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By QISHIN TARIQ

ST. Jerome’s Laneway Festival (Laneway for short) has been a Singaporean feature for as long as it’s been hip to be a hipster. Inevitably, it has been billed as the least obscure place to listen to obscure music.

However, it’s worth noting that founders Danny Roger and Jerome Borazio kickstarted Laneway in Melbourne, Australia (itself not an obscure place) to highlight under-the-radar local bands who were not specifically indie darlings.

This is evident in this year’s Laneway line-up, which featured a slew of Aussie talent, from psychedelic Perth boys, Ponds, singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett, folk-blues brother-and-sister act Angus And Julia Stone; and jazzy electronica musician Chet Faker.

While still not mainstream radio fare, Pond’s frontman Nick Allbrook was quick to remind reporters that his band was signed with a major label (Modular Recordings, an imprint of Universal Music). Meanwhile, Barnett and Chet Faker have been on Rolling Stone’s radar for years.

Lady In Black St Vincent rocked a body hugging leather cheongsam and a parade of various guitars in her compact 10 song set, which featured songs like Digital Witness, Cruel, and Birth in Reverse.

Lady In Black St Vincent rocked a body hugging leather cheongsam and a parade of various guitars in her compact 10 song set, which featured songs like Digital Witness, Cruel, and Birth in Reverse.

 

The Singaporean leg of Laneway also had local outfits representing – Singaporeans .GIF and Hanging Up The Moon, plus Malaysia’s own Enterprise and Pastel Lite.

Veterans of Urbanscapes and Future Music Festival Asia, Subang-based four-piece act Enterprise even had the honour of being the opening act on the Garden main stage.

Gambling on the fact that most of the international crowd wouldn’t know their material yet, the boys debuted their EP, Episode One, no doubt scoring themselves some new fans.

While the festival started on a sunny note, rain clouds began forming a couple of hours in. Luckily, the weather-weary organisers had given out free ponchos and bottled water to attendees in preparation for either extreme.

With 13,000 attendees, it’s no surprise that Laneway’s crowd was made up of a mix of people – many dressed to the nines in skinny corduroy jeans, leather jackets, John-Lennon glasses, and various hats, while some dressed like they were hitting the clubs, donning next to nothing.

Fittingly enough, the rain clouds broke during Pond’s 2.30pm set – cue the pond and puddles jokes.

The fans rain-suited up and rocked on; a sea of traffic-light red, yellow, and green ponchos seeming to indicate that all systems were raring to go.

Pond also delivered new material, having released its sixth album, Man It Feels Like Space Again just a day earlier.

Laneway hit its first snag during Canadian Mac DeMarco’s set, when an audio glitch halted the band’s progress.

Preferring awkwardness over silence, bassist Pierce Mcgarry started belting out Coldplay’s Yellow with drunk-karaoke level awfulness.

Irreverent Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco sails into the wave of good vibes, with his sunny set being matched with the just-clearing weather.

Irreverent Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco sails into the wave of good vibes, with his sunny set being matched with the just-clearing weather.

 

DeMarco’s band was chilled out enough to wander into the crowd after its set, and like Pond before it, happy to oblige selfie requests.

Throughout the day, fans who stalked the media booth managed to get photos and autographs from bands like Royal Blood, Future Islands, and Little Dragon, thanks in part to the hands-off security.

Making a quick trek to the Cloudstage (a smaller stage placed far enough away from the two mainstages to avoid competing noise) this writer thought he would be in time for Pastel Lite’s set.

However, a mix-up had caused the duo’s slot to be pushed forward, and they were sadly already halfway through their set, which focused on tracks from their EP Etcetera, released just two weeks earlier.

Malaysian duo Pastel Lite – Eff Hakim, 23, and Mohd Faliq Farhan Mohamad, 26 – beat the stereotype of Malaysian lateness when their set was pushed early.

Malaysian duo Pastel Lite – Eff Hakim, 23, and Mohd Faliq Farhan Mohamad, 26 – beat the stereotype of Malaysian lateness when their set was pushed early.

 

Wrapping up the slower paced sets of Laneway were Courtney Barnett and Angus and Julia Stone.

While Barnett’s dense lyrics are great on paper, her wordiness and deadpan delivery proved to be speedbumps for some festival-goers.

To their credit, both Barnett and the Stones brought some live rock edge, in a departure from their mellower CD sound.

Folks that wore their hipster best for Laneway must have felt a connection to the Stone siblings, whose band members were dressed in lumberjack shirts and trucker caps.

With 13,000 attendees, it’s no surprise that Laneway’s crowd was made up of a mix of people – many dressed to the nines in skinny corduroy jeans, leather jackets, John-Lennon glasses, and various hats, while some dressed like they were hitting the clubs, donning next to nothing.

While the earlier offerings of indie folk, pop and psychadelic rock were the usual features of Laneway, the line-up this year leaned heavier on electronica and R&B, or as hipsters call it, PBR&B – a portmanteau of hipster beer Pabst Blue Ribbon and R&B.

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