Sound[partly]shine 2007

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24 mars 2007, 12h16m

Sat 10 Mar – Soundshine 2007

My Saturdays are sometimes more stressful than my workdays - and 10th March 2007 is the most stressful of all. It was my first day taking a Chinese course which started early at 08.30 and ended at 12.30, leaving me with slight frustration about my horrible pronunciation and a headache. After that I had to dash to give lessons which started at 13.00, so I had to change shoes and eat my lunch on the way in the car. The lesson ended at 15.00, when Soundshine started at 16.00. Darn, I thought, and I still had to get my ticket in the mall adjacent to the venue. After having my ticket in hand and a quick stop at the loo, I rushed to the venue.

The gates weren't open until a bit over 16.00, and my friend was still on his way. While waiting, I took my ticket out and looked at it - whoopsies, "no camera". I quickly rearranged my bag - which is narrow at the top and spacious at the bottom like a dark abyss - so that my camera bag is tucked under my wallet, mobile, and an array of cosmetics. I was a bit late noticing the gate opening, hence I was stuck behind many people. At the bag check, the staff shuffled his hand inside and asked if I brought a camera. I conducted the sin of lying and he let me through. This was when I noticed how laid back and polite the people in the audience were. Everyone chit-chatted and walked slowly to the metal detector, I walked briskly and managed to pass a large chunk of people unnoticeably. After the metal detector, we arrived at a huge hall and lounge, where some people went to have some smoke. I managed to line up near the glass doors, where once again bags were checked but once again I got through with an innocent smile. Then there was a flight of stairs heading to the Upper Room, again I walked briskly and managed to get perhaps to the 20th place from the doors or so. A while later they told us to spread to left and right instead of lining up in 1 line, in order to give way to people who were still stuck downstairs, and I managed to sit right in front of the room's doors. I read a manga to pass the time, calling and texting with my friend until he managed to push his way upstairs and found me. Not long after he sat down, the doors suddenly opened and everyone started to run. I shoved my manga inside my bag, stood up and ran inside, right to the front of the stage. I've won the battle for the front row!

Much unlike the Muse gig 2 weeks ago, nobody pushed and shoved. Nobody even moved much. This time I was surrounded by quiet and shorter girls instead of moshing and taller boys. I was still bummed to find out that Sondre Lerche wouldn't come onstage until 20.55, but I was still in high spirits anyway especially after getting such a nice spot at the front row.

The first band was Homogenic, a local electronica band which I never heard of. The synth guy and keyboard player wore matching red-white outfit while the drummer and bass player presumably were additional musicians without matching costumes. After an ambient opening, another girl ran in to the mic stand, wearing the same outfit as the keyboard player. They looked like The Pipettes wannabes with their retro mini, stockings and flats - but there's something off with the mini dress that made them look more like Marlboro Lights sales promotion girls. Which can't be good as the sponsor was Dunhill. Their songs weren't bad, only louder than I thought, even in a number they dubbed as 'romantic and cheerful'. The booklet mentioned Björk as their influence, and I could hear that, but it's more The Music than Björk. The girls acted cutesy, exchanging smiles and dancing like it's 1965, while the boys just stood there and did their thing. The singer showed a great performance considering the cold reception from the audience. She slinked, did hand movements à la The Pipettes, and played a red-black scarf around her mic stand sensually. They managed to gradually catch my attention and I started to enjoy the gig. However most of the crowd didn't, at one point the singer shouted at us: "Why is nobody moving? Come on!" which she followed by doing hand claps above her head and told us to do the same. Unfortunately nobody reacted, which was quite mean, so I clapped along out of courtesy. They bowed out in no time and the crowd politely applauded.
I kept looking around to see if anyone managed to smuggle a camera like myself, but I didn't see anyone pull out a camera. I only took a couple of pictures discreetly, just for the sake of memories.

The second band was Sore which - probably quite deservedly - received a better reaction from the audience. They seem to be quite famous although I also had no idea who they were. With a total of 11 musicians onstage, including 4 backing vocalists and a 3-piece brass section, they're admittedly more interesting although they looked less attractive than the previous band. They seemed older and much more experienced. However, unlike the first band which gradually gained my interest, this one lost my interest along the way. The novelty of their interesting lineup just wore off, I got a headache and sore legs from standing up for so long, and I couldn't wait for Sondre to come onstage. The audience were keen though, and they actually came back for an encore.

Club 8 were up next, I also never heard of them before this. They're all good looking, sweet and humble, and the music was nice - unfortunately, the sound was Horrible with a capital H. The singer seemed genuinely touched that the audience actually knew their songs, she admitted that we almost made her cry. It must be quite an achievement to realise that your music is known halfway around the world in an obscure country you probably know nothing about. They also came back for an encore, performing a song which the audience screamed to. Probably their hit single.

Then, finally - time for Sondre Lerche! The intermission felt like ages, they brought their own equipment which noticeably were of better quality than Club 8's. My friend pointed this out excitedly, expecting better sound quality. Sondre's roadie ran around like a mad insect, installing and testing everything, biting a torch between his lips. He even did a little performance on the drums, which the crowd cheered to. He seemed funny and obviously knew his thing. There seemed to be some problem with the guitars, so it delayed Sondre's much awaited entrance to the stage.

The crowd became more alive as Sondre and The Faces Down entered the stage. I was pushed against the barrier as everyone shoved forward to get a better view. I was surprised to see cameras being whipped out by practically everyone - and none of the guards cared. Sondre was pleasantly surprised to hear us sing along to his songs and cheer hysterically to his stage antics. He's really energetic onstage! He ran around, shook his head, interacted with the band, and talked to the audience in Indonesian language. In total, he broke two guitar strings and one guitar strap on 3 separate songs. He threw the guitar strap into the audience!! I watched helplessly as it flew to the middle row into desperate hands of hopeful fans. His roadie was as busy as any of the band members as he ran around replacing Sondre's guitar strings, straps, and fixing various tidbits. The sound quality was million years better than Club 8's. It was really the pinnacle of the Soundshine festival. My favourite bits were the rock rendition of Duper Sessions, they were absolutely brilliant! The crowd sang along to everything. I was just losing myself in the gig, and I couldn't believe when he finally told us they'd played 19 songs. They gave several songs for encore, warning us that they could play forever if we keep egging them on like we did. None of us would have minded, obviously, and we cheered in hope they'd really play longer. But they finally closed with Two Way Monologue, and we knew they weren't coming back after that.

My friend, worrying that I would get bored by the opening bands' pop sounds, kept warning me about how pop they sounded. I shrugged off his worries by saying, oh I'm not that rock-ish. After that electrifying rock performance by Sondre, and how I went on a trance during it, I think my friend would have a hard time believing my earlier statement!

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