SINGAPORE - Live music venue Home Club, a beacon for alternative music and a venue for budding local bands to perform, will be playing its swan song on the dance floor on May 10.
After 10 years, the venue in Upper Circular Road will be making way for a new concept to launch in July.
Home Club owner Roy Ng has teamed up with Bed Concepts, the group behind nightclub Bed Supperclub in Bangkok, to launch Canvas Singapore.
The venue is expected to operate as an art gallery during the day and turn into a nightclub after dark. But the people behind it maintain that the new concept will keep "elements of Home" and retain its alternative edge.
Mr Mahen Nathan, 45, one of the partners of Bed Concepts, says that Canvas will feature live performances by local bands like Home did, but the club will be more selective and feature seasoned bands that are more "polished".
"Home Club has already paid its dues. The new club can't be the starting point for new bands. It should be the launching point for the local creative community."
Mr Mahen, who says that a six-figure sum is being spent to refurbish the club, adds that Canvas "will not be a full-on commercial club".
He says: "We still seek credible content. We want to bring niche content and educate the market. But there needs to be a middle ground."
Mr Ng, who declined to give his age, tells Life! one of the reasons why he decided to relaunch the club is to "adapt to the changing Singapore club environment", and reach out to a wider audience.
He could be referring to the smaller crowds that have been turning up for Home Club's events in the last couple of years, compared to when it first opened. Some patrons have noticed this.
But Mr Ng adds: "We were definitely not in the red. We were comfortable, but could have done a lot better."
Located at The Riverwalk, the 2,900 sq ft Home Club was launched in 2004 as a space to promote local music and non-commercial dance music.
The nightspot, with colourful street art on the walls, concrete floors and eclectic furniture, had an air of laid-back bohemian cool, and attracted a crowd of alternative music fans.
Over the years, it hosted weekly local music nights which featured a diverse range of acts including metalcore, indie rock and electronica bands, and it also became known as a go-to place for drum and bass fans.
Among its most popular regular nights are Beat!, an indie music night that ran weekly for seven years; and Identite, a four-year-old local music night which usually features two to three home- grown bands across various musical genres.
Beat!, one of Singapore's longest-running indie music nights headed by DJs Ginette Chittick and Joe Ng, hosted its final party last Friday, spinning tunes to a full-house crowd.
"This was really for Home Club because it was closing. For us, it was a celebration of the relationship we had with the club," says DJ Chittick, 37, of last Friday's final Beat!.
The programme leader at Lasalle College of the Arts (diploma in fashion) says: "I will miss having gigs at Home Club. Where else can you play now, that has a small, intimate space to watch bands and have drinks?"
She adds: "Something has to be done because the music - for the crowd it caters to - it can't really sustain a club."
Other regulars and musicians who have performed at the club say they will miss the vibe and atmosphere when it closes, but they respect the owner's decision.
Veteran musician and band member of indie group Typewriter Patrick Chng, 46, has fond memories of Home Club. He even hosted his wedding after-party at the venue in 2010 and roped in local rock band Livonia to perform for his friends.
Chng tells Life!: "It has kind of become an iconic venue so it's definitely sad to see it close because you know for sure every Friday night, there will be good indie bands playing there."
Mr Benny Goerlach, 36, who has been visiting Home Club at least once a week for the past eight years, is saddened by the news that his favourite haunt will have to go.
The senior visual effects animator says: "Hopefully, the new partners will strive for the same creative diversity and understand the struggles of the creative scene here in Singapore and help to nurture the scene the way Roy and the club have until today."
This article was published on May 1 in The Straits Times.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.