It was pretty shocking how badly attended the 2 gigs we attended at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival were. I guess in a two month period where Franz Ferdinand, Oasis and Kings of Convenience were performing here, most local “indie” music fans chose to spend their money there instead. I’m not saying it’s wrong to like those bands, and when I was 14 I’d probably have been ecstatic about such gigs, but I do wish people in Singapore were a little more willing to take a chance on something less established or radio-friendly. Call me a bleeding heart if you like but it always really upsets me to see a good band performing to an embarrassingly empty room.
Having said that, my heart remained resolutely unbloodied during Analog Girl’s performance, if one could even call it that. I’m having difficulty writing about this because I don’t want to be needlessly unkind about someone who is trying to do something different, even if I don’t personally think she succeeds at all. Let me just say that as someone who has a fairly high threshhold for abstract noodly electronica (anyone here like Fennesz?), I was bored stiff by the music, and watching her essentially press buttons on devices for half an hour didn’t exactly make for compelling viewing either. There’s more I could say, but let’s leave it at that.
The Konki Duet are three girls who make pretty, slightly melancholic, chamber pop with two of the girls harmonizing over a guitar, dinky keyboard, violin and occasional trumpet. It’s a simple setup, but what they achieve with it is a good reminder that you don’t always need an Elephant Six-esque panoply of obscure instruments to make interesting indie pop. They’re a little raw – they were sometimes out of time with each other, and the violin is far too obtrusive in the mix – but they have a lovely little collection of songs which managed to have a distinct identity and style about them without all sounding the same. I enjoyed them far more than I’d expected to, and although they do need a little more polish at the moment, I think they deserve to do well with this in time to come.
If you’re a stark raving Francophile you might love The Lovers. They started their gig with the “I’m French! Why do you theenk I havv zis outrrragyuss akksent?” sound clip from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail and sang a number of impish bossa nova songs about French grammar genders and French wine and French kisses and…you get the drift. All this shtick would put them firmly in novelty band territory for me if not for their rather charming stage persona. I’m not sure if it’s part of their act or if they’re genuinely besotted with one another, but I found myself buying into their affectionate, coquettish chemistry. Sometimes it’s nice to watch a gig where the performers hold each other closely and exchange seductive looks. It’s certainly a change from shoegazing.
(Review of the 2nd gig forthcoming in a future post.)