SINGfest 2010: A Review
Expanded from two weekends to three weekdays due to popular demand, SINGfest 2010 saw some of the biggest international acts such as Katy Perry, Tokio Hotel, Kanye West and Smashing Pumpkins playing at the historic Fort Canning Park this week. The iconic festival is seen as one of the highlights of Singapore concert scene, and here’s why.
Over 17,000 music fans turned up for the annual music festival which boasted current ‘It’ girl Katy Perry, influential rapper Kanye West, and one of the greatest band of the 90s – Smashing Pumpkins. Local indie acts Inch Chua and The Great Spy Experiment were the opening acts for the first and third day of the festival. Coming on at around 6pm, they performed to an expectedly small crowd. With most people still slogging at work during that time, I suspect even the small crowd were not there for our local acts. They were probably early so they can find a good spot to view Katy, Kanye and Billy (Corgan) up close. Local groove rockers Sixx did not even manage to perform because Kanye overran his soundcheck. Such is the dire state of local music. And I shall not comment on whether the acts were paid or not.
I can write a full-length review on each act for all 3 days but decided not to bore you. So here are some highs (and lows) of the three-day festival:
American pop singing sensation Katy Perry set the benchmark on day one with her sizzling hot performances. Clad in a two-piece floral bikini, the crowd went wild when she opened her 80s-inspired colorful set with I Kissed A Girl. With large inflatable beach balls, whales and flashing palm trees, the party vibe was in full effect even for those who had been standing for the past five hours. The cheeky California girl up the fun ratio by picking a boy (who can neither sing nor dance) and a girl in blue wig to dance on stage during her Hot N Cold performance, eventually ended the number by kissing both of them, on the lips no less.
The crowd went wild as the opening techno beats rang out Tokio Hotel’s opening number, the energetic Noise. And that set the tone for the next 1-hour of their performance. As much as I am ambivalent to most of their music, they are a very, very tight band with their guitars, bass and drums fully audible and played without a single hitch. Barely into their twenties, the German pop rock band displayed incredible showmanship which proved how long Bill Kaulitz and gang have been playing together and demonstrated a caliber that even converted a hardened skeptic like me.
Wearing a neon pink, glow-in-the-dark suit, Kanye West delivered an awesome show on day two. The controversial American rapper opened his set with Diamonds From Sierra Leone and sang pretty much all his hit singles since he came on the scene with his debut album The College Dropout including his latest single Power. At the end of his Power performance, Yeezy slowed the beat down and did a new, apologetic freestyle (“I’m so sorry to y’all/Everyone of y’all a year ago that I made feel ashamed”) blaming himself for all of the trouble he had caused – Kanye, we forgive you.
Smashing Pumpkins were the band that I had been waiting for on day 3. And they were totally worth the wait. Billy Corgan, the only original band member, and his younger band mates dazzled with impeccable vocals and nifty guitar riffs on hits such as Tonight Tonight, 1979, Disarm, Today, and Ava Adore. At some point in the evening Corgan was even using the edge of the stage and his teeth to strum his guitar! The Smashing Pumpkins actually single-handedly saved day 3 from being doomed.
The change of set in the open was distracting. I felt the organizers should draw a curtain during the set changes.
The Wondergirls were awful. The Korean girl group could neither sing nor dance. The interactions with the crowd when the group took a breather in between songs sounds contrived too. What happened to them? They were awesome during MTV World Stage in Kuala Lumpur.
There was too much banter in 30 Seconds to Mars‘ (30STM) performances. Jared Leto’s, frontman of 30STM as well as an accomplished Hollywood actor, vocals were good until he goes into overly ambitious high notes like American Idol’s Adam Lambert. It just sounds like a woman screaming. I felt he was trying too hard to work the crowd too. Worst still, he was belittling the audience when he asked if they knew what a mosh pit is.
Granny (me) needs to cancel all his appointments this weekend to recuperate at home.
Ultimately, SINGfest 2010 was an undeniable success and provided an incredible platform for local talent. The festival was well organized with plenty of amenities including food and drink (hell, even the portable potties were sparkling clean!)
Keep supporting homegrown acts and they could possibly perform at a ‘primetime’ slot at next year’s event. Expect SINGfest 2011 to rock your world yet again.