The Singapore Live Music Guide 2012

Lady Gaga, Morrissey, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Jessie J, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Feist. Yes, 2012 has been unprecedented for concertgoers, with major international superstars and lauded indie acts staging gigs in the past seven months. And at least a dozen more are taking place through the rest of the year, including highly anticipated concerts by Garbage, New Order, The Stone Roses and The Beach Boys while the always star-studded F1 race concert will feature Katy Perry and Maroon 5.

Local musicians are also stepping up their game, having rocked their way through the recently concluded Baybeats, Sub-Sonic which featured Astreal and MONSTER CAT, and the British Council gig held at Gardens by The Bay featuring local electronic acts MUON and The Analog Girl.

More are on the way with the upcoming second edition of Lepa(r)k, the next installment of Sub-Sonic featuring emerging singer-songwriters like Charlie Lim, as well as various live gigs at venues like TAB, Timbre, Blu Jaz and Switch. Wow! So here’s the rest of 2012’s complete line-up—not to be missed.


No Finer Time to be Alive
July 20, 8pm at The Pigeonhole
Intimate indie-folk tunes are the name of the game for Nick Chim, whose lyrics and musical virtuosity is influenced by the likes of Bon Iver, Nick Drake and Ray Lamontagne—so expect some moody soundscapes for this one. Chim will perform songs from his latest full-length album Forgiefan.

July 21, 5pm at Marina Promontory
Following the success of the Lepa(r)k gig held at Tiong Bahru Park last November, some of the region’s coolest indie bands comprising In Each Hand A Cutlass, Amnesia Haze, Another Sunday Afternoon, Pleasantry, Monster Cat and The Great Spy Experiment (see the five we’ve picked for our list of Emerging Singapore Bands to Watch) come together for another round of acoustic and rock live music treats.

The Stone Roses
July 22, 8pm at the Singapore Indoor Stadium
The acclaimed and recently reunited British band comprising Ian Brown, John Squire, Gary Mounfield and Alan Wren will play their first ever live concert here. These Manchester natives’ lively stage shows have been compared to the likes of The Rolling Stones, thanks to frontman Brown’s charismatic onstage presence. Keep an ear out for ‘90s indie gems like “Fool’s Gold” and “I Wanna Be Adored”.

The Kooks
July 25, 7:30pm at the Esplanade Concert Hall
British indie-rock doesn’t get much catchier. Performing classics such as “She Moves In Her Own Way” and “Naive”, as well as newer tunes including “Is It Me” from their latest album Junk of the Heart, the foursome proves to be as hip as they are talented.

Jul 31, 7:30pm at the Esplanade Concert Hall

The reigning princes and princesses of indie rock and New Wave from Toronto will perform hits like “Combat Baby”, “Raw Sugar” and “Help, I’m Alive.” Glo-sticks optional.

Snow Patrol
August 6, 8pm at the Fort Canning Park
Drawing on their melodic strength, Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, Jonny Quinn, Nathan Connolly, Paul Wilson and Tom Simpson hit the big time with their first major studio album, Final Straw, featuring their biggest hit “Chasing Cars”. Lightbody’s languid vocals will melt hearts, coupled with some energetic guitar works from the rest of the band.

Jo Hamilton
August 8, 7:30pm at the Esplanade Recital Studio
Critically acclaimed Scottish musician Jo Hamilton, the first artist to work with the elusive AirPiano (for the uninitiated, it’s a strangely futuristic instrument with a Star Trek steering panel), is set to perform tunes from her much lauded 2009 progressive folk album Gown.

Gym Class Heroes
August 10, 8pm at Wave House, Sentosa
This American foursome who first met at a high school gym class, hence the moniker, comprises vocalist Travie McCoy, drummer Matt McGinley, guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo and bassist Eric Roberts. Their sunny blend of rap, hip hop, rock and reggae is just apt for the beach, performing tracks from their latest release The Papercut Chronicles, among others.

Heineken Green Room
August 10, 9pm at Zouk
The cult invite-only live music series by the cool folks at Heineken returns with another smashing line-up, this time featuring the frantic sounds of Baltimore rapper Spank Rock and the doom-laden electronic tunes of Drums of Death.

