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Tuesday, June 29, 2010


GOOD MUSIC BY BAD PEOPLE


First off, this seems like a churlish comment about an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of our local legends The Stoned Revivals but I really can't take to those half a day gigs that start at 4pm and end at 9pm. Primarily because they NEVER start on time and the duration of the gig gets prolonged.

Being World Cup season also did not help my cause and so at the Stoned Revivals farewell gig, I only managed to see the band's 1st set and Space Days. Actually, I arrived just before 7pm to catch the Great Spy Experiment and intending to leave after The Stoned Revivals.

But when I arrived at about quarter to, I was informed by Ade (BIML) that Stoned Revivals were setting up for their 1st set. Ah... naturally, it was a great set as the current lineup delivered a tight, groovy performance of soul-funk gems like The New Way, Slowest Song, Loose Boogie and so on. Space Days were next and though I thought it was promising garage-punk-pop, it sounded too close to the Arctic Monkeys for comfort. Then American David Knight came on, fiddled around with his gadget, sang to a minus one (meh!) and that was my cue out of the Substation.

Yeah, I missed GSE and the Stoned Revivals' 2nd set but was thrilled by the comprehensive collection of tracks contained in the CD-R given out by the band when paying my way into the venue. What an excellent discography! I believe the music is available free online but will confirm later.

I miss the band but knowing that they will continue to record in some manner is certainly heartening. Long may you run!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"STRANGERS"

What a fabulous night was had by all who attended yesterday evening's OOOM (Originals Only Open Mike)! A fairly packed out Singapore Arts Museum Glass Hall witnessed an array of Singapore's best singer-songwriters including Adrian Jones (Basement in my Loft), Cove Red, Andie Francoeur (voted OOOMer of the night!) and of course, Nick Tan (featured artist for the night).

My latest protege, Debra made her debut as a singer-songwriter with her first original song - "Strangers" - an old school country ballad that might have ruled the country 'n' western airwaves in the 70s. Most who saw her were impressed and they would be correct to be, as I've been working with Debra only since February and she has grown in leaps and bounds. She still has a long way to go but the signs are indeed promising.

There were other budding singer-songwriters who shared their music last night. Quite a few with good potential like Eunice Keitan, a Canadian-born thrush with nice country-folk vibes. One to watch, for sure. D'fusion, an OOOM staple, have an easy manner in the way they express their music. The trio would need to work a little on their songwriting and delivery, though. That latter comment would apply to many who played last night and given some direction and know-how, these promising singer-songwriters could easily move into the next level.

Kudos once again to Jonathan How - OOOM organizer - for this ongoing unique promotion of songwriting in Singapore. It does warm the cockles of the heart to see the number of people willing to forgo their Friday nights to give support to our songwriters here. Indeed!

But what was truly great about last night was seeing many good friends and sharing time with folk close to my heart. And of course, the experience of seeing Debra take her first step in her musical career was priceless.

... and there's more...

Friday, June 25, 2010


FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE

Last night, I attended a dinner ostensibly as a "thank you" from The Fire Fight. Besides the FF boys viz. Iain, JBarks, Josh and Jon, familiar music scene folks like Leonard (ubiquitous producer), Esmond (FF manager/Vertical Rush), Mike (Great Spy Experiment manager), Angel (backing singer), Amanda (ex-Electrico), Jon (Plainsunset), Teddy (sound guy) and John (Wake Me Up Music/*SCAPE) made the occasion a fun time for all as much good food was had, jokes were exchanged and juicy gossip was shared to the endless ringing of heavy laughter. Yup, you could say a splendid time was had by all.

Even as the night wrapped up and Mike kindly gave me a lift home, we wondered about which were the young bands that could step up to make a impact in the absence of The Fire Fight (and also Allura) whilst also mulling over Mike's choices for his ultimate S-ROCK all-girl supergroup. Yes, all heavy matters to ponder. Hopefully, we will find the answers sooner than later.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


INTRODUCING... DEBRA!

This is Debra. She is 18 and finished her 'A' levels last year. And for the last four months, we've been spending one hour per week working on her singing/songwriting. So far, she has written two good tunes, one of which she will debut this Friday (tomorrow!) at OOOM @Singapore Arts Museum Glass Hall from 7pm to 9pm. 

I guess I could tell you loads of good things about Debra (and I certainly could) but I'd rather you come down tomorrow to see (and hear) for yourself. Debra and I will be presenting her debut song called Strangers... see you there!

BUT if you really can't make it and are dying to hear Debra perform Strangers, send me an email - info(at)powerofpop(dot)com - and convince me to send you a special link. Heh!

OH! And my very good friend, Nick Tan, will be the featured artist at tomorrow's OOOM and his new EP, Arranged Accidents will be on sale (if you haven't got it yet) and Nick will be on hand to sign it or whatever. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

DOES SINGAPORE MUSIC SUCK?

What do you think? Well...
SINGAPORE MUSIC SCENE SUCKS

Did that get your attention? I hope so. I have been (for the last five months) thinking that I should try to earn a living making music. But so far despite the early promise of music projects, its all been one big fat ZERO!

It's gotten so bad that at times I've seriously considered quitting the music scene altogether. But when I'm lucid I realize that "giving up" would make that much difference to the non-existent music scene anyway so why do it? You know what I mean?

I attended the press conference this morning wherein Midas Promotions announced SINGfest 2010. By all accounts, the organizers tried their best to paint themselves as "Singaporeans" (they're both Caucasians) and that despite the pressure to take the festival elsewhere they have decided to keep the SINGfest in SINGapore and that the festival was for SINGapore music lovers.

I don't understand why there is the need to belabor this point as isn't it all about money, anyway? I mean, why talk about organizing this music festival for SINGapore music fans and ultimately (if you can believe), SINGapore bands/artists when realistically, the main focus MUST be on profit-making. Honestly, nobody is able to make any real money from the SINGapore music scene at the moment so ...

As it is, the only proper supporter of SINGapore music for now is the SINGapore government. Really!?! Think about it, if not for Esplanade and *SCAPE, many SINGapore bands/artists (especially yours truly) would have no chance to play and the only reason that happens is because Esplanade and *SCAPE do not have to make any money from the SINGapore bands/artists. So in essence, we are a charity project.

Oh, I don't include the numerous bands/artists who play cover songs at pubs and clubs - they earn their way but only by repressing their own creativity and role-playing as a foreign song jukebox. Hey, I'm not dissing these hard working bands/artists - believe me, its not easy doing what they do - the commercial realities/environment dictates that unhappy state of affairs.

Sad but true and unless the mindset of the average music lover in SINGapore changes drastically, this sorry situation will always remain the same. Frankly, I am not optimistic that it ever will. So we should be content with the scraps that fall off the mainstream table to underground dogs like us. We can shrug our shoulders and maintain that it's all about the music because there is precious little else we can do about it.

Just count me out.