Live Reviews — November 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Camp Symmetry: We “camped”, we saw, we conquered.


Camp Symmetry logo

November 2, 2013
The Meadow, Singapore

It was a hot, humid Saturday afternoon in Singapore, when indie music lovers slowly walked through lush greenery into The Meadow, the tiny island’s largest outdoor garden event space in Gardens by the Bay. Entering Camp Symmetry, the ground was smelling of a mix of fresh green grass and the rain that drenched the night before. Put together by the very new concert promotion company Symmetry Entertainment, the festival was greeting the punters with a jumpy castle, jousting ring and ping-pong tables. Food and beverage stalls were literally on top of a hill on the horizon and after a short arduous walk over muddy grounds, festival-goers could reach the stage.

The inaugural music festival featured a good mix of up-and-coming and indie established acts, mainly from the US. Veronica Falls from the UK greatly opened with their easy-listening indie-pop tunes and cheerful personalities, drawing the audience to the front as people were still slowly streaming in. Starting their Asian tour with Singapore and en route to Bangkok, Manila, Kuala Lumpur and lastly Japan, Last Dinosaurs happened to be one of the crowd’s favourites. When we caught up with the band after their set, they said that Singapore’s audience was a good start for what was to come and surprisingly mentioned that Singapore was not the warmest show they have ever played – that title goes to Amsterdam. On another note, front man Sean Caskey joked about being too revealing due to his white shirt becoming increasingly transparent with perspiration.

As the weather continued to heat up, hotter acts took the stage. Loud cheers went out to the Aussie team San Cisco when they played their hugely popular tune “Awkward”. Many guys and girls alike were not hiding the celebrity crush they had for the singer/drummer of the band, Scarlett Stevens. Later on, Dream pop band Wild Nothing unfortunately experienced some technical issues with a keyboard throughout their performance and by the end of their set, an overcast sky was threatening with heavy downpour. Eventually the four lads had better luck with their shows in Hong Kong and Bangkok! On another hand, William Fitzsimmons could not have asked for a better cloudy backdrop for his mellow acoustic guitar driven tunes. Only supported by another guitarist, he brought a perfect and timely break from the louder indie pop-rock tunes that had been playing since noon. Next on the bill, Ra Ra Riot, brought life back to the festival with the crowd bobbing to their catchy indie rock tunes including “Beta Love”. The band mentioned that it was great playing to a local audience in Singapore, especially after performing for a crowd mostly composed of American English teachers in Korea. Who would have thought! Festival-goers started to get hungry during Best Coast’s performance, with many of them going in and out to have dinner. One of the cutest moments of the set was when Bethany Cosentino mentioned that it would be her last show before turning 26 and the crowd started to sing her a birthday song. By this time of the day, there was a sizable amount of “campers” that parked themselves at the back of the meadow, comfortably sprawled out on picnic mats.

Englishmen The Cribs took the stage next and by the end of their set it was dark. Their performance started promising but went downhill, ending in an awkward moment with the three of them trashing the stage in front of an unimpressed audience. The stage crew had to step in and literally escort the band to the wings while nobody gave the band a final applause. There was an eerie silence for about a whole minute before the background music came on again. Awkward. Taking full advantage of the nightfall and bringing the audience back on track, Danish band Mew gave a stellar performance, not to mention the amazing light show that accompanied the music. Without any doubt, they were the highlight of the festival with their 1h40min set. Last and definitely not least, Explosions In The Sky took the stage. Without a word, they created a perfect soundtrack to the end of the festival. Cheers, screams, applause and cameras went right up in the air during “Your Hand In Mine”. After a dynamic and emotional 75min performance, guitarist Munaf Rayani thanked the audience repeatedly and walked off with the rest of the band, and to the dismay to many, there wasn’t an encore.

Starting and ending promptly, Camp Symmetry provided 12 hours of great music and entertainment. There is room for improvement in the festival’s fringe entertainment, food and drinks. But nonetheless, people came for the impressive festival line-up. While washing the mud off from our shoes and still vibing off the great performances, we’re already waiting to see if Camp Symmetry will be back in 2014.