New and old mix at Baybeats

New and old mix at Baybeats
Melodic punk band The Caulfield Cult (above) gave a tireless and vigorous performance while new singer-songwriter Linying opened the festival in a laidback style.

There was an air of bonhomie as the largest annual music festival showcasing home-grown alternative and indie music, Baybeats, kicked off at the Esplanade last Friday.

With acts performing over four stages, the festival's line-up paid tribute to its 13-year history and at the same time, celebrated the now and future of the music scene here.

This year, a new platform dubbed Mixtape, made its debut. It featured an exhibition tracing the evolution of Baybeats since its start in 2002.

Held at the Esplanade's outdoor venue The Lawn, the makeshift area also had a small stage.

Indie rockers TypeWriter, who played at the inaugural Baybeats, were invited back to play the closing set there last Friday.

In the cosy set-up, the audience stood up close to the quintet, lending an air of intimacy to the performance.

The band, with a line-up that includes indie veterans such as guitarist-singers Patrick Chng and Yee Chang Kang, filled their 11pm set with signature tunes that included Enemy and That Deepest Blue, as well as new tunes such as Everything Is Classified.

Earlier in the evening, new and upcoming acts held court. Singer-songwriter Linying opened the festival at 6.15pm with a laidback performance at indoors venue the Esplanade Concourse, renamed the Chillout Stage.

Fifteen minutes later, garage rock trio Knightingale, one of the eight acts under the festival's Budding Bands mentorship programme, brought the house down at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, renamed Baybeats Arena.

With lanky lead singer Ashwin Rao cross-dressing in a printed frock, their half-hour set was a raw and stripped-down affair marked by dense and fuzzy guitars, impassioned vocals and fervent drumbeats.

The stage also saw rising indie quintet Take Two play an upbeat and jaunty set while indie-pop band Seyra regaled the crowd with their breezy repertoire.

The festival's largest and most prominent stage, the makeshift Powerhouse @ The Edge, had the most active audience, with fans of melodic punk band The Caulfield Cult gleefully crowd-surfing along to the quartet's tireless and vigorous performance.

More than just about home-grown acts, the first night also featured sets by regional acts such as Indonesian roots-rock duo Matajiwa playing a bluesy show at Powerhouse @ The Edge and Thai indie band Fwends at the Chillout Stage. The performances, all of which were free, continued last Saturday and last night, with acts like alternative rockers Surreal making a comeback at the Mixtape stage, ska-punk veterans Cesspit playing to moshing fans at the Powerhouse @ The Edge stage and electronic act Riot !n Magenta playing at both the Baybeats Arena and Chillout Stage.

This article was first published on June 29, 2015.
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