Local band Plainsunset plays last gig

Priorities for Plainsunset's (from far left) Norsham Husaini, Helmi Abdul Rahman, Nizam Sukri and Jonathan Chan have changed.
Priorities for Plainsunset's (from far left) Norsham Husaini, Helmi Abdul Rahman, Nizam Sukri and Jonathan Chan have changed.PHOTO: DJULIAN CHNG

The home-grown punk/indie rock band are playing their final show tonight

Home-grown punk/indie rock band Plainsunset will play their last gig tonight at the Esplanade Annexe Studio, a final show before the band members go their separate ways.

Having roots that trace back to the early 1990s, the quartet have been one of the more prominent bands in the independent music circuit in the last two decades, save for a period between 2004 and 2006 when the band temporarily split.

This time, the break will be permanent, say singer-guitarist Jonathan Chan and guitarist Norsham Husaini.

Norsham, an art director and the only member left from the band's founding line-up, is migrating with his family to Melbourne by the end of the year. Chan, who lectures at the Singapore Institute of Technology, has plans to study for a PhD in illustration in Glasgow.

The band, which also comprise bassist Nizam Sukri and drummer Helmi Abdul Rahman, released their fifth and final album, Both Boxer And Benjamin, last month.

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  • WHERE: Esplanade Annexe Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Today, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $15 at the door

Chan, 41, says: "I think we've all changed in the last couple years, our priorities and tastes in music are different and we take longer to come up with new material.

"I don't recall us having any big discussions about breaking up, but we were all thinking about it. When Sham said that he was going to move to Melbourne, that's when things became more definite."

The band have been playing a series of farewell shows in Singapore and Malaysia the past few months. Tonight's set, at two hours long, will be the longest gig.

There will be new songs from the latest album, the title of which was inspired by two characters in George Orwell's literary classic, Animal Farm, the optimistic horse Boxer and cynical donkey Benjamin.

Chan says: "They're completely, utterly opposite of each other. But the title is a beautiful metaphor that applies to myself and a lot of the people around me who are a mix of cynicism and idealism."

Musically, the songs in the album feature a mix of the band's old, melodic punk sounds and the more mellow, indie-rock feel of their more recent releases.

"There was a little bit of creative tension while we were writing the songs and we usually compromise and meet somewhere in the middle."

And because a fixture of Plainsunset's live shows has always been the avid singalong with their audience, the band also plan to include plenty of fan favourites from their past releases.

Chan says: "One of the problems that we had was how to select the songs from all our albums. We would have to cramp so many songs into a two-hour show and, even then, we had to leave out so many that we wanted to play."

Past members, such as drummer Ronny Laily, will also perform, as well as session musicians such as guitarist Joseph Cinco.

While Plainsunset have been playing shows since the early 1990s, the band solidified their line-up in 1996 and released their debut album, Runaway, the following year.

Over the years, the band have been a fixture at major music events here, such as the Esp- lanade's music festival Baybeats and have done tours in Australia and New Zealand.

The band have also performed in Hong Kong, the Philippines and China.

Norsham says that he never thought that the band would last so long.

He says: "When we started out, even getting to play at The Substation with Stompin' Ground felt like doing a world tour.

"I'll miss playing with these guys and having the audience sing along to our songs."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2016, with the headline 'Plainsunset call it a day'. Print Edition | Subscribe