Hottest music festival around town: Laneway Singapore 2016 (Part 2) [Highlights of global acts]

by Audrey Kwok
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February 7, 2016 by Audrey Kwok

Hottest music festival around town: Laneway Singapore 2016 (Part 2) [Highlights of global acts]

Earlier this week, we gave our general impressions of Laneway 2016 and the regional acts. If you haven’t had the chance to read it, fret not! We have it here. For part 2, we will be covering the highlights from the global acts, as well as our final thoughts about this year’s festival. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Battles
The Battles trio met technical difficulty as soon as the set started, with Ian Williams complaining that there was no electricity (which, we later heard, was due to power failure). Being the experienced performers they were, however, Battles had no trouble keeping the audience entertained as technical issues were resolved – drummer John Stanier took it upon himself to hype up the crowd with a brilliant drum solo. He might have been slightly too excited though – later in the media interview, John revealed that midway through the performance, he split his pants and had to grab a cloth to cover up!

Img 13John and his drum solo

Img 14We love Ian’s facial expressions when he performs!

Img 15At the media interview, Ian: “We had dinner with Thundercat once. He wore his glasses like this, through the whole thing. We just accepted it and kept eating.”

The 1975
Hotshots The 1975 predictably drew the largest crowd yet, with people chanting and screaming even before they took to the stage. Matty Healy is a tremendously charming performer, interacting with the audience through cute facial expressions and quirky gestures as he sang and earning him extra-loud screams from various fangirls. Altogether, we expected a good show from The 1975, and they delivered it.

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Img 18We were rather disappointed that the Meet-and-Greet didn’t work out though – the queue was so long that it had to be cancelled. Perhaps Laneway can consider a larger, more suitable venue for Meet-and-Greets in future, instead of using a tiny table in a container already packed with people trying to purchase Laneway and H&M merchandise. Surely spatial constraints could have been foreseen?

Beach House
We know a huge portion of the crowd was waiting for Beach House to take to the stage, and we were pretty eager too. While the performance and vocal was flawless, perhaps placing soothing music from Beach House between the explosive performances of The 1975 and Grimes wasn’t the best idea. Furthermore, what was with that non-existent stage lighting? We could hardly see anything for three-quarters of the entire performance.

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Grimes
We could hardly keep our eyes off Grimes’ full-bodied dance moves, her leaping from platforms and her expressive back-up dancers. Coupled with her amazing vocals, dare we say Grimes delivered the most energetic and vibrant performance of the day?

Grimes is also as quirky onstage as she is offstage – in the media interview, she manages to refrain herself from using a vulgarity when the interviewer tells her to just go ahead. Cue a pause, and then Grimes says: “Oh really? I heard that in Singapore you can go to jail for that…” Grimes, oh Grimes, what have they been telling you? It’s alright though, we love you all the same.

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Purity Ring
The biggest choice most had to make through the day was probably between Purity Ring and Flume, the last two acts of the night. It was a tough, tough decision, and most chose to stay and watch Flume at the main stage. We headed over to Purity Ring – and had absolutely no regrets.

Purity Ring’s stage is hands-down the best set-up we’ve seen in this edition of Laneway. With bulbs hanging liana-like from above, a platform surrounded by crystal-tipped staffs situated in the middle and stage lights predominantly a dreamy purple – if there was a stage set-up that best represented Purity Ring, this would have been it.

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The duo used the stage to further their unique electro-pop thesis. Megan James was in a dress with translucent trimmings made by her own hands, as are most of the costumes she wears for live performances. She weaved among the vines of light as she sang, alternating between delicate and visceral personas.

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Final thoughts
All in all, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore 2016 has been amazing. And we are already looking forward to the next year’s installation. It’s pretty exciting to see if Laneway can top its current line-up, for one! We were also psyched to see the quality of local acts this year- with luck, Laneway and the local music industry can work even more closely together to bring Singaporean acts to larger audiences. For now, all we can do is clear our schedules and save up money for the next 12 months!

Photo credits: Audrey Kwok for WhatsNextSG

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