Returning acts prove to be crowd-pullers

Scottish synthpop trio Chvrches, with lead singer Lauren Mayberry (above), was a crowd favourite.
Scottish synthpop trio Chvrches, with lead singer Lauren Mayberry (above), was a crowd favourite.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Canadian electronic artist Grimes (centre) delivered an energetic set.
Canadian electronic artist Grimes (centre) delivered an energetic set.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

New "no re-entry" rule does little to dampen the mood as Laneway Festival draws 13,000 attendees

It was a full-blown rave as fresh- faced Australian electronic act Flume closed the sixth edition of the St Jerome's Laneway Festival Singapore with atmospheric electro beats and an impressive set-up, complete with a light-up stage.

Premiering his new live show here, the 24-year-old, whose real name is Harley Edward Streten, proved why he is one of the most exciting producers in the game, smashing out one banger after another and treating the crowd to never-before-heard tracks.

It was the Sydney-sider's first time playing in Singapore, but it were the returning acts - namely Canadian electronic artist Grimes, American dream-pop duo Beach House and Scottish synthpop trio Chvrches - who proved to be the biggest draws at the 12-hour festival that attracted 13,000 attendees.

Flanked by two dancers, backed by a supporting vocalist and sporting a giant pink bow, Grimes - nee Claire Boucher - was a pixie- like ball of energy delivering hit after hit, including Oblivion, Flesh Without Blood and Kill V. Maim.

Having played here in 2013 and filmed her music video for her song REALiTi at Gardens by the Bay, she worked the stage with familiarity.

Despite a slight slip-up when she forgot the lyrics to Butterfly and had to fumble for her lyrics sheet, she remained a compelling performer.



    The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay

    Last Saturday

Then came crowd favourite, Chvrches, with lead singer Lauren Mayberry commanding the stage.

The band, who have played in Singapore twice before in 2014, interspersed their set list with old tracks and new numbers off their latest release, Every Open Eye. It was clear from the cheers that the older hits, such as Mother We Share and Gun, were what the rave-ready crowd was there for.

Close to 30 acts were on the bill this year, along with the addition of a fourth stage.

Fears of sparse attendance for the early acts at the music festival, prompted by a new "no re-entry" ruling implemented this year, proved to be unfounded.

There was already a sizeable crowd, estimated to be a few thousand strong, when the first few acts started performing in the scorching mid-afternoon sun.

Rain threatened to fall, with intermittent dark clouds throughout the late afternoon, but the weather held up.

Many were crowded around one of the two main stages, dubbed the Bay Stage, when home-grown indie-electronic band Riot !n Magenta started performing a little after noon.

There was an even bigger crowd for local boys Cashew Chemists, who got a prime slot at 4.30pm. Most of the audience comprised teenagers and young adults.

Another home-grown act, Intriguant, brought an all-star line-up of guest vocalists, including Neo-soul troubadour Charlie Lim and multi- talented musician Tim De Cotta during his set at one of the sub stages, dubbed the Cloud stage.

Citing safety and security issues, the organisers barred festivalgoers from re-entering the venue if they were to exit festival grounds, which span about 22,000 sq m or three football fields.

This new ruling led to speculation that fans who are unwilling to stay the whole day for the festival would give the early bands a miss.

However, many arrived early and said they intended to stay till the end.

One of them, Mr Han Qingguang, a 25-year-old healthcare executive, arrived at 11am with five friends.

He said: "We're here to watch different acts at different times. We have no problems with the 'no re-entry rule' because we're prepared to stay here for more than 12 hours."

Other popular acts that performed in the afternoon included American virtuoso bass player Thundercat and American alternative R&B group The Internet.

Arguably the most commercial act of the line-up, Manchester alternative-rock band The 1975 took the evening slot just before the big headliners.

American shoegaze band Diiv pulled out at the last minute due to a "family emergency", said the organisers, but there were several unannounced Singapore acts such as rap trio Mediocre Haircut Crew, who performed during electronic act Fauxe's set in the indoor White Room stage.

Correction note: An earlier version of this story stated that it was the fifth edition St Jerome's Laneway Festival Singapore. It is actually its sixth edition. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2016, with the headline 'Returning acts prove to be crowd-pullers'. Print Edition | Subscribe