Sunday, February 28, 2010


Man, I am still pooped from yesterday's marathon Baybeats Auditions. This year, the auditions was held at an industrial park in Ubi Avenue 1, hosted by Stage 57 Productions. All the judges viz. Amanda Ling, Daniel Sassoon, Jon Chan and yours truly, were a little put off by the venue on two levels.

First, our own comfort and secondly, the sound of the performances. In actual fact, it was not too uncomfortable (although it was rather humid) but how much effect did the venue have on the performances of the bands? Hard to say.

What I can say is that it was not too easy to select the 16 bands to progress into the next round. The Baybeats Festival is a platform to showcase upcoming S-ROCK talent that has never graced the Baybeats stage. With that in mind, we were not looking for polish or perfection but a spark that suggested that with encouragement and cajoling, the final selection of bands could entertain and inspire the Baybeats audiences come August 2010.

As always, there was a pinch of drama, leading up to and during the auditions. Bands pulling out at the very last minute, bands without lead singers, bands with bizarre approaches and bands which really need to go back to the drawing board.

Of course, there were also bands that impressed (not too many, mind you) and bands that got the judges discussing in depth on their respective merits. Sometimes the opinions swayed and changed in mid-argument and sometimes, the decision was unanimous - one way or another.

In any case, we made our final selection at 11pm plus and I'm certain that there will be controversy over some of the bands chosen. At the end of the day, we agreed on certain guiding principles that determined the final 16. Much work needs to be done for the bands to be ready for the next round, which will be held at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre in a month's time.

As usual, I enjoyed the company of my fellow judges - I wonder what the bands made of us - always seemed like we were giggling about something. But all in good fun and when it comes to the music, I can tell you that we become deadly serious.

Personally, along the course of the long day, I was disappointed, offended, entertained, tickled, embarrassed and impressed (not all at once of course) by the 29 bands. I applaud the effort but was reminded about how much guidance and direction our young bands need. I hope that I can play my part somehow.

Stay tuned for the results soon...

... still there's more ...

Pix courtesy of The Esplanade Co Ltd

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