Venue: The Meadow @ Gardens By The Bay, Singapore
Date: 26th January 2013
Promoter: Chugg Entertainment
Review by: Nadiah H., and More Than Good Hooks
Special Thanks: Andrius, and the Laneway Festival team
Photos by Cliff Y.
Both hipsters and non were beyond prepared for the next 12 hours of non-stop good vibrations. It was 12:30pm, and even as the sun was being extremely merciless, Laneway Festival Singapore 2013 was ready to go.
As the first set of the festival and the first Laneway Festival of the year, the folk pop-duo from Kings of Convenience was certainly put under pressure to kick off with a bang. Looking really peaceful on stage, the poised duo welcomed the crowd with their relaxed but brilliant set which, at that point of time was what everybody needed. These boys are still doing what they do best, on stage from when I last saw them three years back, making people dance to “I’d Rather Dance With You”. As for Erlend Øye, he was seen pacing around the festival the entire day with a string of fans catching up behind.
Next up was Minneapolis electro popsters Poliça (highly endorsed by Bon Iver). Their music can be described as electro and brand. Petite lead singer Channy Leaneagh lead the band with her beautifully haunting vocals. Her stage aloofness is complimented handsomely with hammering cadence covering every song from their 2012 debut, ‘Give You The Ghost’. The crowd loved them, I loved them.
Highly underrated Cloud Nothings gracefully tore down the stage, unfortunately without much attention from the crowd. At this point in time, the venue had mats laid out everywhere and everyone was just trying to fight the heat, downing their drinks, shades on, baking in the sun. The band was bloody brilliant, though. I mean, Dylan Baldi’s vocals were spot on especially in “No Future/No Past”. That amount of bass and raw vocals mashed together definitely deserves credit, especially in the equatorial heat.
The same goes for Divine Fits. As much as many people wanting to stand up and bob their heads to the tunes made by Spoon and Wolf Parade’s members, the humidity was keeping them down. Conversely enough, sitting on the grass whilst head bobbing to their songs feels pretty damn ace, too.
No idea where the sudden energy came on, probably from how big the next band has become, everyone and I mean EVERYONE stood up and pierced their ears in for Of Monsters and Men. Pun intended, people really wanted to listen to the words the six piece band were gonna say. These guys have really brought music to a whole new level, making their music a celebration even with lyrics about heartbreak and insanity. When “Little Talks” started playing, at that moment in time, I truly felt at a festival.
Next up, Japandroids! Who would have thought two men (one looking like baby-faced Kurt Cobain) could bring the hipster crowd at Laneway into a wild body packed-pit, abandoning their care-less facade. Known for their energetic live performances, the two noisemakers played for crowds of fist-pumping and throat-shredding superfans, with tunes such as “Fire’s Highway”. These boys made us completely forget about the relentless weather.
It’s 17:50 and the Lanewayers really needed Nicolas Jaar to come on to cool them off (especially after Japandroids) with his good-looking face and well, music. His electronic music saw many people dancing and swaying along maybe also because at this time, the sun was making its way for the moon. Undoubtedly so, Jaar’s formulaic rhythmic contractions were such a turn on to the ears. Totally overheard many people saying along the lines of “He’s actually really good”.
Attracting a large male audience with hormones on overdrive, Kimbra bounced to the stage with her colourful, over-the top confetti outfit. Best-dressed artist of the festival I would say. Even with a completely biased (against) opinion, I would have to say Kimbra’s vocals were a definite powerhouse live, as showcased on songs such as “Two Way Street” and fan favourite, “Cameo Lover” – kudos to her! She also did a splendid job on her performance of “Warrior”, a track she collaborated with Mark Foster (Foster The People) and A-Trak.
Real Estate is the type of band that half the Lanewayers can relate to – built-up, jovial, twenty-somethings. Their performance that night was pure and effortless, with each attentive audience member coveting every riff and every refined low-fi jangle played. The New Jersey quintet performed a predominantly Days set, which included “All The Same” and “Municipality”.
With no fault of the bands’, Alt-J came on to a rough start in the midst of “Tessellate”, facing technical sound difficulties that forced them out of the stage. After a 15 minute wait, the polite British lads came on promising the crowd “Thanks for waiting. Looks like we’ll just have to make it up by playing the best show of our lives”. INDEED. Newman’s guitar and Gus Unger-Hamilton’s synths were unreal, especially during “Fitzpleasure”. The band managed to translate their technically complex tunes to the stage and some might even compare their live performance with vinyl sounds. “Taro” was a remarkable end, leaving the mood light as the band waved off with sincere thanks. What An Awesome Wave.
Yeasayer’s comeback to Laneway Festival Singapore was highly celebrated. It was personally my first time watching them live and I just have to mention how different they sound live as compared to through the headphones. I still can’t decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing, though. Their hit song ‘O.N.E’ was definitely the highlight of the set. Literally everyone was dancing along in wherever their positions were, losing themselves to the song.
Its 22:10. Perfect timing for Natasha Khan aka Bat for Lashes to come on. Her seductive voice and songs that possess melodic riffs contributed to her high-class performance. Khan commented that she did not expect Singapore to be as hot as it was, but the heat did little to stop her from putting on a stellar set. Bat For Lashes pleased fans with the likes of “What’s A Girl To Do?”, “Daniel”, and “Laura” during her 45-minute set. One could undoubtedly feel the passion and emotion piercing through from Khan as the lines “Thank God I’m alive!” off “Lilies” reverberated throughout the venue.
Next to take the stage was one of the three exclusive to Laneway Singapore only acts and psychedelic giants, Tame Impala. Their set was simply beyond anything imaginable. Every song that came on got the crowd into bigger fits of rave. Parker and band killed every note, and the crowd showed appreciation in the form of fist pumps and jumping. The ultimate spoiler moment was the crowd having to choose between “Apocalypse Dreams” or “Half Full Glass Of Wine” because of the time constraints. Oh well, got to appreciate.
Laneway closed off with the final exclusive act of the evening and Australia’s very own Gotye, who began his set past midnight. Even though many punters had left due to the long day, those who stayed were committed to enjoy his performance and we were indeed not disappointed. The Melbourne native started with “Smoke And Mirrors”, and instantaneously demonstrated his talents was just as good live as it is on record. The multi-instrumentalist shared the spotlight with his band mates, whom he acknowledged and praised all through his set. Culmination came in the form of Kimbra coming on stage to sing her verse on the ubiquitous single, “Somebody That I Used To Know”, which prompted a massive sing-along and rousing cheers from fans.
Overall impact of Laneway Festival Singapore 2013: Losing a few pounds and gaining a tan/sun burn. Worth it.