Singapore’s hottest music festival (literally) came back with a bang last Saturday. Given what has been considered Laneway’s best line-up yet, we had sky-high expectations – and surprisingly, Laneway 2016 lived up to them all. Complaints of the sweltering weather and the uncomfortable heat from having too many human bodies in close proximity were promptly forgotten as the festival roared on into the night.
Boasting a record number of acts and an additional stage called the White Room, Laneway definitely took it up a notch this year. The White Room was a huge plus point for many festival-goers not just because it catered to those who enjoyed bass and for its local representation, but also because of the cool air-condition – blissful respite from the unforgiving sun outside.
Fauxe at the White Room, featuring a surprise collaboration with local rap group Mediocre Haircut Crew
The 27 acts (excluding a last-minute cancellation from DIIV) crammed into a 12-hour space of time resulted in some painfully difficult choices for festival-goers. Which act would I prefer? If I rush over, can I make it in time for both? So hot lah, maybe I should just stick to the main stages? were only some of the many dilemmas festival-goers faced. We aren’t complaining though – too much choice is never a bad thing!
Majority of the crowd convened at the Garden Stage and the Bay Stage, where hot favourites such as The 1975, Grimes and Beach House performed. While we already expected and loved the great performances put up by Grimes and Purity Ring, we also found some acts to love – local band Riot !n Magenta and Aussie group Violent Soho.
This year, Laneway also got it right with the food – there were few complaints about variety or quality of meal options available. However, festival-goers lamented about the limited choice of alcohol, with there being only one exclusive Budweiser store. At the end of the night, the festival grounds were, like last year, littered with so much trash that one had to tread carefully for fear of stepping into an empty drink cup or a half-eaten hotdog. It looks like the campaign to properly bin litter did not work – try again next year, Laneway. Shame on you, inconsiderate festival-goers.
For this first segment, find out about some of the highlights from our Asia-Pacific contingent.
Riot !n Magenta
Unfortunately, there was some confusion over DIIV’s last minute absence which resulted in Cheats shifting from their original 11.30am slot to a later slot. Some festival-goers had been waiting confusedly at the Garden Stage since 11.30am, and Riot !n Magenta satisfied their need for some action onstage when the band kicked into action slightly after noon. Their soulful beats were a treat to the ears and started off Laneway 2016 in the best way possible.
Enunciating lyrics with a slight drawl, Eugenia Yip’s powerhouse vocal is brilliant and effortless. Opening the set with CTRL, she owned the stage with her remarkable stage presence, sharp gaze and edgy dance moves.
Offstage, the bad-ass singer comes across very different – her look of intense concentration was replaced by a beaming smile at her Meet-and-Greet session. No wonder there was an eager queue of fans waiting to meet her!
The Manila-based band took to the stage cheerily, amidst screams of “Jim! JIM!” from the crowd – and then Candy Gamos blew us away with her strong, soaring vocal.
We made the choice to stay at the Bay Stage for Aussie band Violent Soho rather than head over to the Cloud Stage for East India Youth, and Violent Soho sure did not disappoint. The alternative rock band’s set was filled with plenty of hair-whipping action and explosive energy, especially from bassist Luke Henery (who has gorgeous hair, might we add), pumping up the crowd immediately. Frontman Luke Boerdam’s voice is so good it’s unreal – his screams gave us the chills!
Local rock band Cashew Chemists opened their set with Feel Amazing from their latest EP. The upbeat tunes were enjoyable and had us tapping our feet, but it seemed the band did not go all out with their performance. Their stage presence was also comparatively lacklustre – by the end of their set, we were feeling somewhat listless and unfulfilled.
(Cashew Chemists rocking it live!)
For our in-depth round up of the foreign acts at Laneway, stay with us at WhatsNextSG for Part 2 of our Laneway Review, where we do a round-up of the foreign acts including Grimes, The 1975 and Beach House.
All photos by Audrey Kwok for WhatsNextSG
Full coverage in photographs is available up soon.