Laneway = Youth | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

DAZZLING lights during M83

Two huge stages. Fourteen bands. An 8,000 strong, overly enthusiastic crowd. A whopping 12 hours of nonstop music mayhem. This was what took place at Singapore’s Fort Canning Park last Feb. 12 during the last leg of the annual Laneway Music Festival, the Australian/Southeast Asian version of a mini Coachella.

Indie pop band Cults kicked off the show with an adorable rendition of their single “Abducted” just as the crowd was filing in. Right on cue, people started rushing to the stage to catch as much of their set as possible, some treacherously trying to navigate their way to the front with beer cups in hand.

THE DRUMS’ Jonathan Pierce

Up next was ’90s-inspired alternative rock band Yuck, who treated the crowd with their almost album-level perfect live performances of hits like “Get Away” and “Holing Out.” “They were really tight, but they had this sense of danger lingering over them, like everything was going to fall apart at any time. It was perfect!” Joey Santos, DJ and manager of Love One Another Studios exclaimed.

Caroline Polachek and the rest of Chairlift charmed the audience next with their adorable electro-synth pop set, and pleasantly surprised everyone by performing their beloved hit “Bruises,” a song they rarely perform nowadays.

CHAIRLIFT’S Caroline Polachek

Most of us will remember that day as a day of “Pure awesomeness!”, to quote Kath Anasco. But the rest of the world will also remember it as the day one of the greatest divas in music history passed away. We were reminded of this with Girls frontman Christopher Owens heartfelt acoustic rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” on a flower-cluttered stage, before launching into their signature equally lovelorn songs.

One of the bands I (and perhaps the 8,000 others in attendance) was totally looking forward to see was The Drums, whose catchiness knows no bounds, and got people bouncing and bopping with hits like “Money” and “Let’s Go Surfing.” “If you dance, I dance,” frontman Jonathan Pierce proclaimed, and we all took him up on his deal.

GIRLS’ Christopher Owens’ Whitney Houston tribute

The day went on, people got further inebriated, the portalets got clogged, the weather brought on a drizzle then changed its mind and decided to bring on more sunshine to match the mood. Several more artists taking the stage such as Anna Calvi, Laura Marling, Twin Shadow, Toro Y Moi, The Horrors, and Canadian electronic band Austra, who glittered in their outlandish outfits.

Speaking of outfits, outfit spotting (while waiting in line for beer or lazing around on the grass) was almost as entertaining as watching what was taking place on stage. The choice of attire was as diverse as the festival crowd. From floral rompers, hippie dresses, and sparkly club wear to Doc Martens, band shirts, and skinny jeans.

THE CROWD during Feist

Then the sun set and the greatest party of all time began. There was minor glitch with the sound system when The Pains of Being Pure At Heart took the stage, and went through a sort of awkward 45 minute set (I hope they make up for it when they visit Manila next week) but all was well again by the time Canadian indie superstar Feist came on. It was a surreal (am I dreaming?) experience seeing her live, as she belted out new stuff from her latest album “Metals,” and a string of old favorites like “My Moon, My Man” and a heavier version of “Mushaboom.” Amazed by the reaction of the, well, equally amazed crowd, she declared “You put Australia to shame.”

And then headliners M83 emerged, amidst dazzling lights and gave proceeded to give the on-the-verge-of-passing out crowd a collective adrenaline boost with a superb visual eargasm of a show. M83 frontman Anthony Gonzalez, amidst blowing air kisses to the crowd, exclaimed “We are having an out of body experience. You guys are the best, the best, THE BEST!”

Even festival “virgins” had the time of their lives. “Laneway Festival virgin here. Have to say, I’ll be back for more. It’s going to be an annual must-go event for me from now on,” says Jay Panganiban. “I’m still hungover!” adds Blossom Santiago. Both Pinoys just recently moved to Singapore, talk about the best timing ever.

For the second timers, this one surpassed the first (although I personally enjoyed the eight hour torrential downpour last year, as it gave new meaning for me to the phrase “chilled to the bones”). “My hearts and ears are exploding!” Jes Dy, a festival second timer (and MPDG), exclaimed after the show.

By the time the lights went out, thousands of dazed, exhausted, yet infinitely ecstatic music lovers filed out of the park. “I will never get over Laneway 2012, can’t wait ’til 2013!” gushed blogger Helga Weber. There aren’t enough synonyms to “awesome” to describe the 12 hours that went by.

Local indie band Taken By Cars guitarist Siopao Chua summed up the entire festival best with a play on words on one of M83’s best songs when he said: “Laneway = Youth.”

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