GillyG wrote:Hi JR8 - thanks for responding.
I kind of expected that bands coming through Asia would be few and far between. I've just moved from London so I knew I wouldn't be spoilt for choice like I have been for touring and new bands. Having said that, I went to Laneway last week and was pleasantly surprised by the line up (Chvrches, Battles, Grimes), and especially pleased about the crowd that Metz pulled.
Live bands aside and it might be a long shot but is there a Singaporean equivalent to a 'dive bar' that plays a really good mix of new and old indie / alt music?
Hi Griff'nGillyG, 3G for short?
It is interesting when you consider the economics/demographics of it. Small country, high costs, generally socially conservative (incl musical tastes). So whereas purely geographically SG would look like an ideal stop-off on say a regional or world tour, there is not enough audience to make it financially viable. Not least as a band freighting all their gear into a country needs to do a number of concerts to cover the fixed expenses of getting there and setting up the show.
I remember seeing both Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, a large enough venue to generate a decent profit, but I don't think the government are too comfortable with large crowds listening to music some of which has stirring and perhaps 'controversial' lyrics.
One route around single band concerts are festivals. The last one I went to was 'F1 Rocks' which coincided with the F1 races in SG. That was at Fort Canning Park, and it had some memorable bands including ZZ-Top and The Prodigy and several others. That venue is small enough it can be tightly controlled. So that event is worth keeping an eye on; I've been 2-3 times now over the years.
Other times you have to keep an ear to the ground. A few years back I saw The Buzzcocks play in a small venue (a bar at Clarke Quay). IIRC that was a stop-off between Australia and Bangkok. You have to wonder how the venue size made it economic... Anyway, it was an awesome night, not least as the small venue (2-300 pax?) rendered it up-close and intimate.
re: Laneway, interesting, I'm not sure if that appeared in SG whilst I was still there. 'Interesting' as it's a bit more 'alt' than what I'm used to seeing being allowed into SG. There was a festival around 2-3 years ago lined up for a venue somewhere up the East Coast. That was a touring festival that originates out of Australia IIRC. It billed itself (again IIRC) as a rave - probably not a good idea lol. The Prodigy were billed to play at that one too. But the government clicked that 'rave' suggested there might be misbehaviour from the fans and the event was refused a permit. That's why I'm pleasantly surprised to see events like Laneway not only financially viable, but permitted to go ahead. [passing thought: subscribe to the events listing from SISTIC. Since they handle ticketing for just about every mid/+ sized event in SG it's a good way to get an early alert on upcoming events].
It's for those kind of reasons, potential audience size, high fixed costs, unpredictability of the required permits that conspire to limit the quality of the local offering. Materially reduce those negatives > bigger audience, lower costs, less hassle off the authorities => is why Bangkok and Jakarta are worth keeping an eye on too. If you see a gig in a place like that then you can combine it into a long w/e away.
We're posted in the Middle East right now, so the drought of quality 'western' live music impacts us too. There is little audience for such + the authorities wouldn't welcome it either. In that way it's in the same situation as SG. So, I have 5-6 bands of which I'm an avid fan, and I Follow them on Facebook. If any play within say a 1,000 mile radius then there is a decent chance I'm going to go, but I'd go further for something special and stay a few days to make the most of the trip. We've already got one such 'Rock, Dine and Shop' trip planned up to Berlin in a few months time.
Dive-bars? I'm maybe a little long in the tooth for that kind of thing
I normally associate dive-bars with beach bars where divers like to hang out for a post dive-day beverage or ten
There are meant to be a couple of pubs down in Little India that put on micro-gigs. Dunlop Street, around there IIRC? Time Out might have listings.
Perhaps SundayMorningStaple might have some ideas, as his son is well connected into the kind of style of music that might tick some of your boxes. And more importantly since he plays in a local band that performs locally, he's going to know which venues etc you might keep an eye on.