Shelves are a bunch of middle aged dudes who haven’t lost their glow from absorbing all that 90’s alt-rock awesomeness. Wavves delivers on expected surf-rock catchiness with snotty punk attitudes, and Múm (pronounced moom) meanders with lush soundscapes and Nordic esoteric-ism. So what do a Singaporean indie rock band, a Californian surf-rock outfit (are there other sorts really?) and an Icelandic experimental-ambient-post-rock-etc-etc group have in common? Well not much really. I could be making jokes about how the 3 groups walk into a bar… never mind. But all three did walk into Zouk on a Saturday, and suddenly all was rojak and riots.
Going for a live performance, one expects an experience, to be part of a phenomenon. Anyone who has ever been to a gig can tell you that the cliché where the audience feeds of the energy of the band and vice versa is fact. Shelves opened to a pretty hyped up crowd with a performance so sweat drenched and enthusiastic you could smell the work ethic emanating off them- a stark difference from the usual lukewarm reception locals have to local acts, do unto others indeed.
Wavves was loud, really unforgivingly loud. They told fart jokes (because they are “universal”), and played to a bi-polar crowd, with clearly divided camps of slam-dancing, moshing party people and passive, arm folding head boppers – which really reflected on their could-be-more enthusiastic show. They played stuff from their newest album like demon to lean on and older crowd favorites like king of the beach. Yes the music was good and you played your songs well, but somehow everything felt a little obligatory.
Múm attracted the largest crowd, having been around for quite a few years, all this time probably having aided many upon their exploration of different realms of *cough* consciousness. Like Dark Side of the Moon, they are best enjoyed on a really soft couch and with an *cough*open mind. They do, however take surprisingly well to live shows – especially if you attend with an open mind. Combine some intense on stage theatrics (weird instruments and contemporary dance anyone?) with well-executed songs and you’ve got a winner. Pity about the disproportionate volume levels though.
Be it due to haphazard curating or the mysterious ways of gig organization, someone decided to mash all three bands into the same concert, in that particular order. It does makes sense for Shelves to open for Wavves but Múm somehow felt a little out of place amongst the two. Looking at the crowds that turned up for each set it was clear that the most of the people were there to catch Wavves or Múm. The overall experience felt as if I got a little too trashed and somehow teleported between different stages at SXSW or one of those festivals. Not the worst thing if you enjoy all the bands, but a little disorientating. Also, I seem to be typing *cough* a lot, must be the haze.
Image credits : Dawn Chua