New music festival with global indie acts

Welsh singer, songwriter and producer Cate Le Bon (above) will perform in Singapore for the first time on Dec 7.
Welsh singer, songwriter and producer Cate Le Bon (above) will perform in Singapore for the first time on Dec 7.PHOTO: 24OWLS

The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions debuts at the Pasir Panjang Power Station on Dec 7, with a line-up including Welsh musician Cate Le Bon and American band Charly Bliss

Indie music festival Laneway might have given Singapore a miss this year, but fans now have a reason to rejoice - a new festival is in town.

The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions will make its debut at the Pasir Panjang Power Station on Dec 7, with a female-fronted line-up comprising acclaimed names from the global indie scene.

These include Mercury Prize-nominated Welsh singer, songwriter and producer Cate Le Bon, British indie pop band Kero Kero Bonito, Northern Irish singer-songwriter Soak, American power pop band Charly Bliss, British post-punk band Goat Girl and American DJ duo Ladies Of LCD Soundsystem.

The day-long festival will also feature two home-grown acts: singer, songwriter and electronic music artist Vandetta and Ginette Chittick from shoegaze/dream-pop band Astreal.

The venue, a decommissioned power station, was mentioned by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at his recent National Day Rally speech. It will be developed as one of the recreation areas in the future Greater Southern Waterfront project and has previously been used as a venue for a sneaker convention and an art market last year.

The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions - there is no particular significance to the name - is curated and organised by new promoters 24Owls, helmed by the same team of Singaporeans that produced the 2014 to 2018 local editions of St Jerome's Laneway Festival, which originates from Australia.

Laneway, a touring festival, skipped Singapore because of programming and logistics issues this year, the first time since the annual event debuted here in 2011.

For Le Bon, being part of the inaugural The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions is a chance for her to perform for the first time in Singapore.

  • BOOK IT /THE ALEX BLAKE CHARLIE SESSIONS

  • WHERE: Pasir Panjang Power Station, 27 Pasir Panjang Road

    WHEN: Dec 7, 10am to late

    ADMISSION: Tickets from $115 each or $100 each for bundles of five or more from Apactix (go to www.apactix.com or call 3158-8588). They are also available at the box offices at Singapore Indoor Stadium and The Star Performing Arts Centre, Scotts Square's concierge desk and SingPost outlets.

"It's exciting for us to play to a new audience," she tells The Straits Times in a telephone interview from Wales. "Things take a different shape just by the energy and the feel of a place. I think it will be a really exciting show."

The 36-year-old released her fifth album, Reward, in May. It is one of the albums shortlisted for the upcoming Mercury Prize, a prestigious annual award given to albums released in Britain. This year's winner will be announced at a London ceremony on Sept 19.

"It's pretty surreal, to be honest," she says of being shortlisted. "It's one of those awards where the nomination is a prize enough. I haven't even thought about who's going to win or anything because I feel like it doesn't really matter."

The songs on Reward came by accident. They were written while Le Bon spent a year in self-imposed isolation in the countryside in North West England, taking furniture-making sessions to pass the time.

"I thought I was taking time off from music. I wasn't really sure what was going to happen at the end of it. But I'm not sure if I'll do anything quite as extreme again," she says.

Le Bon made her recording debut in 2008 with an EP that featured songs sung in the Welsh language, Edrych Yn Llygaid Ceffyl Benthyg, translated as "Looking In The Eyes Of A Borrowed Horse".

Besides her own releases, she has also taken on the role of producer in works such as American indie stalwarts Deerhunter's latest album released earlier this year, Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?.

"I hope I'm learning from other people and getting better. I feel like I've been very fortunate in the musicians and people I worked with over the last decade. I'm doing things I love doing and I'm doing them on my own terms."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2019, with the headline 'New music festival with global indie acts'. Print Edition | Subscribe