Like the name of the event itself “Big Night Out 2013″ is indeed give the big crowd, big performances and big energy. That three main facts comes from the three great performer Band of Horses, Vampire Weekend and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They surely give the best performance for their fans and proved themselves as an unstoppable bands despite that they recently held a two-week long tour on Australia before.
Big Night Out 2013 might have been different from the previous event that brings up classic, heavier rock acts like Rise Against, Stone Temple Pilots and the legendary Slash. In this year event, Big Night Out line-up is mostly “mainstream indie” bands. But, it seems that the audience doesn’t care about that, this year’s festival also delivered a great show that was no less big than its predecessors.
Setting the scene for Band of Horses to take the stage was a translucent backdrop of a serene looking swamp which turned out to be completely antithetical to what the band had to offer that night. While waiting a little longer than we would expect for them to appear, most of us were entertained – or perhaps baffled — by an avant-garde art performance led by a lady walking in a bubble before dramatically struggling out to reveal herself flagging a National Day towel, a Vampire Weekend t-shirt, and of course, a Big Night Out flyer. The crowd was unsure of what to make of it all, so it was sort of a relief when Band of Horses began soon after.
Their energetic performance was shocking to most of us, who I think were expecting a more mellow start to the night. What we got instead was not just full-energy sounds, but also constant visual stimulation in the shuffling of the band members who kept switching between instruments as the drums took centre stage during transitions. They were definitely as excited to play their inaugural Singapore show as we were to see them.
‘For Annabelle’ blasted from the stage as Ben Bridwell played passionately into his harmonica, and it was in that very moment that the band owned the stage and touched every single one of us. Fans were immediately taken by the band and roared when ‘Is There A Ghost’ came on, before swaying to the softer sounds of ‘The Great Salt Lake’ and being jolted back to life with ‘Electric Music’, which saw keyboardist, Ryan Monroe, throwing his guitar backwards and sitting tight for a mind-blowing keyboard solo.
The band finally retreated to their winning melancholic tracks, ‘Marry Song’, and ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’ which showcased one of the most powerful melodies that night. The band has obviously moved on from the days of Cease To Begin, but the fans clearly had not.
Towards the end of the set, the bass started giving out some pretty high sonic vibrations that made it unbearably painful even for bassist, Bill Reynolds, to continue, lunging forward to show off his bass solo and then ending their set with the highly anticipated, ‘The Funeral’.
Vampire Weekend – the youngest band at BNO and the band most likely to extract declarations of love from teenage girls – burst into “Cousins” for their opener, to which everyone burst into cheers at the distinct guitar intro. They were once called the whitest band in the world, and with their button down shirts and pressed chinos; it was not hard to see why — looking fresh off the stage of a NYU undergrad music showcase.
Of course, they’re the furthest thing from the whitest band on earth, with their world and African music influences. With his messy head of curls and khaki bermudas (finally a sensible one who does not insist on wearing jeans onstage in Singapore’s sweltering weather), Ezra Koenig is the perfect poster boy for the quirky indie band that found success in popular culture. His unique voice and energy as the frontman definitely pricks up those ears.
After a high-octane start to their set – which included favourites “A-Punk” and “White Sky” – they decided to slow it down with “I Think U R a Contra”. The crowd swayed along as if in a trance, but immediately jumped to their feet with arguably the most Afropunk inspired track they have, “Horchata”.
They nailed “California English”, and played its choppy drum intro and rapid-fire guitar riffs to perfection. The only thing that marred their performance was that the song sounded overly auto-tuned compared to their other songs (in fairness, it is the style of the track).
They then merged “Campus” and “Oxford Comma”, which was definitely a nice touch, matching the two songs of their début album. When “Giving Up The Gun” came on, the crowd expected it to end with that and there was an air of disappointment lingering around Fort Canning Park.
Not a band without their surprises, they ended off sweetly with their ‘special goodbye song’, “Walcott”. But of course, in an apt send off, they amped up the guitars and got the crowd dancing and singing along to ‘Walcott, don’t you know that it’s insane’.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are on many a ‘bands to watch’ bucket list, with knowledge of Karen O’s absolutely electrifying performances. We were so glad when BNO announced that they would be performing, and we predicted they would give us one of the most memorable performances of the year — bold, seeing as it’s only two months in! Thankfully, they did not disappoint.
The band sans Karen O took the stage and opened with a repetitive guitar note everyone went crazy for – we all knew it was “Cheated Hearts”. After quite a lengthy intro, Karen O burst onstage in a sparkly white outfit that made it insanely hard to take a picture of her with a phone. Nonetheless, the crowd went absolutely nuts for Karen O — and she went nuts for them too.
Spewing water like a Merlion, running around the stage doing her signature punches in the air, she kept going right off the bat. With “Mosquito”, you would fully understand her effect on people. Very few people could make a song about a blood-sucking pest that interesting and energetic.
The band’s music can get odd — borderline bizarre even — but here it did not matter. Everyone danced and jumped to songs that were nowhere near the cult status of “Cheated Hearts”. Karen O does that to you, energising you with her seemingly boundless enthusiasm.
They only decided to slow it down with a new song, “Subway”. It felt like it was fresh off the drawing board, and not because it was not a musically tight performance, but because the usually perfect and unflappable Karen O sounded rather shy introducing it and messed up the start. It aptly had the sound of subway trains running on tracks in the background and was certainly a change of pace from their usual high-octane songs.
In fact, the crowd got rather bored and started tweeting things like, “Where is Maps? That’s the only thing we’re here for anyway” that showed up on the Tweet Wall which LAMC put up (very smart). We understand that the song might not have appealed to everyone, but we only wished people had understood that the band previewing a new song to us was an honour.
Regardless, they then took to “Gold Lion”, to get the crowd raring to go again like they knew that the concertgoers probably needed a dose of energy. When they started on “Heads Will Roll”, the crowd went absolutely ballistic. The band took their bow, and went off stage after that, but we all knew it was not over – “Maps” was not yet performed.
Surprise surprise, they started the encore with “Maps”, ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ love song to you’, as Karen O said. The crowd loved it and lapped every moment up as if that’s what they’d been waiting their whole lives for. When they collectively belted out the line ‘Wait, they don’t love you like I love you’, it was probably to Karen O, and it seemed like they really meant it. It was a highlight of the concert that was way too short.
Big Night Out 2013 left the sweaty bodies, sore throats, and soaring hearts of the audience and the performer and also left a great memories for those who saw it. Even though this year event changed a little bit from the previous event, but Big Night Out proved that this event is still one of the greatest this year.
Below are some photos that taken from the event. Check it out!
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Photos was taken from: events.insing.com, rollingstone.co.id, todayonline.com, svanapaper.com