Boundless, carefree and brave – these may be some of the key words or characteristics off the top of one’s head. In music terms, they form a Norwegian ensemble, Young Dreams that can command up to twelve members for its live performances, capturing and serving surfer indie dream pop with questionable lyrics that may make absolutely no complete sense at all — “It’s just not my day, I’d rather take freedom than smoking arenas” in Fog Of War, and “I couldn’t stop talking, I now need a charger for my mobile phone” in First Days Of Something.
A pity though that they turned out playing a little far-fetched than what their name might have portrayed to be, as their performance at the Mosaic Club for Esplanade’s Mosaic Music Festival was lacklustre and somewhat flat. This, despite six members of its collective making their way onto our shores.
A couple of factors could have contributed in this: the boring crowd of average attendance that might have impacted the mood of the room and the band (with low media exposure and hype of the band in this part of the world), together with Young Dreams experiencing jetlag and insufficient recuperation. During the set, the band’s members said they had only slept a total of 7 hours in 3 consecutive days. They were more than pleased that the next day was an off day to wander around Singapore, especially so when the band hails from a place of constant downpours and gloomy weather.
Still, Young Dreams made several successful attempts at resonating with and impressing the audience gathered before them. Besides premiering a new song which we were among the first to hear (from an upcoming release possibly scheduled sometime later this year), the regular switch of roles and functions within the group – in particular between the multi-vocalist members who took on the lead through different songs in the setlist – was seamless and effortless, as though they had it all planned and figured out, having been at it [singing and performing] for the longest time. A pity no beach was anywhere in close sight, which could have provided the perfect backdrop to their popular and better received tracks such as hit singles Fog Of War and First Days Of Something, alongside a high and contagious volume of ‘ah’s’ going on during Footprints. Think The Drums, but less instantaneous catchiness.
Being a relatively new band on the music horizons and with only a singular debut album to boast, the night ended expectantly short and early under an hour, with the band reappearing later with no other numbers to perform. In its place instead was a contest giveaway where they picked out 5 lucky winners from a bowl of concertgoers’ names on the back of their tickets dropped prior to entry into the Theatre Studio. It was a little embarrassing that at least one of the handpicked winners had already left the show, and when Young Dreams had to select and choose another as its replacement.
Sadly, there were no obvious signs of enthusiasm and fanaticism to the band when the spotlights were on the winners as they swerved their way through to collect their prizes. That could be explained for most gathered that evening: to spend and celebrate the evening and the start of the weekend with friends and music – any kind, for that matter – in general. As we concluded that though no substantial amount of new Young Dreams fans was born that night, it was more of a reinforcement of who their real and diehard fans really were.
Young Dreams may still be young in the music scene, but to prove their longevity in an ever-shifting industry and in particular with the boom of the Internet and its endless refresh of information and marketing, Young Dreams definitely still have a very long way to go and to prove their sustainability.
Photos: Esplanade (Alvin Ho)