12/31/2016 3:17:30 PM
|written By : Maya Tsering Bhalla|
Neon Lights Festival returned for its second installment on the weekend of 25th November. In the course of a year, the two-day festival has become the favourite eclectic-indie festival to attend in Singapore, alongside Laneway Festival, which takes place in the beginning of each year. Keeping true to their generally off-beat line-up, which features everything from Indie to Soul and New Wave to Post-Rock, a variety of very different and interesting art performances and activities like wood carving, Neon Lights did not disappoint – and this was in spite of the heavy torrential rain on day one and the terrain being completely wrecked and muddy on day two.
I got there slightly before 4pm and collected my media pass in a slight drizzle. The media pack definitely had more perks this year and instead of an annoying lanyard around your neck, there was a blue-coloured cloth wristband that had to be worn for both days. In the pack was a blown up (mostly) waterproof programme, a pair of sunglasses in a case, $20 worth of coupons (the most useful of all) and a cap that served much more purpose than I’d originally intended – shielding my head from the rain inside my poncho.
Day one started on a low, what with it raining and all but was immediately perked up by the first act I caught that day – The Sugahill Gang. The guys are legends. After a beer or two, everyone embraced the rain and it turned into a giant rain dance party, right on Fort Canning Green. Sugahill’s performance was equally, if not more energetic and they did all their classics and at some point, even got off stage to dance in the rain, which honestly made up for everything else that seemed to be going wrong that afternoon.
Post-rain-dance party, my friends and I decided to walk around the festival grounds. At ‘Club Minky’, an area near the Fort Gate entrance that had been set aside for what I assume were lesser-known acts – the indiest of the indie and stumbled upon an extremely talented duo from Ireland, Abandoman, slated Ireland’s top comedy hip hop improve team. As promised, they more than delivered. Witty, relatable and hilarious anecdotes told on the spot and with a lot of audience participation. Half an hour of belly-rumbling laughs later, we grabbed a snack and went on to watch Shura, a singer I’d only recently discovered and had fallen in love with. Her performance was a knockout and although she might sound meek and angelic in her records, she has a powerful voice and an electrical presence on stage. What I liked best was how down-to-earth she was. She was dressed in an over-sized denim jacket, thrown over a plain t-shirt and cargo pants. She didn’t look like she’d brushed her hair or like she had much make-up on and that was the charm because the attention was completely on her amazing talent. The audience, die-hard fans or not, were rapt.