Saturday, 29 March 2008

Drastic Fantastic - Singapore

(photo by loh_junwei)
I had a few issues about going alone for a gig. But I'm new to Singapore, so from the few people I know, I couldn't find any who liked KT Tunstall enough, or knew who she was for that matter, to go for her gig. So it was decided. I'm going solo and it'll still be a blast.
And it was! I thought it was going to be a pretty intimate gig with maybe about 500 people. But boy was I wrong. The Suntec City Convention Room 603 had been transformed into a gig-hall complete with seating for 2250 and standing capacity for about 500. However, although the gig was scheduled to get on the way at 8, when I got there at 7:45 the place was almost empty! So I was thinking "poor KT Tunstall, she's never gonna want to come here ever again!" But I was wrong. At 8:30 when the gig actually kicked off, the place was full, and it actually was a room full of KT Tunstall fans...I sure wasn't out of place:)
As soon as KT took the stage, the crowd went nuts! She played right into the hands of everyone there that night. The sound was brilliant, the band was tight and not flashy, the back-up singers were hot, the lighting was mood-friendly and KT Tunstall was amazing and lovable! What a combination! Moreover, what a talent she is! She went through the slow acoustic numbers and the fast rocky songs with equal intensity, keeping the crowd focussed on her music more than anything else in such a way that there was pin-drop silence amongst 3000 people. Between songs she'd talk to the crowd and crack jokes, making us all laugh. She'd also explain what her songs are about, for instance "Funny Man" is about a friend of hers that lost his mind, Black Horse & the Cherry Tree is about good and evil, which made the whole thing very personal. KT really won the hearts and minds and, possibly, a few thousand extra CD sales from, the entire audience. She was truly lovable.
The highlights for me were firstly, her solo version of Black Horse & the Cherry Tree, which I had been dying to see live ever since I caught it on youtube, Funny Man, her version of Walk Like an Egyptian and Suddenly I see. What a night. 3 Thumbs up!
Btw, she did mention that it's a fact that when you take all the people who lived on this planet ever, there's only 9 dead people for every live person. Is that true?

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Arey Raptha-raa-ra-rah!

(Memories from 2007)

Here's wishing a great time to all those who celebrate the Roy-Tho spirit. It's undoubtedly going to be a great party back in Colombo for the next 3 days, and I'm sad to be missing it. But I hope the weather holds up and the cricket is captivating, at least until the alcohol starts to kick in. May you drink warm arrack shandied with cream soda for 3 days whilst you have a blast!

On a side note, go Royal!

Converse loving ants, and other stories.

For the first time in a few days I decided to come home straight after work, instead of wandering around the City. So I gobbled up a yummy chicken fried rice at the station nearest to home and walked down to the apartment.

As I opened the door and took a few steps, I realised I had stepped on water. Now I know it had rained a bit, but the roof couldn't be leaking as there were 12 floors living above me. At first I thought the damn toilet had broken and was gushing water, as it had been giving us a few problems since we moved in, but that wasn't it. I walked towards my room and there was more water. Shit. Panic hit in as I opened the door to discover an inch of water all over my room. My shoes, clothes, guitar, man bag, and suitcase were all in the water! While I was busy at work, some serious rain had obviously pelted down!

I immediately knew what the cause was. Attached to my room is a little balcony like bit. The drain pipe had got stuck with branches and some dried seed-ish looking thing, which resulted in the balcony filling up, in turn which resulted in the water flowing into my room. So there I was, an inch of water in my room, 7 inches in the damned balcony.

My housemates and I spent an hour and a half cleaning away with one mop, one bathroom mat and a pair of slippers, sweeping the water away, while we used a nail clipper to fix the drain pipe - the cause of this mess. Phew, this was not what I wanted after quite a tiring day. So anyway, since the room was FINALLY clean, I chucked all my wet clothes into the washing machine, and put away my wet shoes to dry. I think I'm going to have to put em in the washing machine. Any tips on washing shoes in a washing machine?

Sorry I digress. So anyway, as I was putting my shoes away, I picked up my khaki converse slip-ons. Now this was quite a bargain in India where I picked em up for INR 400-odd. When you're wearing trousers it looks as if you're wearing a normal pair of converse shoes, just without the hassle of wearing the converse shoes. Brilliant. As I pick em up to put em away along with the rest of the banished-but-wet shoes, I notice about 5 ants scramble out of them. Now these weren't your normal ants. Remember when you were in school in year 3 or 4 and you saw these big ass black ants on the trees? Thel Kumbiyo? Well it was em. The sumo wrestler brigade of the black ants, if I may, as they were huge! I hope that's politically correct enough.

So in my hastiness, I chuck them into the tub. The shoes, ants and all that is. At this point about 20 more ants jump outta my damned shoes! So I aim the shower head and turn it to maximum with the hot water on and lo and behold a bajillion of em start trooping out to brave the waters! I had shivers running up and down my spine, and if any of those ants were named shivers, I had shivers running everywhere in my bathroom! Here's proof!

