In recent times, we’ve seen the number of floating music festivals increase greatly – and no surprise, these parties are proving to be highly popular. In November, we treated to the highly successful EDM party festival It’s The Ship, where 3,800 partygoers packed the decks of the Royal Caribbean. The same for this month’s Shipsomania, where revellers turned up to get, well, turnt up. Fast forward to last Friday’s Bandwagon Riverboat – the organizers decided to turn the tables and do something different – by curating three whole different decks of genre-defying live music.
Held on the Mississippi-style Stewords Riverboat at Marina South Pier, the boat’s dark, carnival-like exterior gave little to the imagination as revellers walked from pier to the ship. Inside – however, the boat was furnished with a 1930’s Steamboat Willie feel, equipped with a mini Baby Grand piano sitting in the corner that served as an important set piece for acoustic-styled artists such as Dru Chen and lo-fi singer Linying.
Up on the second deck – dubbed the Engine Room – acts such as electronic outfit .[gif], blues-rock champions Cheating Sons, and fun-loving indie-rock quintet Stopgap were revving audience members up for a raucous, drink-fuelled good time. .[gif] even performed Celine Dion‘s “My Heart Will Go On” (a.k.a. the Titanic theme song) – presumably a double-barrelled tribute to Dion’s recent tragedies and the Riverboat.
In between sets, guests indulged in multiple games such as Pin-A-Pirate, electronic fishing and drunken putting. While on board, bands had to regularly maintain their composure and regain their balance after being disrupted by the rollicking waves.
On the top deck – the Captain’s Deck – partygoers were treated to the sounds of the left-leaning, alternative side of electronic music. With far-reaching genres such as D’n’B, grime, deep house, trap and even drops of techno, the Captain’s Deck proved to be the most exciting floor to be at. Blitzing the DJ booth were the sounds of fledging experimental producer Blankverse, No Pantz frontwoman DJ A/K/A, who soon made way for arguably the highlight of the night – ambient/hip-hop producer Fauxe together with rap act Mediocre Haircut Crew.
We’ve seen nascent hip-hop trio Mediocre Haircut Crew bloom over the past months, and it’s suffice to say that the crew has vastly improved on stage presence since we’ve caught them at Malaysia’s Raising The Bar Festival. The blazing trio performed a slew of anti-establishment, fist-pumping, rebel-against-the-system tracks, echoing the likes of old school giants Beastie Boys, Cypress Hill and NWA. Needless to say, the boys – accompanied by the masked troubadour Fauxe, gave revelers an epic throw down.
As Darker than Wax’s William J wrapped up the night at the Captain’s Deck at 1.30am – and under the charcoal sky, the rocking waves, and the wicked hip-hop beats churning out from the speakers – we couldn’t help but think that the Bandwagon Riverboat turned out surprisingly to be an amazing well-run event that elevated the whole local concert-going experience to new heights.
Accompanied with the fact that the festival boasted an all local line-up that sold out all 250 tickets completely within six days, we’d like to surmise that the support for the local music scene is far greater than ever. To wrap off our sentiments with the words of a particular Stopgap song, Run Out – there’s no place (I’d) rather, rather be. Salut, Bandwagon!
Photos credited to: Haziq, Eu Beng Hui and Adam Tun-Aung.