Swinging to the Baybeats

Indonesia's Barasuara performing at Baybeats last Friday.
Indonesia's Barasuara performing at Baybeats last Friday.PHOTO: HOONG WEI LONG/COURTESY OF ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY

Crowds showed up to catch local and foreign artists at Baybeats, the Esplanade's alternative music festival



Esplanade outdoor stages/Last Friday

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.

Now in its 16th edition, the free festival was held across four stages: 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 the 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 song 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 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, delivering a new level of loudness to the festival.

The band, which have been around for two decades, drew a sizeable 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 during a 40-minute set. They book-ended their set with the tracks Astrals and Utopian Visions, from their latest EP, Voyager.

Baybeats continued on Saturday and Sunday night, with homegrown acts such as Obedient Wives Club and Tim De Cotta & The Warriors, as well as international acts such as Australia's Rag n' Bone and India's The F16's.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2017, with the headline 'Swinging to the Baybeats'. Print Edition | Subscribe