If only I ate ants, what a great time I would've had!

Saturday, 8 March 2008

The night that Light Grenades went BOOM

Might I warn you, this has not been love. This has been infatuation.

I first came across Incubus some time in 2000, when I heard "Drive". Back then I didn't even know who they were, let alone the fact that they'd been around for about 7 years by then. But the song was an instant favourite with me, as it was to a bajillion others. I loved the sound of the funky acoustic guitar riffs coupled with scratchpads, weird noises, great drum and bass, and a beautiful voice! And that was what sparked it. Then I did what every right minded Asian kid did back then, back when downloading wasn't big, especially in Sri Lanka on dial-up.

I went and bought the CD "Make Yourself" for 150 bucks from Majestic City.

I didn't listen to anything else for weeks. Months even. To-date it still ranks as one of my top picks, and it would be with me on the dessert island, should I end up on one. Some of my favourite Incubus songs ever is on that album, such as Pardon Me, Make Yourself, Stellar, and Drive. This was one fucking great band.

Back in 2002, the Lady gave me "Morning View", and it wasn't from MC, so I was in my element! From start to end it was a brilliant work of art. It was definitely not a powderpuff. This was a heavyweight. Packed with a variety of songs such as the red-bull-like "Nice to Know You" and "Aqueous Transmissions", the super-massive hit "Wish You Were Here", "Mexico", "11 AM" and "Warning Signs" amongst others, the album changed the way the world saw Incubus. Or at least they changed my world. But that sounds corny. Nevertheless, this album is what officially made them my favourite band.

Although "A Crow Left of the Murder" did not receive rave reviews, to me it was a great album. I had been starved of new Incubus music for a while, so when it was released I headed down to MC. By the time "Light Grenades" came out, I'm happy to say I had a stable broadband connection:)

So you have obviously gathered by now that I have been dying to see them live for a long time. I missed them in the UK twice because, first I was broke, and then the next time I was in Sri Lanka on holiday. Sigh. Having finished 3 years in the UK, when i returned to Sri Lanka I was pretty convinced that I was destined never to see them. Mind you I had seen a gazillion of their gigs on screen. But I used to think that they'd probably break up before I can manage to find myself at a concert of theirs.

And then there's fate!

2 Weeks after signing on to a new job which was to send me to Singapore for 6 months on work, Incubus announced that it would be playing Singapore on the 7th of March as part of the Light Grenades Tour. I hadn't even started work, but I bought my ticket in December. I wasn't sure who else was going or whether i'd know anyone there, but i didn't care. This was fate, and I wasn't going to play around with a chance like this. However, B, also a die-hard fan, got tickets too. So we planned to do this right.

Having found myself in Singapore, one of the first things I did was pick up my ticket. When I did, I breathed a sigh of relief. On the day, I was excited, but still I couldn't believe that I was actually going to see the band of my dreams live! Unfortunately I was hounded with work, so I only managed to leave office at 6pm. The gig started at 8.

I made it to Fort Canning Park by 6:30pm, by which time there was already a kilometre long line to get in. But the queue moved first, and I managed to position myself in the middle, where I had this view.

I wasn't far from the front, so I wasn't disappointed. The plan was to be close enough to the front to be able to wringle my way through as far as I could go;)

Saosin, dubbed as one of the hottest bands making waves now, opened with an hour's set. To be honest, I hadn't heard their music before, but judging by the crowd's reaction, they were pretty darn popular. Most of these kids knew every word to their songs and were already moshing and bouncing off ppl! I, on the other hand, was saving my energy for Incubus.

The crowd went wild when Incubus came onstage. Chris Kilmore kicked things off by setting off some eerie melodic sounds which was to be the start of "Quicksand" off "Light Grenades", the first ever song I'd ever seen/heard Incubus play live. Thank god they started with a quiet one, cause the energy in the air could've been cut with a guitar fret board. The mellow beginning only lasted for a few minutes, as they quickly lashed into "A Kiss to Send Us Off", and that was it. The sweaty bodies moving, swaying, jumping as one had begun, and it was to last for an hour and forty minutes.

Oh man, from that point on it was all a blur to me. I mean, I can remember everything, but it's beyond description. There was so much energy, so much intensity, so much talent on stage, and not enough water. I can't tell you how many songs they played, or in which order. Some highlights were definitely the whole crowd of probably abt 2500-3000 jumping up and down together for Anna Molly and singing the words to Drive with Brandon and only Mike on guitar. What am I saying, the whole concert was one big highlight. B and I were jumping so hard our bodies still hurt. It was so hot that we had to take off our t-shirts just so that we could breathe. It was just one mass of sweaty bodies, and had the attention not been on Incubus, I would've had a problem with that. When they played the opening chords to Megalomaniac, I dedicated that moment to Mahinda, and then went nuts.

I was thinking earlier today that it was real, I was there, and I have lived.

Now, when will I see them again?