Baybeats takes off, celebrating the now and future of the indie music scene here

Indie rockers TypeWriter were invited to play the closing set.
Indie rockers TypeWriter were invited to play the closing set. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Melodic punk quartet The Caulfield Cult gave a tireless and vigorous performance.
Melodic punk quartet The Caulfield Cult gave a tireless and vigorous performance. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Singer-songwriter Linying opened the festival with a laidback performance at indoors venue the Esplanade Concourse.
Singer-songwriter Linying opened the festival with a laidback performance at indoors venue the Esplanade Concourse. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Garage rock trio Knightingale's half-hour set was a raw and stripped-down affair. Lead singer Ashwin Rao cross-dressed in a printed frock.
Garage rock trio Knightingale's half-hour set was a raw and stripped-down affair. Lead singer Ashwin Rao cross-dressed in a printed frock. PHOTO: ESPLANADE

There was a palpable air of bonhomie as the largest annual music festival showcasing homegrown alternative and indie music, Baybeats, kicked off at the Esplanade on June 26.

With acts performing over four stages, the festival's line-up paid tribute to its 13-year history and at the same time, celebrated the now and future of the music scene here.

This year saw the debut of a new platform, dubbed Mixtape, which features an exhibition tracing the evolution of Baybeats since its start in 2002. Held at the Esplanade's outdoors venue The Lawn, the makeshift venue also featured a small stage.

Indie rockers TypeWriter, who played the inaugural Baybeats, were invited back to play the closing set there. In the cosy set-up, the audience stood up close to the quintet, lending an air of intimacy to the performance.

The band, with a line-up that includes indie veterans such as guitarist-singers Patrick Chng and Yee Chang Kang, filled their 11pm set with signature tunes that included Enemy and That Deepest Blue, as well as new tunes such as Everything Is Classified.

Earlier in the evening, new and upcoming acts held court.

Singer-songwriter Linying opened the festival at 6.15pm with a laidback performance at indoors venue the Esplanade Concourse, renamed the Chillout Stage.

Fifteen minutes later, garage rock trio Knightingale, one of the eight acts under the festival's Budding Bands mentorship programme, brought the house down at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, renamed Baybeats Arena. With lanky lead singer Ashwin Rao cross-dressing in a printed frock, their half-hour set was a raw and stripped-down affair marked by dense and fuzzy guitars, impassioned vocals and fervent drumbeats.

The stage also saw rising indie quintet Take Two play an upbeat and jaunty set while indie-pop band Seyra regaled the crowd with their breezy repertoire.

The festival's largest and most prominent stage, the makeshift Powerhouse @ The Edge had the most active audience, with fans of melodic punk band The Caulfield Cult gleefully crowd-surfing along to the quartet's tireless and vigorous performance.

More than just about homegrown acts, the first night also featured sets by regional acts such as Indonesian roots-rock duo Matajiwa play a bluesy show at Powerhouse @ The Edge and Thai indie band Fwends at the Chillout Stage.

The performances, all of which are free, continue June 27 and 28, with acts like electronic act Riot !n Magenta, post-progressive rock quintet Anechois and alternative rockers Caracal.