2011's Big Night Out saw rock and metal titans Stone Temple Pilots and Slash tear the stage up with violent guitar riffs and guttural screamo cries, reportedly rendering anyone within a 100-metre radius virtually deaf for several days after. By stark contrast, next year’s line-up is a lot more in trend with the indie rock pool (and definitely more chick-friendly, too) – featuring the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend and Band of Horses. The annual concert will take place on 30 January at Fort Canning Park, just four days after the massive Laneway Festival. So if that doesn’t satisfy your indie appetite, head on down with a fresh pair of skinnies (or the same ones, whatever).
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
American indie-rock outfit – made up of Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase – is a must-have in your iPods, even if it falls under your “Bands I Pretend To Like For Credibility” playlist. They strike a great balance between pop and rock, while still retaining their dingy, dirty garage sound and attitude – another reason why we reckon they don’t exactly fit in with the rest of the Billboard 200 filigree. Debut album 'Fever To Tell' (2003) is a good place to start if you’re new to this cool bunch. Single ‘Maps’ is indicative of the trio’s musical ingenuity – with Karen’s sorrow-full vocals so painfully honest that it makes your body ache. Nine years on with their third studio album 'It’s Blitz!', they’ve stayed true to their sound – deliberately abrasive with a pleasurable hint of punk-disco that make the YYYs a dancefloor mainstay.
This New York-based band might as well be a synonym for vanguard indie music. If we weren’t so into the whole hipster fad, we’d probably dislike them – or rather, not understand them. For example, their sophomore album 'Contra'(2010)injects strains of reggae, calypso and synth, which is admittedly quite a hard pill to swallow especially for those who prefer sing-along pop (which this really isn’t – maybe except for ‘Giving Up The Guns’ which garnered a lot of mainstream appeal with its music video that features cameos from Joe Jonas and Jake Gyllenhaal). The very imaginative 'Contra'topped US, UK and Australian charts – proving that the breezy four-piece in fact does have a peculiar charm that is very attractive after all. Singer Ezra Koenig’s lyrics like “who gives a f*** about an oxford comma” would occasion a profound chin-wag, but in the world of nu-indie subversion, weird is the new cool. Don’t fight it.
Band of Horses
These Seattle-folk are no country bumpkins, contrary to the Brokeback imagery that their improved band name carries (previously called Horses). Their latest album 'Mirage of Rock' released just this September was an interesting package of sorts. Add what you will that precedes the particle 'rock': Southern-rock, indie-rock, surf-rock, the list goes on. These guys have a finger dipped in all these different sounds that it tends to render the album a bit confused and distracted. We are not against genre cross-pollination, but some tracks were more tastefully done than others. 'Slow Cruel Hands of Time' is a fantastic track; 'How to Live' and 'Dumpster World' seemed to have drawn on some fond Neil Young memories, while 'A Little Biblical' was a chipper, skip-in-your-step relief. Now, on that note, are we allowed to label these guys nu-country?
BIG NIGHT OUT 2013 is on 30 January 2013 at Fort Canning Park. Earlybird tickets $115; Public sales ($125); At the door $140; VIP tickets $250 from 12 Nov