Baybeats 2004, Esplanade Riverside, Singapore

The Observatory, complete with great view
The Observatory, complete with great view

The BayBeats festival was a fairly endearing example of the classic Singaporean maxim: If it’s free, they will come. The samfu-clad grandma seemed to have enjoyed The Observatory, but the 50something couple in one of the first few rows left at some point during Force Vomit.

Fleeting thoughts on the bands I saw/heard:

  • Telebury: Quite pleasant. Like the child of The Shins and Coldplay if The Shins were British and Coldplay weren’t shit.
  • The Observatory: This band has an odd tendency to be present at my rare “Actually, Singapore isn’t so bad!” moments, one of which was the first time I saw them, and the second of which was the sun setting on the bay as they sang their very pretty new song Sea Of Doubts. A class act.
  • Surreal: The same And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead song for half an hour.
  • Furniture: The same Mogwai song for half an hour, frequently employing the same chord progressions as in Aereogramme’s The Black Path.
  • Force Vomit: Not really my thing. I like my punk less catchy and more abrasive. Less smiling guys with indie hair and black plastic specs, more bald sweaty guys in huge singlets bawling out rants against corporate oppression. You get my drift. (Please come to Singapore, Fugazi!) But I can still see why this band has such a loyal following here, and why Paul Zach and Chris Ho have championed them so much. They were pretty fun. I’d see them again.
  • Whence He Came: The same bad emo song for half an hour.

[In the not-so-impossible likelihood that a Googling band member comes across these words and feels slighted, these are the (very brief, and admittedly flippant) impressions I formed while listening to half-hour-long sets. I realize your albums may be quite different. If you feel I’ve misrepresented your musical vision, feel free to disagree. For what it’s worth, I actually love Trail Of Dead and Mogwai, although I can’t say I’m much of an emo fan. Also, if I ever give any gigs you will be fully entitled to write “The same complete silence for half an hour” in your review, because I’d chicken out before even going on stage. All power to you, and I hope you had a good time at Baybeats.]


  1. Nice picture.

    Singapore by night looks pretty nice.

    I think local resident would be a bit more concerned by a Faugazi gig.

  2. I’m happy to be in the cyber-presence of someone else who thinks Coldplay are shit.

  3. Oh per-lease, everybody is saying Coldplay is shit. It’s like making a name checking the Pixies in a rock review.

    Are all you’re reviews going to contain disclaimers now Michelle? I wouldn’t badmouth Aslan outside of the comments section if I were you. Those guys are from Finglas.

  4. Well James, I’ve been saying Coldplay were shit ever since their second single. I’m not sure that many people had even heard of them at that point.

    I’m also not exactly sure what analogy you’re trying to draw between my views on Coldplay and references to the Pixies in rock reviews. I have been listening to the Pixies and loving them for years. There are perhaps some johnny-come-latelies out there who only recently heard of them, and therefore feel the need to make references to them now in order to add indie cred punch to sardonic remarks, but I don’t see myself as one of those people, happily.

  5. Metal head: Not at all, I just find your mood infectious.

    Indie cred queen: In the not-so-impossible likelihood that Chris Martin types “Coldplay are shit” into Google and comes across this site, these are the (very brief, and admittedly flippant) impressions I formed while listening to your first two singles. I didn’t mean it, honest!

  6. Suzy, I think you hit the tampon straight on the head with your first hunch. :)


    Forming impressions of an unknown fledgling band based on a half-hour set is surely a lot more brief and flippant than forming impressions of a band based on having heard their albums, and having heard their many hit songs hundreds of times. Your second comment therefore draws yet another false analogy, and I do hope you understand this one.

  7. Who are ye to question the timing of my menstrual (i’d check the spelling but I’m in work and it might be a bad idea to check that on cycle or the validity of my analogies?

    Oh riiight, you were there in the beginning. Way back when they were adored/underrated. Doesn’t that just epitomise indie chic? Tell me, who are the new saviors of rock? I want to play my “they’re just a derivative composition of fasionable influences” rant out of the way while it’s still hip.

  8. Why are you so obsessed with indie cred, James?

    I expressed my view that Coldplay are shit. Your problem with this view seems to be that everybody’s saying it, much like how everyone’s making Pixies references in rock reviews.

    I don’t understand why you felt that comment was a relevant response to my post, since I’ve never said things about Coldplay (or the Pixies) in some wannabe attempt to jump on bandwagons. I’ve disliked Coldplay for ages. Although I’ve loved the Pixies for a long time, I haven’t even mentioned them here for months. Why does pointing these facts out to you make me some indie cred queen? What do you want me to do, lie?

    I can’t even remember the last time I listened to a (recently released) rock CD, so I’m afraid I can’t answer your question. Sorry to deprive you of any petty satisfaction you were hoping for. I guess I’m not as cool as you think I am.

  9. James,

    A man would stick to his guns or appologise.

    A dog rolls over and begs to have its belly rubbed.

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