Sub-Sonic Live @ The Lawn
Aug 18, 7pm at Foothill’s Lawn, Fort Canning Park
Chill out at the garden space located near a trio of new art galleries (Galeri Nila/Galeri Utama/Viridian Arts House) right opposite Clarke Quay as local troubadours John Chan, Weish, Pleasantry, Charlie Lim and Nick Chim perform in the most pared down Sub-Sonic gig yet. Bring a mat.


August 21, 8pm at Fort Canning Park
Landing here as part of their world tour to promote their latest album Not Your Kind of People, these purveyors of the ‘90s indie-rock scene (who can forget lead vocalist Shirley Manson’s pink-dyed hair and forthright attitude?) are not to be messed with. The older numbers “Only Happy When It Rains” and “Stupid Girl” are emo classics while their latest tunes are a return to rugged form.

Passion Pit
August 21, 7:30pm at the Esplanade Concert Hall

One of the earliest electro-pop acts to emerge from the US, Passion Pit will play songs from their latest studio album Gossamer. If their lauded recent gigs at Australia’s Big Day Out, UK’s Glastonbury Festival and North America’s Lollapalooza and Coachella are anything to go by, this cross between Death Cab by Cutie and Vampire Weekend will have you dancing around the concert hall.


New Order
August 22, 8pm at the Fort Canning Park
One of the most influential electro-pop bands from the ‘80s bar none, they recently released The Lost Sirens, an eight-track album featuring outtakes from their last studio album Waiting for the Siren’s Call. Bernard Sumner and team’s much-awaited comeback is a blast from the past if there ever was one. If classics like “True Faith” and “Bizarre Love Triangle” do not set your pulse racing, nothing will.

The Beach Boys
August 22, 8pm at the Singapore Indoor Stadium
These guys practically invented the surf tune genre. Even though they are touring for the first time in two decades, they may not necessarily win new fans with the group now in their 60s and 70s. No matter. Watching a bunch of granddads reliving catchy Californian classics like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “Surfin’ USA” and “California Girls” might just well turn out to be a timeless experience.

Marketa Irglova
August 23, 7:30pm at the Esplanade Recital Studio
For some soul-searching folk-pop, don’t miss this. This half of folk-rock duo Swell Season (alongside ex-boyfriend Glen Hansard), Czech singer-songwriter Marketa Irglova performs tunes from her new solo album Anar and selections from the indie movie Once, which made her famous.

The Observatory
August 24-25, 8pm at Goodman Arts Centre Black Box
Continuing their series of sound art performances, the second installment of their Catacombs gig sees the quartet performing another set of slow-burning, emo masterpieces.


Rocks with KK
September 1, 7pm at University Cultural Centre Hall, National University of Singapore
Having worked with the great A.R Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire), Bollywood crooner Krishnakumar Kunnath, more affectionately known as KK, promises to be a breath of fresh air for his catchy renditions of Indian classics and great for an alternative night out.

Ingrid Michaelson
September 10, 7:30pm at the Esplanade Concert Hall
The latest in the line of American indie pop songstresses will perform powerful tunes about love and relationships including “The Way I Am”, “Maybe” and “Keep Breathing” from her new album Human Again.

September 15, 8pm at The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel Resorts World Sentosa
More alternative-rock from the Billboard chart-topping band comprising Ryan Key (vocals/guitar), Sean Mackin (violin), Ryan Mendez (guitar) and Josh Portman (bass).

2012 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix
September 21-23, 9pm at The Padang
You may not be a fan of the race but if Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Katy Perry turn you on, this is the concert to watch. Plus there’s Jay Chou thrown into the mix for Mando-pop fans. Be prepared to shell top dollars for the gigs though as they are held within the racing circuit.


James Morrison
October 2, 7:30pm at the Esplanade Concert Hall

This soul and pop-rock performer is best known for his collaboration with Nelly Furtado on “Broken Strings” and the critically acclaimed “You Make it Real”—both from his second album Songs For You, Truth For Me in 2008. See if the man still has what it takes as he cue tracks from his most recent release The Awakening.


Sigur Rós
November 23, 8pm at the Fort Canning Park
The best Icelandic band on earth’s first show here is probably the most anticipated of the year. Their last gig in Southeast Asia (held 2006 in Hong Kong) was a mind-blowing feast of sight and sound, buoyed by the stage presence and transcendental vocals of singer-songwriter Jonsi Birgisson. We’re all ears for the gig, just to hear the man’s voice engulf Fort Canning’s wide open fields.

Check out Singapore’s Regular Gig Nights.