Right, this will have to be plain text for now till Blogger wakes up it's idea. Or maybe my Mac. But I'm calling Blogger on this.
So my army mates and I went to catch the last day of Baybeats. I with another was quite heartbroken that we couldn't go on Friday because we already had our churascurra dinner, which meant we missed The Great Spy Experiment and West Grand Boulevard. Of course the only band I remotely knew on day 3 was Anberlin, and only because my friend wanted to go there specifically for them. Don't matter. I got their discography already. ^^
So we meet abit earlier to makan, and ended up... quite predictably when you're around guys, at Carl's Jr. SAFRA card saved the day, I ordered the new Western Bacon Thickburger, very nice if abit dry, and the discounted large upsize meal is still 45c cheaper than the normal undiscounted meal ($13.50, probably the most expensive burger on the list at the moment).
We originally wanted to catch Anberlin's acoustic set at 7, but we arrived quite on the dot, which meant that we couldn't even see the stage. I decided that we should give up watch it, and also because I just don't like this kind of music (hardcore) on acoustics. No, just no. It sounded awfully pop-rock, and the hundreds of girls singing along to every single word of the song didn't help lift that image. I herded my friends (we take turns leading the pack) to the venue dedicated to the heavier acts, the Outdoor Theatre, redubbed The Powerhouse for the festival.
The next band up was at 7.30, and a band that by pure virtue of its name attracted me - Velvette Vendetta from Hong Kong. We heard the sound check and we though 'Oh hell this is gonna be rockin.' We didn't know it would be that rocking - turned out to be metal. Not that it mattered to us, although things got quite steadily more cheesy as the set went on. The vox did that raspy metal voice and went "Dis is da Pawahaus, so I wanna see some fuckin pawahhhhh.' And his falsetto... dude go watch more BeeGees vids kay? Still, I thought they were ok. Their riffs were solid, and everyone was decently skilled.
Now I must confess we weren't very optimistic about the next band up, Singapore's Zero Sequence. We were sitting by the water and talking about what next. "Local band leh, don't feel like watching." "Yeah sia..." Still, we didn't come all the way down to a music festival to not see bands play, so we duly took our places up front sometime before the set was scheduled to start. We saw a whole rack of like 10 basses and guitars, and wondered whose it was, and whether it was Zero Sequence's (turned out to be Anberlin's). And I joked that it was just like a Singaporean band to have all this awesome equipment (the combined SRPs of the instruments might have gotten you a small car overseas) and shitty music. Zero Sequence started and because I didn't even have a clue that I was listening to a progressive rock band, I wondered what the hell they were doing (some atmospheric keyboard and tapping on the guitar that made some doobldy-duba-dana-dibi-dunun). And then the distortion kicked in and the blast that roared from the amps was so heavy my eyebrows went straight up. This dude came out in a Reaper costume, hooded, and shredded the shit out of his guitar, and unveiled himself and started singing. I was there, unable to clap because I was holding the Zoom H2 recorder reeling everything in, and all I could do was nod my head approvingly like some ambitious father, when the singer held a high note, and the power that suddenly resonated throughout the whole venue shocked the shit out of everyone, and my friend and I stared at each other stunned as the crowd started wooting appreciatively. And my otherwise great recording was nearly ruined by this CBK who tried to Superman on me and my friend. I think we shrugged him right off, but my recording got abit muffled after that.
After the set was over, we immediately went to the CD booth and purchased their CD. I wanted to be a cheap bastard and kope the CD from my friend after he'd ripped it, but I decided to buy one myself in the end, and as I called for one more copy please, the guy turned around and pulled a stack out of a box, and taped to my copy of the CD was a guitar pick.
I dunno why my friends were so miffed. One's a bassist and the most musical thing the other one does is...... headbang. Or well, headbob. Lol I'm so bad. But SERIOUSLY!
We went to find our other friends at the chillout stage (no drums bass or distortion bleh) because our other group of friends were quite bewildered as to how one could even be attracted to such noise ("It's good noise kay!" I reasoned.)
Seems quite obvious but I think I'll mention for archive's sake that it had rained previously, just a couple of hours before the festival got into full swing in fact, and the result was that the grungy gravel/sand ground at the Powerhouse turned into a messy gravel/mud pit. And thanks to the fucking cocksters who just want to jump into the fray of moshing and push shove punch and kick anyone within arm's reach, our shoes were covered with a fine layer of mud by the time we reunited with our friends. Needless to say with crowds and typical SG weather it got humid, and we were quite happy to listen to ukeleles and soothing rings of acoustics while enjoying some aircon. It got clear though, that the artiste performing was the type that had a message to tell the world, and either had no lyrical artistry or didn't bother with it, with the result of quite a dry performance. So even the other guys who had ducked away from the noise joined us in going back to the Powerhouse to give The Ambassadors from the Phillipines a chance. They hung out right at the back while we moved up front, although we din get too far because we arrived just in time again. Being further away meant no close up shots of the band, but it meant that we got better (but louder) sound because we were within the speakers' targetted firing range.
Right well anyway, long story short, Ambassadors, sound like Switchfoot, pop-rockers obsessed with seeing people mosh in circles squares and pentafostigonals. I enjoyed it only because it was live. Atmosphere seriously lowers your standards. Although we had alot of fun watching would-be bodysurfers failing the crap out of themselves. They always get raised in the air by their friends, triumphant look on their faces (I'm floating muthafuckas!) and then the next moment nobody bothers catching them so they plunge right down into the crowd. Sad. Sad but funny. Should have videoed that shit.
Quite amazingly, a quite a big bunch of people made their way out of the venue after the band took their leave. I'd have though everyone would be kiasu and sit through a band they knew shit about just to wait for the famous band from halfway round the world. But we needn't have worried about that. The crowd really started coming in just then, and we found ourselves inevitably sandwiched. Having already experienced the crazy moshers earlier and fully expecting them later, we tried as much to move to the side without kicking ourselves out of the venue. At the end, we could have stood smack in the center for all we cared, because latecomers who couldn't get to the moshing area barrelled their way through anyway. About halfway through amidst the full blast of the speakers (we were sidelined right into direct range of the speakers) I heard my ears start ringing. I should mention for those who don't know that I have ears particularly sensitive to high pitches, which is why if you're the type to notice I always go for warmer sounding audio equipment. I quickly dug my Ultimate Ears out and plugged them on - I had absolutely forgotten to bring my concert earplugs in the typical rush out of the house.
So how was it then? I'm not one to belittle experiences, good or bad, so I'll say it was a great eye-opener being almost in the center of a mosh pit. I was tempted to the point of twitching arms to join in and push back, but seeing as that was utterly pointless in enjoying the music the most I did was dig into my position and not get shoved forward or back. I also found out that the moshers who subscribe to the kind of music that is Anberlin are royal idiots who just want to slap someone hard in the face without having to face repercussions. Metalhead moshers are a different thing - they follow the etiquettes set by the largest music festivals in the world. But this... I don't wanna say la, but you know the people. Miffs me abit that I'm also listening to the same music as them, but well, I'm not gonna ditch something I love because someone else is spoiling the image am I? So yeah, Baybeats was great, even though I only attended the last day. Hopefully Great Spy and West Grand will be back next year so I can see them live (still haven't got their CDs sia). And more importantly, hopefully my friends and I wouldn't have gotten too busy with work or studies to take time out to enjoy these precious moments of life.
Anyway, those bodysurfers. You surf surf 20m from your friends and finally land on earth again. Then? Headbang alone ah? Weird not eh?
Links and photos coming up, soon as Blogger sorts itself out.