Written by: Annisa Rakun
On the evening of Thursday, October 13th 2011, there was a crowd gathering at the amphitheatre at the Yusof Ishak House. Contrary to popular beliefs, these people were not bummers who were trying to get drunk off the booze that they bought from a certain nearby convenience store (even though some of them are obviously a little tipsy) nor were they muggers who wanted to try a new approach by studying in the outdoors. No, they were all waiting for the Radio Pulze: Live Lounge to start!
As an introduction, Live Lounge is a bi-weekly showcase of homegrown talent organized by Radio Pulze, the NUS campus radio station that calls itself the sound of NUS. Live Lounge hopes to promote and support local music as well as exposing them to the university demographics. This evening’s show is the last of its kind in this semester, and it featured none other than our own KE band, The Smoking Marshalls, as well as the veteran The Guilt.
Smoking Marshalls, being the younger band, started the show. For this gig, the lineup was Sheikh on vocals, Eugene and Bryan as guitarists, Deb as keyboardist/bassist/background vocalist, Yannick as bassist/occasional background vocalist, and Asher on the drums. The first set consisted of Kings of Leon’s stirring hot anthem “Sex on Fire” reimagined as a reggae number, a faithful rendition of Green Day’s “21 Guns”, as well as the all-time favourite “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ‘n Roses. And in true Smoking Marshalls’ fashion, they sure did fire up the crowd, albeit a few hiccups during “21 Guns”. The sheer energy and stage command of the band was more than enough to cover up the slight imperfections and even bring the fans crowding the front to scream for more.
After the first set, the band took a quick break while the stage crew lugged a red and black couch to center stage for the interview. In no time, the Smoking Marshalls were back on stage and entertaining the crowd. As always, the conversation starter was “how did the band gets its name?” (A: Our Marshalls amp broke down and smoked during our ICN performance last year, which flattered Eugene). But we did get other snippets of info that were quite interesting, such as the tale of how Sheikh discovered Bryan, the story behind the band’s previous name which got Deb swearing, and we even got a rare glimpse of Asher showing off his inner wordsmith.
After the interview, the band continued with its second set. Surely, this set was stronger and steadier with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, Steelheart’s “She’s Gone”, and to borrow Sheikh’s words, “a painstakingly assembled” medley of Queen songs. This set proved to be more of a crowd-pleaser with songs for everyone. The first piece will be familiar to the younger Gleeks (that’s the fans of the US TV series Glee for those of you who don’t know), while eighties rock enthusiasts will love “She’s Gone”, especially because Sheikh managed to hit all the crazy high notes. However, the last number is truly the star of the night, beginning with the guitar riffs of “I Want It All”, followed by the familiar bass groove of “Another One Bites The Dust”, and closed by the optimistic “I Want To Break Free”, to which the crowd danced, sang along, and cheered loudly.
It really is true that time flies while you are having fun, because all of a sudden the time has advanced by 45 minutes. Since this is the first time the band with this lineup ever performed for such a long set, the band really pulled it off. Sheikh, as always, was stellar and charismatic, and the others were also awesome and seemed to be comfortable on stage, displaying incredible chemistry.
The next band was The Guilt, which was a band best described as eccentrically energetic. They performed their own songs with interesting topics ranging from Mas Selamat, which they call Singapore’s Houdini, to your girlfriend’s sister. The 4-piece band has incredible skills, and they have performed in Baybeats as well as several other music festivals both in and out of Singapore. Even though most of the people present have never heard of their songs before, with their unique stage antics they succeeded in making the people dance in front of the stage, and even sing along to them.
All in all, the night was a very enjoyable experience which reminded us that music was made to be shared, and that Singapore is teeming with local talents which we would have to support. Here’s looking forward to the next Live Lounge next semester!