Culture, Live Reviews — November 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Urbanscapes 2012: Highlights!


Photography by Paulius Staniunas / The Spacemen


Last weekend, Urbanscapes Festival celebrated its 10th year anniversary with a massive party for the senses that will not be easily forgotten in the years to come. Set in Padang Astaka, a sprawling field dotted with white gazebos, larger-than-life art installations and endless patches of mud, thousands turned up to join in the celebrations and soak in the festival atmosphere. Despite all the tasty treats, captivating street art and colourful flea market items on sale, we at Music Weekly naturally gravitated towards the musical acts featured over the 2 days and left raving over the incredible performances. Here are a few of our personal highlights – go ahead, tell us yours!

Photography by Paulius Staniunas / The Spacemen

Charlie Lim

The only act from across the Causeway, Charlie Lim shows once again why he’s the pride of the Lion City – the boy’s got undeniable soul and it’s clear as crystal when he performs. Plus, he stayed true to his promise of doing a Frank Ocean cover with an earnest rendition of ‘Super Rich Kids’, resulting in a heap of swooning girls at his feet and an entire crowd of well-deserved newfound fans.  

Photography by Paulius Staniunas / The Spacemen


In the past, Tenderfist may be known as the shy, awkward electro-pop duo from Kuala Lumpur but the band resembled a whole different beast altogether onstage at Padang Astaka last Saturday evening. With the addition of bassist ‘Big Show’, Tenderfist delivered a lively, dancefloor-tastic performance that got the entire crowd dancing and cheering for more. Playing choice cuts from their spanking new album “A Tourist Car” along with old favourites such as “This Wasted Heart”, Tenderfist most definitely riled up the party and gave us a much-needed burst of energy to tackle the next day of Urbanscapes.

Photo credit: The Impatient Sisters

The Impatient Sisters

Dressed in matching floral prints, The Impatient Sisters rounded up a sizable crowd as they performed at the small yet quaint Green Stage on Day 2, underneath a giant windmill that whimsically spinned along to their tunes. With their charming harmonies, fairytale lyrics and the evidently endearing chemistry oft shared between siblings, The Impatient Sisters bring to mind similar sister acts such as Eisley and First Aid Kit. Still, they shone in their very own way, performing one of Urbanscapes’ most fun sets with the addition of quirky kazoo-playing, sharply-dressed percussionists and brightly-coloured masks for the audience. Our hearts were won over when lead vocalist Soraya started losing her voice in the middle of the set and yet pushed on with the support of her lovely sisters-slash-bandmates. Impatient? More like impressive!

Photography by Paulius Staniunas / The Spacemen

The Trees & The Wild

This experimental-folk collective from Bekasi, Indonesia has played in far-flung countries such as Germany, Finland and Estonia and yet humbly confessed to being “nervous” before playing for Urbanscapes’ Volkswagen Stage, the largest one of the festival. Nerves notwithstanding, they played a seamlessly potent set at sundown on Sunday, marred only by several sound issues at the beginning of their set which were quickly resolved and forgotten as they started to weave their magic of distinctly Indonesian elements with acoustic guitar lines and formidable post-rock melodies.

Photography by Paulius Staniunas / The Spacemen

Sheila Majid

A Malaysian legend in her own right, Sheila Majid was a surprise last-minute addition to the festival and, admittedly, a rather unconventional one in relation to the rest of the line-up. Even so, Sheila was a pro at working the crowd, who were mostly composed of those half her age, with her bubbly attitude, self-effacing humour and infectious energy. As to be expected from a seasoned superstar such as Sheila, her vocals were effortless throughout her set, in which she performed classics from her extensive discography including popular favourites like “Dia”, “Lagenda” and upbeat closing number “Sinaran” – which almost everyone sang along to. Sheila’s inclusion in the Urbanscapes line-up turned out to be a refreshing move that proved that local commercial pop icons can indeed hold their weight against international indie legends.