A quick trip down memory lane through Baybeats 2012: Homegrown favourites Cashew Chemists rocked the bay at the Esplanade, against a festive backdrop of high-speed boat chases courtesy of the National Day Parade, while Thai newcomers Plot impressed listeners under fanfare and fireworks.
Visitors to the three-day showcase also witnessed the rise of other Singaporean bands Anechois and Monster Cat, who have since gone on to tour Manila, Philippines and Hamburg, Germany respectively. And for revellers, they might remember the moshers making enormous circle pits during the performance by Hong Kong hardcore legends King Ly Chee.
Thing is, anything can happen at Baybeats. And since 2002, it has never disappointed.
With this year promising a pool of musical talent that’s as diverse as ever, we can’t wait to see what surprises await us on the weekend of 28 to 30 June.
Baybeats is generally seen as a stepping stone for budding Singapore bands. Each year, a handful of them are picked by the organisers from a hundred or so starry-eyed applicants to showcase their talents. This year, there are seven impressive enough to get the spotlight.
As a festival known for pushing musical boundaries, there is no representative band that’s more exciting than Sub:shaman (29 Jun | 6pm | Arena - Outdoor Theatre), a five-piece super-group of sorts that dwells in the dark and edges towards the experimental, surprising listeners with their unorthodox sounds.
And for something a little brighter and more upbeat, catch the well-dressed rock ‘n’ roll of quartet Mannequins (28 Jun | 7pm | Arena - Outdoor Theatre), or go for positively-charged punk rockers Dropbeat Heartbeat (28 Jun | 7.30pm | Powerhouse – The Edge) who will keep your hair flinging and limbs flailing.
There will be plenty of opportunity to get vigorous and bounce off each other’s crowd-wrestling bodies (keep it safe, people!) with the grind metal / hardcore tenacities of Monsters in Living Flesh (28 Jun | 8.30pm | Powerhouse – The Edge), Enesya (29 Jun | 6.30pm | Powerhouse – The Edge), and Dyeth (30 Jun | 6.30pm | Powerhouse – The Edge).
And if you are one of those who think of a live music performance as an atmospheric experience for all the senses, then do not miss post-rock instrumentalists 7nightsatsea (30 Jun | 6pm | Arena - Outdoor Theatre), who is ready with a story of sorts to tell.
These Brittle Bones
Of course, Baybeats doesn’t just usher in the new, it also celebrates those working hard to keep the Singapore music scene thriving. The selection is a proudly vast one, including artistes such as The Sets Band (29 Jun | 10pm | Arena - Outdoor Theatre), Pastelpower (29 Jun | 6.15pm | Chillout Stage - Concourse) and notably, the 14-year-old Chris Jones aka These Brittle Bones (29 Jun | 10pm | Chillout Stage - Concourse).
The list also features veterans such as The Psalms, YouthWreck, and The Pinholes, who have taken their craft overseas to international audiences.
This year, Baybeats welcomes the return of longtime crowd-pleasers Force Vomit and Electrico.
Lastly, given Baybeats’ reputation as one of the finest music festivals in the region, there will be acts from Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Australia, and many more. Artistes to look out for include Asian Chairshot (28 Jun | 10.15pm) from South Korea, Windmill from Taiwan (30 Jun | 8pm), and Sloppy Joe (30 Jun | 10pm from Japan, all rocking the Arena at Outdoor Theatre.