Neon Lights 2016: Day 1

UPDATED: I’ve finally included some soundbytes from Yannis of Foals too, so be sure to scroll and read it at the end of the post.

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The weather hadn’t been kind the past few days since I’ve returned from Seoul, and this weekend was no exception; it started pounding late noon onwards, and I curled up in bed and only woke up at 5pm. Which means by the time I got to the park, I had missed Gentle Bones, and Chairlift. Bummer.

Nevertheless, the crowd started to trickle in about 7pm onwards, and Shura’s show was the first I caught for the evening.

The British singer who coos electropop tunes that sound like from the 80s, mixed with a tinge of millennium lustre, shot to greater heights with her debut album this year, ‘Nothings’ Real’. I first heard of her on Discover Weekly on Spotify, a pretty nifty way of sussing out new artistes, so was quite interested to hear her live. It was charming to watch Alexandra Lilah Denton messing about her mane, throwing back a few swings in the air with the mic in her hand and hammering the synthesizer, much to the crowd’s excitement. Pretty electrical, yet groovy at the same time.

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Shura

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Foals

Caught Foals for the second time, after watching them at KL Live a while back.

Ah, the charming guitar riffs and drums on ‘Cassius’, to slowing the crowd down with the pleaser ‘Spanish Sahara’; the fans were lapping every moment of it all. You could sense the energy on-ground, with the band just taking everything in stride and belting out without missing any keys. It was quite an electric affair and it felt too short for that matter, to end. So when I had a quick chat with the lead singer Yannis, who said the band flew straight in from London to play, I couldn’t believe how much energy they had conjured on stage. That’s dedication, I tell ya!

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The very jet-lagged Yannis

FIVE MINUTES WITH YANNIS PHILIPPAKIS, FOALS.

On playing music gigs and festival in Asia

“I remember the first time we came out to do our first few shows in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, we really didn’t know what to expect; there were lots of people and the vibe was really good so, it always felt really good here. I expected the weather to be the way it was, which was fun and I really didn’t mind it but we haven’t played a show in a few weeks, and we felt out of shape and very jet-lagged as we flew straight from London, so we definitely felt like we had to put in a lot of work, just to combat those elements.”

On Neon Lights’ crowd and energy

“I like the site as it is vertical and you can look at different people, so it feels like a wall of marshmellows. I didn’t mean it in a rude way; it felt really intimate, and it felt like a festival, like home. The crowd was great and it was nice to feel people were coming out to see us, because sometimes you could feel anonymous, not like you’re just there, to fill out the valve, you know?”

How the band choose songs for their setlist

“We just fight about it (laughs) all the time; we never agree! Even when we want to just change one song, we end up fighting about it, which is ridiculous, really, because we should just be able to change the set a lot better, but we’ve become a lot attached to the shape of the set, like it has an energy flow coming through it and it’s hard to change it, once you get used to it. I used to be the bossy one but I got tired of being the bossy one, so like, I just choose whatever you want.”

On whether they’d write a political song like how Death Cab For Cutie did on ‘Million Dollar Loan’

“Well, I think a lot of our songs are political but it can be a bit more vale than distinctively, a political song. I feel like, ‘A Knife In The Ocean,’ for example, it’s to do about the environment, future and our position as a species; but I don’t want to come out and say  (pauses) when that song came out, if you read the lyrics, you can tell (pauses) I don’t feel the need to say it. I feel angry, probably more so about Trump than Brexit because I think Brexit was like the wrong decision to make, but it’s more understandable in a way because people were manipulated. But people have genuine reasons, or they feel they have genuine reasons to vote that way, but when you look at Trump, and what he has said, I think it’s kinda inexcusable. We were in America during the elections, and it was very dark. We played a very large show there, and it was just like, I wanted to just go home.”

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