Esplanade's Baybeats a success despite rain




Esplanade outdoor stages

Friday (July 14)

The first day of the Esplanade's three-day alternative music festival Baybeats got off to a rainy start, but despite the wet grounds and slight drizzle, crowds showed up to catch local and regional acts anyway.

Now in its 16th edition, the free festival was held across four stages namely the Chillout stage (Esplanade Concourse), the Arena (Esplanade Outdoor theatre), the Powerhouse (Esplanade Waterfront Carpark), and the latest addition, the Annexe Studio.

The Arena stage, in particular, was packed throughout night, with Indonesia's Barasuara drawing the biggest audience. The six-member group, which draws influences from psychedelic rock and jazz music, brought an infectious energy to the stage with their uplifting songs, dancing and coordinated rock star jumps.

Of particular note were their two female lead singers, Asteriska and Put Chitara, who were dressed as if they were going to Coachella, but brought the vocal chops with rich harmonies. The sweetness of their voices worked seamlessly with their rock sound.

Whether it was the slow-burning track Taifun or the tribal-sounding Bahas Bahasa, the band were like a well-oiled machine who worked the crowd, egging them on to woah-oh-oh or clap along especially on rock track Menunggang Badai.

The real star though was their long-haired bassist Gerald Situmorang who towards the end of their 45-minute set, jumped into the crowd to play a blistering solo on Api & Lentera.

A testament to the diversity of the festival came in the form of Filipino nu-metal/rap metal band Greyhoundz who took over the Powerhouse stage and brought the festival to a new level for loudness. The band, which has been around for two decades, drew a sizable crowd of black-clad audience members and many curious onlookers from the Makansutra Gluttons Bay.

Singapore was represented by This Is Atlantis who brought progressive, instrumental rock to the Arena stage over a 40-minute set. They book-ended their set with the tracks Astrals and Utopian Visions, off their latest EP Voyager.

Baybeats continues on Saturday and Sunday night, with homegrown acts such as Obedient Wives Club and Tim De Cotta & The Warriors, and international acts like Australia's Rag n' Bone and India's The F16's taking the various stages.