I’d rather hang with the boys

Catherine Robert, journalist for the Show section of The New Paper, in a photograph taken with Fabian Manzano, a member of Puerto Rican-American acoustic pop group Boyce Avenue.

SINGAPORE- You'd think that for three strapping brothers who recently made it big, they'd accept their new gift of fame and partying with arms wide open.

But for Puerto Rican-American acoustic pop group Boyce Avenue, who took YouTube by storm this year with more than a billion views and later gained worldwide fame offline, I discovered first-hand that something a bit more low-key was just fine with them.

Alejandro, Daniel and Fabian Manzano were in town last Thursday for their first concert here at The Coliseum at Hard Rock Hotel. (Being friends with the owner of Live! Empire, the promoter of the gig, has its perks.)

No glamorous clubs or VIP gold tags on my wrist, but that "low-key" night still left me dragging my feet to work on Friday morning with what felt like a couple of bricks balanced on my head.

But that was just the result of drinks with the middle sibling, 29-year-old guitarist Fabian, and a few others from their tour crew.

Frontman-singer Alejandro, 27, and rhythmist-pianist Daniel, 35, had retired to their hotel earlier in the evening for a nap before their 6am flight to Hong Kong.

At the post-concert festivities - filled with bites and booze - in a private event room at Hard Rock Hotel, the three musicians did look absolutely beat from their 1½-hour show attended by 2,000 fans.

The down-to-earth and friendly trio were the first international musicians that I'd hung out with, and I have to say, I expected nothing short of the 'I'm too good for you' attitude. But there was none of that. In fact, they were slightly shy at first.

By about 2am, "Fabz" (a little nickname I gave him after we had a few laughs) was the last Boyce Avenue man standing. And he was still keen on keeping the night rolling ­- he asked if there "was somewhere that we could head to for more drinks".

His poison? Beer. In between that, we each had a shot of tequila, though it seemed to have had no effect on him.

Surprisingly, we ended up not at an extravagant club with strict VIP barriers separating the stars from the commoners, but at restaurant-bar Public House on Circular Road.

The staff ushered about 10 of us to a long table outside where we spent a very fuzzy hour taking pictures, drinking shots and recapping the show before this Girl Friday had to call it a night. If I wanted the slightest chance of making it into the office, I had to go.

But it being Friday, the partying had just begun.

That night, I hit Toxic at St James Power Station. The old Powerhouse has been transformed into a chick-fest, especially with the perfectly sculpted bodies of Toxic's floor staff, who were strutting around taking orders and entertaining patrons.

Even I was in awe of some of the girls - until they opened their mouths.

But at least they understood what "whiskey dry" meant, thankfully.

A Thai club concept brought over to an English club with mainstream music - that's what it was. And it wasn't so bad after all.

According to some female patrons I befriended, the highlight of the opening night the day before - which clashed with my Boyce Avenue outing - was hot Russian international female DJ Mari Ferrari, who was named World's Sexiest DJ 2011 and 2012.

Thanks, but I'll take "Fabz" over a sexy spinmeister any day.


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