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St Jerome’s Laneway Festival Top Picks – 26 Jan 2013
Concerts Review

St Jerome’s Laneway Festival Top Picks – 26 Jan 2013 

The third installment of Laneway Festival in Singapore proved to be the hottest yet and literally too. The wet season of late was a blessing in disguise as the weather unusually held up for a whole day, allowing a full day of fun for everyone in the Meadow.

As expected, the stellar line-up never disappointed with their individual performances. The pacing and schedule remained on time and the fans were never left waiting before the stage is light up again act after act. The best thing about indie music festivals is you’re ensured a top show. As Icelandic group Of Monsters & Men put it during the press conference, they’re in it for artistic value and making the best music and not commercial gains. From Kings of Convenience to Kimbra to Gotye, the dancing never stopped.

Still recuperating from our sunburnt skin and coping with withdrawal symptoms, we’d like to bring you the highlights of this year’s Laneway Festival.

Venue

The shift to the Meadow @ Gardens by the Bay from the greens at Fort Canning Park of yesteryears was a refreshing change. The bigger venue allowed a breathing space and there’s a certain calm & relaxed vibe. The Meadows emanated a pleasing ‘Teletubby’ land feel and it almost felt like we were disconnected from the bustle of Singapore the moment you’re in.

The city’s skyline, Marina Bay Sands, Supertrees and The Flyer in the backdrop provided a postcard view of Singapore. It was a perfect introduction for the visiting festivalgoers and for many of the bands that were performing in Singapore or Asia for the first time.

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Kings of Convenience

One can’t ask for a better introduction to an indie music festival than the Kings of Convenience. Erlend and Eirik dished out their repertoire of #singalong and #dancelikenooneiswatching hits almost effortlessly despite the blistering heat. Starting their set exactly on time, many fans were left frustrated in the queue into the festival grounds. There was a crazy beeline of crowd rushing towards the stage during their set.

Signing off with their hit, “I’d rather dance than talk with you”, it pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day. Living up to their names later, they blended into the crowd to catch the rest of the festival amongst the crowds. We were lucky to be right next to Erlend dancing along to Alt J, Tame Impala later in the night, with Eirik joining soon after.

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Kimbra

I applaud the organiser’s decision to time Kimbra’s set at sundown. When the energy levels were dwindling, you need a firecracker of a performance and you could never ask for more than Kimbra. With a stage right out of Gaudi’s drawing books, a dress right out of Disney’s studios, Kimbra powered up the crowd with her groove and energetic performance. Of course, majestically, Kimbra came on stage in a rather modest looking dress (by her standards of course) later on to sing her part with Gotye for 2012’s Official Anthem ‘Somebody I Used To Know” to the delight of everyone.

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Bat for Lashes

If Kimbra was the princess of this year’s Laneway, Natasha Khan or more affectionately known as Bat For Lashes certainly performed like the queen of the show.
Laneway Festival Singapore has an impressive alumni of female singers, which includes Anna Calvi, Laura Marling and Feist, but Natasha Khan certainly stamped herself as the most impressive yet in our opinion.
Draped in a white flowy bat-winged top, drumstick in tow, Natasha Khan impressed the crowd with her energetic and emotional performance. From the drum heavy track What’s a Girl To Do to the heart stringing number, Laura, Natasha Khan mesmerized the crowd with her earnest performance.

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Tame Impala

Anything but, Tame Impala took on Laneway and changed it’s vibe altogether. Stoner music for stoners, it certainly felt like you were drawn underwater with the band. Transistor sounding guitar riffs, heavy bass and synthesizer attacking music of the band was a welcome change towards the night.

If the other acts have fans loving Laneway Festival, Tame Impala would have them hooked. At the press conference, the band reiterated that they’re not driven by album sales and although they’re not advocators of piracy, they support fans whom do their all to gain access to their music. So what exactly do the band make money out of? In their own words,”…buy our t-shirts.”

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Gotye

There’s Gotye. Then, there’s Gotye LIVE. Wally is a different animal altogether when he’s performing live on stage. That scruffy beard is a sign of an innerwolverine we’ve never seen before. Moving from percussions to the synth machines, to officially the smallest cymbal we’ve seen, Gotye showed his musicianship’s prowess. All his songs were accompanied by an engrossing animated video in the background, whichthe Gorillaz would be proud to call their own.Gotye provided the perfect ending to a perfect day in the Meadow.

This year’s Laneway Festival is a notch above the previous years. The line-up, organization and vibe certainly placed itself as the best music festival in the region. The aching body and aloe vera doused skin of the day after is well worth it. The dancing sessions in the copy room days after is testament of the wonderful memories it brought.

(Fadhli)

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