and old-time charm, it is hard to imagine that the serenity exuded by this beautiful venue would be rocked by award winning Brit group, Kasabian, and The Vaccines. And rocked out they did. The two groups delivered every gratifying beat that is expected of a rock group but they bucked the trend in the punctuality department, starting their shows right on time, which is uncharacteristic of rock outfits.

The Vaccines warmed us up with numbers from their only album to date What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?. Having been formed in early 2010, this relatively new kid on the block convinced a skeptical me that they have indeed earned their quick rise to fame. The sounds of The Vaccines worked for me like how fusion cuisine works for some folk. Just like fusion cuisine, The Vaccines cross pollinated the defining characteristics of rock and roll, punk, pop and gospel (yes, indeed), put a cheeky spin on it and made it work. If I were to draw from analogy, I would say they are a culmination of The Strokes (especially the vocals), Kasabian, The Ramones, and a tiny pinch of The All American Rejects.

The mix of songs is mostly derived from their high powered songs like Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) and Tiger Blood as well as more ballad-esque numbers like A Lack of Understanding and Post Breakup Sex. However, the highlight for me was fresh sounding Norgaard which reminded me of raw and boyish high school raucousness. Usually, opening acts are received with silent composure and if they are lucky, perhaps an acknowledging head-bop or two by the discerning crowd. However, as evidenced by the fist pumping and relentlessly dancing crowd, The Vaccines had definitely exceeded expectations. And I could tell that the boys knew it by watching how much fun they were having on stage themselves. Would I watch them again? That will be an unequivocal yes.

The 45 minute set by The Vaccines sufficiently primed the 6000-strong crowd for Kasabian, who were greeted with a deafening roar. The Leicester headliner started out slow with Days Are Forgotten from their latest album Velociraptor!, but the energy built up as the band peppered their set list with some old favourites. First, some background on your reviewer: As a long time fan of the band, I got my hands on Velociraptor as soon as it was released here. However, despite the rave reviews it had received, I found that the sounds were unfamiliarly mellow compared to its predecessors (am I alone on this one?). The CD had not seen a second spin, until after I attended the concert, that is. The band’s live performance of songs from Velociraptor! highlighted the trademark Kasabian vocal drawl, frontline drum beats, and repetition of signature guitar phrases which often become the defining characteristic of their songs. It then became clear to me how the band’s music has evolved into a more matured sound, without compromising on the features which got them to where they are now in the industry. My observation was proven when the band performed La Fee Verte, for which vocalist Tom Meighan graciously took a backseat for the spotlights to be turned onto guitarist and, for this song, vocalist Sergio Pizzorno.

Notwithstanding my history with Velociraptor!, I observed that the audience had a greater appreciation for Kasabian’s earlier hits like Empire, Club Foot and Shoot the Runner. The response for L.S.F. was explosive, in part because vocalist Tom announced before playing that “this is a new one”, but the distinctive keyboard intro betrayed Tom’s straight face. As it was the last song, the crowd hummed the last phrase of L.S.F. to signal their thirst for more, and in response the band served up a well-deserved three-song encore, ending with energy filled Fire.

I first heard Kasabian on radio in 2004 and I was smitten. When I first saw them perform in 2009 at the MTV World Stage, I fell in love. Now, I’m officially obsessed.