Ngee Ann City's Civic Plaza, along the bustling premier shopping belt of Orchard Road, was the perfect choice of venue for a Sunday live showcase by Taiwanese acts Magic Power and Della Ding Dang.
At first, it seemed like the organisers of the free concert had overestimated attendance, as only about a hundred eager groupies, mostly teenage girls, clumped at the front of the stage, leaving wide expanses unoccupied, while curious shoppers milled about at the back.
But as electronica band Magic Power bounded on stage and the techno strains of their opening song God Of War thundered through the plaza, it became clear that the 3,000 sq ft-wide, open-air area was ideal for the performers' manic, almost explosive energy.
The high-octane performances also drew more onlookers as the night went on. Rock Records, one of the organisers, said the crowd was as large as 4,000-strong at its largest.
During their adrenaline-charged hour-long set, the six-man outfit displayed a discipline and camaraderie that recalls the early days of their mentors, Taiwanese pop-rock mega-band Mayday.
Guitarist Lei Bao and drummer Ah Xiang stayed in sync with lead vocalists Ting Ting and Ga Ga, never letting their instruments overpower their bandmates. And while the two singers were hardly in top vocal form (Ga was egregiously off-pitch for his bit on Flying Man), Ting Ting hurtled through the rap verses with such relish, it felt like sparks would fly from his microphone.
What sets Magic Power apart from most Chinese bands now is how their sound straddles genres such as pop, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, techno and dubstep. It also helps that Ting, a gifted singer-rapper, writes and composes most of the band's songs. Their eclectic approach to music-making is bold in an industry of formulaic standards.
Highlights included the grungy rock ballad Rainbow Black Hole, channelled by Ting with a glowering angst, and the David Guetta-esque club-thumper Archer, with its pounding beats. The charismatic Ga and Ting also led the audience in doing Archer's quirky dance moves.
If only the next singer, plus-sized diva Jia Jia, who followed them was as involved. I had had high hopes for the aboriginal songstress, as her smoky, full-bodied vocals are lovely on recording.
But most of her performances felt "perfunctory", as my companion described. Her diction was clipped, and she flubbed the lyrics on a couple of songs, such as Don't Forget and Fast Happiness, and had to turn to the screen to jog her memory.
The lacklustre showing was a far cry from Chinese diva Della Ding Dang, who was the evening's final act.
Strutting on stage in a crop top and azure print pants, the petite songbird polished off the Zhao Chuan oldie I'm A Little Bird with ease, arms outstretched for dramatic effect. She stopped at one point to tease out cheers from the audience, before cheekily raising the key for the final note.
Her powerhouse voice liberated from the confines of a recording studio, she sounded glorious. Yet, she struggles with the shaky lower register problem that afflicts most belters, most apparent on her rendition of recent hit I Don't Love You Like That.
She was also the most engaging of the three acts, at one point descending into the audience to shake hands.
"Welcome to the karaoke concert. Sing all you want," she said with a laugh before launching into a string of her hits that are karaoke-staples, including I Love Him and Inscrutable. As the crowd surged before her and whipped out their camera phones, she implored them to "use your apps to make me look slimmer before uploading the photos".
As the evening came to a close after more than two hours, all three acts gathered on stage for the finale, a fast Mayday number Sad People Should Not Listen To Slow Songs.
Two hits out of three acts isn't too bad, especially for a free concert.