These days, I ask myself a lot of questions. Is my standard of living below or above the national average? Does my dog prefer Jazz or Justin Bieber? Do I really want to pay good money to watch a band play from a distance? If I really wanted to do that, couldn’t I have done that via Youtube? Are the above questions of a rhetorical nature? What the hell is a rhetorical question?
It turns out that I really did want to pay good money to watch a good band perform from a distance. Even if it meant I had to battle the elements. Even if it meant I had to duel with precipitation, I’ll do it.
Several good and bad things happened to me during the Laneway Festival yesterday, and most of it had to do with my choice of pants.
Before stepping out of the house: Chose to wear leather shorts. Really beginning to feel the indie rock vibe.
In the cab: OH MY GOD, I AM WEARING LEATHER PANTS TO A ROCK MUSIC FESTIVAL, HOW LAME IS THAT?
When Ladyhawke was performing “My Delirium”: THANK GOD FOR MY WATERPROOF LEATHER PANTS. My arse has never been dryer.
I came slightly earlier to get a good spot to watch Beach House. Ladyhawke was cool but I really thought her act was better suited for a small, compact indoor environment. In other words, she’s better suited for a fire hazard than Fort Canning.
I didn’t sleep too well the night before, so I was all lethargic throughout the entire thing and only managed to get a little tingly when the rain stopped and the air was dense with anticipation and the wet smell of mud plus perspiration. Beach House in Singapore!!! How many times have I dreamt of this? (Actually, none, since my fantasies tend to veer towards the direction where I AM Victoria Legrand.) Alex Scally came out early for the equipment check and in my entire non-professional career as a concert go-er, this is probably the first time I am seeing this. Normally, the sound and equipment checks are done by bald guys who’ve had one too many beers for their belly and the performers are nowhere in sight. To a fan, it’s a great show of humility, that guy is a humble dude, dude! To a normal person, he’s just trying to get ready for the show. In fastastic white socks, no less.
Here, I am completely biased. I am a huge fan of Beach House and I could sing all of their songs with my eyes closed (ok, that’s nothing much to brag about). How would I describe their gig besides it being nothing short of fantastic? Well, for one, it was really bad for people with respiratory problems, with the dry ice and gas and everything.
From Walk in the Park onwards, we were all rendered helpless, trapped in a poisonous miasma made of Victoria Legrand’s grand organ and Alex Scally‘s rustic guitars. During their set, Beach House transformed Fort Canning into a claustrophobic labyrinth of lights and smoke; Legrand’s vocals were powerful, like an incandescant flame on a candle, slightly wavering, but always strong and wilful, while Scally was, well, he was just too adorable to describe! The crowd was drunk on reverb and completely worshipping this near religious experience, as was I. I’m glad I came for this, after the bad weather, it was all I could ever ask for.
And also, did I mention about my theory that if you take away all that hair, Legrand is actually Stefani Germanotta in disguise?
I was really looking forward to Deerhunter as well, and they didn’t disappoint me to say the least. There was just something about their performance that gave them more depth, maybe it was the astounding context of their lyrics or the light drizzling weather, who knows? Halycon Digest is the best album of last year, and their performance is undoubtedly one of the best in the entire festival. That is a solid fact, just like how if you are going to spend your nights doing nothing but sit around blogging and eating supper, your butt WILL get bigger.
The sound was close to perfection especially on the track “Desire Lines” and in sharp contrast to Beach House’s previous act, Deerhunter’s sound was wide and spacious, their music like an animal roaming wild and free. With every elliptical turn of the melody, the band threw out their guitar loops which the crowd caught on like a lasso; it dragged us far away, across oceans and continents with their desire lines. It’s as if we all went on a journey to another land while remaining in the same spot. The thing about desire is that, you can fling it far and wide, to places unknown and beyond, but the fruits they reap will never come back to you. I felt a little bit of the same way during the song, like I could never come back. In fact, even now I don’t feel like I’ve fully returned. It’s like I’ve gone onto another level. Is that what you call, Nirvana? I don’t know, I think I’m overthinking the whole thing.
But anyhow, kudos to the folks at Chugg Entertainment. I hope Laneway comes back to Singapore next year. Sorry I had to end it like this cause I don’t think I can write on anymore given the fact that I am still reeling in shock from the fact that my Sunday has just ended. Oh well, shit happens.