Baybeats 2005: Day Three

As always, afternoon napping foiled my best-laid plans of getting to Baybeats in time for Serenaide, and I arrived only to hear the last 30 seconds of their last song.

The bands that followed – Zhen, The Marilyns and Kate Of Kale – were pretty dull and I started to long for my couch again, so I went to the Garlic Restaurant with emptysignifier in search of a strong pick-me-up.

Fortified and reeking (how awesome is the garlic ice-cream?), we then sallied forth for Death Of Cinema, which I enjoyed lots then and enjoy even more now that I’ve discovered they describe their sound as “post-cock”. Coincidentally, the same article reveals that they share my views on song-naming wankery:

Nick: I wouldn’t say we disregard genres. Rather, we’re very sensitive to the trappings of them, so you’re right about the stereotypes. For example, with the whole down-tempo and triphop thing, there’s just this very pretentious, pseudo-intellectual and extremely dated edge to it. Just look at the cover of any Winter Chill or Hed Kandi ‘chillout’ compilation, or the cover of Groove Armada’s Vertigo. Have you seen anything more dated or stuck?

The same thing is happening to post-rock too. Like what’s with 5-word smarty pants titles as ‘de rigeur’? The reason I mention these genres is that we ourselves are into this music and we can’t escape the influence anyway, so we learn to take what we can and make fun of it, and hopefully we end up less derivative.

For what it’s worth, as someone who’s spent a lot of my music-listening life hoping to sift the derivative from the influenced-but-innovative (and blogging incoherently about it), I don’t think Death Of Cinema sound derivative. Also, I want a “Post-Cock” T-shirt.

Between 8.30-9 we had a choice between watching Electrico and Lunarin. Several hundred people chose Electrico (who seem like nice people doing what they love but I’m not into their music) so I was glad there was plenty of space for Lunarin. I quite liked what I heard, but would like to hear an electric set to get a better feel of their sound.

Room to swing a post-cock in

I’m a bit at a loss for what to write about Concave Scream, except that they just seem to have hit on how to write songs that work as songs and work for their sound as a band. To me they sound melancholic yet uplifting, reminiscent yet timeless, and always larger than the sum of their influences. (God my music writing sucks.) The best gig I saw at Baybeats 2005. I left shortly after, because Copeland were boring me, and I wanted to end the night on a high note.

Baybeats 2005: Day Two

Given that we only had a wedding lunch to attend on Saturday, I’d originally thought we’d make it for the start of day 2 of Baybeats, but I’d forgotten this was Tamara and her family we were talking about, so great company and countless glasses of champagne got considerably in the way. It’s a special sort of joy leaving a wedding party knowing your dear friend is in wonderful hands. Congratulations, Mr and Mrs Pritchard!

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My views of Surreal and Furniture haven’t changed since last year, so let’s leave it at that.

I Am David Sparkle was pleasant enough but didn’t post-rock my socks that much either. The problem well may be mine though, I think I’m the world’s most impatient quietLOUD type post-rock fan. I love walls of bonecrushing sound but get restless in the slow peaceful bits that build up to them. This is why my favourite local band is Astreal, they just skip the foreplay and go right to the orgasm, which then continues for at least five minutes.

Let it not be said that I’m biased against all emo, I actually liked Brandtson quite a lot. They had nice songs with strong melodic hooks, and enough variety of chords and song structures that it didn’t sound like the same nice song repeated 8 times. Also, they do a pretty mean Cry Me A River. Mad strobe lighting during the chorus was a fun dramatic flourish but I wish they’d put a bit more death metal in the guitars.

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At this point I have to mention my main frustration of the night: the stitches in my right boob are freaking cramping my style.

In normal circumstances I’d have left at this point to see Ice T in Zouk, but I was worried about getting pushed around or elbowed in the crowds there. I’d also have liked to go to Subvert’s 2nd birthday, but having to restrain myself from my usual vigorous drum’n’bass dancing would have been too frustrating.

So I stayed at Baybeats for Poptart and Twilight Action Girl’s DJ sets instead, but even within indie pop lies hardship. Witness my measured jumping during the “In LOVE, in FEAR, in HATE, in TEARS” bit of Sit Down, my restrained air guitar during Bullet With Butterfly Wings, and my wimpy gesticulating to Sabotage. Okay, I cracked a little when they played Here Comes Your Man, scampered down to the front and broke into a weird sway-hop-kick dance, but in general it could truly be said that despite all my rage, I was still just a rat in a cage.

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Don’t these tiiiiimes fill your eeeeeeyes?

Baybeats 2005: Day One, Quick Notes

I arrived quite late from dinner and drinks with my former colleagues, so only saw Shamejoannshame and Nakedbreed.

The former was unremarkable instrumental post-rock which seemed to take overlong overdescriptive song-naming inspiration from A Silver Mount Zion. (Exhibit A: Shamejoannshame’s “I Heard You Singing A S Club 7 Song While You Were Super Wasted.” Exhibit B: A Silver Mount Zion’s “Sisters! Brothers! Small Boats Of Fire Are Falling From The Sky!”)

The latter was energetic pop-rock with catchy harmonies and occasional excursions into Joe Satriani guitar territory. Better than many similarly styled bands I’ve heard in Singapore – they deserve to do fairly well and probably will, given the accessibility of their sound.

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.]